So this month I was back in the library armed with a list of books recommended by bloggers and friends. The first one actually appears on several lists I have made over the years, so I was pretty excited to get my hands on a copy.
Amy Bloom- White Houses– This is a novel not a biography, but concerns Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of Franklin and a reporter called Lorena Hickok, and the secret love between Eleanor and “Hick”. I found it interesting, and always a good sign I find when I break off to google everyone. The blurb on the back calls this A great American novel. Not sure I agree. I found it a bit muddly the way the narrative jumps back and forth across time, and trying to recall who was in favour or out of favour at any time. I’d have liked to know much more about Hick’s journalism as she reported on the American dust bowl , a subject that fascinates me, but maybe I need to find a different book for that. If lesbian love affairs or presidents interest you, then this could be the novel for you.
Tom Rob Smith – The Farm– Huge thanks to anyone who recommended this one. I loved it. It’s a crime story with a difference, no detectives, no blood and gore. Daniel’s father tells him his Mother is not well and is accusing people of all sorts, including him. His mother tells him not to believe anything his Father says, she needs to tell the police, he must believe and help her. Daniel is torn between them, he loves them both dearly, but has his own secret too. The plot is skilfully drawn, the characters believable. One cold weekend I stayed home and just read.
Janice Hadlow- The Other Bennet Sister-Well, WOW. Thank you to everyone who made me aware of this book. I absolutely loved it. And that’s despite the cover. Last month I had an indifferent book with a great cover, this month a cover which would have had me running away, thoughts of drippy badly written romance…
Totally wrong first impression.
Briefly it concerns Mary Bennet, the seemingly pretentious, untalented, rather plain middle daughter in Pride and Prejudice. Now I am generally not a fan of authors who retell, or alter the works of others, but this is the exception. It’s a big book, over 600 pages, perfect holiday reading length. The first third retells the story of P&P from Mary’s perspective . The author has the right pace, style and language to make this part entirely credible. The middle section moves Mary between her relatives, and gaining self awareness. The final section, well I am saying nothing for fear of spoiling it. I loved it. Chores just had to wait whilst I read.
Victoria Hislop- The Island– A friend recommended this one on Facebook and all the comments on his post sang it’s praises. The plot- Alexis is interested to discover more about her mother’s childhood in Crete whilst she is holidaying there. Her mother gives her a letter of introduction to an old family friend on the island and tells her she will tell the story. Alexis arrives in Plaka, Crete and discovers it’s a stone’s throw from a tiny island which used to be Greece’s former leper colony. What unfolds is a story of love, loss , passion and reconciliation.
The front cover describes the book as A beach book with a heart. It was an interesting story , a tad too long maybe. Not sure I’d want to read about leper colonies on holiday though. I have read this author before and as with the previous book I felt she just missed the mark with historical accuracy. The problem I have is my greek mother in law used to tell me about her childhood and the war years , and her personal recollections don’t quite collaborate the novel. Plus my sil once approached the author at a book reading and started to mention her mother. The author was very abrupt to the point of rudeness and shut down the conversation immediately.
It was a Richard and Judy Summer Read winner, and it was pretty good. If I ever go to Crete again I would visit Spinalonga, which is no longer a leper colony but a tourist destination!!
Richard Osman- The Man Who Died Twice– The Thursday Book Club are back and sleuthing again. The plot is suitably improbable and the writing deceptively simple, but it is laugh out loud funny. Highly enjoyable. Probably not a good idea to read in public for fear of the odd snort and chuckle you will emit.
So that is my month of reading library books as recommended by others. If you had mentioned these books as good reads then thank you very much.
I am half way through one which will appear in next month’s round up. I have one book en route to me at the library which I might have to renew so I can read it in May, because April is designated as a month in which I shall tackle the TBR heap, formerly located on the bedroom floor but now moved to a stool on the landing. And rather foolishly I bought another book whilst in Bath to add to the pile, having already checked that the library didn’t have a copy.
I hestitate to ask for fear of adding to my must read list but have you read any good books recently?