Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!


My last monthly book post for 2022. It’s been a good month for reading again.

I have been meaning to read the first two books for ages; Indeed they are my books and High time I got one with them.

George Simenon- A Maigret Christmas and other stories-Published originally in 1951 when Simenon was living in America, leading me to think that the stories are set earlier than 1951. There are three short stories, one with Maigret tracking a burglar disguised as Father Christmas, one with a missing ten year old boy, and the final concerning an innocent young woman in Paris on Christmas Eve. We loved the very short series Rowan Atkinson made for ITV with him as Maigret, and this led to the purchase of this book. I have been saving it to read at Christmas. The stories are gentle yet compelling. Paris itself is almost one of the characters, with is glamorous facade of theatres, cinemas, restaurants, bars and nightclubs, and its seedy underbelly of rented rooms and down at heel forgotten people. There’s reference to Eastern Europeans, Russians and one hundred thousand North Africans in a shanty town on the banks of the Seine. I have been lucky enough to have visited Paris a couple of times. I have but a fleeting knowledge of the city, but can picture Montmartre, the Bois de Bologna, the Seine etc. I enjoyed the book for its evocation of people and place.

Fannie Flagg-A Redbird Christmas- I found this book a couple of years ago in a charity shop. The author wrote Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, which I love. Oswald Campbell is a sick and sad man living in Chicago with only months to live. He’s advised to move South for his health, and so finds himself in Lost River , Alabama. Here he is gradually drawn into the local community. This has to be a quintessential feel good Christmas book. The writing is fine, the plot just about plausible , and by page two I’d had a laugh out loud moment. Perfect read for December.

Both these books will be donated to a charity shop now. Next it’s onto the pile of books I requested from the library , all from my to be read list. Hoping for some excellent reads.

Carolyn Kirby- The Conviction of Cora Burns. Birmingham 1885,Born in a gaol, grew up in a workhouse, convicted of a terrible crime for which she goes to gaol. On her release she gains a servant’s role to a scientist, interested in criminology, in particular the nature, nurture debate. Who is the little girl Violet, and why is she in the house too. The book is described asVictorian Gothic, it’s full of detail, has a gripping plot and is well written. If you are easily upset, it may not be for you, it was almost a bit much for me.

Robert Barnard- Emily Bronte- An excellent biography. There’s not much for any biographer to go on as Emily was a very private person and destroyed a lot of written material. I loved Wuthering Heights from the time I read an abridged version for children , and Mum took me to Howarth Parsonage as my birthday treat. I have struggled with her poetry and next year I hope my suggestion we study her at the poetry group will be taken up , and will aid my understanding. I might also go to West Yorkshire and explore the moors she loved.

Elizabeth Taylor- Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont- Not the actress BTW. This book was featured on a Good Read on BBC Radio 4, otherwise I wouldn’t have known of its existence. Beautifully written and very poignant, set in approx 1970 in London. Mrs Palfrey, recently widowed and with limited funds goes to live at the Claremont Hotel. Did you watch Fawlty Towers, think of the permanent residents in that hotel, two fluffy old ladies and the Major? Well the Claremont has similar guests. Mrs Palfrey befriends a young writer Ludo, whose interests in her are the material she provides for his stuttering novel, and when she has fulfilled her use , is gradually dropped. Very evocative in its description of the period, I thoroughly enjoyed it. And I can say that I am making a better fist of being a widow that she does.

So that’s a wrap. I’ll write a post about my favourite reads this year over the weekend. And the library opens up again next week after it’s Christmad holiday.Yippee!


Comments on: "Books-December22" (12)

  1. There are some winners there Cathy, a couple I will look for. Thanks!

  2. This is what I wrote about the Mrs Palfrey book:

    An interesting read; my first by this author. Well written with distinct characters, but ultimately very grim!


    4/5 stars which means I liked it.

  3. I haven’t read any of your selection…..have just checked my library and Mrs Palfrey is now on order. On your recommendation a short while ago I’m now about to begin the first book in the Daniel Pitt trilogy (The dust that falls from dreams). The version I was given is hardback and huge – wish me luck….there are 500 pages. Hopefully the next two aren’t quite so large

  4. My ADD kicked in with the first book as I had to look it up to see if I could get it here. I can get it on my e-reader but for only $2 more, I can get a paperback and pass it on so that’s what I’ll do. You have done better than I have this month with the reading. I have 2 books sitting next to me in bed waiting. Mary Karr’s book on the Art of Memoir and Peggy Rowe’s book that was gifted to me at Christmas “Vacuuming in the Nude” She published her first book at 80, second at 82 and this one at 85. There is still hope for me. It’s supposed to be funny. I need funny. I don’t know how you find the time. I think I nap mine away. I love the holidays but they exhaust me. Thanks for the heads up on the Christmas mystery.

  5. I so enjoy the Maigret series! You are the first person I have ever known that has enjoyed them as well! 🙂

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