RAE’S READING ROUND-UP FOR… JULY 2021

Hello bookish friends!

Well, July has flown by! Only three books to share this month, as I’ve been busy, busy writing, as well as spending time with family.

However, if you’ve yet to try reading flash fiction, then I highly recommend Brightly Coloured Horses by Mandy Huggins. Whilst The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue and An Ocean Between Us by Ann O’Loughlin are both set in Ireland – one historical, one contemporary.

Also, please remember to pop back mid-month, when I’ll be chatting all things books and writing with author, Emma Robinson.

Finally, I’d love to hear which books you are enjoying this summer?

But in the meantime, stay safe and happy reading!

In Ann O’Loughlin’s An Ocean Between Us, American, Cora Gartland is rocked to her core when long-term partner, Jack is killed in a road accident in Ireland. However, her grief quickly turns to confusion and anger when the woman who dies alongside him is identified as his wife, Amelia. Cora flies to Dublin to try to make sense of Jack’s betrayal, and the remainder of the novel focuses on her arrival in De Courcy Square.

Running alongside Cora’s experience is a gentle story of Lily and her lost love, as well as the day-to-day issues concerning busy-body, Gladys. References to the meaning of flowers are sprinkled throughout, which I enjoyed. A story of loss and redemption, An Ocean Between Us begins as an intriguing mystery but then focuses on Lily’s story, when I longed for Cora to reclaim centre stage. Even through the subject matter is sad, O’Loughlin adds warmth and neighbourliness which transforms the novel into a feel-good read.

BRIGHTLY COLOURED HORSES by MANDY HUGGINS

For anyone wondering where to start when reading flash fiction, then I highly recommend, Brightly Coloured Horses by Mandy Huggins. An outstanding collection, most of the pieces are either prize winning or have featured in literary anthologies and magazines.

Twenty-seven micro tales of loss and betrayal, hopes and shattered dreams, set in vibrant locations around the globe. Each delivers an emotional punch, meaning the story and characters linger long after the pages have been closed.

If this is your first dive into flash fiction, I hope you enjoy…

THE PULL OF THE STARS by EMMA DONOGHUE

The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue focuses on childbirth in Ireland during the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918.

Set in a maternity ward caring for women suffering flu symptoms, we follow the daily routine of nurse Julia Power. Author Donoghue refuses to flinch from detailing traumatic tragedies, making this perhaps the most visceral book I’ve ever read. I was literally pushing during the childbirth scenes, and there were several instances where I had to take a breather and return to the novel later. But, as harrowing as it is in places, it is also tender and a real insight into the lives of women during an incredibly tough period in history. Thankfully, maternity care has moved on in leaps and bounds. Labouring mothers are no longer invited to drink a tot of whisky! But pregnant mums today still have pandemic worries and fears.

I hate suggesting that readers should avoid a book, but in this instance, if pregnant, it might be best to give this one a miss. Put it on your to-be-read pile, to enjoy after the happy event. An interesting, detailed novel that will stay with me a long time.

Published by Rae Cowie

Check out my bookish chat at raecowie.com

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