Spring book reviewsNine Perfect Strangers – Liane Moriarty
I’m not going to lie. I loved this book. Even the ill-advised section in the middle which detailed the drug-induced hallucinations of some of the characters. I just really, really like the way Liane Moriarty writes (if her sales are anything to go by, I’m not alone). I like the way she gets into her characters’ lives, their worries, their quirks, all the things that makes them relatable and human. I would probably read her shopping lists. This one, for me, was not as clever as Big Little Lies but still a thoroughly enjoyable story about people, relationships, grief and trying to get better.
review of nine perfect strangers
The Women in Black – Madeleine St John
This classic by Madeleine St John was made into a Bruce Beresford movie and released this year, so it is having a bit of a resurgence. It’s a really lovely story about a young woman learning how to be an adult for the first time in Sydney in the 1950s. It’s also got romance, humour, pathos … and an exquisite dress. A lovely, quick read that paints a vivid picture of Sydney in another time.

Swing Time – Zadie Smith
Zadie Smith’s latest novel was my book club’s choice last month and it met with mixed reviews from the girls. This was actually the first time I listened to a book instead of reading it, as I couldn’t borrow the hard copy from my local library so I borrowed the audio version. It was very enjoyable, partly due to the fantastic reading of Pippa Bennett Warner. Smith’s writing is wonderful, her characters are vivid and there is a lot of food for thought in this book: about race, gender, friendship and memory. My only criticism is that there aren’t many sympathetic characters in this tale. They are all terribly flawed, which made it hard to really engage deeply. However, I’m still glad I read it, and would recommend it, especially to fans of Smith.

Labor Day – Joyce Maynard
For me, this was one of those books you accidentally read. It was published almost ten years ago, and didn’t appear on my radar, but my husband spotted it in an op shop and noticed that the cover endorsements were all from authors I admire, so he bought it for me. It was a real gem! An odd sort of story about a young boy on the cusp of adolescence, his fragile mother and the relationship they both have with an escaped criminal. This book does not go where you expect. It’s a terrific read and would make a good book club pick because of all the moral dilemmas the characters face.

 
The Pilot’s Wife – Anita Shreve
Anita Shreve sadly died earlier this year at the age of 71, and I’ve enjoyed so many of her books that I thought I should read her most famous: The Pilot’s Wife. When Kathryn Lyons’s husband, a pilot, dies in a plane crash, she has to cope with her grief and that of her daughter. But more than that, she must learn to deal with the secrets he kept and discover the double life he led. The Pilot’s Wife is devastating and utterly compelling. I could immediately see why it was so popular when it was first released. If you haven’t read it, it’s a great holiday read.