Rating: 4 stars Category: Non-fiction, Memoir Synopsis: After the frustrations and bureaucracy of working as a GP cause Dr Amanda Brown to impulsively walk out of her practice, she is looking for a change. Her compulsion to challenge herself and make a difference lands her where she never thought she'd end up - treating prisoners in some of Britain's toughest criminal institutions. The Prison Doctor is the story of the incredible people she meets, as well as a compassionate insight into the individual lives that are placed into the hands of the justice system - for better or worse.
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt: Encompassing Emotional Epic
Rating: 5 stars Category: Emotional Synopsis: Donna Tartt's masterpiece The Goldfinch follows the story of Theo. Aside from his recently-gone-AWOL father, Theo is a relatively normal New York schoolboy. That is until his life is irrevocably shattered at the age of thirteen when he loses his mother in a suspected terrorist attack at a museum. As a cast of wayward characters makes their way into and out of Theo's life, he clings to the art his mother loved as a way of maintaining a connection with her. However, this remnant of stability will also be shaken when the art he treasures so much draws Theo into a spiral of criminal activity.
If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin: Intense, Rhetorically Charged Love Story
Rating: 5 stars Category: Romance Synopsis: For childhood best friends Tish and Fonny, becoming a couple in adulthood seems like the easiest, most natural thing in the world. Until Fonny is jailed for a rape he never committed, just before Tish announces she is pregnant with his baby. Two families must cling to each other in the turbulent struggle for justice that ensues against the institutional racism of America.
Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley: Thought-Provoking Romance
Rating: 4 stars Category: Romance Synopsis: Sarah and her sister Ruth are among the first. The first black students to attend formerly all-white Jefferson High School. The first to endure protests by white students against integration. The first to read bitter articles in the school magazine denying them their right to be there. When the author of these articles, Linda Hairston, steps between Ruth and a group of bullies, Sarah is one of the only witnesses. Both Sarah and Linda find something has changed in them, as everything they thought they knew about each other is overturned...
The Salt Path by Raynor Winn: Candid Memoir and Enduring Force for Change
It is hard to imagine two worse things that could happen to someone, let alone happen within days of one another. Ray's husband has been diagnosed with a rare terminal illness. The couple has also lost their cherished family home and business following a financial catastrophe. With nothing left besides their independence and connection to nature, they decide to walk the South Coast Path from Minehead to Land's End. Ray tells the story of their journey in this potent, emotional memoir. Following the path becomes their only purpose, as the two prepare to face whatever it is leading them towards.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: Fantasy World to Sink Into and Savour
Les Cirque des Reves, or Circus of Dreams, can only be entered between sunset and sunrise. Until one evening when it will disappear as suddenly as it arrived, only to reappear in another city, another country. The acts are familiar - acrobats, fortune tellers, mirror mazes, illusionists - but not as they have been seen before. The performers seem to belong to another world, one where the boundaries of reality widen. When dark occurrences begin to blight the circus, an unprecedented force at its centre is finally revealed to them. Because the circus is not the event - it is only the venue...
Circe by Madeline Miller: Entrancing, Empowering Adaptation of Ancient Greek Myth
Circe, daughter of Helios, is born with the voice of a mortal without the glow of a god. Shunned by her nymph family, she observes from a distance the gods' cruelty and greed. When a defiant act of compassion leads to island exile, it is here that Circe finds the freedom to shape a self outside of her divinity. More than a goddess, she is Circe, witch of Aiaia...
Archive Nostalgia: The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan
Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak: Timeless Story of Familial Love
Of the 'young and story-hardened' Dunbar boys, it is Clay, the fourth of five brothers, who has the most moving stories of them all. When their estranged father returns to enlist help to build a bridge, Clay is the only volunteer. He becomes obsessively absorbed in the task - it is clear that, for him, the project means more than just a bridge. The secret to why Clay is building lies in the tide of Dunbar past...
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng: Character-Driven Drama
Rating: 5 stars Category: Emotional Synopsis: Shaker Heights seems like an almost flawless town - careers, families and entire lives are carefully constructed with little margin for error. All this changes when free spirit Mia moves in with her daughter Pearl. Secrets and scandals begin to emerge that threaten to crumble the community's perfect facade.