Title: Trespasses

Author: Louise Kennedy

Pages: 304 Pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury

The Blurb

Cushla Lavery lives with her mother in a small town near Belfast. At twenty-four, she splits her time between her day job as a teacher to a class of seven-year-olds, and regular bartending shifts in the pub owned by her family. It’s here, on a day like any other – as the daily news rolls in of another car bomb exploding, another man shot, killed, beaten or left for dead – that she meets Michael Agnew, an older (and married) barrister who draws her into his sophisticated group of friends.

When the father of a young boy in her class, becomes the victim of a savage attack, Cushla is compelled to help his family. But as her affair with Michael intensifies, political tensions in the town escalate, threatening to destroy all she is working to hold together.

As tender as it is unflinching, Trespasses is a masterfully executed and intimate portrait of those caught between the warring realms of the personal and political, rooted in a turbulent and brutally imagined moment of history – where it’s not just what you do that matters, but what you are.

The Review

I have been looking for a book with the Troubles at the centre of the story. Not so that I can relate to it. The Troubles didn’t affect me, I’m not Irish but I have wanted to learn more since reading the Kevin and Sadie books as a teenager. I’ve read a few but none have been as impactful as Trespasses by Louise Kennedy.

The story of Cushla Lavery and her conflicted feelings about her heritage versus her heart is a powerful read. For me, what makes it so compelling is the ordinariness of shocking events. The violence is presented as commonplace. That’s not to say that the characters in the story weren’t sympathetic or angered but just that they were almost used to it. Desensitised.

Trespasses is compelling and Cushla Lavery is a character I won’t forget for a very long time.

Trespasses by Louise Kennedy is available now.

For more information regarding Louise Kennedy (@KennedyLouLou) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Bloomsbury Books (@Bloomsbury Books) please visit www.bloomsbury.com.

Title: The Great Godden

Author: Meg Rosoff

Pages: 256 Pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

The Blurb

Everyone talks about falling in love like it’s the most miraculous, life-changing thing in the world. Something happens, they say, and you know …

That’s what happened when I met Kit Godden.

I looked into his eyes and I knew.

Only everyone else knew too. Everyone else felt exactly the same way.

From the incomparable Meg Rosoff, bestselling author of How I Live Now, comes a heady and timeless, intimate and earth-shattering wonder.

One dreamy summer, in a holiday house by the sea, two families fill hot days with food and wine, swimming and games, plans for a wedding and plans for the future. 

Enter the Godden brothers – irresistible, languid Kit, and surly, silent Hugo. Suddenly there’s a serpent in paradise – but which brother is it? And is it love he promises, or something very much darker?

Profound and memorable, crystallising the exact moment at which innocence is lost, The Great Godden is a summer classic-in-the-making that sits alongside Bonjour Tristesse, The Greengage Summer and I Capture the Castle as an essential coming-of-age read.

The Review

The Great Godden by Meg Rosoff is a quiet novel. Nothing outrageous happens in it but it is a mood. The novel seems very reflective and nostalgic even when events happen that cause sadness. It is almost as if the rose tinted glasses put a soft hue around bad events.

The events of the novel take place over a summer holiday in Ireland when things take an unexpected turn with the arrival of the Godden brothers. Kit Godden is charismatic and quickly captures everyone’s eye whilst brother Hugo lingers in the background. Their arrival changes the dynamic and causes discord amongst the family.

The Great Godden isn’t a fast paced novel but it does wrap its arms around you and carry you through it. You are engaged by the curiosity of this family and you are desperate to read on. Out of all the Rosoff books I have read, The Great Godden is my favourite.

The Great Godden by Meg Rosoff is available now.

For more information regarding Bloomsbury Publishing (@BloomsburyBooks) please visit www.bloomsbury.com.

Title: The Breakup Monologues – The Unexpected Joy of Heartbreak

Author: Rosie Wilby

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury

The Blurb

Mixing humour, heartache and science, award-winning comedian, author and accidental relationship guru Rosie Wilby embarks on a quest to investigate, understand and conquer the psychology of heartbreak. Tragedy plus time equals comedy, right?

In 2011, comedian Rosie Wilby was dumped by email. .. though she did feel a little better about it after correcting her ex’s spelling and punctuation. Obsessing about breakups ever since, she embarked on a quest to investigate, understand and conquer the psychology of heartbreak.

That quest proved to be a creatively fertile one, resulting in Rosie’s acclaimed podcast The Breakup Monologues. She decided to ask her colleagues on the circuit about their experiences of romantic disaster and recovery, thinking, ‘if one group of people have become adept at learning from catastrophe it is comedians. The worst onstage deaths are the performances that enlighten us most about how to improve.’ She wondered if comics had been able to transfer this ‘fail better’ logic to love.

This book is a love letter to her breakups, a celebration of what they have taught her peppered with anecdotes from illustrious friends and interviews with relationship therapists, scientists and sociologists about separating in the modern age of ghosting, breadcrumbing and conscious uncoupling. Her plan is to assimilate their advice and ideas in order to not break up with Girlfriend, her partner of nearly three years. Will this self-confessed serial monogamist, and breakup addict, finally settle down?

The Review

The theme of love is a topic long since discussed but often we shy away from talking about the pain of heartbreak. Rosie Wilby, in her book The Breakup Monologues, does just that and she does it well.

Mixing pathos and humour we hear about the bad relationship experiences that Rosie Wilby has had that have led her to understand breakups and look at them with fresh eyes. What is really rather nice is that not once in the book does Wilby point blame or make her exes out to be bad people she just explains things from her perspective and how she felt during the relationships which led to the breakup. If she had become angry and showering people with blame then I feel that it would be a less enjoyable read.

Along with opinions of experts and her friends you get a multi-perspective view on what it feels like to break up with someone or be broken up with and there is comfort in knowing you aren’t alone in that feeling.

The Breakup Monologues – The Unexpected Joy of Heartbreak by Rosie Wilby is available now.

For more information regarding Rosie Wilby (@rosiewilby) please visit www.rosiewilbynews.blogspot.com.

For more information regarding Bloomsbury (@BloomsburyBooks) please visit www.bloomsbury.com.

Title: Today a Woman Went Mad in a Supermarket

Author: Hilma Wolitzer

Pages: 208 Pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

The Blurb

Another day! And then another and another and another. It seemed as if it would all go on forever in that exquisitely boring and beautiful way. But of course it wouldn’t; everyone knows that.

In this collection, Hilma Wolitzer invites us inside the private world of domestic bliss, seen mostly through the lens of Paulie and Howard’s gloriously ordinary marriage.

From hasty weddings to meddlesome neighbours, ex-wives who just won’t leave, to sleepless nights spent worrying about unanswered chainmail, Wolitzer captures the tensions, contradictions and unexpected detours of daily life with wit, candour and an acutely observant eye.

Including stories first published in magazines in the 1960s and 1970s – alongside new writing from Wolitzer, now in her nineties – Today a Woman Went Mad in the Supermarket reintroduces a beloved writer to be embraced by a new generation of readers.

The Review

Today a Woman Went Mad in the Supermarket is a delightful collection of short stories that all packed a punch. I’m not usually a fan of the short story and tend to be harsh when reviewing collections. However, there wasn’t one story in this collection that didn’t keep me hooked.

One particular story really had a powerful impact. It was set during the pandemic and im still bruised after reading it. Very powerful stuff.

A great collection.

Today a Woman Went Mad in the Supermarket by Hilma Wolitzer is available now.

For more information regarding Himla Wolitzer (@BloomsburyBooks) please visit www.bloomsbury.com.

Title: Nothing Can Hurt You

Author: Nicola Maye Goldberg

Pages: 240 Pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury

The Blurb

The Virgin Suicides meets Little Fires Everywhere: inspired by a true story, this haunting novel pieces together a chorus of voices to explore the aftermath of a college student’s death

On a cold day in 1997, student Sara Morgan was killed in the woods surrounding her liberal arts college in upstate New York. Her boyfriend, Blake Campbell, confessed, only to be acquitted following a plea of temporary insanity.

In the wake of this senseless act of violence, the case comes to haunt a strange and surprising network of community members, from the young woman who discovers Sara’s body to the junior reporter who senses its connection to convicted local serial killer John Logan. As the years pass, others search for retribution or explanation: including Sara’s half-sister who, stifled by her family’s bereft silence about Blake, poses as a babysitter and seeks out her own form of justice, while the teenager Sara used to babysit starts writing to Logan in prison.

A propulsive, taut tale of voyeurism and obsession, Nothing Can Hurt You dares to examine gendered violence not as an anomaly, but as the very core of everyday life. Tracing the concentric circles of violence rippling out from Sara’s murder, Nicole Maye Goldberg masterfully conducts an unforgettable chorus of disparate voices.

The Review

Nothing Can Hurt You by Nicola Male Goldberg is a circular story featuring several characters that are all connected through the death of Sara Morgan. They may be her friends, parents, family members etc but their stories are intrinsically linked with hers some way or another.

The telling of the story flip-flops through time from past to present day and it makes us look at the theme of murder with a new lens. Should we ever empathise with the murderer? How do we learn to forgive? 

Nothing Can Hurt You Is a twisting tale that spirals seamlessly and pulls you along with its narrative. It was a one sitting read because I could not put the damn book down. Nicola Male Goldberg draws you in straight away. I wish you luck trying to get away from this spiderweb of a book.

Nothing Can Hurt You by Nicola Maye Goldberg is available now.

For more information regarding Bloomsbury (@BloomsburyBooks) please visit www.bloomsbury.com.