Another lively meeting was held at the home of one of our members, necessitated by the Social Centre still being closed due to COVID-19.
We had a wide-ranging and enjoyable discourse, which stemmed from our two books read during August, namely The Dressmaker’s Gift by Fiona Valpy and The Minders by John Marrs.
Fiona’s novel was enjoyed by everyone and gave a good insight into wartime Paris, life in a couture house and the activities of the Resistance. Another theme ran through the book; that of modern day Paris and the tale of the granddaughter of one of the wartime seamstresses, who wanted to uncover more about her maternal grandma.
The wartime saga was by far the most engaging, with an atmospheric setting and descriptive prose which was very evocative of Paris in the 1940s under German occupation. We discussed what life would have been like for those in the Resistance and how widespread this underground organisation actually was. Some felt the modern day tale was almost superfluous and most found the character of Harriet, the granddaughter, difficult to warm to. Some of the coincidences involving her character were a little too far- fetched.
The Minders fared less well. This book was a futuristic tale about how to secure Government secrets from hackers, by implanting data held on biodegradable beads into people’s brains. Fans of the author found this book particularly disappointing in contrast to his previous novels, especially The Passengers and The One.
Some found the novel very confusing, with multiple characters and the storyline was unconvincing in parts. The ending was confusing and a bit of a damp squib. What should have been an interesting tale of future IT security was poorly executed overall.
The next meeting will be held on Thursday 1st October and will be restricted to six people.
The books to be discussed in October’s meeting are Isabelle Allende’s A Long Petal Of The Sea and The House Guest by Mark Edwards.