Books you love: 21st – 28th July

We have well over 100,000 reviews on Waterstones.com, and we value each and every one of them. So much so, that we have decided to reward the best review we receive each week.

Win a £10 Waterstones gift card

We will feature a small selection of the week’s best customer reviews on this page, and the writer of the best review (as judged by the .com team) will receive a £10 Waterstones gift card. So tell us about the book you love today, and a £10 gift card could be yours. Well, what are you waiting for…?

To submit a review simply click on the Write a review link next to the book of your choice.

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

 

H is for Hawk

by Helen Macdonald

Five-star review

Reviewed by Kira Houghton

Review Date: 25th July 2014

Helen Macdonald is an illustrator, historian and naturalist. When her father, (her companion in her love for birds) dies Macdonald struggles to put her life back together. She is cast into a world of grief, close to madness. Driven by impulse, she acquires a Goshawk named Mabel and plans to train and tame her in order to distract herself from the loss of her father. She follows the footsteps of TH White – author of The Goshawk (1951) in which he records his own desperate battle to train his bird. This book is haunted with mortality and loss but the suffering is beautiful. Macdonald’s writing is original and clearly written from the heart. It truly makes you feel something. I don’t think I will read another book as true and raw as H is for Hawk.

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Man at the Helm by Nina Stibbe

Man at the Helm

by Nina Stibbe

Four-star review

Reviewed by SallySwann

Review Date: 25th July 2014

A nice quirky tale of a family who lose the man in their life resulting in the children thinking that they will have to help their mum find a new one! This is the first novel from the pen of Nina Stibbe, although she has already had Love, Nina published – a series of letters written between her and her sister whilst working as a nanny in London. This novel is easy to read and explores numerous characters, mainly through the eyes of the children of the piece, which gives it a simplistic quality but not to the detriment of either the story or the style in which it is written. A book that is hard to put down – I always ended up reading a bit more. I particularly like that there is plenty of humour in here. I would definitely look out for Ms Stibbe’s next literary venture!

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The Betrayers by David Bezmozgis

The Betrayers

by David Bezmozgis

Four-star review

Reviewed by Johnedd

Review Date: 24th July 2014

A story about betrayal in its many forms with its central character a Jewish politician at odds with government policy.
The book explores the action of betrayal and you are left considering if betrayal is an act of selfishness or selflessness. All the main characters are the betrayers and the betrayed – by other personalities or by life. A thought provoking piece of writing that is very readable, with interesting protagonists woven around a captivating narrative.

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The Swimmer by Joakim Zander

The Swimmer

by Joakim Zander

Five-star review

Reviewed by Joplin

Review Date: 26th July 2014

Wow, if this is Joakim Zander’s first book, I can’t wait for his next. The Swimmer is John le Carre for the cyber age and its plot contains more twists and turns than an English country lane. The story has great characters and action sequences to move the story along without it descending into a James Bond parody. The lead character, Klara Waldeen is gutsy and funny and Zander offers lots of insights into the world of European parliament and the dangerous and, sometimes, immoral world of international business. The story zips along at a great pace and doesn’t let up but also builds the tension to a, surprisingly, moving climax. Loved this book!

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The Night Guest by Fiona McFarlane

The Night Guest

by Fiona McFarlane

Four-star review

Reviewed by Anne Watkinson

Review Date: 25th July 2014

Ruth is a lonely widow, who sees tigers in the night, prowling around her house. However, this is not Africa, but suburban New South Wales in Australia! This is not her only visitor.
Enter Frida, who claims she has been sent by some government department to care for Ruth. On the surface, she appears to be efficient, and good at her job, but there is an underlying hint of menace that the reader cannot ignore. You then have to decide whether Ruth is simply losing it, and is maybe suffering with some kind of early dementia, or if Frida, who collaborates the tiger’s sightings, and indeed sets out to catch him, is perhaps trying to con the old lady, especially as she does not welcome visitors to Ruth’s home, and tries to keep her family from her. This is a hugely entertaining tale, simple on the surface, but you always feel that it might kick off into something scarier!

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