Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Espionage and mystery!

Well, I finished Elizabeth Edmondson's Voyage of Innocence. I thought it had been written earlier than the others, because it was a slightly harsher style. It was very good, but slightly dark in places as some of the main male characters seemed to struggle with the battle of their sexuality versus their position and status. The story was about a group of students at Oxford who were discovering themselves and dabbling in politics without understanding the whole context, ending in often tragic consequences. The story described the inequities between rich and poor, and the confusion that arose in these youngsters, following them in the events leading up to World War II and ending with a boat journey to India. The story covers mystery, espionage, religion, and romance, and ends surprisingly.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Different styles and new authors

The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff was my risk book, the third choice in my three for two purchase. It was really quirky, and entertaining, revolving around a young archaeologist, returning home following a disastrous affair. However, once home, her mother drops a bombshell, and she spends her time discovering the mystery and working out the issues in her life. I really enjoyed this book.

I reverted back to childhood again after reading this book and read Little Grey Rabbit's Second Storybook, which was just lovely; gorgeous pictures by Margaret Tempest, and magical stories by Alison Uttley. Unfortunately, no longer in print, but I managed to get a copy from eBay.

Then, I read another Elizabeth Edmondson book, The Art of Love. This was similar in style to The Villa in Italy, but set in a different country, focusing on a girl about to embark on a marriage that she isn't quite ready for. Again, this book is about a girl who discovers that she isn't who she thought she was and has to find some answers. This was also a really good story, with beautiful descriptions, and interesting characters. I am now reading another book by the same author, although older, so I will let you know what I think in my next blog.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Too many books to remember!

Well, this is going to be a long post, because all I have done this Summer is read, walk, take photos, and embroider patterns. I have had a lovely time after devising a timetable to improve my work-life balance.

Now, I thought I had blogged about the House of Riverton, a book by Kate Morton, that I read before The Forgotten Garden. They are similar styles, flitting between eras, 1920s and the 1990s, tracing the history of a house and the characters that live inside. Absolutely, lovely story, with colourful characters, mystery, and love.

I had five books for my Summer reading, and only one failed. Unfortunately, the sequel to the Friday Night Knitting Club, Knit Two, by Kate Jacobs, was a disappointment, to the extent that I have disposed of it. I loved the first one and also Comfort Food, but this one just did not engage me. I didn't feel anything for the characters and it just felt rushed. Such a shame!

So, after that one, I read the American Wife, by Curtis Sittenfeld. I had read Prep and thoroughly enjoyed it, but when I read the back cover of this one, it just seemed completely different. Prep was about teenagers and based in a school, where as this is loosely based on the life of Laura Bush. It is a really interesting read, a love story about a couple who cope with life's ups and downs, and support each other right the way to the top! At the start of the book, you really cannot imagine how they might get there. Again, great characters, and a really interesting story about America, and the political system there.

Next I read, The Lost Book of Salem (known as The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, as of April 2010) by Katherine Howe. I thought it would be in the style of Da Vinci Code, eg a typical holiday read, but it was better. It was full of facts about the witch trials in Salem, with links to further information, and there was lots of reference to herbalism, which I found interesting. This book also travelled between time periods, and it was clever the way the author changed the dialects.

Finally, I read The Villa in Italy, by Elizabeth Edmondson, which was fabulous. It is about a group of four strangers who are sent to a beautiful villa in Italy as recipients of a will belonging to someone none of them seem to know. The story unravels as they face their demons, and learn more about themselves, and each other, aswell as the gorgeous location where they are staying. I really enjoyed this book. Such interesting characters, with unexpected sides to them. I am looking forward to reading more of this author.

In between books, I rediscovered a childhood favourite of mine, which unfortunately is no longer available in print - Little Grey Rabbit's Storybook by Alison Uttley. It is such a magical storybook. I love the pictures by Margaret Tempest, and the simplicity of the stories.

So that's it for now...time for another trip to the book shop. Although, with my new timetable, I am trying to do some writing of my own, although a non-fiction book, rather than fiction. I just don't have the imagination as these authors do.