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The Observations by Jane Harris

The Observations by Jane HarrisThere is no getting away from the fact that there is a whole stack of recent fiction set in the Victorian era and, because of this, Jane Harris’ 2006 novel The Observations, like others in this arena, has its work cut out to be a little different and capture the reader’s imagination.

I got hold of a Kindle copy after receiving a number of recommendations, so my expectations were already set high for the book. Also, since there are a number of the aforementioned stack of books that I have not yet got around to reading, I was looking forward to getting stuck into its nicely weighty 548 pages without having to worry too much about that “oh god, not another” feeling. So, did it live up to all those recommendations?

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All Her Father’s Guns by James Warner

All Her Father's Guns by James WarnerI have fallen so far behind with my reviews recently due to other commitments (not least, the writing of my own novel) but I simply had to find time to bring this one to the top of the review pile. I received James Warner’s novel All Her Father’s Guns to review just before Christmas, after reading some samples on his website. I am so glad that I got hold of a copy, as it turned out to be one of the most pleasant reading surprises of 2010.

To the best of my knowledge, this is James Warner’s first novel, and the slick writing style coupled with his dark, dark humour have certainly whetted my appetite for more.

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The Stars in the Bright Sky by Alan Warner

2010 has seen me become a huge admirer of Alan Warner, after reading his excellent Sopranos I recently finished  The Stars in the Bright Sky. Sopranos was a difficult act to follow, but he has managed in my opinion to go one better than the earlier book, developing the characters and raising the bar even higher with the humour. The panel of the 2010 Man Booker Prize obviously thought so too, as it made it onto this year’s longlist.

So long as you are not too easily outraged, this is one very funny novel, and I am most definitely looking forward to Alan Warner’s next.

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The Sopranos by Alan Warner

The Sopranos by Alan WarnerAlan Warner’s latest novel The Stars in the Bright Sky was one of the titles that caught my eye on the 2010 Man Booker Prize long list, but before reading it I wanted to read The Sopranos so as to get the most out of it. I suppose it isn’t essential to read them in order as The Stars in the Bright Sky does stand up on its own, but in the end I’m glad I didn’t skip the earlier book as it does make for fabulously funny reading.

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