September Book Review

This month’s review is by Catherine Adde


By Ian McEwan

Stokesay Court is the name of a grand country house in England, and the subject of my Master’s thesis: a marketing plan for Caroline Magnus, who inherited the estate. The plan’s recommendation focused on attracting lucrative offers from location managers and movie companies to utilize the historic house as a film set. A few years went by, and I ‘googled’ Stokesay Court, discovering that Atonement was being made into a movie starring Keira Knightly. Happy that the owner used this avenue for funding the projects to renovate the house and gardens, I felt compelled and obliged to read this satisfying story, available in our Library.

The gentried Tallis family lives in the countryside in England at the onset of World War II. Young Briony Tallis witnesses a crime, then commits a terrible one herself, thus condemning an innocent man to prison. The author’s richly drawn characters, with intimate and complicated relationships; the Great War, with a backdrop of hiding in France; military hospitals in Britain; and the chain of events led from the family’s actions on one summer day, make for an enthralling read. Considered Ian McEwan’s finest work, it leads one to ponder deeply: love, war, shame, forgiveness, and the meaning of atonement. I also felt the movie did the book justice. Enjoy!


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