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Book reviews: Havisham, The Gingerbread House, Brooklyn House

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Havisham

Ronald Frame

Fans of Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations will find Ronald Frame’s new novel a must-read.

Starting with her early life, it tells the story of Catherine Havisham’s privileged upbringing, from the moment she was born to the events that led her to become one of literature’s most famous spinsters.

During her early home life, she lives with constant reminders of her family’s business, and the good name the Havisham brewery has gained.

But it is when she is sent by her father to stay with the Chadwycks that she really discovers life’s riches and all the things she has been kept from.

Has this fresh awakening come too late? And how will the arrival of love in her life toy with her heart and threaten the very name - Havisham?

Frame masterfully unlocks the untold story of one of Dickens’s most famous and iconic characters.

Faber and Faber, hardback £16.99 (£9.99 ebook)The Gingerbread House

The Gingerbread House

Carin Gerhardsen

This is the first novel from the six-part Hammarby Series, published by the same team that introduced Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo to readers across the world.

Author Carin Gerhardsen weaves a complex tale that confuses and teases the reader throughout. It’s a dark crime novel that bounces between the intense bullying that the murderer was subjected to at a formative age and the constant game of catch-up for the Stockholm-based team of investigators.

Detective Chief Inspector Conny Sjoberg is brought in when a dead body is discovered by an elderly woman. Soon the body count starts to rise, with no apparent way to link them.

Slowly the team members start to put the pieces together in a story that benefits from being read in one or two long sittings.

Stockholm Text, hardback £12.99 (ebook £6.99). Brooklyn Heights

Brooklyn House

Miral al-Tahawy

Egyptian author Miral al-Tahawy, is well known for her previous novels including Gazelle Tracks, but Brooklyn Heights is the first to be published in English.

An Arabic teacher emigrates to the United States from Cairo with her son after the breakdown of her marriage, and arrives amid the tumult of hope during the 2008 presidential election.

In Brooklyn, she dreams of fulfilling her ambition of being a writer and finding love - but her voyage of discovery isn’t all that successful as her experiences of home clash with Western sensibilities, and her son begins to grow apart from her.

Al-Tahawy deftly reveals the troubled integration of an immigrant into a Western country, exposing the familiar and unfamiliar dreams that relocation brings, but all the time focusing on her humanity..

Faber and Faber, paperback £12.99 (ebook £10.99)

 

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