Tag Archives: requested review

When God was a Rabbit- Sarah Winman


This book was sent to me in return for my review. It is one of the Waterstone’s 11, you can read my review of the first chapter here

Synopsis (from Amazon)

WHEN GOD WAS A RABBIT is an incredibly exciting debut from an extraordinary new voice in fiction.

Spanning four decades, from 1968 onwards, this is the story of a fabulous but flawed family and the slew of ordinary and extraordinary incidents that shape their everyday lives. It is a story about childhood and growing up, loss of innocence, eccentricity, familial ties and friendships, love and life. Stripped down to its bare bones, it’s about the unbreakable bond between a brother and sister.

Review

I was glad to find that When God was a Rabbit didn’t carry on exactly as the first chapter had. Although I enjoyed the first chapter I felt like too much happened at one and if that had carried on the book would have been too plot driven for my taste. I can enjoy plot driven books but I never find that they really get into my mind and stay with me, I can say I thought about When God was a Rabbit when not reading it. It was still very readable, which is an element sometimes lost for more ponderous writing. Although at times there wasn’t a great deal happening a sense of atmosphere was really well built and the characters were easily loveable. I especially liked Elly- although that may be simply because I got to know her the best. I didn’t like Joe so much, there was something a little self serving about him, but I can see why he might be like that considering certain events (highlight for spoiler)I think maybe he was trying to protect himself from further heartbreak, especially considering the way he was towards Charlie the second time. I also think that he maybe was trying to protect himself from hearing another secret from Elly, a secret that effected both their lives, or even trying to stop himself from revealing it.

I did find the synopsis on the back of the book a little misleading, it suggested that it was a story of a brother and sister, it was that but it was also much more, it was a story about family, and friends, and life. I must admit on reading the synopsis thinking that it was a story about a brother and sister put me off a little, and I may never have really wanted to read it without more information.

I’m glad I did read it though. It was very touching, and sad, and funny. Really quite beautiful. If I had to say anything bad about it I would say that it was maybe a bit too issue-y and that made it a little far-fetched and unbelievable. I also did have a feeling at the end that some things had not been revealed, although if you tried to get me to tell you what I don’t think I could, at least not without a re-read.

4.5/5

When God was a Rabbit is released on 3rd March

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Filed under Contempory, Fiction review

War on the Margins- Libby Cone


Disclaimer: War on the Margins was given to me free in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis (from Amazon)

France has just fallen to the Nazis. Britain is under siege. As BBC bulletins grow more and more bleak, residents of Jersey abandon their homes in their thousands. When the Germans take over, Marlene Zimmer, a shy clerk at the Aliens Office, must register her friends and neighbours as Jews while concealing her own heritage, until eventually she is forced to flee. Layers of extraordinary history unfold as we chart Marlene’s transformation from unassuming office worker to active Resistance member under the protection of Surrealist artists Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore, who manage to find poetry in the midst of hardship and unimaginable danger. Drawn from authentic World War II documents, broadcasts and private letters, ‘War on the Margins’ tells the unforgettable story of the deepening horror of the Nazi regime in Jersey and the extraordinary bravery of those who sought to subvert it.
Review
Well it certainly has taken me a long time to read this book considering it has less than 250 pages. Part of this is because I’ve been ill and have had no concentration for any reading at all (even facebook was taxing at times!), and partly because I had real trouble getting into it. I was really hoping to like this one. I enjoy historical fiction focused around this time and started reading it when I was in primary school. This one sounded like it would have a good balance of historical fact and story, plus I hadn’t read anything set in Jersey before so was interested to see what the UK was like during occupation. I must say on the second point I did get my wish and the book gave me a good sense of what it was like to be in an occupied country. However I felt the novel read more like a history book than a story, you could really tell that it started off as Cone’s masters dissertation. I didn’t feel particularly connected to the characters, I didn’t care much about what happened to them, although I was (highlight for spoiler) happy when Lucy and Susanne’s sentence was lowered.
I didn’t really like Lucy and Susanne, I found them kind of fake. Like they were purposely trying to be ‘different’. Although I did admire their action.
I did however like the authentic documents included in this novel. It backed up what Cole was writing and gave a security with what to take as fact that isn’t given in most other historical fiction.
Overall there are probably better history books, and there is better historical fiction, but you wouldn’t do badly with this.
3/5

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Filed under Fiction review, Historical