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The Perfect Nanny

by Leila Slimani. Translated from the French by Sam Taylor. A chilling one-sitting story of a nanny over the edge. It raises the question of who parents leave their most precious children with for ten hours a day while they pursue careers. And. The lack of appreciation for these caregivers as human beings with the right to lives and feelings. How can a person spend that amount of time raising kids from infancy not become attached? Sometimes that’s good. Sometimes not. The translation is pretty well done, but there are… Read more The Perfect Nanny

Bitter Orange

by Claire Fuller.┬áLyntons is an abandoned crumbling hulk of a once grand mansion in the English countryside. Its history interrupted by war when it was ravaged by military occupation. Cara, Peter & Frances, three damaged souls spend a summer in 1969 together in its ruins, a reflection of their own lives. Debauched and guilt-ridden, they use each other to deflect their own pain. It’s a tightly written piece which brings the reader into the scene. Victor the Vicar the only flaw. A better read than many this year. The second… Read more Bitter Orange

The Witch Elm

by Tana French. Another hapless self-defeating young man. Seems to be a theme in recent reads. Without getting political, it’s an interesting phenomenon in the world of feminism and “toxic masculinity”. Maybe toxic misandry is more likely to have taken hold. This is a very long meandering “who done it”. Who didn’t? Mostly grey rather than black or white. Luck as a character. Life as an albatross. Based on a real mystery about Bella of 1943 whose skeleton was discovered in a Wych Elm. This tale takes on deception, harassment,… Read more The Witch Elm

Carol’s Carrel 2018

Best of the Year Golden Hill, Francis Spufford Home Fire, Kamila Shamsie Autumn, Ali Smith Shipping Out, David Foster Wallace Worth the Read The Immortalists, Chloe Benjamin Warlight, Michael Ondaatje Memento Park, Mark Sarvas French Exit, Patrick DeWitt The Essex Serpent, Sarah Perry Asymmetry, Lisa Halliday The Innocent Wife (Red River), Amy Lloyd The Witch Elm, Tana French Bitter Orange, Claire Fuller Light Reading The French Girl, Lexie Elliott Laura and Emma, Kate Greathead The Ghost Notebooks, Ben Dolnick Social Creature, Tara Isabella Burton The Banker’s Wife, Cristina Alger A… Read more Carol’s Carrel 2018


by Sarah Perry. Should have realized after reading Perry’s Essex Serpent that this would be another unscary Halloween story. Melmoth, the old witness who sees all of our bad deeds, is a witchy figure dressed in black. She lurks everywhere. The one who denied seeing Jesus rise from the dead. She’s the lore of many countries told to little children by their sadistic parents. Guilt. Shame. Conscience. She follows them through life. Spooky? No. For such a horrible portent, the stories told through letters and documents and by Helen, a… Read more Melmoth

Red River

by Amy Lloyd. That is the original title, for which Lloyd won the first novel prize by Daily Mail/ Penguin Press. She is from Cardiff, Wales. Red River is much more appealing and apt than what it is marketed as in the States,┬áThe Innocent Wife. Why it was changed I cannot imagine. It doesn’t describe the work, and it sounds like chick lit. Somehow I got past the title and tried the book. Wanted a quick weekend diversion. Although it is a mystery, there are nuances and layers which are… Read more Red River