Tag Archives: Kate Atkinson

Shrines of Gaiety – Kate Atkinson

Shrines of Gaiety – Kate Atkinson

I like all of Kate Atkinson’s novels – here’s a previous review – and I found this one compelling.

Here’s the blurb …

London 1926. Roaring Twenties.
Corruption. Seduction. Debts due.

In a country still recovering from the Great War, London is the focus for a delirious nightlife. In Soho clubs, peers of the realm rub shoulders with starlets, foreign dignitaries with gangsters, and girls sell dances for a shilling a time.

There, Nellie Coker is a ruthless ruler, ambitious for her six children. Niven is the eldest, his enigmatic character forged in the harsh Somme. But success breeds enemies. Nellie faces threats from without and within. Beneath the gaiety lies a dark underbelly, where one may be all too easily lost.

This novel was beautifully written (and researched). It’s all about London night life of the 1920s, everyone is trying to have a good time after the deprivations of the war. But it is also about the seedier elements of the nightlife; the crime, the drugs and the girls (who seem disposable).

This is definitely one of my favourite books for the year.

A review

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Filed under 5, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Recommended

Started Early, Took My Dog – Kate Atkinson

I’ve always liked Kate Atkinson’s novels. Whenever I see a new one I have to grab it straight away. This one was no exception – I really enjoyed it.

Here’s the blurb …

A day like any other for security chief Tracy Waterhouse, until she makes a purchase she hadn’t bargained for. One moment of madness is all it takes for Tracy’s humdrum world to be turned upside down, the tedium of everyday life replaced by fear and danger at every turn.

Witnesses to Tracy’s Faustian exchange in the Merrion Centre in Leeds are Tilly, an elderly actress teetering on the brink of her own disaster, and Jackson Brodie, who has returned to his home county in search of someone else’s roots. All three learn that the past is never history and that no good deed goes unpunished.

The story is told from the view points of the three protagonists; Tilly, Jackson and Tracy. Each of them have a unique voice and are believable as characters – I particularly enjoyed Tilly’s descent into dementia.

Tracy, as a young police officer, attended the scene of a murder (the body was undiscovered for three weeks). The victim had a young child who managed to survive for the three weeks on the food he could scavenge or reach in the flat. This child enters the welfare system and effectively disappears. Jackson Brodie is trying to trace the origins of Hope McMaster who was adopted and now wants to know about her past. Tilly is an aging actress fending off senility.  Their paths cross in unusual and unexpected ways and the ending although appearing to head in a particular direction is surprising.

Alongside the three main people, there is a cast of well written characters – the dodgy (and incredibly sexist) police, Julia (Jackson’s ex-lover), the actress with whom Tilly shares a house, I could go on for ever.

Atkinson creates a real sense of place – a grim, dark and dirty place.

Although this is quite a dark novel, there are a few light-hearted moments that keep it from being too depressing.

Here are some other reviews …




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Filed under Fiction - Light, Recommended