BOOK BITES | MT Edvardsson, Kate Mosse, Vanessa Chan

04 February 2024 - 00:00
'The Woman Inside' by MT Edvardsson.
Image: Supplied 'The Woman Inside' by MT Edvardsson.

The Woman Inside ★★★★
MT Edvardsson

Nordic noir mostly doesn't disappoint, and this thriller is definitely a solid representation of the genre. At 384 pages, it was a bit drawn-out, but made up for this with amazing character-driven execution and alternating points of view explaining and exposing all the different players in the murder mystery. There are many different ways of telling a story if the writer sticks with the characters and their questionable behaviour. There are excerpts of interrogations, newspaper cuttings, and even a peek at the crime scene in the beginning. The ending was a little nuts, and was completely surprising. But the final wrap-up was both neat and satisfying. — Gill Gifford





'The Ghost Ship' by Kate Mosse.
Image: Supplied 'The Ghost Ship' by Kate Mosse.

The Ghost Ship ★★★★
Kate Mosse
Raven Books

The third book in a series of novels inspired by Mosse’s Huguenot diaspora, The Ghost Ship draws on her extensive research into the religious wars fought between French Catholics and Huguenots, the VOC and good old pirate stories — and those who inspired them. It’s not entirely a stand-alone, though it can be enjoyed without the reader having read the previous two. Mosse has done a stellar job of telling the imagined stories of people who might have lived in the 1660s, including that of the brave and rebellious Louise Reydon-Joubert, the heroine of this narrative of historical fiction with a love story at its heart inspired by two 18th-century female pirates. The book might start somewhat slow, but if you persevere you’ll soon find yourself turning the pages to uncover the intrigue, mutiny and defiance in the name of justice captured in its pages. — Sanet Oberholzer


'The Storm we Made' by Vanessa Chan.
Image: Supplied 'The Storm we Made' by Vanessa Chan.

The Storm We Made ★★★
Vanessa Chan
Hodder & Stoughton

The British occupied Malaya for more than 100 years, but were toppled by the Imperial Japanese Army in 1941, which invaded Malaya from the north through Thailand. The Japanese occupation began during World War 2 and ceased when the US dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, ending the war. This novel tells the story of a young Malayan woman, Cecily, who is married to a local civil servant. She is dissatisfied with the mundaneness of her domestic life and her husband's constant attempts to please and emulate the Brits. However, in 1935, at a British party, she meets Bingley Chan, who is posing as a merchant from Hong Kong, but is actually a Japanese spy. Chan senses her discontent and seduces her with stories of an Asia governed by Asians. He reveals himself as Fujiwari (from a powerful family of imperial regents in Japan). Cecily becomes a spy for Fujiwari, stealing bits of information from her husband. The higher Cecily's husband rises in the ranks of the colonial government, the more valuable information she gleans for Fujiwari. The story takes place between 1936 and 1945. By 1941, Malaya is under Japanese occupation, much water has flowed under the bridge, and Cecily and her family are barely surviving. The author is a wonderful storyteller, and the plot is both complex and exciting. She draws an almost three-dimensional picture of tropical Malaya with her descriptions of the oppressive humidity, thunderstorms, lashing monsoons, lush vegetation, as well as the heat of Cecily's desires. — Gabriella Bekes