November Roundup

With the advent calendar hung up waiting for the first thing to be hung up on number one it is time to look back at November, time to reflect on the reading and the month as a whole before launching into the mad rush that is Christmas and December.

7 books finished and they have taken me all over the place really. Despite the weather, apparently a warm November I got into some Winter/Christmas reading first with Ali McNamara and From Notting Hill with Love…Actually which I was disappointed about however, her new novel looks more promising, Breakfast at Darcy’s. (An appropriate book for me perhaps?)

The theme got better though, with Sharon Owens – A Winter’s Wedding (review to follow in the coming days) as this was really lovely and a book that moved me and just let you forget everything and absorb yourself in the characters and the settings and the atmosphere. I have now read all of Owens books so I hope she writes some more soon. I have only one other Winter/Christmas themed book on my shelf now and I think I want to read more in December so all ideas welcome.

Leading on from these theme, I find myself with Veronica Henry’s The Birthday Party which was another escapism type novel with a real celebrity element to it – imagine OK magazine or the front of The Sun newspaper turned into a novel (although some might say The Sun is already like that – I digress) then this is that book. I will read more of this authors books though as they are an easy read.

Perhaps the theme for November should be escapism with my reading because although I have not finished it I have started reading Charlotte Bronte – Jane Eyre (in italics because I have not finished it) for the first time, and I know Jane was trying to escape her life in some elements of the book, that it suddenly dawned on me what sort of reading month I was having.

So with escaping there has to be some catching and what better than some murder mystery novels. I went back to an American author who I have found through reading ‘cosy’ mysteries and that was Joanne Fluke and Strawberry Shortcake Murder which ironically enough is set in a snowy part of America, snow so bad that if they did not plug their cars in at night they would not be going anywhere in the morning. I am hoping that the sun does shine in Lake Eden where these books are set when I pick up the next one in the series at some point.

I have ventured into reading my first Anne Perry with Brunswick Gardens. Nothing illuminating about that I suppose, but I had previously listened to one of her novels as recommended by my mum (who I always pay attention to) because it was set in Buckingham Palace. I really do not get on with audio books which was why I decided to read one of this authors. It was interesting also to learn about Anne Perry’s past and her own conviction for murder when she was a young girl in 1950s New Zealand. This novel features Inspector Pitt and is set in the Victorian period and so it indulged my love of history as well although little is actually made of the time of this novel.

History is another feature in novels that I read if you are a regular visitor to this blog. Two books that I read this month would probably fit into that category. The first was The Distant Hours by Kate Morton, period covered being the Second World War always a popular choice in some novels. However I think for Morton this third book is lacking in something but also rather too many pages and the two were not balanced out and the book took a long time to make some small points to the plot. I hope they are not pushing Morton to produce books to cash in on her success of The House at Riverton, more developing time will mean much better books in my opinion so perhaps The Distant Hours is just a blip.

I crossed the globe to China for The Secret Mandarin by Sara Sheridan and learnt all about tea in the nineteenth century, but again this novel did not have enough substance in the characters to carry the plot through. This could have been a really good book otherwise. However everything is subjective and every one has an opinion and I am always interested to read what others think of books, and I realise that I am quite happy that they find some books particularly this one are thought of as fantastic whilst I think it is just okay and middle of the road. That is the great beauty about reading. Move on, there is plenty more books out there to be discovered.

So escapism, capture, history and I think disappoint this month. I wonder if it is me, because it has been a particularly difficult time at work with HR issues and restructure or because I have not found a book that has caught me. Although I am caught by the book I am reading as November comes to a close with The Herring Seller’s Apprentice by L.C. Tyler and if you will excuse me I will just go back to it…….