I love book clubs because it gives you the chance to read things which might not, ordinarily, be something you’d pick up – sometimes you’ll like it, sometimes you’ll love it and sometime you won’t be so sure. But one thing you can be sure of is that you’ve discovered a new book and even if it wasn’t the type of book you already go for there’s a good chance you’ll be able to enjoy it!
‘Above All Things’ by Tanis Rideout is a perfect example of a book that I wouldn’t have read otherwise – It’s not the type of story I would normally be drawn to but I got stuck right in as I tend to like most books, regardless of the genre (even if I do still have favourites!).
Part romance, part adventure and part history, this book looks at two people who’re very much in love but always seem to be kept apart. That is, it tells of George Mallory who, in 1924, tried to be the first man to reach the top of Everest after several failed attempts, and it also tells us about his wife, Ruth, and her life back home, waiting for him to return.
The story works rather well, splitting between focusing on the two different sides to the story; you see the contrast between the slow, simplicity of Ruth’s day (which is sometimes interrupted with turbulence) whilst she waits for news of George’s return and then the slow, complexity of George’s adventure up the mountain. As someone who has never much looked in to the past of Everest I decided not to look in to it before reading because, although I had a feeling it was based upon factual events, it meant that I could stay ignorant of the ending (even if I do tend to work out the ending to things anyway).
I don’t read historical books a lot, or romance so I wasn’t sure how I’d find these aspects of the book but they weren’t issues for me and I enjoyed this story quite well. Flashbacks to when Ruth and George met or snippets of their life together help to give more of a back story and let the reader really know who these characters are together, as well as apart.
Having read a little more since finishing the book I know that this story was based upon fact (as I had expected) but that the author decided to base a fiction, around what fact she could unearth about George Mallory and his wise and the combination of the genres two worked really well for this story. A really enjoyable book that’s easy to get in to once you get going and where you’ll really want to know ‘Does he come home this time?’
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