Review: All That Is Solid Melts Into Air by Darragh McKeon

Darragh McKeon’s debut novel All That is Solid Melts into Air is a revisit of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster but also so much more. It is a love story, a story of growth, a story of life during the communist regime in the Soviet Union. McKeon’s book revolves around a handful or characters that are connected not only through fate but also through the constrictions that were imposed in the Soviet Union. The book begins and ends with Yevgeni, a young musical prodigy who grows up and witnesses the Chernobyl disaster as well as the fall of the Soviet Union a few years later in 1989. We are all aware of Chernobyl and the aftermath of it.

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Review: The Familiars by Stacey Halls

Stacey Halls’ debut novel The Familiars is a treat for any reader who enjoys a story about witchcraft, history and womanhood. The book is set in the early 17th century and revolves around a real life event, the Pendle witch trial that took place in Lancaster in 1612. The witch trial found ten women guilty of witchcraft and all of the defendants were hanged save but one Alice Gray, who is one of the two main protagonists of Halls’ story. Alice Gray is of low social status but she is a gifted midwife having learnt the secrets of the profession from her mother. Alice’s life completely changes when she meets the other protagonist of the story, the wealthy and soon to be a mother Fleetwood Shuttleworth. Initially Fleetwood seems to have it all, wealth, a good husband, a lovely home but she has had a number of miscarriages and it is the chance encounter with Alice that giver her hope for the future.

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