THE GREAT LUCK by Olivia Manning (Windmill Books £ 8.99, 296 pp.)
THE GREAT LUCK
by Olivia Manning (Windmill Books £ 8.99, 296 pages)
After their whirlwind marriage in 1939, a young English couple travels to Bucharest. Everyone loves the charismatic lecturer Guy, who follows crowded cafes debating the revolution, neglecting his bride, always his nose in a book when she wants a honeymoon rapture.
Manning’s depictions of abandoned Harriet’s lonely explorations of seething, colorful Bucharest are fabulous – aromatic markets, boisterous Romanian hospitality, sophisticated matrons in cashmere and pearls, frowning “peasants”, howling beggars, ragged babies and all those breathless “eat, drink, be happy.” ‘Philosophy of the People on the Edge of the National Socialist Occupation.
When Guy has room for down-and-outs in the newlyweds’ tiny apartment, the marriage definitely looks doomed.
WESTWIND by Ian Rankin (Orion £ 8.99, 224 pages)
by Ian Rankin (Orion £ 8.99, 224 pages)
Every page of Rankin’s best-selling high-tech spy thriller from 1990 oozes turbo-charged drama. Satellites collide, a shuttle is deliberately blown up, a survivor is kidnapped.
There are conspiracies, gruesome deaths, a murderess who grabs pistols with “teeth bared in utterly senseless hatred”, car chases, IT gadgets, secret bunkers, villainous Americans and bullets that make a “wet sound like an over-mature.” Hit the peach against the wall ‘- Phew!
To be honest, I lost the plot multiple times while eagerly cheering on the lively journalist Jill to thwart a sadistic psychopath, hoping with good luck that Martin would triumph and make things right.
In the end, I was sweaty, stunned, and winced. Strictly for the nerds.
LITTLE BOY LOST
LITTLE BOY LOST by Marghanita Laski (Persephone £ 10, 240 pages)
by Marghanita Laski (Persephone £ 10, 240 pages)
England 1943: While on war leave, Hilary learns that his wife is dead in France and that their toddler has been smuggled to safety somewhere near Paris. Hilary’s long search for his son begins, which can ultimately be traced back to a desolate orphanage in which 40 children sleep in iron beds in a cold dormitory, no pictures, no toys. Will Hilary recognize his son? Will there be an instinctive bond?
He meets an adorable, malnourished little boy who is overwhelmed with gratitude when this stranger takes him for a walk and buys him his first present – a pair of warm gloves.
But is he Hilary’s son? You will be breathless to the last sentence when you are sure to burst into tears. Heartbreaking.
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