Tag Archives: #booklove

Review – Sweet Caress by William Boyd

Is the central character based on Lee Miller?


Amory Clay – She did it her way

Combining fiction and uncredited photos to reflect the narrative is a smart, fun route making a believable photo-journalist who was at many defining events through the 20th century.

Amory Clay recounts her life through a series of journals linked to her later life in the Scottish highlands. From society portraiture, Berlin pre-war and Vietnam she was on the periphery of so many global defining events until you remind yourself she is a fictional character.

This is a clever, well-written book and like all the best authors Boyd makes it look so easy.

A mesmerising read.

Sweet Caress by William Boyd published by Bloomsbury.

Available in hardback and paperback from all leading bookshops and online.


Books – The Girl on the Train

What is all the fuss about? Paula Hawkin’s first novel is mesmerising and acutely accomplished. I started reading this out of desperation after several disappointing ‘first’ novels. I needed a comfort blanket or something that was so well written it would reinstall faith in the power of literature and creation of credible complex characters like Rachel. It did. I discovered a heroine that most could relate to and like life lots of surprises on the way.

The Girl on the Train is the best first novel I've read so far this year

Fever At Dawn – Truth is Stranger Than Fiction

Fever At Dawn by Peter Gardos, Translated by Elizabeth Szasz

An epic love story about a couple who got together writing letters while recovering  from  being liberated from concentration/enforced labour camps during WW2. I’ve read several first novels this year and apart from one other the rest have been a bitter disappointment. Fever At Dawn is a hit, a story to be savoured and a reminder there is a human story behind every refugee.






The  art of translation is a challenging one. Do translators get as much credit as they deserve for bringing other worlds to life? Elizabeth Szasz pulls it off with her  translation of Peter Gardos’ tribute to his parents early relationship. What a joy to read. Ultimately, it’s a love story but more importantly it tells the true story of how his Father, Miklos was given six months to live and defied all odds to recover. Instead, he was given the all clear six months later and went on to live for several decades. Yehhhhhhh.

Miklos is part-fantasist, part-survivor using all his skills and enthusiasm to woo Gardos’ mother  through a series of letters while they both recover in a Swedish therapeutic unit miles apart after the war has ended. Initially he simultaneously wrote to several woman from his Hungarian birth village in the hope that one would be the perfect partner for him. According to Gardos, he whittled it down quickly to his mother, Lili.

He was clearly a bit of a character and prepared to go to exhaustive lengths to engage his mother. The story behind their courtship  in Fever at Dawn  would seem unbelievable if it weren’t true.  A classic case of truth being stranger than fiction.

This is an extraordinary story.The  post-script to his father’s ideals and his wavering career post-war when he returned to Hungary were fascinating footnotes. How many survivors ended up with similarly disenchanted views and being ostracised again by their mother country?

The book looks compassionately at what it must have been like for survivors from the camps post-war, their guilt and the radical adjustments they had to make.

A thought-provoking read, I didn’t want it to end.


Fever at Dawn was published in hardback in early April 2016 by Doubleday – Transworld Publishers. It is available  online and all leading bookshops. The film was released late 2015.

Disclaimer: I was sent a proof copy for review. All opinions are mine.