Elise's favourites ...
(or not)


cover Where Madness Lies

Where Madness Lies – Sylvia True

It is the year 1934 in Germany. Inga’s sister Rigmor is suffering from depression and psychosis. It’s a time in which people suffering from mental illnesses are frowned upon. Inga and her mother Frieda have tried several doctors and treatments, but to no avail. Then Inga comes up with a new plan. They have to find Rigmor a friend, someone she can talk to and perhaps even fall in love with. Inga chooses psychiatrist Arnold for this. Hesitant at first he accepts and gets involved in Rigmors life, leading up to her being institutionalized at Sonnenstein Castle in Pirna. Will Rigmor be okay?

Then it is 1984. Inga flies to the United States after hearing that her granddaughter Sabine has been admitted to a mental hospital. Sabine is also suffering from depression and psychosis. Inga desperately wants to help her granddaughter and make sure that she escapes the fate that her sister Rigmor had to endure. Even if it means bringing back tormenting memories. At the hospital she meets her great-granddaughter Mia. Will Sabine be able to hold on to Mia?

Click here to read Elise's full review

The Girl at the Back of the Bus – Suzette D. Harrisoncover The Girl at the Back of the Bus

It's 1955. Mattie Banks is boarding a bus that will take her to Miss Celestine's. Mattie is only sixteen, but finds herself in a difficult position. She's pregnant and on her way to secretly get rid of the unwanted child. But there with her in the "Colored" section of the bus is Miss Rosa Parks, who refuses to give up her seat to a white person and is taken off the bus. Unknowingly, Rosa Parks changes Mattie's life for good, as she decides to keep her baby. Mattie tries to hide her changing body, until her mother finds out. An unmarried black girl who's having a baby! What would everybody think of her?

Click here to read Elise's full review

The Age of Miracles – Karen Thompson Walker

Julia lives with her parents in a coastal town in California. Petrified, they sit in front of the television and take in the news of the rotation of the earth that’s slowing down. Days are getting longer. What would be the long-term consequences? What would happen to gravity? Governments all over the world are desperately trying to keep control over a phenomenon they cannot control at all. A clock time of 24 hours is set. Soon, sunrise and sunset no longer coincide with time. At a certain moment, days are sometimes completely enveloped in darkness or, on the contrary, overflowing with sunshine.
Click here to read Elise's full review


A Dangerous Goodbye – Fliss Chester

“If you are reading this, then in all likelihood I am dead.”

This is how A Dangerous Goodbye begins. It is written in a letter to Fen Churche from her fiancé Arthur. It is 1944 and soldiers are sent all over Europe to fight in World War 2. Fen does not know where Arthur is stationed or even what his job is, she only knows he is in danger. About a year later when the war has finally ended, Fen decides to set out on a quest to find Arthur, from whom she hasn't heard anymore after his alarming letter. Might he really be dead?
Arthur and Fen used to enjoy solving cryptic crosswords together. Their letters were always full of riddles and clues. This is also the case with Arthur's last letter, leading Fen to France. In France she finds work and lodging at a local winery, not knowing she would soon be busying herself with solving three murders. Would solving these murders lead to Fen finding her fiancé?
Click here to read Elise's full review

Naamah – Sarah Blake

You might know the story of Noah's Ark, the biblical story in which God sends a worldengulfing flood. God warns Noah in time and commands him to build an ark for a pair of all species of animals and for his family. This book describes the same story but from the viewpoint of Noah's wife Naamah, a strong woman with some good common sense.
The story starts on the Ark, after the rains have stopped. There is only water surrounding the ark, nothing in sight. Naamah's family has been on the ark for a couple of weeks together with all sorts of animals, from
goats to tigers, with all its consequences. Naamah is struggling. "I don't understand how I could have been judged differently from all those other people. All those children." She is struggling to keep her faith in God and starts to get restless being stuck on the ark. To make the waiting bearable Naamah decides to swim around the ark.
Click here to read Elise's full review

When all is said - Anne Griffin

Maurice Hannigan is sitting at the bar in the Rainsford House Hotel, in the Irish town of Rainsford. His wife has passed away two years ago and his son lives abroad. The last two years without his wife have been very hard on Maurice. This evening he thinks back on his life. At 84 he is finally ready to tell his story. He does so by toasting to the five most important people in his life: his brother Tony, his sister-in-law Noreen, his daughter Molly, his son Keving and last, but not least, his wife Sadie.
As a small boy Maurice is send to school, but after years of barely any progress is sent to the Dollard's house to work. At the house he is mistreated by Hugh Dollard's son. So much so that Maurice is scarred for life, visibly and invisibly. Maurice's brother Tony dies in his teens from tuberculosis. Up to then Tony has always been a big influence on Maurice. Tony's loss is a heavy one.
Click here to read Elise's full review

You can watch a short introduction of Anne Griffin herself at the top right of this page.