Wednesday 29 January 2014

The year in books: January

It's time for me to talk about my January book that I chose for #theyearinbooks that I am taking part in. As you can see I chose Donna Tartt's second book that took her ten years to write, (she has written 3 books which have each taken her a decade each to write, amazing!)The Little Friend. I read her first book The Secret History about 15 years ago and found that a real page turner, but in all honesty I forgot about her until about a couple of months ago when I heard her being interviewed on the radio and then on the television about her latest novel The Goldfinch and my fascination with her grew. I love that she is a recluse and rarely allows interviews. I love her sense of dress and style and that she dares to take so long to write her novels. Quite frankly I am a little obsessed with finding out more about her, no I am not quite stalking her!!!

So, back to this book, all 576 pages of it were real page turners once again for me. It begins as such: "For the rest of her life, Charlotte Cleve would blame herself for her son's death because she had decided to have the Mother's Day dinner at six in the evening rather than noon, after church, which is when the Cleves usually had it."

This novel is not directly about a murder. It is about the effect that the murder has on the main character Harriet's immediate and extended family and it is through Harriet's desire to come to terms with the past and find her brother's killer that Donna Tartt Takes you on a journey through one of aged 12 Harriet's lonely summers, encountering misunderstanding, bereavement, solitude and straightforward cruelty, she drifts further and further into her obsessions.

As the story progresses, other, tougher, meaner characters are dragged into her world and she is almost destroyed by her attempts at revenge on individuals who bear illogical grudges against her.

This book felt multi-layered to me, lots of sub plots going on which I enjoyed keeping up with. It delves into South American history which I have always liked learning about and as I followed Harriet it became evident to me that she had to learn lessons in betrayal, loss, guilt and unfortunately lessons which crossed a threshold into pure evil. It became a bit of a thriller for me, full of suspense which made it an immensely satisfying read. I almost found myself not reading every day to try and draw out the the enjoyment of suspense for longer!

I would highly recommend this book if you like what I have described and of course you can read many other much more intellectual reviews about this fascinating read. I give it a good 4 out of 5 and can't wait to read The Goldfinch, but will wait for it to come out in paperback as I am not a fan of hardback fictional books.

I am excited about my new read, Kartography which I should finish in February and will be talking about on my blog. I hope this might have inspired you to pick up a good book that appeals to you, I am feeling rather inspired with having got back into my love affair with books.

I will be next on the blog with a winner from my giveaway as seen here. Until then happy reading xox Penny



  1. This book sounds fascinating in your review Penny, it is good that you enjoyed reading it. I hope that you enjoy your February book as much or more. xx

  2. I enjoyed that book as well - The Goldfinch is even better, but do wait, the hardback is killer on the arms! ;-) Chrissie x

  3. I loved this book and, like yourself, rationed my reading to make it last. I was lucky to be given a copy of The Goldfinch for Christmas which will probably be my next read. Looking forward to your review of Kartography.

  4. Ooh this does sound like something I would enjoy. I have started Goldfinch, and to be honest Donna Tarrt is all new to me, so I am not at all familiar with her. I have to confess though that for now my kindle is put away whilst I am reading about sugar, so I will need to pick it up again when I have satisfied my thirst for information about sugar. Loved your review on this book, very well done my dear Penny. Hope you have a lovely weekend planned and sending you much love xoxo

  5. Thanks for the little review Penny. I have read the Secret History about ten years ago now and I enjoyed it. I will look out for this one in the library. My workmates and I have just started a little book group, it's really fun and I am loving getting back into reading again.
    Marianne x

  6. I've never read Donna Tartt, Penny, but I think it might be one for the Kindle! I haven't got into this Year in Books although it does appeal it too late to begin? I have read a few books this month already!

  7. Penny this books sounds really good, love the idea of joining in a year of books, am reading my second one already but haven't joined as I thought I had missed it. A great idea Penny. Lots of love

  8. It's so long since I read The Little Friend that I can't really remember anything about it, other than I liked it. I'm so glad you've rediscovered your love of books. I have too, in my own quiet way, but nothing as literary as this! x

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