Thanks to Mrs W., host of cardigangirlverity.blogspot.com
I was persuaded to try reading the Orange Prize long list last year. I enjoyed myself so much, trying books I would never otherwise have come across, that I took very little persuading to have another go this year.
Here's the first one I tried, "Gillespie & I" by Jane Harris. My copy came courtesy of a lend from the generous Mrs W.
"As she sits in her Bloomsbury home, with her two birds for company, elderly Harriet Baxter sets out to relate the story of her acquaintance, over four decades previously, with Ned Gillespie, a talented artist who never achieved the fame that she maintains he deserved.
Back in 1888, the young, art-loving Harriet arrives in Glasgow at the time of the International Exhibition. After a chance encounter, she befriends the Gillespie family and soon becomes a fixture in all of their lives. But when tragedy strikes - leading to a notorious criminal trial - the promise and certainties of this world all too rapidly disintegrate into mystery and deception."
I have to agree with other reviewers who have said that it is almost impossible to review this book without spoiling it; any discussion of the plot line in too much detail would give away the clever twists & surprises. Suffice to say that you will think you have worked out what's going on only to discover that you have been beautifully hoodwinked & that one person's take on events is not that of others. The book is a great read, a real page turner, & I enjoyed it immensely.