Hello and welcome, bookish folk, to Thursday’s edition of #R3COMM3ND3D2019. After today there are only 15 #R3COMM3ND3D2019 posts left to share! Hasn’t time flown? Seems like only yesterday I was putting together the first post of the year! I am delighted to welcome a fantastic book blogger to share their three picks from 2019 with us today – the brilliant David of Blue Book Balloon. If you don’t already follow David’s reviews then you are seriously missing out. I love his blog and I’m certain you will too.
So, what is #R3COMM3ND3D2019? It’s about sharing the book love. It’s a chance for authors and book bloggers to shout about three (yes, *only* three) books they love. They can be written by any author, in any genre and published in any way (traditionally, indie press or self-published). But there is a catch. All three books must have been published in 2019. To make things interesting I have added a couple of teeny, tiny rules this year which are; 1) the book must have first been published in 2019 and 2) special editions and reissues do not count. I like to keep you lovely people on your toes. 😉
Here are the three books David recommends…
The Dollmaker by Nina Allan
The Dollmaker is a masterful blend of the naturalistic and the fantastical. With shades of Remains of the Day, a man called Andrew Garvie travels to the West Country to meet a woman called Bramber. We read their letters, we read the book of fantastical stories that he has with him, and begin to see the borders of reality and fiction blending with echoes of an alternate England. There’s fantasy here, there’s a hint of romance, there are mysteries about both protagonists. A beautiful and gripping story.
David’s Review of The Dollmaker
Joe Country (Jackson Lamb #6) by Mick Herron
Herron’s novels of the rejected second and third rate spies of Slough House, a fleapit of an office shunned by the rest of the Service, are excellent whether considered as thrillers or character studies. In Joe Country, the ‘slow horses’ of the Service get an outing to the wintery Welsh countryside The story here is very up to the moment (“…the Cold War didn’t really end. It just hid behind closed doors, like Trump in a tantrum”) taking in as it does the shady security backwash of Brexit and also the shifty (I said SHIFTY) behaviour of apparently respectable public figures who Herron comes within a whisker of identifying. As always, Herron’s writing is superb. That world-weary tone still conveys, I think, that these are colleagues who have strong feelings for each other. They may be strong feelings of resentment, yes, but who, in the end, have they got left – stripped of career, respect and, in many cases, of friends and family?
David’s Review of Joe Country
A Modern Family by Helga Flatland
This story itself is deceptively simple. It concerns two generations of a family: parents Sverre and Torrill and children (eldest to youngest) Liv, Ellen and Håkon. There are two years between Liv and Ellen, eight years between her and Håkon. Liv’s kids Agnar and Hedda also feature, as does her husband Olaf, and Ellen’s partner Simen. As the book opens all are gathering in Italy for a family holiday at which Sverre’s seventieth birthday will be marked. However, he stuns the three children by announcing that he and Torrill have decided to divorce. We see the repercussions of this when they travel back home. Flatland’s dissection of these lives is merciless and thorough – while short, it’s not a book you can race through. I found I had to keep stopping both to think about what was going on, and also, at times, for a break from the merciless, and clever, exposure of a certain sort of family.
Merciless, because while one may at the end understand these characters, they are hard to like (except perhaps Agnar).
Clever, because Flatland gives us not just one unreliable narrator, but three…
David’s Review of A Modern Family
Thanks for your great choices, David. There are a couple of additions to the wishlist there, for sure!
If David has managed to tempt you, or if you would like to find out more about the books he recommends, please see the following links:
Reading obsessed vicar’s husband resident in Midsomer Murders country. Dad, dogwalker and doer of office things by day, under my secret identity as BBB I spend my nights shamelessly #BookTempting and raising my TBR.
If you’re a book blogger or an author and you have three books published this year which you want to shout about then please complete the following form (or click this link: https://forms.gle/PE483qCyrKEgV5Uq6)