Friday, August 27, 2010

Three for the price of two

I took advantage of Waterstone's three for the price of two offer to try some new authors. The first book I read was The Legacy, by Katharine Webb, in which two sisters are left a house by their grandmother, a very unhappy woman, who leaves it with some unpleasant strings attached. The story focuses on two secrets; one which involves the sisters and one which involves their ancestors. It is so interesting because it is set in New York, Oklahoma, London, and Wiltshire, across two eras. The first secret takes place in the early 1900s, while the second secret is set in the childhood of the two sisters and takes us up to present-day. The first secret describes the lives of cattle ranchers setting up in Oklahoma and their relationships with the Native American Indians. It seems a very honest account of the hardships faced, but also the camaraderie of all those living there. The second secret focuses around the younger sister trying to unravel the secrets from their childhood without causing further stress to her stress who is battling her own demons. It was a very good read, and I am looking forward to more books by this author.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Agatha fest!

Gosh, I think I have outdone myself. Three Agatha Christie's in a row and all equally brilliant. I am really noticing a difference between her earlier and later books, and the change in the social system in England. A Pocket Full of Rye, written in 1953, demonstrated how people were still getting used to the new Health Service and were finding it difficult to locate a doctor because they now had to find one in their local area but they were unsure as to how to do this. Very interesting. And the story was just brilliant, running along the nursery rhyme themes that the author likes to follow. I just loved the way it was written and all the mystery. So clever. I also read Poirot Investigates, written in 1924, a collection of short stories. You can really see how her later novels stemmed from these short stories, eg the similarites of "The Western Star" alongside the novel "Evil Under The Sun". I had so many favourites, but I particularly liked The Kidnapped Prime Minister and The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb. Why Didn't They Ask Evans? was the third book that I read and it was a masterpiece. So many red herrings and confusion and I loved the hints at romance between the two main characters who were playing detective. Excellent plot and hugely enjoyable. Now, what's next...