The Night Watch, Sarah Waters
You can’t be let down by a Sarah Waters book, can you?
The best part of this novel is the use of time: set in three parts the book works backwards through 1947, 1944 and 1941. I can’t think of another book I’ve read that manages to do this so successfully – I was completely hooked on finding out why characters acted the way they did, and what secrets their pasts contained.
The war time setting is executed perfectly: you get a very vivid sense of what the raids and fire storms were like for the people living in London at the time. There is also a medical scene I read during my lunch break at work that made me feel like I was going to faint because it was so realistically written. I also enjoyed the focus on women’s roles during WWII – there is a real mix of jobs and relationships beyond the surface.
I loved the characters, their stories mingled together in a way that didn’t seemed really natural, the affairs were brilliant… After a slightly slow start this turned out to be a great book.