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Friday, 25 August 2017

In Celebration of Summer, by Fiona Lloyd


Apparently, it’s summer at the moment. Not that you’d know it: the past few days the sky has been 49 shades of grey. It wasn’t much better in Brittany, where we spent the first two weeks of August, and where the sun occasionally popped out to taunt us before retreating behind the nearest thundercloud. 

            The upside of it being summer – bad weather notwithstanding – is that it gives me more time to read. Why moan about the rain if it means I can curl up with a good book? So, rather than bore you with my holiday snaps, I thought I’d share with you my thoughts on some of the things I’ve read recently.

            I think my favourite book of the summer was Destiny’s Revenge, by Philip S Davies (and no, I’m not just saying that because he’s a member of ACW!), which I read in a day. A YA fantasy novel, it follows the adventures of a feisty young woman called Katelin, who first appeared in Philip’s previous novel, Destiny’s Rebel.

            A close second was The Evenness of Things, by Deborah Fiddimore (also an ACW member). This is quite short, but it’s beautifully written, with a very strong sense of place. It tells the story of Daisy, who buys a house on impulse, and the events that led up to her doing so.

            Home, by Marilynne Robinson, is also extremely well written, and very evocative of small-town America. Robinson has a real talent for using seemingly insignificant detail to bring characters and situations to life. Having said that, I didn’t enjoy it as much as her earlier novel, Gilead, with which it overlaps.

            Another book, which I’d been wanting to read for a while, was The Light Between Oceans, by M L Stedman. This one put my emotions through the wringer; so much so that I almost gave up at one point! I’m glad I persisted though, because it’s a good read. It’s mostly set in and around a lighthouse on a small island off the coast of Australia, where Tom and his young wife Izzy long for a family of their own.

            Some friends gave us a copy of Love and War, by John and Stasi Eldredge, and my husband and I both read this while we were away. This book – on developing and maintaining good relationships in marriage – has had rave reviews, but I must confess to feeling somewhat disappointed by it. There is some good advice in there, particularly for young couples in the early stages of marriage, but I found the stereotyping of how men and women think (and the regular plugs for their other books) rather off-putting.

            Since returning home, I’ve read (and reviewed) two books for Instant Apostle. Rooks at Dusk, by Chick Yuill, tells the story of Ray – a renowned Christian speaker who suddenly realises he’s not sure what he believes any more. I admired the way the author was willing to tackle a difficult subject with honesty and compassion.

            Finally, I read Eden Undone, by Anna Lindsay. This (fictional work) is based around the creation story in Genesis, and explores what might have happened if Eve had refused the apple. I thought this was a really interesting premise, not least because it made me think more about what relationship with God should look like.

            So, over to you. What have you read over the summer? Anything interesting, challenging – or even boring? And if you’d like more inspiration, check out the ACW reading challenge here.


Fiona Lloyd works part-time as a music teacher, and serves on the worship leading team at her local church. Fiona blogs at www.fjlloyd.wordpress.com and at http://thejesusonthebus.blogspot.co.uk. You can find her on Twitter at @FionaJLloyd. Her first novel will be published by Instant Apostle in January 2018. Fiona is vice-chair of ACW and is married with three grown-up children.

4 comments:

  1. You have read a lot this summer Fiona! Lovely post ☺️ My favourite read of the summer was The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce about a man who runs a music shop 😉 You would love it!

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    1. Thanks for reminding me of that one, Deborah - I've just been given a Waterstones voucher, so I might treat myself!

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  2. I think you have made the case for the advantages of rainy days very convincingly! I really enjoyed Philip's sequel too. Among others, I've also read The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon, a Susan Hill book called Black Sheep which was haunting but fabulous, and A Shepherd's Life by James Rebanks all about being a shepherd in the Lake District. It's only as I write this that I realise there's a thematic link between all these books. Ha ha ha ha ha! How weird :)

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    1. I've read The Trouble with Goats and Sheep, but not the other two you mentioned - I'll have to look out for them, too!

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