Milan cathedral

Seven days in the Italian Lakes, Four Days in Milan and Four Books: Part Two

We’d rented an apartment in Milan, planning to give our stomachs a rest after a week of delicious but rich food although the excellent bakery just a few metres from our front door put paid to that. Unsurprisingly, the weather in Milan was very different from the Lakes, justifying my-pack-for-every-temperature tendency. We headed off to …

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View of Lake Maggiore from Villa Margherita

Seven days in the Italian Lakes, Four Days in Milan and Four Books: Part One

This is a first for me: a two-part what-I-did-on-my holidays piece. Our city and lakeside stays were so different I couldn’t fit them comfortably into one post, at least, that’s my excuse We’d booked a holiday in Italy just a few weeks before Covid knocked the world for six in February 2020, finally making it …

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Cover image for In Love by Amy Bloom

In Love by Amy Bloom: ‘He is a strong, determined man of mettle and courage’

I’ve been a fan of Amy Bloom’s writing for many years. Both her short stories, collected together in Rowing to Eden, and her novels are marked by clarity, elegance and insight. It’s been over four years since White Houses was published and In Love, her memoir, explains the saddest of reasons why. In 2019, Bloom’s …

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Covedr image for The Young Pretender by Michael Arditti

The Young Pretender by Michael Arditti: ‘I shall surely die if I may not be a player’

I wasn’t at all sure I’d read Michael Arditti’s The Young Pretender but when I tweeted its arrival several people including Linda Grant and Amanda Craig sang its praises to the skies which persuaded me to give it a try and I’m glad they did. Subtitled ‘The Dramatic Return of Master Betty’, Arditti’s novella is …

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Cover image for Secrets of Happiness

Paperbacks to Look Out For Out for in May 2022: Part Two

Whereas I’d read all the books in the first part of May’s paperback preview, I’ve only managed two in the second, starting with Joan Silber’s Secrets of Happiness which begins with the sudden revelation of the second family of an apparently happily married man. Ethan and Allyson took their parents’ happiness for granted until the …

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Cover image for Other People Manage by Ellen Hawley

Other People Manage by Ellen Hawley: Finding a way to carry on

It was its cover that attracted me to Ellen Hawley’s Other People Manage. A bit Anne Tylerish, I thought, suggesting a novel about the ordinary everyday with a cast of characters you might recognise and a good dollop of insight. I wasn’t far wrong but there’s also a story behind Hawley’s book, sent unsolicited to …

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