Thursday, September 16, 2010

BBAW Day 4: Forgotten Treasures

Helen Dunmore is an author whose books I have enjoyed for years and I believe her books are treasures worth reading!

I read a few books by Helen Dunmore before I became a book blogger and one book, Talking to the Dead, since I started blogging. An English author, Helen Dunmore is a prolific writer who has published adult fiction, short stories, children's fiction and poetry. Several of her novels are considered psychological thrillers and would be a great choice for the R.I.P. Challenge!

The first novel I read by Helen Dunmore was The Siege (2001).- Short listed for the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award and short listed for the Orange Prize (2002) - I read this book many years ago but it stuck with me for a long time and I've been thinking about reading it again.

The Siege of Leningrad was one of the key events of the twentieth century. In 1941, Hitler’s armies encircled Leningrad, confidently expecting to crush any resistance and enter the city. But Leningrad held out, in spite of almost unbelievable suffering. This novel focuses on the Levin family and their friends, trapped inside the besieged city. It’s a brilliantly imagined novel about war as experienced by ordinary people, and a profoundly moving celebration of love, life and survival.

I was amazed by this novel. A family struggling to survive during the war but most concerned about the youngest among them, 5-year old Kolya and making sure he lives through the war. The family scenes are juxtaposed against scenes from the war and the ravaging of St. Petersburg by the Nazis.
I found a great reviewof The Seige in

Your Blue-Eyed Boy is the second novel I read by Helen Dunmore. This is a psychological thriller that is beautifully-written and intense. I had difficulty putting it down once I started reading!

‘Blackmail doesn’t work the way I always thought it would, if I ever gave it a thought. It doesn’t smash through the clean pane of a life like a stone through a window. It’s always an inside job, the most intimate of crimes.’

Simone is thirty-eight, a district judge whose husband Donald is on the verge of bankruptcy and breakdown. Each morning she leaves him with their two small boys while she drives to court to assess evidence and pass judgment. In her public, professional life she must make sense of things that really don’t make sense at all. In her private life she struggles to control chaos and mounting debt. One morning a letter arrives addressed to Simone and postmarked New York. Someone she has tried to forget has not forgotten her. Simone’s private history is about to collide with her public world.

Your Blue-eyed Boy is a compelling and passionate psychological thriller. Set in a remote marsh landscape that haunts the imagination, it explore the history which shape us no matter how hard we try to conceal it, weaving together crime, judgment, desire and loss.

Talking to the Dead is the most recent of Helen Dunmore's books that I've read and I also reviewed it for my blog(my review). This was my favorite of her books that I've read, so far! I love that this book is about two very different sisters who have a secret from their past but they interpret it in different ways. I preferred one sister to the other...or thought I did! But sometimes nice people can become passionate and obsessive about another person and turn dark and strange. I was fascinated by how Helen Dunmore took this mysterious, suspenseful story and wrote it in beautiful and lyrical prose thereby further heightening the terrifying aspect of the story.

I highly recommend Helen Dunmore's novels and am providing the link for her web site,
Helen Dunmore which includes extensive information about her work. I used her website for much of the information provided here!


  1. Wow. Well, obviously I've missed the boat on her. I am enthralled (obsessed?) with the story of the seige of Leningrad. I love that period in history. But all her books sound good, and so different.

  2. I'm adding her to my "must try" author list! Thanks for the suggestion.

  3. I've never read any of her writings, but she's now on my list!

  4. Haven't tried any of her books either. Thanks for the suggestions.

  5. I had just added The Siege to my wish list. Now I'm just going to have to add Dunmore to the list!

  6. Thank you for introducing me to a new author-these are going on to my wish list.

  7. I've not read anything by her ... but you made an excellent case for reading her books. Well done!

  8. I absolutely have to read The Siege. Thanks for the recommendation! I'm definitely glad to have discovered your blog. ;)

  9. Wow, she seems like a great author! I've added all of these to my TBR list.

  10. Sounds like an author I need to know more about. I'm fully convinced I need to read something of hers after reading your post!

  11. These are all new to me - thanks for the recommendations!