Book reviews of an updated favourite children’s book & two new novels

Janet Gordon is a voracious reader -this week she reviews a children’s book that we all know and love but it has had an update. Also a couple of new novels that could find space in your holiday luggage!

A New Adventure: The Magic Faraway Tree by Jacqueline Wilson ( Hodder Children’s Books)

Can there be many of us who didn’t read Enid Blyton as a child?   Remember Mallory Towers, St Claires, the Famous Five, Secret Seven – and of course The Magic Faraway Tree – and have loved them, and have read and re-read them to our grandchildren.

And now best selling children’s author Jacqueline Wilson has turned her attention to updating the Faraway Tree – but still, with all those favourite characters, we fell in love with.  Just right as a present for the grandchildren and for even younger readers – Hodder has also brought out two picture books Silky’s Story and Moonfare’s Story  (each £6.99) crammed with mesmerising illustrations and ideal as an introduction to the magic of the Faraway Tree.

Guilty Women (HarperCollins)

Melanie Blake is glamour personified, and as a super-agent has been responsible for the resurgence of dramatic plot lines and stories in our favourite soaps for those “mature” ladies, who had begun to think they were invisible.  Think Claire King aka Kim Tait in Emmerdale.

 She began her tell-all tales of the high rating soap Falcon Bay set off the idyllic coast of Jersey in Ruthless Women and she now continues the tales of skulduggery, sex, bitchiness and revenge in the follow up Guilty Women.  Jake Monroe, arch plotter and all-around bad – no make that universally loathed Director – is back.  And our coterie of go-getting women has been outplotted.

I think I must have read and loved every bonkbuster going over the years – from Jilly Cooper, through to Jackie Collins (proud boast – had tea with her at The Ritz!) Arthur Hailey (remember Hotel ?) and onto the Bagshaws – Tilly and Louise.   I’m thrilled to say that Melanie Blake has outbonked the lot of them – and I can’t wait for the third in the trilogy.

One Good Thing by Alexandra Potter (MacMillan)

This is such a lovely novel.  The latest from this author whose paperback Confessions of a Forty Something F*** Up is now being optioned for television.

Liv is just divorced from David, who she thought was the love of her life and she just knew she couldn’t live without him (and haven’t we all been there – no?  just me then).

She leaves everything behind to move to the wilds of Yorkshire to the little village where she grew up having fallen for a dilapidated cottage that needs a complete overhaul.  So far, so familiar.

But out on an impulse walk, she waves to an old man peeping out of his window, pops a £20 note in the collection box of a teenage girl, and squats down to say hello to a little boy looking lonely behind his garden gate.

This is a wonderfully heartwarming tale of friendship between the ages, of lonely people too scared to return to the living, and of a magic dog who somehow makes everything better.  A glorious read.

If you want to read more of Janet Gordon’s book reviews, click HERE.