Sharing my Birthday Book Blurbs: Part 1

Lucky me! I had a birthday recently (21 again – obviously), and when I put time aside to jot down a few book titles on my birthday list, I saw that one of them was in that angel/devil Amazon’s 3 for £10 offer. Whoops. That sent me looking for others in the same offer…

Lucky me again, because I got all seven books on my list. So I thought I’d bore you with why they appealed to me and then make you buzz with booky excitement by sharing their blurbs.

In this post: The three books my teens bought me.

birthday books 1

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

What appealed: The title, the tagline (‘How do you solve a mystery when you can’t remember the clues?’), the fact that it’s about lost memories (something I’ve have in mind to write about since wandering around Chloe Meineck’s fascinating and touching Memory Box ‘Identity’ exhibition at The Design Museum in London back in 2013), and the blurb…


Maud is forgetful. She makes a cup of tea and doesn’t remember to drink it. She goes to the shops and forgets why she went. Sometimes her home is unrecognizable – or her daughter Helen seems a total stranger.

But there’s one thing Maud is sure of: her friend Elizabeth is missing. The note in her pocket tells her so. And no matter who tells her to stop going on about it, to leave it alone, to shut up, Maud will get to the bottom of it.

Because somewhere in Maud’s damaged mind lies the answer to an unsolved seventy-year-old mystery. One everyone has forgotten about.

Everyone, except Maud . . .

The Girl in the Photograph by Kate Riordan

What appealed: This came up in a search for slipstream fiction (on Goodreads, I think). The blurb says it’s ‘for fans of Kate Mosse‘ (excuse me while I fangirl) ‘and Kate Morton‘ (give me time. Guess whose book will feature in Birthday Book Blurbs Part 2?). My son was very intrigued by the blurb, so without further ado…


A haunting novel about two women separated by decades but entwined by fate.

When Alice Eveleigh arrives at Fiercombe Manor during the long, languid summer of 1933, she finds a house steeped in mystery and brimming with secrets. Sadness permeates its empty rooms and the isolated valley seems crowded with ghosts, none more alluring than Elizabeth Stanton whose only traces remain in a few tantalisingly blurred photographs. Why will no one speak of her? What happened a generation ago to make her vanish?

As the sun beats down relentlessly, Alice becomes ever more determined to unearth the truth about the girl in the photograph – and stop her own life from becoming an eerie echo of Elizabeth’s . . .

Station Eleven by Emily St.John Mandel

What appealed: I read about this novel months ago, but naughtily I’ve got no idea where. Maybe it was recommended on someone else’s blog, or perhaps in a ‘must read’ column in a newspaper. I really like the sound of it,  anyway – I like it bit of apocalypse, me – but I had no idea that it won the Arthur C.Clarke award last month) at about the same time I put it on my list. I’m surprised it was on the 3 for £10, then! George R.R. Martin said: “One of the 2014 books that I did read stands above all the others, however: Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel . . . It’s a deeply melancholy novel, but beautifully written, and wonderfully elegiac, a book that I will long remember, and return to.” Now I’ve put that, I’m wondering if that’s how I heard about it – on a George R.R. Martin Top Ten Reads or the like… yes it was. He named it his favourite novel of 2014 here.


What was lost in the collapse: almost everything, almost everyone, but there is still such beauty.

One snowy night in Toronto famous actor Arthur Leander dies on stage whilst performing the role of a lifetime. That same evening a deadly virus touches down in North America.

The world will never be the same again.

Twenty years later Kirsten, an actress in the Travelling Symphony, performs Shakespeare in the settlements that have grown up since the collapse.

But then her newly hopeful world is threatened.

If civilization was lost, what would you preserve? And how far would you go to protect it?

Read any of these? What did you think? I can’t wait to get stuck in, but I have one book to finish (Matthew Plampin’s The Devil’s Acre) and another to read first.

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