Site icon BookerTalk

Sample Sunday: time for the Canadians

Sample Sunday is an opportunity to check all the books on my shelves and decide what to keep

It’s been months since I last did a Sample Sunday post so my stacks of owned but unread books are feeling somewhat neglected. I hope to get back on track over the summer and do some more regular posts.

This week I’m choosing to feature three titles all beginning with the letter T. You can help me decide whether to keep these books on my shelves or let them go to a more welcoming home. By coincidence the first two are by Canadian authors.

Turbulent Wake by Paul Hardisty

I can’t remember buying this nor do I remember anything about it so have had to resort to the publisher’s blurb to fill in the blanks.

Ethan Scofield returns to the place of his birth to bury his father. Hidden in one of the upstairs rooms of the old man’s house he finds a strange manuscript, a collection of stories that seems to cover the whole of his father’s turbulent life. As his own life starts to unravel, Ethan works his way through the manuscript, trying to find answers to the mysteries that have plagued him since he was a child. What happened to his little brother? Why was his mother taken from him? And why, in the end, when there was no one else left, did his own father push him away? Swinging from the coral cays of the Caribbean to the dangerous deserts of Yemen and the wild rivers of Africa, Turbulent Wake is a bewitching, powerful and deeply moving story of love and loss … of the indelible damage we do to those closest to us and, ultimately, of the power of redemption in a time of change.

The Verdict:  so many plots now seem to rely on the discover of a letter, a journal or a will. The only thing that’s drawing me towards this book is its geographic spread. It might help me fill in one of the remaining blocks in my Wanderlust Bingo Challenge so I’ll keep it but if I haven’t read it by the end of the year (by which time I want to have finished the bingo card), then I’ll send it off to the charity shop.

Thicker Than Water by Bethan Darwin

Bethan Darwin is a Canadian who settled in Wales where she works as a solicitor. Her knowledge of the legal world, and the Welsh valleys plays out in Thicker Than Water, her third book. Her central character is the owner of a Cardiff law firm whose life is disrupted when a business woman from Canada comes knocking on his door. She’s the managing director of a shirt company that wants to set up a big manufacturing plant in the valley where Gareth grew up. He thinks of it as a wy of bringing hope back to an area suffering from despair and high levels of unemployment. Of course, something goes wrong….

The Verdict: I’m keeping this one. It could be the ideal kind of book to pick up after a spate of heavy reading material. And of course, I know the communities that will feature so that will give an added interest.

Troy Chimneys by Margaret Kennedy

The cover on my Virago edition isn’t filling me with joy. It’s yet another novel that hinges on a “discovery”. The blurb tells me that it concerns a man in the Victorian era who delves into the family archive while recovering from an illness. There he discovers the correspondence and diaries of an ancestor from the Regency era who was something of a black sheep and connected with scandal. What they reveal are the two sides of this man — one serious and studious, the other a flirtatious mover in political circles.

The Verdict: I’ve never read anything by Margaret Kennedy though I’ve seen her name often mentioned by bloggers who enjoy Virago Modern Classics. This one was written apparently when she began to use more complex plots in her work — the introduction by Anita Brookner describes it as quite complicated and with an occasionally puzzling arrangement of the narrative. Hm, it’s not exciting me so I think I’ll pass on this one and read The Constant Nymph instead.

Sample Sunday is when I take a look at all the unread books on my shelves and decide which to keep and which to let free. The goal isn’t to shrink the TBR as such, but rather it’s about making sure my shelves have only books I do want to read. So what do you think of the decisions I’ve reached? If you’ve read any of these books I’d love to hear from you.

Exit mobile version