The Graveyard Book

Title: The Graveyard Book

Author: Neil Gaiman
Illustrator: Dave McKean

This is a: Re-read

Genre: Children’s/Fantasy

Type: Novel

Summary: The Graveyard book follows the life of Nobody ‘Bod’ Owens, who, after his family are brutally murdered, is adopted by the occupants of a nearby graveyard.

What I Say: This is a wonderful, quirky read. Exploring the idea of family, whether it be the one you’re born with or the one you choose (even if it’s a graveyard full of ghosts) this story has a real emotional heart.
As Bod unravels the mystery of his family’s murder, we are introduced to a great cast of characters like Silas, the graveyard’s caretaker – not quite living not quite dead and Elizabeth Hempstock, an unjustly executed witch with attitude. Although, there is a central mystery in this book, it’s the cast of characters that make it so endearing and disturbing (Jack) to read. Throughout, Gaiman explores the themes of love, identity and the resilience of human nature.
Overall, this was a wonderful, compelling story that I would highly recommend no matter your age.
To Sum Up: Heart-warming, disturbing and magical.

Rating:

3.5b

Recommended Tea: Nutty Chocolate Assam

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Rebecca

Title: Rebecca

Author: Daphne du Maurier

This is a: First Read

Genre: Suspense/Thriller/Gothic

Type: Novel

Summary: Starting in Monte Carlo, this novel follows our heroine as she is swept off her feet by widower Maxim de Winter. It then takes us to Manderley as she tries to come to terms with her new position ans pull free of the shadow of the previous Mrs de Winter.

What I Say: I completely understand why this novel is a favourite with a lot if people as it’s now become a favourite of mine.
With a great cast of female characters; the new Mrs de Winter – unsure, shy and naïve; the previous Mrs de Winter – mysterious, beautiful and elusive; Mrs Danvers – menancing, dangerous and unhinged; ‘Rebecca’ explores the idea of feminine expectations and what happens when women step out of these boundaries. Although there is a love story of sorts in ‘Rebecca’ it is really rhe story of a woman finding her own identity while trying to fulfil what she sees as her duty as a new wife.
The mystery of ‘Rebecca’ is really compelling to read and the setting of Manderley adds its own feeling to the story. The idea of the house hid amoungst the towering plants and close to the sea lends the story an almost suffocating sense of menance.
Overall, this was an absolutely wonderful read, so glad I finally got round to reading it.
To Sum Up: Brooding menance, a search for identity and a good mystery – surely you don’t need more?

Rating:

4b

Recommended Tea: Nuwana Eliya Lovers Leap loose tea.

Fragile Things

Title: Fragile Things

Author: Neil Gaiman

This is a: First Read

Genre: Fantasy

Type: Short Stories

Summary: A collection of Neil Gaiman’s short stories and an ‘American Gods’ novella.

What I Say: This was an enjoyable collection of short fiction but what else can you expect from Neil Gaiman. My favourite stories were ‘A Study in Emerald’, a re-imagining of a Sherlock Holmes story. ‘Goliath’ a story Gaiman wrote for the release of the Matrix movies. ‘Sunbird’ a strange, disturbing story about fine dining in extremes and ‘Inventing Aladdin’ a take on the story of Scheherazade.
My overall favourite was the novella ‘Monarch of the Glen’ which lets us spend a little time with Shadow from Gaiman’s novel ‘American Gods’.
To Sum Up: Gaiman, Sherlock & Lovecraft – you have to really don’t you.

Rating:

3b

Recommended Tea: Golden Darjeeling