Saturday, February 26, 2011


Recently, I have been mixing murder with romance. I downloaded The Secret Lives of Dresses by Erin McKean, and after a slow start, it turned into a really good story. I thought it would be like a book I have read previously called A Vintage Affair, but it was very different. Firstly, and I know this sounds strange, but I just couldn't work out where it was set, Yorkshire or somewhere in America, and I found that a bit frustrating. But eventually, I realised it was set in America, and gradually, I got absorbed in the tale. It was about a woman whose grandmother who had brought her up and who ran a vintage clothes shop, had a stroke, and Dora rushes back to look after her and the shop. It is a lovely story, a bit sad in places, but great characters, and great secret stories about previous lives of the vintage costumes in the shop. It was surprising, and had a sad and happy ending. After that, I read Murder in the Mews, yet another short story collection from Agatha Christie, and which was once again, superb...full of twists and turns and mystery. Just brilliant. And finally, I read From Notting Hill With Love ... Actually, which was fabulous! So clever! I love romcoms, absolutely adore them. My guilty secret. This story was about Scarlett, named after the Vivien Leigh character in Gone With The Wind, who is challenged by her father and fiance because they think she daydreams too much and is looking for a life like the movies. So, before her wedding, they persuade her to go away for a few weeks to get her head together. A friend arranges a house-sit in Notting Hill and that is where all her adventures begin. It is excellent, so clever. The author, Ali Mcnamara, has obviously done her research, and thinks up scenarios which replicate movie scenes from a range of my favourite films. It is a great read, really entertaining, and funny, and full of interesting movie trivia. Loved it...actually.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Scary tales and romance

I am still hugely enjoying Agatha Christie's books. I downloaded Miss Marple's Final Cases. Most of them involved Miss Marple, but there were a few which had neither Miss Marple or Monsieur Poirot, and they were so dark, particularly the one about the dressmaker's doll. Absolutely brilliant, but quite spooky. I don't know why, because it shouldn't have been, but it was just the way she intimated what might happen. Anyway, after that one, I took a break and read something a bit more light-hearted. Encore Valentine, byAdriana Trigiani, is a follow-up to Very Valentine, a story about a shoe-maker of Italian descent, now in America, and taking on the family shoe-making business. In this instalment, Valentine discovers another branch of the family in Argentina so she goes to meet them in Buenos Aires. Typical of the author, there are the usual family dramas and complicated relationships, and together with the gorgeous descriptions of Argentinian culture and food (which so made my mouth water), it makes great reading. The only disappointment was the ending, a bit quick and lots of loose ends, but I suspect that that only means that another book with Valentine is on its way