Some books look so attractive on the shelf that occasionally a bizarre reverse psychology comes into play and I refuse to succumb, even given a persuasive blurb. This will all sound very confusing to those who know me as Mrs Easily-Persuaded-By-The-Cover but something makes me dig my heels in and I think no it can't possibly look that good and be a good read into the bargain.
So even with a lovely dust-jacket concealing an even lovelier paperback cover I have replaced The Seventh Gate by Richard Zimler on many many occasions; even finding it in our local bijou W.H.Smith's wasn't enough to convince me.
I'm sure I've told you before, our local WHS is very bijou if not bijouette and regularly undergoes complete make-overs.I rarely, if ever buy books in there.
Recently someone has obviously been in to inspect and pointed out that there was a vast amount of high air space going to waste, consequently you suddenly needed crampons and ropes to reach the top shelves.
You see the staff permanently wandering round in pairs, roped up and those little chalk bags to hand as they work out who's going to do the lead climb, clutching store plans from head office.
It's a full time job in WHS I reckon.
To be honest you'd be lucky to find anything on the shelves, it's all on the floor or being wheeled to its next destination.
All this is regularly put to the test by a very fiesty, electric wheelchair-bound stalwart of the town.
We're not talking ordinary electric wheelchair.This one is souped up with a turbo-charged engine, racing wheels, spoilers, deluxe fixtures and fittings on all sides, panniers, kitchen sinks you name it, so it's a spectator sport to be in WHS on the day that they assume pole position at the door, wait for the three lights to go green and proceed to test access for the disabled.
Card displays now the height of Everest tumble down in the slipstream and frantic shop assistants look on helplessly.Perhaps this is why the books have all been moved from front of store to rear of store and the first target, as our very own Sterling Moss drives in, is now notepads and pencils, so there is early but inexpensive collateral damage.
The book selection is never quite up to the standard of Daunts so to find The Seventh Gate in there was quite a surprise but still I didn't fall for it. That book finally ambushed me in the Marylebone High Street Oxfam shop and of course halfway through now I'm kicking myself for waiting so long to buy it.
If you enjoyed The Book Thief by Markus Zusak then you may possibly see vague similarities with this one, pre-war Berlin through the all-seeing eyes of teenagers.
That's the only similarity now I come to think of it, so perhaps it's a bit more like Stones From the River by Ursula Hegi because there are a few dwarves in it, but then that's the only similarity there too.
No, it's a unique book and if you love an involving saga of wartime Jewish reading offering complete immersion in a lovely broth of plot and character with a flowing narrative thickened with a mix of history and intrigue then look no further.
I'm 200 pages in and slurping up every word (still time for it to go all consomme on me, we'll see) and am bracing myself for the Nazi backlash but am completely besotted with the look and feel of the book which all tells me I really should just follow my instincts in the first place and that would have spared you this entire post and its potage of mixed metaphors.