In brief: The Cure for Good Intentions; Widowland; The Moth and the Mountain – reviews

An eye-opening memoir of leaving journalism for medicine; a gripping counterfactual novel about 1950s Britain; and the moving story of a daring attempt to climb Everest

The Cure for Good Intentions

Sophie Harrison
Fleet, £16.99, pp271

Switching career from editor to doctor is rare, but as Sophie Harrison says in her memoir, there are a surprising number of skills that can be used in both professions. Each requires an extraordinary focus on detail, an interest in people and a dark sense of humour. Yet only doctors make the life-or-death decisions that Harrison recounts grippingly and affectingly here. The medical profession has seldom been more prominent than it is now and this fine book brings its day-to-day struggles to life.


CJ Carey
Quercus, £14.99, pp435

CJ Carey’s novel follows Robert Harris’s Fatherland and CJ Sansom’s Dominion in its depiction of a Nazified 1950s Britain, but its thrilling storyline remains fresh. Its protagonist, Rose Ransom, works at the Orwellian Ministry of Culture under the auspices of the sinister “protector”, Alfred Rosenberg, repurposing literature for the country’s new ends. Yet she finds herself drawn to the mysterious Widowland, a slum district for unmarried, middle-aged women who may be able to incite revolution. Revelatory, page-turning reading.

The Moth and the Mountain

Ed Caesar
Penguin, £10.99, pp259 (paperback)

The adventurer Maurice Wilson was a forgotten figure until Ed Caesar’s brilliantly written and superbly researched book restored him to his rightful place in the annals of exploration. Wilson conceived an idea of flying a Gypsy Moth to Everest, crash-landing his plane and then making a solo trek to the summit. That he could neither fly nor climb were merely surmountable obstacles. Caesar’s book received enormous praise on publication last year and rightly so. This splendid tale is every bit as exciting as any adventure novel and, ultimately, deeply moving.

• To order The Cure for Good Intentions, Widowland or The Moth and the Mountain go to Delivery charges may apply


Alexander Larman

The GuardianTramp

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