Monday, 19 September 2011

Summer Reading - Review 1

During the summer, I had a little more time than normal to sit and indulge in some reading and thought it would be a good idea to do a mini review of each book I devoured.

The first one I read (sat outside in the burning French sun - oh how I miss it!) was The Book Of Human Skin by Michelle Lovric.

Set in 1784, Venice, Minguillo Fasan is born heir to the Palazzo Espagnol. He is strange, cruel and devious. When his inheritance is threatened 12 years later by the birth of his sister, Marcella, his jealousy condemns her to a life of misery as a cripple, madwoman and nun. But he may have underestimated his sister's determination and her devoted allies, who go to extraordinary lengths to save her from her brother.

Told from the perspective of 5 main characters, each voice is unique and instantly recognisable. Minguillo is unashamedly evil, dealing out horror upon horror to his sweet and entirely undeserving sister. Marcella is a heroine that is easy to root for, as she tries to survive each new wave of cruelty delivered by Minguillo, and it is easy to see why other characters risk their own lives to try and protect her.

There is a beautifully understated romance throughout that softens the sometimes relentless unpleasantness found not only in Minguillo, but also in one of the nuns who has deformed herself in her severe mortification of the flesh.

I don't want to say anything that would give the plot away, but it reminded me at times of 'Perfume - The Story of a Murderer' by Patrick Suskind, and was also reminiscent of 'Sacred Hearts' by Sarah Dunant (both of which I thoroughly recommend). It is a gripping read that I really didn't want to put down. This was the first book by Michelle Lovric that I've read, but will be searching out more in future based on this. Definitely gets the thumbs up from me and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.

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