This series is an adaptation of something I saw on Twitter – people were posting 26 books in 26 days, each title beginning with a different letter of the alphabet. However, I’m planning on taking around 26 months to get to Z. Each month I’ll post a newish book I’ve enjoyed, plus a children’s book and an older book.
This month, we’re at ‘W’, and first up is The Women, by S.E. Lynes:
The night she moves in with Peter, she’s so happy, so exhilarated, so in love. Later, she will remember a much smaller feeling, a tiny one percent in her gut. And she will remember pushing that feeling aside…
Samantha Frayn doesn’t know why Peter Bridges picks her – a nobody with bitten fingernails and a troubled childhood behind her – but she falls quickly. He’s older, charming, likes fine wine and French films, and his beautiful home has real art on its walls.
Peter transforms Samantha’s life in an instant. He sees the better version of herself – the one she’s always wanted to be. It’s only normal that there’s a little friction, when she moves in, over domestic matters like where things are kept, or the proper times to eat, sleep and shower. She’s lucky to be with someone who can help her find a new job, move on from childish friends, and speak with greater sophistication.
But as Samantha notices, more and more, Peter’s temper, she starts to wonder if there might be consequences to breaking the rules of the world he has so quickly built around her. And then she receives an anonymous note that makes her ask: is she the first woman to feel trapped by Peter? Is she being paranoid, manipulated, or could she be in danger?
You can tell the truth about your life, but someone needs to be listening. Someone needs to trust you. And someone needs to save you from the man you thought you loved.
This is a very chilling read, the kind of book you sit down with for half an hour after lunch, and before you know it you’re turning the last page and it’s dark outside… Loved it – well done Susie Lynes!
The Wind in the Willows is a book for those “who keep the spirit of youth alive in them; of life, sunshine, running water, woodlands, dusty roads, winter firesides.” So wrote Kenneth Grahame of his timeless tale of Rat, Mole, Badger, and Toad, in their lyrical world of gurgling rivers and whispering reeds, a world that is both beautiful and benevolently ordered. But it is also a world threatened by dark forces: “the Terror of the Wild Wood” with its “wicked little faces” and “glances of malice and hatred”, and defended by the mysterious Piper at the Gates of Dawn.
In the end, Kenneth Grahame triumphantly succeeds in conveying his most precious theme: the miracle of loyalty and friendship.
My mother was a huge fan of The Wind in the Willows, so this book was a big part of my childhood. I was never quite as keen as Mum was, though it’s one of those books I feel I should read again – maybe one day I will.
Eva never really wanted to be a mother; certainly not the mother of a boy named Kevin who murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker and a teacher who had tried to befriend him. Now, two years after her son’s horrific rampage, Eva comes to terms with her role as Kevin’s mother in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her absent husband Franklyn about their son’s upbringing. Fearing that her own shortcomings may have shaped what her son has become, she confesses to a deep, long-standing ambivalence about motherhood. How much is her fault?
In Lionel Shriver’s hands, this sensational, chilling and memorable story of a woman who raised a monster becomes a metaphor for the larger tragedy – the tragedy of a country where everything works, nobody starves, and anything can be bought but a sense of purpose.
Someone gave me the paperback of this book shortly after it was published, but the print was so small I struggled to read it even with stronger reading specs – it wasn’t a pleasure, and I gave up. Then a year or two ago it was on offer on kindle, and I raced through it. Another chilling book.
Next time, we have the ‘X’ books. 🙂