Our reads in June 2022

I am not your Eve – Devika Ponnambalam, £12.99 Hardback

A polyphonic novel of Teha’amana, the Tahitian muse and child-bride to Paul Gauguin. Told from her point of view, both beautifully and tragically, via the myths and legends of the islands. Interspersed with the thoughts and observations of Gauguin’s daughter. You’ll never look at a Gauguin painting in the same way again!

Housekeeping – Marilynne Robinson, £8.99 Paperback

Housekeeping is the story of Ruth and Lucille, orphans, growing up in the small desolate town of Fingerbone in the vast northwest of America. Abandoned by a succession of relatives, the sisters find themselves in the care of Sylvie, the remote and enigmatic sister of their dead mother. Steeped in imagery of the bleak wintry landscape around them, the sisters’ struggle towards adulthood is powerfully portrayed in a novel about loss, loneliness and transience.

Convenience Store Woman – Sayaka Murata, £8.99 Paperback

Meet Keiko. Keiko is 36 years old. She’s never had a boyfriend, and she’s been working in the same supermarket for eighteen years. Keiko’s family wishes she’d get a proper job. Her friends wonder why she won’t get married. But Keiko knows what makes her happy, and she’s not going to let anyone come between her and her convenience store.

My Name is Lucy Barton – Elizabeth Strout, £8.99 Paperback

An exquisite story of mothers and daughters from the Pulitzer prize-winning author of Olive Kitteridge.

Lucy is recovering from an operation in a New York hospital when she wakes to find her estranged mother sitting by her bed. They have not seen one another in years. As they talk Lucy finds herself recalling her troubled rural childhood and how it was she eventually arrived in the big city, got married and had children. But this unexpected visit leaves her doubting the life she’s made: wondering what is lost and what has yet to be found. 

How to Measure a Cow – Margaret Forster, £8.99 Paperback

Tara Fraser has a secret. Desperate to escape herself and her past, she changes her name, packs up her London home and moves to a town in the North of England where she knows no one. But one of her new neighbours, Nancy, is intrigued by her. And as hard as Tara tries to distance herself, she starts to drop her guard. Then a letter arrives. An old friend wants to meet up. Struggling to keep her old life at bay, Tara soon discovers the dangers of fighting the past.

Godmersham Park – Gill Hornby, £14.99 Hardback

January 1804: Anne Sharpe arrives at Godmersham Park in Kent to take up the position of governess. At thirty-one years old, she has no previous experience of either teaching or fine country houses. But her mother has died and she desperately needs an independent income if she is to survive. For her new charge, twelve-year-old Fanny Austen, Anne’s arrival is all novelty and excitement. But Anne is keenly aware that her new role is an awkward one: she is neither one of the servants nor one of the family, and to balance a position between the ‘upstairs’ and ‘downstairs’ members of the household is a diplomatic chess game. One wrong move may result in her instant dismissal. She has just begun to settle into her position when dashing Henry Austen and his younger sister Jane come to stay. Both take an immediate interest in the pretty, clever governess who quickly becomes drawn into the above stairs life of the Austen family. Despite her best endeavours, Anne finds that she is beginning to fall in love. But has her survival at Godmersham Park just become a good deal more precarious?

A meticulously researched novel featuring one of Jane Austen’s friends and confidantes.

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