Thrown – Book Review

I have always liked Sara Cox and remember seeing her present the Big Breakfast as well as the Radio One Breakfast Show back in the early 2000s. She made me smile when she hosted ‘The Great Pottery Throwdown’ and I especially enjoy her TV panel show about books – ‘Between The Covers’ – on BBC 2. So it was obvious that I would want to try out her autobiography and now this new work of fiction, which is called ‘Thrown’.

I was lucky enough to bump into Sara Cox at the Eurostar terminal in Amsterdam in the summer and she had a book tucked into her pocket. We spoke about her TV show and she mentioned that she actually read each book that would be discussed in the upcoming series. She was absolutely wonderful to chat with and I later discovered that she had a debut novel – which is what I reviewed in this post.

I am excited to have offer this book for review.

What’s It All About?

Four women join a new pottery class at their local community centre, not knowing just how important that group would be for them. Becky hopes that the class will breathe a new breath of fresh air into the venue which had been struggling to find users.

She had an ex-boyfriend in prison who was soon to be released and her son was about to go abroad and work as a club rep. Meanwhile, Sheila was getting used to her son having flown the nest and her husband being unwilling to consider retirement in sunny Spain.

Jameela was a successful lawyer whose inability to get pregnant had forced a wedge between her and her husband while Louise was longing to work in a more creative career.

The pottery teacher was handsome and intriguing with a skilful way of bringing the potters together. Each chapter was told from a different character’s viewpoint and the storyline was cleverly entwined.

In A Nutshell

The book was cleverly written and I could feel the northern aspect of the setting. Sara worked hard to give nuggets of information as the book went on. Her narrative was moving, amusing and relatable. The pottery references were interesting and the use of humour was great.

I would totally recommend picking up a copy of this very warm and inviting book. As a book review writer, I really have enjoyed both reading and reviewing this new novel.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I hope you will consider commenting and following my blog for future similar content.

Blackberry Wine – Book Review

As a fan of contemporary literature, I love a good story. Over the years I have developed a taste for narratives that are complex, well told and written in short chapters. This week I want to share a book which has all of these elements and many more.

BlackBerry Wine – Delicious and Tempting

This story is about Jay Mackintosh and is partly told through the lens of a bottle of long-brewed wine which he holds dear to him. His ‘specials’ (the wine bottles) remind him of his childhood stays at his grandparents’ where he explored the northern landscapes and befriended an old man who was filled with tall tales and gardening tips. He also made homemade blackberry wine.

Now, Jay has decided to follow his dream and move to a quaint village in France -Lansquenet- where he bought a run-down farm house and began writing another book. His big selling novel was several years earlier and he hadn’t been able to replicate that book for lack of ideas.

In Lansquenet (also a setting for the Chocolat novels) he finds a split family with a mysterious rift. He also makes friends with the initially suspicious locals. When an ex arrives from England to mix things up, Jay has a wake up call that changes his outlook on things.

Haunted by memories of the intriguing old man, Joe, he finds himself torn between memories, hopes and emotional awakening.

In A Nutshell

As always, Joanne has written a narrative which is fascinating, warm and full of twists and turns. It is not a thriller but sits well as a strong drama. The story is carefully written, with elements which seem unrelated but then become clearly woven together in a satisfying way.

Check out Blackberry Wine and see for yourself. Even though it was published in 2000 it is still highly relevant, really entertaining and well worth reading with a coffee on a rainy day (I say this as rain is going to soon be the most common type of weather in the UK – thanks climate change). Please comment your own thoughts on this book and share if possible.


A Satisfying Short Book

Those eyes drew me in.

One book that I finished a while ago, which really sticks in my memory, is about a Japanese guy who was visited by a charming cat. I know what you are thinking – ‘What?!’

This sweet little book attracted me as it sat on a Waterstones book shelf and I don’t know why, but for some reason the picture of the feline on the front got me intrigued enough to buy it. Being a Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller also made it very tempting indeed.

The Guest Cat

A writer who had rented a room in a wealthy Japanese family’s garden apartment, pieced together a series of events in the lives of him and his wife where they both came into contact with a beautiful and very friendly cat.

Originally written as a series of essays, Takashi Hiraide fused them together into a small novella consisting of short chapters. The narrative is wonderfully written in a unique style that I have never witnessed before.

Over time, the guest cat became a lucky emblem for them. Chibi, the cat, was a regular visitor, consuming the food they left for him and entertaining them warmly. While this is a very sweet book, do not expect a thrilling mystery or complex drama. There is something soothing about the normality of it all.

Chibi somehow inspired both the man and his wife and became a massive part of their lives. A sad turn of events later put that relationship into question.

This is the first time I have read a book based in Japan and written in translation. It was brilliantly framed and totally absorbing. I can honestly say that I have never read anything quite so exquisitely unique.

Thank you for taking the time to read my brief book review. Here is another recent review of Exciting Times. Please consider following my blog for similar content about books and the environment.