This week more ideas for Christmas gifts. For the blokey bloke who has loved Wilbur Smith previously, there could be no better choice than this latest GOLDEN LION. In collaboration with Giles Kristian, he takes his devoted reader back to the Courtney family in East Africa, bringing drama, conflict and high adventure to each packed chapter. In complete contrast, award-winning author, Sarah Waters takes us to 1920s London, where the aftermath of the first World War sees many changes. In a large house, without their men, Mrs Wray and her daughter Frances open their home, for the first time, to paying guests. The results are not what the reader would necessarily expect, but in such skilled hands events unfold, to capture and hold the interest of any woman on your Christmas list who loves a saga with many twists and turns.
THE PAYING GUESTS was short listed this year for the Bailey Women’s Prize for Fiction no wonder. The renowned Alan Bennett calls this the “complete edition” because THE LADY IN THE VAN had been published before. I read it then and loved it, so now I can heartily recommend this extended work….. an introduction by the author, the original memoir, illustrations by the gifted David Gentleman, many photographs and the screen-play. The film of this astonishing, true story, will be released here early in the New Year, with the marvellous Maggie Smith, as that intriguing, manipulative, lady in the van, parked in Bennett’s driveway. It is a gift to please any friend or relative who likes a narrative with a literary bent. The same could be said for the last book recommended. Geraldine Brooks has taken King David as her subject, and portrays him warts and all, with devastating effect. “When one becomes a sounding brass for the voice of he unseen, there is a price to be paid …… when it happens to you on a day when you have lost everything, a wicked day of death and butchery it is hard, hard indeed, to revisit the moment.”
THE SECRET CHORD holds many secrets gloriously revealed in splendid prose after long research, but do not give it to anyone who is upset by violence. Brooks does not spare her readers the details of this outstanding Biblical King, who was so much more than the shepherd boy who slew Goliath.
GOLDEN LION by WILBUR SMITH PUBLISHED by HARPER COLLINS for a recommended $19.99
THE PAYING GUESTS by SARAH WATERS PUBLISHED by VIRAGO for a recommended $32.99
THE LADY IN THE VAN by ALAN BENNETT PUBLISHED by FABER for a recommended $29.99
THE SECRET CHORD by GERALDINE BROOKS PUBLISHED by HATCHETTE for a recommended $39.99 (hardback)