Mari’s Book Club

If you're looking for something extra to read (as well as Baby, Baby and The Labyrinth Year, which we hope you’ve bought and read!) some reviews of others you may enjoy, from Mari Howard… 

Mari HowardOctober 11, 2021
'YA' and all ages upwards, more to read, mystery novel, social comment

Girl with a White Dog
by Anne Booth

Catnip Books

Paperback: £7.99

Girl with a White Dog quietly and confidently delivers its message in plain sight, yet never over-dramatically. Author Anne Booth’s choice to refuse the heights of drama in this tale, preferring to use a first person narrative by a year nine (age 13 to 14) student makes for a sensitive account of how it feels… Read More

Mari Howard
more to read, social comment

Mrs Morris Changes Lanes
by Debbie Young

Hawkesbury Press, 2021

Paperback: £4.99
Ebook: £1.99 (Kindle)

Another novella by Debbie Young is always welcome light reading! After The Natter of Knitters, (a romp themed around Yarn-bombing in Wendlebury Barrow, the Cotswold village location for her Sophie Sayers cozy mystery series), her Mrs Morris Changes Lanes moves away from this familiar location and group of characters, and extends the kind of social… Read More

Mari HowardOctober 3, 2021

The Fall of a Sparrow
by Griselda Heppel

Matador, 2021

Hardback: £13.00
Paperback: No paperback at present
Ebook: £4.99

A subtle story, weaving in themes of inclusivity, and the validity of not dismissing the value of other people’s cultures…   ‘There’s a special providence in the fall of a sparrow’ (William Shakespeare, Hamlet) “ Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? … Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside… Read More

Mari HowardJune 1, 2021
more to read, mystery novel, social comment

Two Village Based Novels: Murder Lost & Found, and The Diary of Isabella M. Smugge
by Debbie Young, and Ruth Leigh

, both published 2021

Paperback: £8.99, £8.56
Ebook: £2.99, £5.99

After Sarah Moss’s three linked, feminist, rather serious novels, (Night Waking, Bodies of Light, and Signs for Lost Children), read in autumn and winter, I have turned to a couple of lighter books. Each author is someone I know: Debbie Young, who introduced me to the Alliance of Independent Authors, and later invited me to… Read More

Mari HowardMay 3, 2021
social comment

Behind the Crime
by Colin Ferguson

Austin Macauley Publishers Ltd, 2019

Paperback: £7.99

I’ve recently read a short book, Behind the Crime by Colin Ferguson, who has worked in the Probation Service and after retirement as a Family Mediator.  The author’s intention is to set before his readers what lies behind their criminal behaviour which led to prison sentences, and the part probation can and may play in… Read More

Mari HowardOctober 29, 2020
art & culture, historical, social comment

The Art Fiasco
by Fiona Veitch Smith

Lion Hudson, 2020

Paperback: £9.99
Ebook: £9.99

“Poppy didn’t like being on the receiving end of a journalist’s questions…” No, she certainly wouldn’t! Our protagonist in The Art Fiasco is a journalist herself…  a lady journalist, and the year is 1924. The Art Fiasco is the fifth in the Poppy Denby series of mysteries, and having read all four preceding books I… Read More

Mari HowardOctober 2, 2020

Red Cabbage Blue
by Annie Try

Instant Apostle, 2019

Paperback: £8.99
Ebook: £5.99 (Kindle)

Red Cabbage Blue is a gently told story of enormous tragedy, family secrets, and intergenerational conflict. I don’t do spoilers if I can avoid them, but the book follows a therapy journey: a young girl, Adele, an art student, who turns up in a counsellor’s office presenting unusual symptoms… That is enough to sketch out… Read More

Mari HowardSeptember 1, 2020

Conversations with Friends
by Sally Rooney

Faber & Faber , 2018

Paperback: £6.00 (Amazon)
Ebook: £4.68 (Kindle)

When I finished reading Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy, I thought that is the saddest novel ever. When I re-read it some years later, I felt the same. Now Sally Rooney has updated my list: Conversations with Friends is up there with Tess, the saddest tale – though not ‘told by an idiot, full of… Read More

Mari HowardAugust 13, 2020

Stranger at St Brides
by Debbie Young

Hawkesbury Press, 2020

Paperback: £8.99
Ebook: £2.99

Stranger at St Brides (a school story for grown-ups) is the second in a series by my writing friend, Debbie Young, and here she is really into her stride. Whatever we think of Public (boarding) schools, packed with the local and the overseas offspring of doting parents who can do without their teenage daughters for… Read More

Mari HowardJuly 20, 2020

Normal People
by Sally Rooney

Faber & Faber, 2019

Hardback: (Amazon) £8.93
Paperback: (Amazon) £4.50
Ebook: (Kindle) £4.28

I watched the television adaptation of Normal People before I read the book. If this mistake was shared by a large audience then many, like me, could’ve initially understood the main point of this story as mainly significant looks and glances, and episodes of “having sex”. Most indoor scenes were filmed in half darkness, the… Read More

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