Our first meeting of the year welcomed a few returning faces – always good to see people again! We had a lively and balanced discussion about January’s two books, Relative Strangers by Allie Cresswell and Here to Stay by Mark Edwards.

Most people enjoyed reading Allie’s novel about a family holiday aimed at bringing a disparate group of individuals back together.    Although the sheer number of characters was a bit of a challenge, we had favourite and disliked personalities within the book.  The long tale revealed heartbreak, broken dreams, affairs and abuse and ended with a dramatic car crash.  Some readers disliked the more detailed, descriptive sections, whilst others went on to read more of Allie’s novels as they had enjoyed the book so much.  One question posed was whether we found the ending satisfying, which was a challenge to answer, especially as one character sacrificed two years of his freedom to save others.  The majority of the group would recommend this book to someone else.

In complete contrast, Mark Edward’s book was less favourably received by the group. A tale of a young man who met, fell in love with and married, a young lady over a period of a few months, then accepted his in-laws to stay in his lovely house, started promisingly, then quickly became far-fetched.  Unexplored murders, hasty marriage, thin plot, and unconvincing characters left us disappointed, although we were assured by regular readers of Mark’s books that his standard is usually much higher and some of his previous psychological thrillers have been excellent.

Our book choices for February were:

A Thousand Splendid Suns – by Khaled Hosseini

The Pearl That Broke Its Shell – by Nadia Hashimi

Cider with Rosie – by Laurie Lee

Our next meeting is 5th March at 2pm in the Camposol Social Centre – all are welcome!