Read more Book Recommendations

Join our Book Club Facebook Group

The House of Fortune by Jessie Burton 

Reviewed by Zissy

Published by Pan Macmillan

In a nutshell 

Set in Amsterdam in the 1700s, House of Fortune follows the Brandt family as they desperately try to cling on to some form of social status. Thea Brandt is just eighteen, bright eyed and desperately in love with Walter, whom she met at the city theatre and secretly sees. She lives with her father, Otto and aunt Nella who constantly fight as they sell their possessions just to be able to eat. 

When the Brandts are invited to Amsterdam’s most exclusive ball, Nella is convinced that their fortunes are about to change, and that Thea will find a husband to guarantee her future. While the ball sets events spinning and brings new people into their lives, not all new things are good things. 

Book club Notes 

This is an absorbing book that pulls you into the Amsterdam of the 1700s where status was determined by where you lived, the number of servants you had, the color of your skin and the family (and fortune) you married into. Burton manages to portray Thea so well that you both want to cheer for her determination to follow her own path and shake her for being a naïve eighteen-year-old. The story (and characters) unfolds slowly, telling you nothing more than what you need to know which add to the suspense. It’s a wonderfully written historical novel that builds up stunningly. But like most historical novels it makes me grateful to be a woman today where (in most parts of the world) you are able to forge your own destiny and turning 30 doesn’t mean your life ends. 

Wolfsong by TJ Klune

Reviewed by Feige 

Published by Pan Macmillan

In a nutshell 

Ox Matheson’s father left him and his mother when he was twelve. Before he left, his father made it clear to him that he was stupid and not worth anything. At sixteen, the Bennnett family move in next door with a secret that changes his life. They’re shape-shifters that transform into wolves. Ox is drawn to them and their friendships and forms a bond with the youngest boy, Joe. Seven years later murder comes to town which splits the pack. Joe leaves town, Ox stays behind and it’s another 3 years before the boy returns.

Book club Notes 

The beginning of this book reminded me a bit of My Name is Yip (which I loved) and then got very Twilight (if Twilight was a gay love story with a few NSFW sex scenes) with a bit of The Notebook thrown in for good measure. Sounds a bit chaotic but it was an enjoyable binge read of a book. It was well written and engaging. I couldn’t help but be invested in Ox’s storyline that by the time the YA nature of the book became prevalent, it didn’t bother me. I would happily read the next book in the series.

Sisters of the Circus by Laila Manack 

Reviewed by Zissy 

Published by Penguin Random House  

In a nutshell 

Set in Europe during the roaring twenties, Sisters of the Circus follows twins Kahina and Noor. Kidnapped from their home in India when they were just four, they were sold to a travelling circus and trained as trapeze artists. Now, 21, they yearn for the family they don’t remember and a life that belongs to them. While Noor rebels against the circus and the abusive ring master Garret; her sister Kahina finds joy in leaping through the air and performing. But when Kahina is forced to train a new recruit, a sequence of events starts unraveling that threatens to tear the twins apart. 

Book club Notes 

This is Laila Manack’s first book and she brings to life the travelling circus. It reminded me a little of Circus of Wonders, which is also about a travelling circus but set further back in an even worse time for Circus performers. It took me a while to get my head around the characters and remember which twin was which. I loved the twists that came out of nowhere making parts of the story unpredictable, but I didn’t like the way it ended. It felt like it stopped abruptly, there were too many loose ends to feel like a cliffhanger and I wished there was just one more chapter to bring the story together. 

More than You’ll Ever Know by Katie Gutierrez

Reviewed by Feige 

Published by Penguin Random House 

In a nutshell 

True crime writer Cassie Bowman comes across the story of Lore Riviera. Lore was married to two men at once. Then one found out and shot the other. The world knows the story as a secret double life and a tragic murder, but Lore is the story that fascinates Cassie. How did she fall in love with two different men and balance two lives and lies?

Cassie finds Lore willing to talk, and as she unravels the spellbinding and heartbreaking story, she works through her own family tragedy while uncovering more to the night of the murder than anyone realized.

Book club Notes 

This book is one of my favorites reads this year. The story is utterly spellbinding, suspenseful, engaging and written brilliantly. Both Lore and Cassie were layered complex characters that draw you in, showing the many sides of being a woman. The chapters flit between Cassie and Lore’s story and past and present. Often when a book does this, there is one side of the story that is better or more interesting and you find yourself rush reading to get back to the better one, but not with this book. It’s one you won’t want to put down. 

Return to the Wild by James Hendry 

Reviewed by Zissy 

Published by Pan Macmillan

In a nutshell 

Return to the Wild follows on from two best-selling novels A Year in the Wild and Back to the Bush, taking readers back into the bush in the Sasekile Private Game Reserve and the MacNoughton brothers Angus and Hugh.

Four and a half years after Angus was appointed head ranger much has happened, including a stint as a music teacher teaching Cape Town’s finest young specimens music. He now returns to Sasekile to train a new group of rangers, and exercise that should be easy; but the combination of his teaching methods, the reserves colorful staff and a construction project, mean disaster is inevitable. 

Book club Notes 

I didn’t read the first two books in this series, and I didn’t feel like I was missing any parts of the story – so don’t let that deter you from picking this up if you haven’t read the others. I did however read his novel, Reggie & Me and instantly remembered his easy style of writing and South African humor. Angus is both loveable and infuriating and you’ll find yourself literally laughing out loud throughout the book. While the entirety makes for a good read, I only really got invested about two thirds int the book. It was at this point I felt a storyline coming together and some excitement building, which is to say it ends of on a high note and is a book you’ll enjoy the deeper in you get. 

Have you read any of these? Share your thoughts in the comments!

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

No Comments Yet.