It’s a long time since I wrote a post about my reading choices. In fact, it’s more than a year. I always enjoy recommendations from other bloggers, so I hope some of my suggestions may interest you.
I love reading and seem to find more time for books when I’m in France. I’m not totally sure why that is but I’m guessing it’s the slower pace of life, fewer demands on my time and, after all, can there be much better than sitting in the sun with a good book, a nice cup of tea or a cold beer!
I mention bedtime reading because that has been a lifelong habit of mine. It also feels slightly ‘naughty’ if I read during the day, unless I’m on holiday or in France! I also love those mornings when I can enjoy a cup of tea and a book, in bed, before getting up. Bliss!
I will only mention a selection of my recent reads, otherwise this could be an extremely long post! First of all, Transcription by Kate Atkinson. She is one of my favourite authors and I have read all her books.
This is essentially a wartime spy novel but more besides. The book is set against the background of the Second World War and the aftermath. The main character is a young woman, Juliet Armstrong who is working for MI5.
It is quite different to some of her previous books but I still enjoyed the read. One of my favourite books is Atkinson’s Life after Life and I don’t think Transcription touched me in the same way. Atkinson is also the author of the Jackson Brodie books, another series I loved. You may have watched the series Case Histories, staring the rather gorgeous Jason Issacs (!) which were based on her novels. Her latest Jackson Brodie novel Big Sky is on my Christmas list.
I’ve read several Elizabeth Buchan books, including Revenge of the Middle Aged Woman, and was interested to discover her latest novel. It’s set in present day Paris and also in Prague during the eighties. Laure, the main character, is the owner and curator of the museum. Every object in the museum has been donated and represents a moment of grief or betrayal. We meet Laure, as a very young woman in Communist Prague and follow her passionate love story. I found the book fascinating and it has made want to discover more about life in Prague when it was still behind the Iron Curtain.
This book is another one I bought at the airport. It is the second novel written by Sally Rooney. It tells the love story between Marianne and Connell who come from a small Irish town and attend the same high school, although their backgrounds are very different. The story continues at university in Dublin but there is a twist. This book is a girl meets boy story with a difference. I was surprised how much I enjoyed the book!
The Cactus is the debut novel by Sarah Haywood. I seem to have read quite a lot of books with quirky main female characters recently; Eleanor Oliphant I’m talking about you! This book focuses on Susan Green who has a somewhat prickly personality and who likes to be in control of her life, to the last detail, until aged 45, she finds that she isn’t! I do understand that Susan can be quite annoying but this didn’t prevent me from enjoying the book.
I’m reviewing the next two books together because they are both historical novels. When I was sixteen, I overdosed on historical novels, Jean Plaidy anyone?! As a result, this is not a genre to which I am generally drawn.
The Essex Serpent is set in 1893 and begins when Cora Seabourne’s controlling husband dies and she is able to retreat to from London to the country. In Essex there are many rumours about the return of a mythical creature, known as the Essex Serpent, who frequents the marshes. Cora is an amateur naturalist and is fascinated by the possibility of an undiscovered species. She meets the local vicar who has a very different opinion, about the serpent, as a result of his faith. Despite their differences, William and Cora are drawn together with unexpected consequences.
I enjoyed this book but I didn’t love it.
The second historical novel is set in 1785 in the bawdy Georgian era. As well as mermaids, we are introduced to a world of merchants, sailors, brothels and courtesans. It begins when Jonah Hancock finds one of his captains on his doorstep. He has sold Jonah’s ship for a mermaid. As gossip spreads through the area, everyone wants to see Mr Hancock’s marvel. As a result, his ordinary life changes completely and he is introduced to high society and to Angelica Neal, an alluring courtesan. Both are ambitious and have plans for the future but mermaids are famous for their destructive powers…
I found the story developed at a very slow pace. I made it to the end because I wanted to know what would happen to the mermaid but the novel wasn’t what I was expected.
My final book (I don’t want you falling asleep!) is Roth Hogan’s first novel, The Keeper of Lost Things. It’s quirky (!) charming and an easy but enjoyable read. It covers love, loss, friendship and more. We are introduced to Anthony Peardew who is the keeper of lost things. This all began when he lost something precious belonging to his much loved fiancée who died unexpectedly the same day. As a result, Anthony has spent his life collecting lost objects and trying to reunite them with their owners. He realises he is running out of time and leaves his house and all the lost treasures to his assistant, Laura. He knows she will carry on his work. However, his last wishes have unforeseen results for Laura.
These are just a few of my recent reads but I would love to know what you have been reading and, in particular, any recommendations.