October Roundup

October ends and another lockdown looms within a couple of days. October normally seems a long month but it seems to have flown by with a plethora of books. Let’s just take some time away from the global pandemic.

Of course Christmas books still feature and even better when they feature a beloved series which I absolutely adore Nancy Revell – A Christmas Wish for the Shipyard Girls. The saga continues with all my favourite characters and because it is Christmas it always adds a lovely dimension despite it being in the middle of the war.

I know many people opt for Christmas weddings (I think I would too – though someone would need to ask me first!). Phillipa Ashley – A Surprise Christmas Wedding takes us to the Lake District instead of her normally stomping ground of Cornwall to plan the wedding of the year. I thoroughly enjoyed being transported to the Lake District and would love to be able to spend time there, I hope Phillipa takes us back there one day.

Katie Ginger – Winter Wishes at Swallowtail Bay also features a wedding and it is the wedding that is going to save the hotel in Swallowtail Bay where the trilogy comes to it’s conclusion. Again, I was swept away into the magic of Christmas and romance and how that perhaps we need to keep true to all of our wishes whatever they may be.

Wanting to put my feet up from all those weddings what better way to escape that to a lovely Christmas market and experience the smells, the tastes, the scenes in Jo Thomas – Finding Love at the Christmas Market. I am relatively new to Jo Thomas books, though I have seen them on shelves before now and this is only the second I have read, but this was just as joyous and took me on a trip abroad with a band of merry makers of a certain vintage. What a wonderful piece of escapism when we are all limited in where we can go at the moment.

Some people don’t like moving far from what they know and I was wonderfully surprised to be going back to a place I know; Hope Farm with Carole Matthews – Christmas for Beginners. This is a place for all things broken both animal and child and even adults to be put back together and be able to show the world the sort of person that they are. It is a place that I hope Carole Matthews returns to again.

Many a Christmas card has a penguin or two adoring the front but what if you got the chance to see the real things in their natural habitat. Well the next best thing is reading Hazel Prior – Away with the Penguins which is going to be ‘one of those’ books. Very much in the vein of Harold Fry and it is a book which is gentle despite the harsh landscape of the Antarctic, it was like an Attenborough documentary with a story. Beautiful and quiet.

I don’t think a month has gone by without some sort of murder happening on this blog, book wise of course. I wanted to get ahead of the game for when the Kenneth Branagh version of the film come out and tick another one off the list so it was Agatha Christie – Death on the Nile that I picked it up. I knew what happened I have seen the film and Suchet version often enough but you can’t help marvel at the original work and the little grey cells of Poirot and when you know, you can see all those little clues and red herrings.

Christie is without a doubt the Queen of Crime but it seems she may have a rival on her hands and this time it is the Queen herself. S.J. Bennett – The Windsor Knot is a new murder mystery series which features yes The Queen, Elizabeth II as the solver of crimes, ably assisted by her private secretaries who all have secret about the real goings on behind those palace doors. And when a body is found in Windsor Castle it seems the Queen’s nose for finding out the truth twitches once more.

Like reading too many Christmas books that could merge into one, you can end up doing the same with cosy mystery series where they are set in certain eras and with the same protagonists. At the moment I have opted for Helena Dixon – Murder on the Dance Floor which takes me to inter war years, in a hotel with the delightful Kitty Underhay who manages to be in the wrong place at the wrong time but also has some personal mysteries of her own to solve.

Trying to solve mysteries would sum up the whole of Philip Pullman – The Subtle Knife. Again in the interest of completeness I wanted to read the book before the new series started on the television. Fantasy, Science Fiction or however you might categorise this book is not normally my choice of book, but these are so well written that I am rather intrigued by it all and now I have read this, I need to progress to the third in the Dark Materials trilogy.

It has been a while since I abandoned a book, but I did this month. What bothered me more was that it was from an author I have read before and this time it really was not working for me. It all seemed robotic and as if a machine had churned out the story with no real depth of feeling to the characters or even the setting. That is to say the book just did not work for me – it has worked for others. It was immediately obvious when I chose another book and started to fly through that and knew the writing was exactly what I was looking for and that is the book I carry on reading into November.

Happy Reading for November in whatever restrictions you find yourselves under.