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2000 Book Chat Reviews

Reviews of the meeting held on the 1st November 2000

Whispers in the Sand by Barbara Erskine

Retracing a journey originally taken in the mid-nineteenth century from Luxor to Aswan uncovers not only a love story but also a more chilling distant secret of a little glass bottle. Dramatic tales from three eras intertwine to a terrifying climax. Recommended.

Sleeping Cruelty by Lynda La Plante

Political scandal erupts when Tory MP Andrew Maynard is found dead. His friend and supporter, wealthy entrepreneur Sir William Benedict, finds himself being shunned by his so called friends in society so he exacts his revenge! Excellent read.

Angel Light by Andrew Greeley

To fulfil the terms of a legacy Tobias must travel from America to Ireland and resolve not only a longstanding feud but woo and marry a distant cousin within a month! This adult fairytale makes for an unbelievable but readable story written wittily and well.

Dinosaur Summer by Greg Bear

Fifty years ago Professor Challenger discovered the lost world of the dinosaurs in Venezuela and took them north as circus exhibits. Now they are only of passing interest and it is time to take them home. Reasonable read.

Alistair MacLeans Code Breaker by Alastair Macneil

Anti-terrorist organisation UNACO must respond immediately to a sudden and terrifying attack. Under threat from dangerous military minds from the former Soviet Union this pulsating story builds to a nail-biting climax.

Distant Choices by Brenda Jagger

Set in Yorkshire in the mid 19th century the plight of women dependant upon men is the strong theme running through this story. Do they acuiesce to all demands or rebel? An absorbing historical tale that allows contemplation of the opportunities and freedom many women enjoy today.

Beyond Forgiveness by Caro Fraser

Inheriting money from an unknown father causes problems for Abby, especially when it should have gone to his legitimate heirs. Well-crafted story with twists and turns making this a brilliant read.

Downhill All The Way by Edward Enfield

Father of the renowned Harry Enfield, this informative account of his own journey by bike across France, complete with sound practical advice based on past failures. Quite enjoyable.

Home Leave by Libby Purves

Grown-up children of a British Diplomat return to their roots in various parts of the world to try and solve a family mystery and in the process deal with their own family problems. Written in a lovely, colourful way and thoroughly enjoyed.

Cruel Habitations by Kate Charles

A girl's dead body is found in the Cathedral town of Westmead. Eleven years later, those connected with the town and the girl are drawn together in solving the crime. Good plot, writing sometimes cumbersome, but will keep you guessing until the end.

Zennor in Darkness by Helen Dunmore

Love between Clare and her cousin John Williams comes to fruition in the days of his home leave in 1917. Her friendship with DH Lawrence and his wife, help strengthen her resolve to cope with life on her own terms and break out of the closed Cornish community. Well written.

Our Father by Marylin French

This novel explores the secrets of families, the damage a father can do to his daughters and the redemptive power of love. It is subtly written, with well described characters in situations dealt with in a very human way.

Looking Back by Josephine Cox

When Molly's mother disappears, she has to make a heartbreaking choice between the man she has promised to marry or her family who now depend upon her. Her life will never be the same again. Compelling read.

Last Precinct by Patricia Cornwell

Following on from "Black Notice", examiner Kay Scarpetta has become an object of suspicion and criminal investigation. With extraordinary forensic detail this novel keeps you looking over your shoulder! Excellent read.

Biography of Laurie Lee by Valerie Grove

Although gregarious he was a secretive man with a complex character. The eternal 'Peter Pan', Laurie Lee was very attractive to women, having had many lovers. Dogged by epilepsy, mental problems and bouts of heavydrinking, to the outside world he was always cheerful. Fellow veterans have since questioned his experiences in the Spanish Civil War. Well researched.

Meltdown by Max Marlow

Centred on the eruption of a volcanic island and the subsequent ash cloud, which spreads over the Northern Hemisphere, this novel is thought provoking and a little frightening. Written well without the hysterics of a horror story, it sets out to achieve the ecological ramifications of such a problem and the almost believable way in which the nations of the world cannot agree.

The New Confessions by William Boyd

This story follows the life of John James Todd from his childhood in Edinburgh to the Western Front, London, Berlin and Hollywood. Although it appeared well written with good descriptive passages our reviewer found it difficult to follow and could not settle to finish reading it!