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24 Oct 2019 Daily Mail Online

THE MUSEUM OF LOST LOVE by Gary Barker (World Editions £11.99, 216 pp)


by Gary Barker (World Editions £11.99, 216 pp)

This haunting novel centres around moving exhibits in the Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb — a real place.

Tyler is an Afghanistan veteran in trauma counselling for his war experiences. Adopted Brazilian-American Katia is his therapist, also delving into the blood-soaked history of her biological family.

Goran, a Serbian native of Sarajevo whose family fled to Chicago when he was 14, is Katia’s boyfriend. Goran adores her, but has never been able to stop thinking about the magical two days he spent with a girl in the refugee camp before he left.

On holiday in Croatia, Goran and Katia wander in to the museum — and see a letter from the girl he left behind. The past interrupts all their presents, forcing them to understand where they came from in order to work out who they are now. Wonderful.


SO LUCKY by Dawn O’Porter (HarperCollins £14.99, 400 pp)


by Dawn O’Porter (HarperCollins £14.99, 400 pp)

I loved O’Porter’s last novel, The Cows, and this latest one is equally thought-provoking.

Here, she examines the role social media plays in anxiety and low self-esteem and how images of seemingly perfect lives can hide a smorgasbord of sadness.

The three protagonists demonstrate that in different ways. From the outside looking in, Beth seems to have the perfect marriage. What no one knows is that her husband recoils from her every time she tries to initiate intimacy. Meanwhile, Ruby is so ashamed of her health condition she pushes away everyone, including her daughter.

And Lauren appears to be living the dream with her famous, uber-wealthy fiance, but is actually suicidal with no self-belief. These beautifully drawn characters espouse the idea that you shouldn’t judge any book by its cover.


CHRISTMAS SHOPAHOLIC by Sophie Kinsella (Bantam Press £20, 384 pp)

by Sophie Kinsella (Bantam Press £20, 384 pp)

Becky Brandon, nee Bloomwood, everyone’s favourite shopaholic, is back with a festive bang. Now that she’s moved to the countryside, Becky’s out-of-control shopping habits are mostly online, but she still manages the odd chaotic spree around Harvey Nichols.

All our old favourites are here, but things have moved on for them, too. Mum and Dad have relocated to trendy Shoreditch and fully embraced espresso martinis and circus skills workshops. Sister Jess is a militant vegan. Minimalistic husband Luke remains much the same — except for the offensive moustache he is growing for charity.

However, this is the first year that Becky will be hosting Christmas and, with all the relentless, conflicting demands from others, it’s not long before she is in full-on panic mode. Hilarious.

To buy any book reviewed here (P&P is free), visit www.mailshop. or call 01603 648155 

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