July #frydayfavourite : Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

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It’s the first Friday of the month which means it’s time for this month’s #frydayfavourite

This is a hashtag started on bookstagram by the lovely @artbreaker.bookclub where on the first Friday of each month you share a five-star read from before you joined bookstagram.

This month’s book is Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. When I went away to Bournemouth last month the Airbnb we stayed in had lots of books in the room I was in, including this one. It was like I was supposed to choose that room. I couldn’t resist taking a picture of their copy with some of their beautiful ornaments. Am I the only one that loves finding different props at other people’s houses? No? Didn’t think so.

Synopsis :

A RICHARD AND JUDY BOOK CLUB 2017 PICK

A SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

The best books make you see differently. This is one of them. The eye-opening new novel from Jodi Picoult, with the biggest of themes: birth, death, and responsibility.

When a newborn baby dies after a routine hospital procedure, there is no doubt about who will be held responsible: the nurse who had been banned from looking after him by his father.

What the nurse, her lawyer and the father of the child cannot know is how this death will irrevocably change all of their lives, in ways both expected and not.

Small Great Things is about prejudice and power; it is about that which divides and unites us.

It is about opening your eyes.

SOON TO BE A MAJOR FILM STARRING VIOLA DAVIS AND JULIA ROBERTS

Jodi is one of my favourite authors and her books are auto-buys for me. I’ve been a fan ever since I picked up My Sister’s Keeper on a whim when it was first released and have read all her books. Small Great Things is one of her best and most heart-rending books. I loved how this book made me look at myself and my thoughts in a new way, how it made me aware of pre-concieved notions I didn’t even realise I had.

At first it seems like the two main characters couldn’t be more different but as time goes on you learn the complexities and nuances that make up a three dimensional person and see that even those with the best intentions to begin with can become prejudice and that the nurse and the baby’s father are actually more alike than they’d care to admit, especially him.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough and it’s certainly in my all-time top ten. Just make sure you have tissues handy and lots of time to read it as it’s a page-turner.

I’ve taken part in #frydayfavourite a few times before but never thought to also post it on my blog so check out my Instagram or Facebook page to see previous month’s books which were My Lovely Bones, My Sister’s Keeper, We Need To Talk About Kevin & The Handmaid’s Tale.

Have you read this book? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

My Sentimental Book Stack

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I was tagged by @diaryofabookmum & @silverliningsandpages on bookstagram to create a #sentimentalstack and enjoyed doing it so much that I decided to post it on here too.

๐“ฃ๐“ฑ๐“ฎ ๐““๐“ธ๐“ต๐“ต ๐“•๐“ช๐“ฌ๐“ฝ๐“ธ๐“ป๐”‚ & ๐“•๐“ป๐“ช๐“ท๐“ท๐“ฒ๐“ฎ ๐“›๐“ช๐“ท๐“ฐ๐“ฝ๐“ธ๐“ท – these were the books from the first author event I went to since starting my bookstagram account. It was such a special moment that I’ll never forget.

๐“ฃ๐“ฑ๐“ฎ ๐“’๐“ธ๐“ต๐“ธ๐“ป ๐“Ÿ๐“พ๐“ป๐“น๐“ต๐“ฎ – The first book my other half bought me for my first birthday together. He bought me purple themed gifts and didn’t know I’d always wanted to read this book

๐“œ๐”‚ ๐“ข๐“ฒ๐“ผ๐“ฝ๐“ฎ๐“ป’๐“ผ ๐“š๐“ฎ๐“ฎ๐“น๐“ฎ๐“ป – the first book I read by one of my favourite authors Jodi Picoult.

๐“ฃ๐“ฑ๐“ฎ ๐“ฆ๐“ฒ๐”ƒ๐“ช๐“ป๐“ญ ๐“ธ๐“ฏ ๐“ž๐”ƒ – A favourite childhood book and the start of a lifelong obsession.

๐“œ๐“ช๐“ฝ๐“ฒ๐“ต๐“ญ๐“ช & ๐“ฃ๐“ฑ๐“ฎ ๐“‘๐“•๐“– – two of my favourite childhood books that evoke good memories.

๐“˜๐“ท ๐“’๐“ธ๐“ต๐“ญ ๐“‘๐“ต๐“ธ๐“ธ๐“ญ – I read this as part of my English A Level. It was the first true crime book I read, before this it was only magazine articles. It instantly struck a chord and cemented my interest in true crime.

๐“•๐“ต๐“ธ๐”€๐“ฎ๐“ป๐“ผ ๐“ฒ๐“ท ๐“ฝ๐“ฑ๐“ฎ ๐“๐“ฝ๐“ฝ๐“ฒ๐“ฌ – I first read this as a teen and have read it many times.

๐“ ๐“ฃ๐“ฒ๐“ถ๐“ฎ ๐“ฃ๐“ธ ๐“š๐“ฒ๐“ต๐“ต – my first John Grisham book. He’s been a favourite author of mine ever since.

What would be in your sentimental book stack? Comment below.

Review: โ€˜The Queen of Heartsโ€™ by Kimmery Martin โญโญโญโญโญ

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A debut novel set against the background of hospital rounds and life-or-death decisions that pulses with humour and empathy and explores the heartโ€™s capacity for forgivenessโ€ฆ

Zadie Anson and Emma Colley have been best friends since their early twenties, when they first began navigating serious romantic relationships amid the intensity of medical school. Now theyโ€™re happily married wives and mothers with successful careers – Zadie as a pediatric cardiologist and Emma as a trauma surgeon. Their lives in Charlotte, North Carolina are chaotic but fulfilling, until the return of a former colleague unearths a secret one of them has been harbouring for years.

As chief resident, Nick Xenokostas was the centre of Zadieโ€™s life-both professionally and personally-throughout a tragic chain of events in her third year of medical school that she has long since put behind her. Nickโ€™s unexpected reappearance during a time of new professional crisis shocks both women into a deeper look at the difficult choices they made at the beginning of their careers. As it becomes evident that Emma must have known more than she revealed about circumstances that nearly derailed both their lives, Zadie starts to question everything she thought she knew about her closest friend.

I loved this book so much that I could read it every single day and it would bring me joy. An intelligent, poetic, mesmerising and delightful book about humanity, agony, hope, love and friendship.

Zadie and Emma have been friends since being assigned as roommates at a camp for kids interested in medicine. They stayed in touch and have been best friends throughout college, medical school, marriage and children. They can talk about anything and everything, with one exception. In their third year of medical school something terrible happened that they have an unspoken agreement to never discuss. So when Emma texts Zadie saying she wants to talk about Nick, someone who is a part of what they donโ€™t talk about, Zadie feels like the wind has been knocked out of her. Why now?

Set in Charlotte, North Carolina, in the present day with flashbacks to their third year at medical school in Louisville, Kentucky, the story is narrated by both main characters. Early on Zadie reveals she did something that lead to someoneโ€™s death that year and Emma tells us that she has never told her best friend the truth about what happened. As we discover more about Nick and what happened that year, secrets are revealed and their strong friendship is tested like never before. Can it survive a secret kept for almost two decades?

This spectacular debut novel was one I was highly anticipating reading. I love medical fiction, something that probably comes in part from having a Mum whoโ€™s a nurse and also because before I became too ill to work I spent many years working in doctors and dental surgeries. I will admit that I judged this book by its beautiful cover. I know weโ€™re not supposed to do that but we all do it, am I right? Thankfully in this case it was justified and I fell in love instantly. It started with a great opening paragraph that instantly portrayed the deliciously lyrical and witty style of writing that had me savouring every word and completely immersed in the pages.

Zadie and Emma were great characters and I was completely invested in their friendship and rooting for them to survive the storms of this story. I liked that the author didnโ€™t shy away from showing how flawed they were and instead made it into an example of how even the good among us can do wrong and cause pain and how every little decision can have often unforeseen and far-reaching consequences. In terms of secondary characters I have to mention little Delaney. That girl is a firecracker! She was so much ย fun to read and I loved her precocious, fun character that shone through every time she was on the page.

Though most of this book is written in a lighthearted manner there were some gut-wrenching scenes. My heart was in my throat reading as Zadie lost her first patient and in other tragic moments, and I found myself blindsided and unable to stop reading as the long-held secrets were finally revealed.

Kimmery Martin has written a beautiful book that is a perfect amalgamation of her two loves: medicine and literature. Her extensive medical knowledge shines through and I loved reading the details of medical life and procedures and cracking up at some of the anecdotes of life as a ย doctor and mother. The Queen of Hearts is expertly written and I canโ€™t wait to read the authorโ€™s second book next year. I will be recommending this to everyone.

Thank you to Kimmery Martin for my signed copy of this novel.

Out now.

โ€˜The Corsetโ€™ by Laura Purcell โญโญโญโญ.5

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Is prisoner Ruth Butterham mad or a murderer? Victim or villain?

Dorothea and Ruth. Prison visitor and prisoner. Powerful and powerless. Dorothea Truelove is young, wealthy and beautiful. Ruth Butterham is young, poor and awaiting trial for murder.

When Dorotheaโ€™s charitable work leads her to Oakgate Prison, she is delighted with the chance to explore her fascination with phrenology and test her hypothesis that the shape of a personโ€™s skull can cast a light on their darkest crimes. But when she meets teenage seamstress Ruth, she is faced with another theory: that it is possible to kill with a needle and thread. For Ruth attributes her crimes to a supernatural power inherent in her stitches.

The story Ruth has to tell of her deadly creations – of bitterness and betrayal, of death and dresses – will shake Dorotheaโ€™s belief in rationality, and the power of redemption.

Can Ruth be trusted? Is she mad, or a murderer?

This gothic novel had been languishing on my shelves for a while when I decided to pick it up as my fiftieth read of 2019. The Silent Companions was one of my favourite reads last year so I began this full of high expectations. I was not disappointed.

Dorothea ย Truelove is attracted to the forbidden and isnโ€™t interested in the life expected of her as a wealthy heiress, but in becoming a better and more useful person. She spends time on charitable work which leads her to Oakgate Prison and Ruth Butterham. Sixteen-year-old Ruth is awaiting trial for murder. She grew up poor and was sold to work as a seamstress to pay of her motherโ€™s debts. It is her talents with a needle and thread that she claims enabled her to kill, saying that she has the ability to sew death into the things she creates.

Dorothea and Ruth are two very different women. Dorothea has known a life of privilege while Ruth has known nothing but poverty. Both have suffered loss but the effect itโ€™s had on their lives is very different. When they meet they have outlooks on life that are also different but find that they come to bond over Ruthโ€™s story. I liked both main characters and the author did a great job of writing their diverse lives in a way that made you understand their actions and beliefs. There were some other great characters in this book too. Some I loved and others I despised.

The author highlights many important issues of the time in this novel. There is an interesting look at mental health and phrenology, womenโ€™s roles in society and how workers were sold into slavery with no rights and treated appallingly. In particular, I think Ruthโ€™s life and the struggle of the poor in Victorian times was particularly well written. I could almost smell the rot and decay of their dank, desolate and depressing living conditions and feel their terror at being starved, having no rights and the fear of what their cruel employer might do to them for the slightest reason. There were parts of Ruthโ€™s story so harrowing Iโ€™d have to stop reading and take a break for a while.

I am so glad that I finally read this book. Dark, haunting, atmospheric, chilling and raw, this was impossible to put down. The story is exquisitely written and has solidified Ms Purcell as one of my favourite authors whose novels are a must-read. There is so much I loved about this novel: the ambiguity, the magnificent writing and that mindblowing ending that had me sitting there in disbelief at what I was reading. I would vacillate from heartbreak to anger to disgust as I read Ruthโ€™s story. To be honest Dorotheaโ€™s chapters almost felt like light relief in comparison.

So is Ruth mad or a murderer? Victim or villain? That is something youโ€™ll have to read and decide for yourself. The Corset is an outstanding piece of gothic noir that I highly recommend.

Out Now