Wednesday, 3 September 2014

The Soldier's Wife by Joanna Trollope / War, Conflict and Resolution by Thacker and Gallagher / Black Butterfly by Mark Gatiss

The Soldier's WifeThe Soldier's Wife by Joanna Trollope
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

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I found The Soldier's Wife to be a disappointing novel by Joanna Trollope. I haven't read many of her books, but had reasonable expectations that unfortunately haven't been met.

Alexa is the frustrated soldier's wife of the title. Trapped in Army accommodation with young children and no job, the return of her husband, Dan, from Afghanistan triggers a crisis in her marriage. Alexa is unable to talk to Dan about wanting more from her life and he in turn is unable to ask about her obvious disappointment. We meet a number of relations and friends, all of whom also find communication practically impossible and this goes on for most of the book. For me, this made the characters unknowable so I didn't develop any attachment to them, merely irritation at their impasse.

I did finish the book, but found the rather abrupt and wimp-out ending unsatisfactory too. Trollope isn't an author I'll be rushing to read more from any time soon.

War, Conflict & ResolutionWar, Conflict and Resolution by Ryan Thacker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This flash fiction collection was inspired by remembrances of The Great War and independently published to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of its beginning. The short stories and poems range from imaginings of soldier's battle experiences to the poignant thoughts of a person charged with delivering the worst news to families back home. Other stories are told from the point of view of grandchildren trying to understand.

I discovered War, Conflict and Resolution via twitter as I follow one of the authors. It is a thought-provoking collection and well worth its minimal kindle price. There is a smattering of 'indie editor' errors - taught for taut, bare for bear - but this doesn't really detract from the emotion of the stories.

Black Butterfly (Lucifer Box, #3)Black Butterfly by Mark Gatiss
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I registered a book at!

Good but not great. Black Butterfly is the third of the Lucifer Box spy trilogy and now our ageing hero is in the time of the new Queen Elizabeth. Unfortunately I think it is the time period, or lack of it, which lets Black Butterfly down. Gatiss still invents a wonderfully implausible plot, ridiculously named characters and splendid escapades. However, what made Vesuvius Club such a great read for me was its steampunky sense of period and the equivalent just doesn't come across in Black Butterfly. That said, I have still read the whole trilogy multiple times - praise indeed - and all three are fun, but they seem to fade along with Lucifer. Perhaps that's the point?

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