Under the Reader’s Radar – celebrating the quiet novel

There are thousands upon thousands of books published each year. Only a small percentage of those make it to the best-seller list. That doesn’t mean that the rest aren’t worthy of reading. It may be that they are written by self-published authors who don’t have the marketing knowledge or a small independent publisher who doesn’t have the marketing budget to spread the word. Even the larger publishing houses have a limited marketing and publicity budget so can’t promote all the novels they publish to an equal degree.

I’m part of a wonderful online community called Book Connectors where bloggers, reviewers and authors can discuss all things book related. During one of the threads there was mention of ‘quiet’ books, the ones that miss out on the big publicity push. It was agreed that it was such a shame that certain books weren’t as widely read, as the reading public were missing out on hidden gems. So that sparked a germ of an idea and I decided to do a series of posts highlight titles that myself and other bloggers and authors feel may have gone under the reader’s radar. (That was the working title for this series of posts and as inspiration hasn’t struck me with anything better, its the one I’m going with for now).

So in each post I’ll aim to highlight a couple of titles that may have been missed from your reading awareness. Hopefully you’ll discover a treat or two. And please do let me know if you have any books you’d like to suggest.

The first book this week is chosen by Laura Purcell. Laura’s latest novel The Silent Companions, was published by Bloomsbury Raven on 8 October 2017. She has chosen The House of Sight and Shadow by Nicholas Griffin, published by Abacus.

Against the window a pale hand, a gentle wave that was not a wave at all. A distant female face veiled by the sweep of a curtain. Then stillness. Bendix remained transfixed for a full minute. It was most certainly a woman’

Early eighteenth-century London, and two doctors are criss-crossing the boundaries of morality in the heady pursuit of scientific progress. It is a challenge that leads Sir Edmund Calcraft, an eminent and notorious anatomist, and Joseph Bendix, his young ambitious student, into playing a dark game with the lawless side of London. But Bendix’s growing passion for a woman he first glimpses in Calcraft’s house threatens to end their mutual quest. From gallows to mad houses, from anatomical laboratories to frost fairs set on the frozen Thames, the two men begin to compete in both head and heart…

Mixing history, myth, medicine and fiction, THE HOUSE OF SIGHT AND SHADOW is a compelling tale about ambition, deception and the vulnerability of love.

Here’s what she had to say:

“Years ago, I picked up a book called THE HOUSE OF SIGHT AND SHADOW in a second hand store and was completely engrossed by it. The author Nicholas Griffin weaves a very dark tale of medical history and complex relationships. I rarely meet anyone else who has read it, so I will give it a shout out here.”

The second suggestion today comes from Winnie M Li. Winnie’s debut novel, Dark Chapter was published by Legend Press on 1 June 2017 in hardback and in paperback on 1 November 2017 and is shortlisted for the 2017 Not the Booker prize. Winnie has chosen The Shore by Sara Taylor, published by Windmill.

The Shore. A collection of small islands sticking out from the coast of Virginia into the Atlantic Ocean that has been home to generations of fierce and resilient women. Sanctuary to some but nightmare to others, it’s a place they’ve inhabited, fled, and returned to for hundreds of years.

The women are united by both small miracles and miseries: from a brave girl’s determination to protect her younger sister as methamphetamine ravages their family, to a lesson in summoning storm clouds to help end a drought. Their interconnected stories form a deeply affecting legacy of two island families bound not just by blood, but by fate.

Read more on the Penguin website.

Here’s what she had to say:

“I thought it was written with such skill and original vision.  She tells the story of two families living on an island off the coast of Virginia, over the course of three centuries — from the 19th century and stretching into a dystopian future. Each chapter focuses on a different character from the family tree, and there’s such agility in her storytelling perspectives, while also covering some challenging themes of gender-based violence and our relationship with nature, with a hint of the supernatural.”

So there we have it, two more books to add to the toppling TBR. I have in fact already got a copy of The Shore sat patiently to be read on my bookcase. I’ll have to make time for it soon.

Have you read any of these suggestions? Do you have a quiet novel you want to shout about? Let me know.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. I loved The Shore. Such a clever structure and a brave one for a first novel but Sara Taylor pulled it off beautifully.


    1. janetemson says:

      I started to read it and was enjoying it but had to stop for some reason. I need to pick it up again.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. overtherainbowbookblog says:

    Fab post Hun have added books to my list 🙂


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