31 December 2010

Review: Gentlemen and Players: A Novel - Joanne Harris

This novel by Joanne Harris centres around St Oswald's Grammar School for Boys, which in itself becomes a central character in the early stages of the book. The school is rich in history and tradition, avoiding any kind of scandal and ensuring any mishap is kept from the local press. Order must be maintained at all costs.

The book shifts narrators from Mr Straightley, Classics teacher who is one of the longest serving professors on staff, and a mysterious new member of staff motivated by deep revenge and set on destroying the school from the very foundations.

Gentlemen and Players was published in 2005, six years after her very successful novel Chocolat, and was nominated for the Edgar Awards. I don't want to give away any more of the plot as there is a massive twist towards the end of the book that caught me completely by surprise. I thought I knew which member of staff was the impostor, but I was pleasantly surprised by the ending. The impostor has a dark character and years of hurt and torment, and a cleverly plotted method of revenge.

I enjoyed reading about this character in their younger years, and found myself cheering for Mr Straightley, the sharp -witted, Latin speaking Professor who tries to get to the truth of the sudden decline of his beloved school.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and would recommend it to all those who enjoy a thriller and a twist!

My rating = ****

Carpe Librum!

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