A year of marvellous ways- Sarah Winman

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This is one of those books that I found myself enjoying-despite myself. That’s because at times it felt like you could see that the author was trying too hard to write a whimsical story. That she was pushing the magical realism a little too hard, and at times the plot is perfectly predictable.

At the same time, it was a charming read. That’s why I enjoyed it despite myself, because even though I could see through all the literary ploys, I allowed myself to be captivated at castaway with the gypsy, Marvellous, who nurses a spiritually-broken soldier back to physical and mental health.

Set in Cornwall just after the Second World War, this is the history of Marvellous Ways, a gypsy whose mother, she believes was a mermaid, and Francis Drake, a shunned lover and fatherless soldier who’s been left broken by life.

It’s a sweet and easy read, worth it if you want a story that you’ll enjoy, but through which you don’t have to think too much. I paired this with the equally sweet and charming Altydgedacht Pinotage.

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Wool- Hugh Howey


Honestly, Wool wasn’t something I needed in my life. It gave me nightmares, and at a time when I already feel like the world is on edge: the global droughts, racism rife, refugees, terrorism, and need I say, Donald Trump, the reality that high Howey paints in this latest dystopian novel hit a little too close to home.

That said, it was a great ride. There were enough twists to satisfy the definition of dystopian, but the ending was also satisfying enough that I feel no compunction to read the rest of the series (and I have no intention to).

The story is about Jules, someone who has greatness thrust upon her in a world where human beings only exist below ground, sheltered from the toxic wasteland that planet earth has become. I don’t want to give too much of the plot away, but if you enjoy young adult fiction it’s a good read, but don’t expect the Hunger Games.

I paired this with the Heme,-en-Aarde Vine Garden, a Chardonnay-type white blend, sweet and memorable but poisonous if you drink too much.