Publisher: Europa Editions

#BookReview Cathedral by Ben Hopkins @EuropaEditions @PGCBooks #Cathedral #BenHopkins

#BookReview Cathedral by Ben Hopkins @EuropaEditions @PGCBooks #Cathedral #BenHopkins Title: Cathedral

Author: Ben Hopkins

Published by: Europa Editions on Jan. 21, 2021

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 624

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

A thoroughly immersive read and a remarkable feat of imagination, Cathedral tells a sweeping story about obsession, mysticism, art, and earthly desire in gripping prose. It deftly combines historical fiction and a tale of adventure and intrigue.

At the center of this story is the Cathedral. Its design and construction in the 12th and 13th centuries in the town of Hagenburg unites a vast array of unforgettable characters whose fortunes are inseparable from the shifting political factions and economic interests vying for supremacy. Around this narrative center, Ben Hopkins has constructed his own monumental edifice, a novel that is rich with the vicissitudes of mercantilism, politics, religion, and human enterprise.

Fans of Umberto Eco, Hilary Mantel, and Ken Follett will delight at the atmosphere, the beautiful prose, and the vivid characters of Ben Hopkins’s Cathedral.


Review:

Vivid, immersive, and fascinating!

Cathedral is a rich, compelling tale set in Hagenburg, Germany during the twelfth and thirteenth century that takes you into the lives of ship merchants, stonecutters, Jewish moneylenders, architects, pirates, priests, architects, sovereigns, and builders as they struggle for riches, stature, and survival.

The writing is sharp and alluring. The characters are bold, driven, and ruthless. And the plot is a sweeping tale of harsh living, unexpected friendships, domestic contentions, desires, debauchery, degradation, vanity, corruption, sacrifices, treachery, and entangled relationships, all set to the backdrop of the reconstruction of a mammoth cathedral, and the ongoing discord between the papacy and the Holy Roman Empire.

Overall, Cathedral is an absorbing, dramatic, enthralling saga by Hopkins that is quite a hefty endeavour at just over 600 pages, but with its short chapters, beautiful prose, vibrant characters, and lush descriptions this is one meaty, medieval tale that, in my opinion, is definitely worth the effort.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                

 

 

Thank you to PGC Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Ben Hopkins

Ben Hopkins is a screenwriter, film-maker and novelist. He has lived in London and Istanbul and now lives in Berlin. His films include features and shorts, fiction and documentary, and have won awards at festivals such as Berlin, Locarno, Antalya and Toronto Hot Docs. Cathedral is his first novel.

#BookReview Shadowplay by Joseph O’Connor @EuropaEditions @PGCBooks #Shadowplay #JosephOConnor

#BookReview Shadowplay by Joseph O’Connor @EuropaEditions @PGCBooks #Shadowplay #JosephOConnor Title: Shadowplay

Author: Joseph O'Connor

Published by: Europa Editions on Jun. 26, 2020

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 310

Format: Hardcover

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 10/10

Shadowplay by New York Times best-selling author, Joseph O’Connor, is set during the golden age of West End theater in a London shaken by the crimes of Jack the Ripper.

Henry Irving is Victorian London’s most celebrated actor and theater impresario. He has introduced groundbreaking ideas to the theater, bringing to the stage performances that are spectacular, shocking, and always entertaining. When Irving decides to open his own London theater with the goal of making it the greatest playhouse on earth, he hires a young Dublin clerk harboring literary ambitions by the name of Bram Stoker to manage it. As Irving’s theater grows in reputation and financial solvency, he lures to his company of mummers the century’s most beloved actress, the dazzlingly talented leading lady Ellen Terry, who nightly casts a spell not only on her audiences but also on Stoker and Irving both.

Bram Stoker’s extraordinary experiences at the Lyceum Theatre, his early morning walks on the streets of a London terrorized by a serial killer, his long, tempestuous relationship with Irving, and the closeness he finds with Ellen Terry, inspire him to write DRACULA, the most iconic and best-selling supernatural tale ever published.

A magnificent portrait both of lamp-lit London and of lives and loves enacted on the stage, Shadowplay’s rich prose, incomparable storytelling, and vivid characters will linger in readers’ hearts and minds for many years.


Review:

Immersive, evocative, and colourful!

Shadowplay is a beautiful, powerful, alluring interpretation that sweeps you away to London in the late 1800s and into the life of Bram Stroker, from his employment as manager of the Lyceum Theatre, his tumultuous relationships with both his employer, Henry Irving and the celebrated actress Ellen Terry, to his ultimately writing the infamous Dracula.

The prose is expressive and eloquent. The characters are exceptionally drawn, complex, and authentic. And the plot set to the backdrop of a city terrorized by Jack the Ripper and using an intriguing mixture of narration, letters, diary entries, and transcripts is an exceptionally absorbing tale of life, loss, loneliness, loyalty, friendship, desires, aspirations, heartache, drama, and love in all its different forms.

Overall, Shadowplay is a vivid, pensive, compelling story by O’Connor that does a remarkable job of highlighting his considerable knowledge and impressive research into these renowned historical figures whose lives and contribution to the dramatic and literary worlds are often unknown or unfortunately long forgotten.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

            

 

 

 

Thank you to Publishers Group Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Joseph O'Connor

Joseph O’Connor was born in Dublin. He is the author of the novels Cowboys and Indians (short-listed for the Whitbread Prize), Desperadoes , The Salesman , Inishowen , Star of the Sea and Redemption Falls , as well as a number of bestselling works of non-fiction.

He was recently voted ‘Irish Writer of the Decade’ by the readers of Hot Press magazine. He broadcasts a popular weekly radio diary on RTE’s Drivetime With Mary Wilson and writes regularly for The Guardian Review and The Sunday Independent. In 2009 he was the Harman Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Baruch College, the City University of New York.

Photograph courtesy of Author's Website.

#BookReview The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante @EuropaEditions @PGCBooks #TheLyingLifeofAdults #ElenaFerrante

#BookReview The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante @EuropaEditions @PGCBooks #TheLyingLifeofAdults #ElenaFerrante Title: The Lying Life of Adults

Author: Elena Ferrante

Published by: Europa Editions on Sep. 1, 2020

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 336

Format: Hardcover

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

Giovanna’s pretty face is changing, turning ugly, at least so her father thinks. Giovanna, he says, looks more like her Aunt Vittoria every day. But can it be true? Is she really changing? Is she turning into her Aunt Vittoria, a woman she hardly knows but whom her mother and father clearly despise? Surely there is a mirror somewhere in which she can see herself as she truly is.

Giovanna is searching for her reflection in two kindred cities that fear and detest one another: Naples of the heights, which assumes a mask of refinement, and Naples of the depths, a place of excess and vulgarity. She moves from one to the other in search of the truth, but neither city seems to offer answers or escape.

Named one of 2016’s most influential people by TIME Magazine and frequently touted as a future Nobel Prize-winner, Elena Ferrante has become one of the world’s most read and beloved writers. With this new novel about the transition from childhood to adolescence to adulthood, Ferrante proves once again that she deserves her many accolades. In The Lying Life of Adults, readers will discover another gripping, highly addictive, and totally unforgettable Neapolitan story.


Review:

Astute, honest, and sophisticated!

In this latest novel by Ferrante, The Lying Life of Adults, she transports us to the streets of Naples, Italy and into the life of Giovanna, a young girl who after overhearing a harsh comment made by her father embarks on a journey to discover the extended family she has previously been sheltered and protected from resulting in unexpectedly enlightening consequences.

The prose is emotive and precise. The characters are complex, guileless, and impulsive. And the plot is a compelling, coming-of-age tale of life, love, deception, friendship, familial drama, manipulation, jealousy, emerging sexuality, abuse, and self-reflection.

Overall, The Lying Life of Adults is a raw, perceptive, heartfelt, domestic drama that does an exceptional job of reminding us that reality is often a disillusioned version of the life we conjure with the fantasies and lies we choose to believe, especially in young adulthood.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

             

 

 

Thank you to Publishers Group Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Elena Ferrante

Elena Ferrante is the author of The Days of Abandonment (Europa, 2005), which was made into a film directed by Roberto Faenza, Troubling Love (Europa, 2006), adapted by Mario Martone, and The Lost Daughter (Europa, 2008), soon to be a major motion picture directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal and starring Oscar Award-winner Olivia Colman. She is also the author of Incidental Inventions (Europa, 2019), illustrated by Andrea Ucini, Frantumaglia: A Writer’s Journey (Europa, 2016) and The Beach at Night (Europa, 2016), illustrated by Mara Cerri. The four volumes known as the “Neapolitan quartet” (My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of the Lost Child) were published by Europa Editions in English between 2012 and 2015. My Brilliant Friend, the HBO series directed by Saverio Costanzo, premiered in 2018. Her most recent novel is The Lying Life of Adults (Europa, 2020).

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