Books you love: 12th – 19th August

We are ever grateful to you, dear customers, for loving books as much as we do.

To show our appreciation we’re rewarding 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.

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

 

The Paying Guests

by Sarah Waters

Four-star review

Reviewed by Kz

In her new novel Sarah Waters revisits the early 20th century, and a post war setting, though this time it is the first world war. The central character, Frances, lives with her mother in a genteel but run down house on the fringes of London. Together they struggle to come to terms with the social changes forced upon them by the war (echoes here of The Little Stranger, but on a smaller, more provincial scale), as well as the personal losses. Their solution is to take in paying guests (they would shudder to call them lodgers), Mr and Mrs Barber, who provoke various alternating reactions in Frances. Waters writes beautifully, her descriptive language is delicious, sometimes literally so, the descriptive writing is lush and occasionally delightful; ‘lurid touches were everywhere…as if a giant mouth had sucked a bag of boiled sweets and then given the house a lick’. Frances wanders through post war London which comes vividly alive as London of the second world war did in The Night Watch. You see, hear, smell, taste the world the author creates.

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Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Station Eleven

by Emily St. John Mandel

Four-star review

Reviewed by sabinarose

…life goes on. This is the message that I took from Station Eleven. Mandel has taken an oh-so-very-much done story, about the end of days and has put a real twist on it; what will the survivors have to learn to live without? What will they learn to with? What does humanity become when it has no humanity left? Overall, I felt the story was brilliantly done, the characters, even the minor ones, who went nameless, still had personalities and depth, and the setting, the Great Lakes area of the US for most of the book, is brilliantly described from the perspective of this broken group of people, living in a world where they survived, but it reality lost the most. As a reader of (mostly) YA dystopian Fiction, Station Eleven really brought me to the world of adult dystopia, and of dealing with adult problems in an end of the world situation, where it isn’t up to anyone to try and save their last shred of humanity, but is more about getting on with it and making it through each day.

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Wars of the Roses: Trinity by Conn Iggulden

Wars of the Roses: Trinity

by Conn Iggulden

Five-star review

Reviewed by Male reader

As a way of retelling history, turning dry facts into a novel with a mix of real and constructed characters isn’t at all new, and if you objected to that I suppose you rule out Shakespeare and many others too. However, before I read this second volume in Conn Iggulden’s series, I read the first one, and was hooked. In well written hands the sweeping story of family feuds and battles for the throne makes a real thriller, even when the outcomes are well known. It has the feel of some well- researched preparation. Quite how much is absolutely true, who knows? History is generally told by the winner, and these stories have been told and retold many times, gaining whatever spin a storyteller might add. So, treat this as a vivid novel, not a history book, and you will be well entertained. I look forward to the next one.

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The Vanishing Witch by Karen Maitland

The Vanishing Witch

by Karen Maitland

Four-star review

Reviewed by lesleys

I really enjoyed this book! It is quite involved and has a variety of characters, some telling their tale in the first person while others are written within the story in the traditional way; while this could have become very muddled it actually works very well. The plot has many inter-related aspects with viewpoints from wealthy merchants to poor boatmen and servants, and even the ghosts have a tale to tell! I think this novel would be enjoyed by readers who are already lovers of historical fiction as well as those who may be making their first foray into this genre. I heartily recommend it!

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The Raising by Laura Kasischke

The Raising

by Laura Kasischke

Five-star review

Reviewed by Thginkcm

I just finished reading this book and absolutely loved it! I found the book to be a very compelling read, and kept me gripped throughout. This was the first book of Laura Kasischke’s that I have read, and definitely want to check out more as a result. The book was almost kind of haunting in its own way. It is so cleverly written, with the different tenses and character perspectives all intertwining and flowing surprisingly well. I will definitely be recommending this novel to my friends.

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