Mini Reviews: Red Leaves, Man’s Search for Meaning and The Sunne In Splendour

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Red Leaves

Red Leaves by Thomas H Cook

Five words from the blurb: son, suspect, murder, brother, family

This reads like a watered down version of We Need to Talk About Kevin. It reminded me The Good Father by Noah Hawley and numerous other books that have tried to copy Lionel Shriver’s outstanding novel. Recommended to those who are too disturbed by Shriver’s powerful writing and would like to approach the subject in a lighter way.


Man's Search For Meaning: The classic tribute to hope from the Holocaust

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Five words from the blurb: Holocaust, survivor, hope, life, human

Powerful book about how man can find hope in even the darkest of places. Written by a man who survived Auschwitz, this is a poignant reminder of the strength of the human spirit. Disturbing in places, but positive overall. Recommended.


The Sunne in Splendour

The Sunne In Splendour by Sharon Penman

Five words from the blurb: Richard, loyalties, royal, battle, betrayed

I went to see the fabulous re-enactment of the Battle of Tewkesbury a few weeks ago, but because I knew nothing about the battle I decided to do a little research before going. I discovered this book contained the details and so bought a copy. It started really well, but the number of characters ballooned (to 50+?) and because I don’t know my history very well I found it impossible to keep up. If you love your historical fiction then this is for you, but I’m afraid I didn’t have the interest required to complete all 1000+ pages. I highly recommend going to The Battle of Tewkesbury though! 


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  1. Man’s Search for Meaning is one of the key texts of my life. It’s really had a profound affect on the way I look at the world. I’ve read it twice so far and have kept my copy so I will be reading it again.

    1. Jackie says:

      Yes, I read Man’s Search for Meaning on your recommendation. It is an amazing book, but I felt I’d heard most of it before. It’s probably because others have read his book and paraphrased him. Or maybe because I’ve read so many books on the Holocaust? Thanks for pointing it out to me. I am pleased that I’ve read it.

  2. Sandy says:

    I read Man’s Search for Meaning on James’ recommendation as well, and it blew me away. I think I’m due for another reading in fact, as things have been getting me down. It was just so simple yet so profound for me. It is a book I will never ever forget.

    1. Jackie says:

      Sandy, sorry to hear that things have been getting you down. I hope that Frankl’s book helps you.

  3. David says:

    Gosh, I remember when I was maybe eighteen (and not having the money to buy many books) hankering after Sharon Penman’s ‘When Christ and His Saints Slept’. I was going through something of a Brother Cadfael phase at the time reading-wise, and Penman’s book was set in the same period (the power struggle between Stephen and Matilda) as Ellis Peters’ series. I never did buy the book, and reading through a preview now I’m not sure I’d enjoy it any more – it seems to read a bit like a YA novel. The Tewkesbury reenactment looks like great fun though!

    1. Jackie says:

      David, I can’t see you enjoying her books – the writing isn’t anything special. I hope you get the chance to see the Tewkesbury reenactment one day though :-)

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