Book Review with James Cross

Welcome back to James for this month’s book review.  Whilst the book shops are currently closed, you can download these and other books.

The last month saw the announcement of the longlist for the Women’s Prize for Fiction. Sixteen awesome books, that will be narrowed down to a shortlist in April before a winner is announced in September.

Go read those, but I have some other suggestions that I would champion.

My main review is Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano.

Dear Edward is a book split between two narratives. The first is set on a commercial flight across America following a number of passengers, including a soldier, a newly pregnant woman, an ailing billionaire with his nurse, and Edward, his brother and parents.

We see snapshots of their lives, and here the writing comes into its own as every character is distinct, intriguing and you could well read a whole piece about anyone of them.

But the second narrative, is devastating. Interspersed with these tales of the passengers, we solely follow 12 year old Edward after the flight.

He is, in fact, the only survivor the flight. Dubbed as a miracle, the Edward in this portion of the novel is emotional, raw, believable and his state shows the enormity of dealing with loss on such a massive scale. Told over time, you take the journey with Edward and those around him.

The language is perfectly used, evocative and emotional, yet still page turning. Not only is Napolitano’s character work stunning, but there is a drive in the narrative too, to find out where Edwards life is headed and if he will cope with the tragedy.

As well, the pre crash portion is suffused totally with a feeling of hopelessness and dread, only increasing as you get attached to every character on the plane, waiting for that noise in the cabin or the person who caused the crash to reveal themselves.

An easy read? No. It’s challenging, emotional and devastating, with some rays of hope as you move through. What it is though, is excellent.

I can’t wait to see what the author does next.

Other amazing books to check out by women published in the last year…

Saving Missy – Beth Morrey
The Mercies  – Kiran Millwood-Hargrave
A Single Thread – Tracy Chevalier
The Space We’re In – Katya Balen
Toffee – Sarah Crossan
The Starlight Watchmaker – Lauren James


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