Adam Mars-Jones’s Box Hill revved up reviewers this weekend. The Sunday Times’ Alex Nurnberg called the novel “measured”, “thoughtful” and “oddly pure”. Nurnberg gave the author high praise: “Adam Mars-Jones has never needed to write at great length to convince readers of his talent.” At the Observer, Anthony Cummins said: “our interest in the book’s twisted romance lies, instead, in how it raises intractable questions about the essential mystery of attachment between consenting adults.” Max Lui called the novel “clever and subtle” in the Financial Times, whilst at the Spectator Houman Barekat praised the “endearing anti-glamour” of Mars-Jones’s novel.
Rachel Johnson’s Rake’s Progress: My Political Midlife Crisis made campaign-worthy headlines as an Observer Book of the Week, with Gaby Hinsliff calling the book “sheer gossipy joy, the perfect escape from a fug of coronavirus anxiety”. Hinsliff went on to say that “there is something gloriously refreshing about an account of political failure in which nobody is trying to excuse or hide the buttock-clenching awfulness of it.” Rosemund Irwin at the Sunday Times similarly praised the author's unabashed account: “There is a lot of fun here, though, largely because Rachel is not worried about causing offence. An unembarrassable oversharer, she seems determined to make others blush.” Patrick Kidd at the Times said: "Rachel Johnson’s disastrous attempt at politics becomes an entertaining memoir”.
Archie Brown’s The Human Factor was a leader with this weekend's reviewers. At the Sunday Times, Dominic Sandbrook gave it high praise: “everybody will learn something from this first-class book.” In the Financial Times, Tony Barber raved about Brown’s focus on soft power and “challenging the idea of victory for military alone” calling it “a lesson that needs relearning for the 21st Century.” Rodric Braithwaite called the work “lucidly written and scholarly” in the Spectator. Whilst at the Literary Review, Christopher Coker said “it is often a challenge for historians to find the right balance between the human factor and the historical forces at play” but commends Brown for doing precisely that.
Tamsin Hackett, Books Co-ordinator, The Bookseller