I’ve been a bit slack reading recently. I don’t think I’ve been truly gripped with my recent books but nevertheless, here is a run-down of the last three books I’ve read:
Vince and Joy by Lisa Jewell
My Mum passed this book onto me and it was a pleasant enough read. Apart from making me sing Vance Joy’s ‘Riptide’ every time I picked the book up, it reminded me of One Day as it made its way through the eighties and nineties following Vince and Joy. After a wonderful and passionate start, meeting in a caravan park on holiday, their two lives continue with occasional meetings. The style of writing is very easy to read and I like the way each chapter switches from one character to the next. The downside for me is that both lead characters are quite weak and, although you are rooting for them to work things out, you can’t help but get frustrated at how indecisive they are and the silly decisions they make. I also felt the ending was quite rushed which left me feeling quite unsatisfied. However, I did enjoy this book and it would make a good, easy holiday read.
The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna
This book is set in Sierra Leone and jumps between the 1960s and present day. I thought it would touch much more on the civil war but it is mentioned only fleetingly and the focus is very much on the characters – you really wouldn’t know where this was set. Again, I didn’t really warm to the characters and I did find this book quite slow to get going. In fact, the most dramatic parts happened over 300 pages in! I think one issue with telling chapters from different characters’ points of view is that you will enjoy some storylines and not others. I found that I loved some chapters whereas others were quite dull narratives. Overall, this book just didn’t grab me and will be heading to the charity shop.
The Girl in The Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz
Finally, the fourth instalment in the Millennium series which just happens to be some of my favourite ever books. In case you were unaware, the writer of the original Millennium Trilogy, Stieg Larsson, died leaving an unfinished draft of his fourth book which Lagercrantz took on and finished, to some controversy.
I decided to reread the previous three books and then read this fourth one in one go (I was on holiday and can easily demolish a book a day!)
You can’t help but feel sorry for the author in this instance as it is a daunting task to add something to an already much-loved franchise. Personally, I think he did a pretty good job. I enjoyed this book and as a stand-alone novel, it was entertaining. I loved revisiting the characters and I like that there was a whole new story rather than picking up where the last book left off.
However, as a continuation of the Millennium series there was something missing. I can’t quite put my finger on it but I just wasn’t quite as gripped. It didn’t seem to have the same depth and intricacy as Larsson’s writing and I was just left wanting more.