Ghostmoth – Michele Forbes

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Ghostmoth – Michele Forbes

Sometimes a novel comes along which leaves you thinking about it days, even weeks afterwards, Ghostmoth is one of those books.

Flitting between 1949 and 1969, Ghostmoth tells the story of Katherine and her struggle to be with the man she really loves and the obligation she feels to stay with her fiancé.

It’s 1949 and Katherine is a talented opera singer with the performing world at her fingertips. She has a devoted boyfriend, George, who she should be happy with. However it becomes apparent from the off that Katherine doesn’t want to settle for plain and nice, she wants to be swept off her feet. Enter Tom McKinley.

The pair soon start a passionate affair and you get the feeling that Katherine might just leave behind her average old George for a wonderful new life with Tom. But with any good book things aren’t as simple as that. One night has shattering consequences not only for the rest of Katherine’s life but George’s too. The pair do stay together but both lead an unhappy life with a tumultuous relationship.

It feels realistic and almost like a memoir. It’s a novel which has powerful sentences littered all over the pages which you want to keep safe and remember.

It’s a novel of contrasts – the beautiful and glamorous star and the down trodden mum of three, an exhilarating love affair and a compromise, the battle between wrong and right. The list goes on.
The ending is truly harrowing and feels unbelievably real. Forbes has taken the reader on a journey of Katherine’s life and you as the reader are with her until the very end. I was desperate for there to be a happy ending.

It’s amazing how the ending of a book can change your mood, usually I close most books feeling content and relaxed. The ending of Ghostmoth left me feeling grey and gloomy yet it wouldn’t have made sense for there to be a happy ending.

I feel this is only the beginning for Forbes and it’s a debut people will be discussing for a long time.

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Far From the Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy

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Far From the Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy

I have neglected the classics of late for very current literature, so I thought it was about time I reverted back to the old comforts.

Me and Thomas Hardy did not get off to the best of starts, I was made to read Jude the Obscure for GCSE at secondary school and was going through the very awkward ‘I’m too cool for books’ phase, that and I was more interested in reading Harry Potter. Once I read the book at uni I quite frankly fell in love with old Thomas, something clicked – his writing, his characters and the vivid imagery he created.

I then went on to read Tess of the d’Urbervilles and now here I am having finished Far from the Madding Crowd.

First let me comment on the cover; the gorgeous comforting colours and not to mention the aesthetically pleasing feel of the cover, a nice smooth matte effect had me sold.

I took the book to read with me on my week back home because I had a 52629- hour train journey and thought I would really be able to sink my teeth into it in my spare time. No such luck, I kept dipping in and out of it and reading it when I was half asleep, needless to say I was not overly enjoying it.

It wasn’t until, ironically on the train home that I really began to properly read it and once I started I couldn’t finish it fast enough.

Bathsheba is a beautiful, confident and majestic woman who meets the average yet kind farmer Gabriel Oak when one evening she saves his life. She soon inherits her Uncle’s large farm and is charge with the day to day running of the business. Due to the misfortunes which befall Gabriel he becomes Bathsheba’s employee.

Bathsheba’s confidence becomes her downfall when she send a request to her neighbour Mr Boldwood proclaiming her apparent love for him by writing the words ‘marry me’ on a slip of paper. On the same night she meets Sargent Troy who is bowled over by her alluring nature, Bathsheba reluctantly ends up entering into marriage with him, ignoring warnings from Gabriel and the rest of the parish. The marriage soon descends into lies and awful discoveries, which changes Bathsheba’s life.

With three men vying for a women’s attention Hardy’s plot was way ahead of its time. What struck me as revolutionary was Bathsheba’s characteristics, she is vain, frivolous and rash in her decisions, all deemed to be rather unwomanly traits in the nineteenth century. Hardy explores the loss of her independence and character through her marriage, the antithesis of what marriage was thought to symbolise for a woman.

Hardy really pushed the boundaries with his novel as he does with all of them. Once I got into it I did really enjoy the book, unfortunately I didn’t enjoy it as much as Jude the Obscure but I would definitely like to read it again.

The List of my Desires – Gregoire Delacourt

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The List of my Desires – Gregoire Delacourt

First off let me just say how much I love the cover for The List of my Desires. It’s so unusual and eye-catching!

I didn’t realize how successful the novel was until I began reading it. It has sold over half a million copies in its native France and the rights to it have been sold in 27 countries. I had high hopes for it!

Jocelyne lives in France with her husband Jocelyn and owns a successful haberdashery shop. In the throws of middle age, she is content and reasonably happy. Her children have flown the nest and her marriage for the majority seems pleasurable. On a whim she decides to play the euromillions and wins a jackpot of 18 million euros. Suddenly Jocelyne is faced with the possibility of achieving a life everyone dreams of but she soon realizes that it won’t necessarily make her happy and has lasting repercussions on her marriage.

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What struck me as unusual was how a male author was writing from a female perspective with such ease and realness. I felt as though this could easily have been written by a woman, as it explores the inner workings of Jocelyne’s mind and her darkest desires. He captures her vulnerability yet gives her strength which makes her relatable.

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And I loved the real aspect of the novel. When people win the lottery or have million of pounds we associate it with celebrity, flash cars, plastic surgery, expensive houses, exotic holidays and such. Instead Jocelyn wishes for a £300 handbag, a new microwave, and some slippers.

 

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It was refreshing to read a novel in this day and age where money doesn’t equal happiness. It is a short and easy read but that doesn’t distract from his rawness and powerful message. I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t enjoy it.