Bookworms in Lockdown

  • We have continued with our reading programme over the last four months but, with libraries shut, members have been purchasing books online or using ebooks, either purchasing them or borrowing them from the library. I’ve just had a response back from one of the members to say that she has used the library for ebooks. Group members chose not to meet virtually by Zoom sessions but have shared their book reviews with each other by email. As lock down eases we are hoping that it might be possible to have a socially distanced meeting in a garden; weather permitting.


    So what have we been reading?

    In April we read The Sealwoman’s Gift by Sally Magnusson (daughter of Magnus). It’s a novel about the power of story telling to help us survive trauma and is based on historic events. In 1627, Barbary pirates raided the coast of Iceland, abducting 400 of its people, including a pastor (whose account of the events is the source material), his wife and children. The book opens with the harsh reality for Icelanders of living through a dark and bitterly cold winter; we then witness the brutality of the abduction and travel with them on the hazardous journey to Algiers where they are enslaved. The focus remains on the wife of the pastor and the difficult decisions she faces, whilst her husband is allowed to travel back to Denmark to negotiate a ransom for their freedom. Very atmospheric.

    A very different time and place for May when the selection was Mrs Palfrey at The Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor (no, not that one!). Set in 1960s London, Mrs Palfreyman moves to lives at The Claremont Hotel in London after the death of her husband. There she meets the other long term residents who are curious to know more about her. Following a fall in the street, she becomes acquainted with a young writer and they indulge in a secret which is beneficial to them both. The novel is a poignant portrait of ageing but with a light and witty touch.

    In June we returned to the 17th century but remained in London with The Ashes of London by Andrew Taylor. Set at the time of the Great Fire, this is a murder mystery but based around some historical figures who were involved in a plot to overthrow the newly restored Charles II. A page turner which is interesting for period detail but perhaps lost its way as a ‘who done it’.

    Currently we are reading Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver which is set in two time periods; 1871 and 2015. It follows the lives of the two families living in the same house in Vineland New Jersey which was established in the 1860s as a utopian community. Both families are experiencing problems with the state of repair of the property and the issues of the day are expressed through many of the key characters. We are yet to share our thoughts on this book.

    So, if anyone would like to join our online group or share ideas of books they have read and enjoyed during lock down then please get in touch.

    Helen Nicholls


Book Group 2

  • The group, known as Bookworms, meets to discuss the current book of their choice. Each month a book is read from a selection suggested by group members. All the books are available from the library and members make their own arrangements to obtain the book each month.

  •  We would welcome new members to our group, your choices would add to the variety of books to read and the discussions which follow. 

  • The group meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 2 pm in members’ homes.

Convenor: Helen Nicholls 


Phone: 07986 797228