Posted in #20 Books of Summer 2016, Book Review, Books I have read

The Shrimp and the Anemone – L.P. Hartley #20booksofsummer

Book 8

Classic 4*s
Classic Fiction
4*s

Having absolutely adored The Go-Between last year I eagerly sought out another book by this twentieth century author.
The Shrimp and the Anemone is the first of a trilogy about siblings Eustace and Hilda. Eustace is the younger, a mere nine years old when we first meet him and Hilda is his older sister by four years. Hilda is strongly committed in making sure young Eustace follows the path of goodness, she is his moral guardian in all things. In fact Hilda is scary in the way she both makes Eustace do things, such as talk to an old invalid lady, which I am certain she would not have, whilst also making sure he never strains himself, being in the Edwardian parlance of the day ‘a sickly child’

The book opens with a description of a shrimp being half-eaten by an anemone and the children impotently trying to rescue it with the shrimp ultimately dying but not without it having a profound effect on poor Eustace. The author shows his immense skill in not labouring the point he is making, there is not ‘see the lesson’ tone to this part but the luminance of the writing does set the reader up well for the rest of the book.

Set in inter-war Hunstanton, on the north-west Norfolk coast L.P. Hartley renamed the area Anchorstone and the children spend hours on the beach building fantastic moats with an air of seriousness of endeavour that seems to have quite disappeared in the intervening near century. Set at the time it is, there is no escaping the importance of class, and ‘knowing your place’ with the children’s father a working man, albeit in an office, is subtly compared to the man who picks them up in the trap to take them on a day-out where Eustace is allowed to sit on the box with the driver as a special treat.

The beauty of the book is in reading about the children’s pastimes, Eustace’s illness and their relationships with other members of the household whilst at the same time glimpsing the way they are both mystified by the actions of the adults around them. One thing you can’t accuse this author of is not being able to recreate the way that children view the world, which often authors spectacularly fail to capture in all its facets. As the book progresses we meet others in the vicinity, including Dick Staverly who takes a shine to Hilda who is growing to be a beautiful young lady. Hilda is aware of the effect she has, and that there is a rival for Dick’s attention so all eyes are on her method of handling this quandary which serves to lend another facet to her character.

While the characters of the two children are exceptionally vivid, the rest of the family is far more sketchy. Their father is in turns jovial and irritated by his children, their mother died soon after the birth of their youngest sister, a mere baby. The household is completed by the stern and severe aunt who bustles in and out of the story-line mainly trying to impress the father to take more interest in his offspring.

Whilst there are parallels with The Go-Between this is a far more benign tale, so whilst a secret is at the heart of the book, it isn’t of the same type of moral nature, although it’s important enough for me to want to find out what happens to this family in the next book; The Sixth Heaven.

 

First Published UK: 1944
Publisher: Faber & Faber
No of Pages 240
Genre: Classic Fiction
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (June 29)

This Week In Books

Lypsyy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

Last week went a bit awry so while I fully intended to be reading Testament of Youth, deadlines mean that I have shuffled the books and have a different collection to share with you this week.

I am currently reading The Shrimp and the Anemone by L.P. Hartley which is number 8 in my 20 Books of Summer Challenge.

The Shrimp and the Anemone

An evocative account of a childhood summer spent beside the sea in Norfolk by brother and sister, Eustace and Hilda and is the first in a trilogy of tales about these siblings. The Shrimp and the Anemone takes place when they are children, The Sixth Heaven when they are in their early 20’s, and Eustace and Hilda finalises the trilogy when they are in their late 20’s.

I have just finished Lie With Me by Sabine Durrant a fast-moving psychological thriller which unusually has a man as the protagonist.

Lie With Me

My review will follow shortly but in the meantime you can read a synopsis and a taster from this book, see yesterday’s post.

Next up I am planning on reading Liz Nugent’s second novel, Lying in Wait which will be published on 7 July 2016. If you can’t wait that long, and haven’t already done so I highly recommend her debut novel: Unravelling Oliver!

Lying in wait

Blurb

Another absorbing, twisty, brilliantly observed story of murder in high places.
The last people who expect to be meeting with a drug-addicted prostitute are a respected judge and his reclusive wife. And they certainly don’t plan to kill her and bury her in their exquisite suburban garden. Yet Andrew and Lydia Fitzsimons find themselves in this unfortunate situation.
While Lydia does all she can to protect their innocent son Laurence and their social standing, her husband begins to falls apart. But Laurence is not as naïve as Lydia thinks. And his obsession with the dead girl’s family may be the undoing of his own. NetGalley

What are you reading this week? Fancy any of these? Please share in the comments envelope below

Posted in Challenge

20 Books of Summer 2016! #20booksofsummer

20 Books of Summer 2016

Cathy at Cathy 746 has a yearly challenge to read twenty books over the summer months starting on 1 June 2016 and running until 5 September 2016, and I’ve decided to join her. In preparation I had already decided not to read ARCs during June to get me off to a flying start.

As I’m competitive I’m signing up for the full twenty. My personal challenge is to read these twenty books from my bookshelf, physical books that I already own before today. Funnily enough I have plenty to choose from… a whole 95 in fact!

Because I know that facts in one book tend to lead me to seek out other books in my tangential reading style, I’ve decided to start with a spread of genres and authors for the first ten books – fat books, thin books and books inbetween! I will post the next ten when these are all finished hopefully mid-July, if I’m on schedule!

The links below will take you to the Goodreads description

The Testament of Youth by Vera Britten

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

The Poison Principle by Gail Bell

The Curious Habits of Doctor Adams by Jane Robins

Other People’s Secrets by Louise Candlish

You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz

An Awfully Big Adventure by Beryl Bainbridge

Pictures of Perfection (Dalziel & Pascoe #13) by Reginald Hill

Buried Angels (Patrik Hedström #8) by Camilla Läckberg

The Shrimp and the Anemone by L.P. Hartley

I will be joining Cathy by tweeting my way through the challenge using the hashtag #20booksofsummer and I will provide (a yet to be decided logo) to demonstrate when one of my reads is part of this challenge!

PicMonkey Collage

Like last year there will be a master page linking the titles to my reviews as they are posted, and of course eventually listing the entire twenty books.

There’s still time to join in and Cathy has also provided a 10 Books of Summer image or even a 15 Books of Summer image for those of you who feel aiming for 20 is quite frankly ridiculous. Visit Cathy to get the full details here

So what do you think to my choices? Do you have any suggestions on where I should start or perhaps you think some of these need to be put back on the shelf and forgotten about? All comments welcomed!

Posted in Weekly Posts

Stacking the Shelves (January 9)

Stacking the shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you’re adding to your shelves, be it buying or borrowing. From ‘real’ books you’ve purchased, a book you’ve borrowed, a book you’ve been given or an e-book they can all be shared.

Oh dear, oh dear… With that Amazon voucher burning a hole in my pocket it was inevitable that there would be some new acquisitions so I hatched a cunning plan; I would order books before the New Year in order to start afresh… what I didn’t bargain for was that I didn’t complete the process so when I next switched on my laptop there were three books waiting to be purchased in my basket.

Book one is one I’ve wanted for such a long time – I loved Sliding Doors and this is a book that explores the same premise and was published in paperback on 31 December 2015: The Versions of Us by Laura Barnnett

The Versions of Us

Blurb

What if you had said yes? The moments that change everything… One Day meets Sliding Doors in this outstanding debut that is causing a buzz across the publishing world
Some moments can change your life for ever. Have you ever wondered, what if…?
A man is walking down a country lane. A woman, cycling towards him, swerves to avoid a dog. On that moment, their future hinges. There are three possible outcomes, three small decisions that could determine the rest of their life.
Eva and Jim are nineteen and students at Cambridge when their paths first cross in 1958. And then there is David, Eva’s then-lover, an ambitious actor who loves Eva deeply. The Versions of Us follows the three different courses their lives could take following this first meeting. Lives filled with love, betrayal, ambition but through it all is a deep connection that endures whatever fate might throw at them.
The Versions of Us explores the idea that there are moments when our lives might have turned out differently, the tiny factors or decisions that could determine our fate, and the precarious nature of the foundations upon which we build our lives. It is also a story about the nature of love and how it grows, changes and evolves as we go through the vagaries of life. Goodreads

Silent Hours by Cesca Major has received rave reviews around the blogosphere including being featured on Bookaholic Confessions 15 Best Books of 2015, so I just had to have a copy too.

The Silent Hours

Blurb

An epic, sweeping tale of love and loss inspired by heartrending true events in the Unoccupied Zone of wartime France.
The Silent Hours follows three people whose lives are bound together, before war tears them apart:
Adeline, a mute who takes refuge in a convent, haunted by memories of her past;
Sebastian, a young Jewish banker whose love for the beautiful Isabelle will change the course of his life dramatically;
Tristin, a nine-year-old boy, whose family moves from Paris to settle in a village that is seemingly untouched by war.
Beautifully wrought, utterly compelling and with a shocking true story at its core, The Silent Hours is an unforgettable portrayal of love and loss. Goodreads

And finally after falling in love with The Go-Between last year I have a copy of The Shrimp and the Anemone by L.P. Hartley despite it having the shortest synopsis I’ve ever come across, I’m assured it is brilliant.

The Shrimp and the Anemone

Blurb

An evocative account of a childhood summer spent beside the sea in Norfolk by brother and sister, Eustace and Hilda. Amazon

Lastly I was delighted to open a mystery parcel on Wednesday, for once my protestations that I hadn’t bought or asked for this book was actually true! Tastes Like Fear by Sarah Hilary is going to be published on 7th April 2016. If this is anything like as good as Someone Else’s Skin and No Other of the Darkness this will be a fabulous read.

Tastes Like Fear

Blurb

You’ll never be out of Harm’s way
The young girl who causes the fatal car crash disappears from the scene.
A runaway who doesn’t want to be found, she only wants to go home.
To the one man who understands her.
Gives her shelter.
Just as he gives shelter to the other lost girls who live in his house.
He’s the head of her new family.
He’s Harm.
DI Marnie Rome has faced many dangerous criminals but she has never come up against a man like Harm. She thinks that she knows families, their secrets and their fault lines. But as she begins investigating the girl’s disappearance nothing can prepare her for what she’s about to face.
Because when Harm’s family is threatened, everything tastes like fear… Goodreads

TBR WATCH
Since my last count I have read 2 books, and gained 5 (one doesn’t have any details to share with you all yet), leading to a grand total of 174 books!
86 physical books
74 e-books
14 books on NetGalley

What have you found to read this week?