Bookcase: Reviews of Animal by Lisa Taddeo and Sunset by Jessie Cave - The Evesham Observer

Bookcase: Reviews of Animal by Lisa Taddeo and Sunset by Jessie Cave

Evesham Editorial 5th Jul, 2021   0

THIS week’s bookcase includes reviews of Animal by Lisa Taddeo and Sunset by Jessie Cave.

If bad weather has washed away your social plans, why not curl up with a new book…


1. Sunset by Jessie Cave is published in hardback by Welbeck, priced £12.99 (ebook £13.33). Available now

Every summer, Hannah and Ruth go on a budget holiday together and, like many sisters, the pair are complete opposites.

Sunset by Jessie Cave. Picture by Welbeck/PA.

Then a freak accident changes everything between them. Heavily influenced by the death of Jessie Cave’s brother and her relationship with her sister, Sunset is a powerful insight into the deep and complex bonds between siblings.

The conversational and casual style of writing is a striking contrast with the gut-wrenching emotions being played out.

Heart-achingly beautiful, both warm and littered with observational humour, it is a stunning debut about the raw and destructive power of grief.


(Review by Megan Baynes)

2. Animal by Lisa Taddeo is published in hardback by Bloomsbury Circus, priced £16.99 (ebook £11.89). Available now

Animal is far from an easy read.

Animal by Lisa Taddeo. Picture by Bloomsbury Circus/PA.

Lisa Taddeo’s fictional debut – an incredibly dark tale of sexual abuse, grief, and survival – is full of descriptions and observations that can, all of a sudden, feel almost painfully vivid, and are not for the faint-hearted.

The writer – who many will know for her non-fiction hit Three Women – captures emotions and sensations in a way that makes you feel like she’s stepped inside your head.

The disturbing protagonist Joan, plus the complex tone of this book, are bound to divide readers, but there’s no denying Taddeo knows how to deliver an impactful book – and it’s one many will not be able to get enough of.


(Review by Georgia Humphreys)


3. Seven Ways To Change The World by Gordon Brown is published in hardback by Simon & Schuster, priced £25 (ebook £9.99). Available now

If Gordon Brown remains haunted by the global economic meltdown which punched through his brief reign as UK prime minister, it has not quelled his desire to change the world.

Seven Ways To Change The World by Gordon Brown. Picture: Simon & Schuster/PA.

Since his premiership ended, Brown – now 70 – has continued his mission to tackle the pressing problems the world faces, particularly in his position as a United Nations Special Envoy.

Seven Ways To Change The World is a manifesto; Brown rails against the resurgence of nationalism and isolationism, poor pandemic planning, inequality across society and the proliferation of nuclear arms.

The key to each of his compelling arguments is the importance of international cooperation – but perhaps he is too quick to overlook the human foibles of tribalism and self-interest, which have prevented these otherwise credible utopian visions from properly manifesting for centuries.


(Review by James Cann)

Children’s book of the week

4. The Woolly Bear Caterpillar by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Yuval Zommer, is published in hardback by Macmillan Children’s Books, priced £12.99 (ebook available March 17 2022). Available now

Julia Donaldson is loved for The Gruffalo, and here she has joined forces with illustrator Yuval Zommer (of the Big Book Of… series) to create a spin on the Ugly Duckling tale.

The Woolly Bear Caterpillar by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Yuval Zommer. Picture: Macmillan Children’s Books/PA.

The woolly bear caterpillar is brown, hairy and perfectly content eating dandelion leaves, until a gardener pulls up all the weeds and she has to look for more.

She meets a trio of gorgeously colourful caterpillars, and they all expect her to become a dowdy moth – but they are in for a surprise when her cocoon hatches.

Gentle lessons in habitat destruction, self-acceptance and snobbery linger under the beautiful, fairy-like illustrations that will enchant three to five year olds.

It even comes with a mini non-fiction book full of facts about caterpillars and moths in the real world, to encourage further learning.


(Review by Natalie Bowen)



1. Sunset by Jessie Cave

2. Animal by Lisa Taddeo

3. Klara And The Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

4. Sorrow And Bliss by Meg Mason

5. Yours Cheerfully by AJ Pearce

6. The Missing Sister by Lucinda Riley

7. Falling by T. J. Newman

8. Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

9. The Passenger by Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz

10. Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid


1. Joe’s Family Food by Joe Wicks

2. The Boy, The Mole, The Fox And The Horse by Charlie Mackesy

3. The Power Of Geography by Tim Marshall

4. Operation Pedestal by Max Hastings

5. Why We Kneel How We Rise by Michael Holding

6. The Anglo-Saxons by Marc Morris

7. Women Don’t Owe You Pretty by Florence Give

8. Ancestors by Alice Roberts

9. Linda McCartney’s Family Kitchen by Linda, Paul, Mary & Stella McCartney

10. Tornado by John Nichol

(Compiled by Waterstones)


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