Book Review: The Afterlives of Doctor Gachet by Sam Meekings

Author: Sam Meekings
Release Date: 1st August 2018
Genre: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 290
Publisher: Eyewear Publishing
Blurb:
Who is that mournful man in the painting? THE AFTERLIVES OF DOCTOR GACHET tells the story of Paul Ferdinand Gachet, the subject of one of Vincent van Gogh’s most famous portraits: one that shows what the artist called “the heartbroken expression of our times.” But what caused such heartbreak? This thrilling historical novel follows Doctor Gachet from asylums to art galleries, from the bloody siege of Paris to life with van Gogh in Auvers, and from the bunkers of Nazi Germany to a reclusive billionaire in Tokyo, to uncover the secrets behind that grief-stricken smile.

REVIEW

★★★★

“I know some people argue that our lives are predicated on the quirks of our genes, that our destiny is inscribed in the code of our DNA. On the other hand, it is only when we are tested in the outside world that all the possibility bristling within us is whittled down and we really take shape.”

The Afterlives Of Doctor Gachet by Sam Meekings is a very delightful and a pretty compelling historical read with a powerful, well-written and brilliantly executed storyline. This book was such a good break from all the contemporary fiction I read. The plot was very unique, fresh and pretty captivating. I enjoyed reading this book a lot because I truly enjoyed reading each and every single sentence of this book (which is very rare  for me.) The writing was beautiful and the author’s style was pretty impressive. I guess I can say without a speck of doubt, and as rare as it may be, that in this book the writing was the best part.

I loved the characterization and character development in every chapter. I also appreciated the side-story of which was given in alternating chapters; it kept the story from being monotonous and made it very interesting.

I’d recommend this book to all historical-fiction readers and to anyone who is looking to take a break from their usual choice of books and might want to explore something refreshing and brilliant. Also, I’m sure Van Gough enthusiasts and fans would definitely love reading this book and exploring the background of the subject of one of his most talked about pieces.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Madrone by Jack B. Rochester

Author: Jack B. Rochester
Release Date: 15th July 2014
Genre: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction
Series:
Edition: e-book
Pages: 340
Publisher: Wheatmark
Blurb:
The year is 1969. After an interminable four years under the boot of the US military, twenty-four-year-old Nathaniel Hawthorne Flowers is ready for his real life to begin. His plans are straightforward: spend as much time as he can with his girlfriend, Jane, finish college, and become a writer. But when Nate is denied admission to UC Santa Cruz, he decides that a bachelor’s degree isn’t necessarily the path he’s laid out for himself. He can learn about literature on his own, and he’ll have more time to write if he isn’t in school. His choice doesn’t sit well with everybody. Jane’s father asks Nate how he’ll support Jane without a degree. Jane’s mentor offers to pull some strings at SC if Nate agrees to become his student. And when a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity presents itself, even Nate is tempted by the allure of conventionally defined success. Picking up where Wild Blue Yonder left off, Madrone inspires us to consider how far we’ll go to remain true to ourselves.

Review

★★★★★

Madrone by Jack B. Rochester is a beautiful sequel to Wild Blue Yonder, which picks up where the first one left off giving a detailed glimpse into the life of the protagonist, Nathaniel Hawthorne Flowers, after he enters the next phase of his life and explores the world outside of the military.

Just like the previous book by author Rochester, I thoroughly enjoyed this book as well. I’m glad that I got a chance to read the first book so close to this one because the whole story of Nathaniel felt like a nice long movie. The writing was really good and felt apt for such a beautiful story. The characterization was great as instantly I was able to connect to Nathaniel, and was able to relate to him while he went about living his life in a world that was new to him.

The book is based in the 1960’s and the author has done a commendable job in enabling people like me, who never saw that era, to be able to live it through his amazing cast of characters. The settings did not only make the book very interesting but also very enjoyable.

It is a good book with a heart-warming story and exceptional writing to compliment it, sprinkled with a cast of characters that would steal your heart in a blink and I’d recommend it to everyone who loves reading a meticulously constructed story with fully fleshed-out characters.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: The Year Of Oceans by Sean Anderson

Author: Sean Anderson
Release Date: 12th February 2018
Genre: Contemporary Literary Fiction
Series:
Edition: e-book
Pages: 324
Publisher: Riversong Books
Blurb:
Hugo Larson is a retired accountant living in North Seattle. Having recently lost the person most important to him, he attempts to make a life for himself in spite of that gaping absence. While he spends his time swimming, gardening, and accomplishing the mundane tasks of everyday life, he also has several important relationships to manage. Adrian is Hugo’s caring but foolish son, a young man desperately in need of career guidance. Hugo’s brother, Martin, brims with positive energy and a life many would envy: a kind wife, an illustrious teaching career, and a darling granddaughter—but at the implications of retiring. Then there is Paul, a serene next-door neighbor and friend who is haunted by his own loss, who goes on adventures with Hugo through the city. Despite all this, Hugo faces the heaviness of existence, confronts towering questions, embraces and then pushes away those close to him. Through the course of one year, he faces his past, struggles with the present, and questions the future.
What waits for Hugo at the end of that year?

Review

★★★★

The Year Of Oceans by Sean Anderson is a sensitive book about dealing with loss, the overpowering and omnipresent grief that ensues and about individual growth. It was a very likeable read, albeit being on the heavier side of the spectrum.

It was very interesting to read about Hugo, the protagonist, and seeing his journey for an entire year after the loss of his beloved. Many times I found myself feeling a wide spectrum of emotions that the protagonist goes through – sadness, frustration, loneliness, disdain and emptiness. But as the book progresses, the author artfully shows the growth of the main lead in a way that felt very real and relatable.

I loved the writing of the author as it complimented the story well. The story had a good flow to it and I was able to navigate through it easily. I liked the story from start to end, and in spite of an unexpected ending, I felt it was very apt for the book.

The best part about this book, though, was that the subject of death and the grief that one has to cope with afterwards (which is a very tricky one) was handled, to my pleasant surprise, quite skillfully with the much-needed delicateness and subtlety. It was a bit hard for me to read this book as the subject of loss, personally, is agonising for me to handle, but I’m glad that the author respected a person’s sense of loss, in general, and worked gracefully around it, touching on the nerves only as required.

A wonderful book for a debut novel that I’d recommend to everyone and anyone who can handle reading about loss, grief and pain related to a close one’s death.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon