Speedy reviews of two audiobooks, and two books about East Germany (that I read so long ago that I really have no business reviewing) –
The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld
The good bits: Palpable tension; #ALLTHESUSPENSE; particular scenes that were so well executed that I felt anxiety in the pit of my stomach (the picnic!).
The not-as-good-bits: The serial killer subplot – unnecessary and distracting.
When should you read it?: Certainly not if you’re alone in a clifftop mansion, but if you’re in the mood for gothic, devour it (check out Theresa’s thorough review here).
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
The good bits: So many meaty themes (start with racism, loyalty, power, and father/son relationships) but ultimately this book is a straight-up page-turner.
The not-as-good-bits: No spoilers, but the ending was a bit of stretch (although by that point, I was sold so it didn’t really matter).
When should you read it?: When you need something with solid literary credentials (it’s won a swag of prizes) but reads like a ripping best-seller.
Stasiland by Anna Funder
The good bits: Engrossing, insightful, intimate. I feel I’m failing this book by not providing a thorough review. My copy has eleventy-million sections highlighted because I loved it all and every word seemed important.
The not-as-good-bits: That it was so short….?!
When should you read it?: Straight away.
Confession with Blue Horses by Sophie Hardach
The good bits: Terrific sense of time and place, and an excellent depiction of how families splinter when values and loyalties are tested.
The not-as-good-bits: Much of the plot relies on the deviousness of an archive employee and although this makes an interesting parallel (to informers and the Stasi), I wasn’t fully convinced about the character’s motivations.
When should you read it?: As soon as your mind turns to your ‘next Berlin book’ (because that’s a thing, right?).
I received my copy of Confession With Blue Horses from the publisher, Head of Zeus, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.