If you have been following this blog for a while, you will probably know that August is a bumper month when it comes to reading and this August was seemingly no different.
Despite buying more books (as if I need them!) I was trying to make a more concerted effort to read from shelves and so that is how I came to pick up Jane Healey – The Animals at Lockwood Manor which had been languishing for a while. It was a rather strange book, with a gothic twist set during the war, but I have feeling these types of books never really feel like that with me. It was a pleasant enough diversion and made room on the shelf for my purchases.
A book of the year and one that all fans of reading and books must read is this debut Sara Nisha Adams – The Reading List. A book about all those books that have helped us in the past and continue to do so in the present and the future. The story weaved around such classics as Little Women and Rebecca was really impactful and I felt I had a glimpse into another life for a while.
Glimpsing into another life with Mel Giedroyc – The Best Things was like watching a car crash in slow motion, except this was not a car crash but a financial one. As a family disintegrates in front of our eyes, we see how that money is not the answer to all our happiness. I will be intrigued as to what this author produces next. I sensed a lot of research and experience in this book that others might not necessarily have brought to such a novel.
Research is the key to all historical fiction and it was clear that in Celia Imrie – Orphans of the Storm had an abundance of it. I knew nothing of the real people fictionalised into the book. I knew from the setting of the book and the time period where we would be going with it, but that it was all true was a surprise. I was most grateful to have read this on my kindle which meant that I could not easily flick to the back where all the ‘research’ and ;’real life’ notes were covered. It really would have spoilt the book for me.
I do love my history and when it becomes relatively local to me in setting then I always take bit more of an interest. Tracy Chevalier – A Single Thread was featured heavily on local news when the hardback version was published, but I waited until the paperback copy before I indulged in this glorious tale of Embroiderers’, Winchester Cathedral and the possibilities of being a single woman so soon after the First World War. I have never read any Chevalier before and of course I have heard of her most famous novel The Girl with the Pearl Earring but for some reason have never picked it up. Next time I am in a bookshop…..
Now it looks like August was the month of Catherine’s or Cath’s. First up is Cath Staincliffe – Running out of Road; her latest novel combines three unrelated people caught up in a very modern story, that you could have been reading a news report. You will have felt you have run more than one road when you get to the end. Catherine Cooper – The Chateau is another book which kept me hooked and turning the page until I could begin to make sense of the characters portrayed and they had all ended up in France in this Chateau.
And to have a bit of a rest from all that thrilling adventure it was a pure joy to pick up Cathy Bramley – A Patchwork Family. These are the sorts of books I buy without even reading the blurb on the back and just dive straight in and become immersed in the story. It was beautiful and had me quietly weeping as the joy of brining all generations together to thrive really worked.
Another author I have no doubt about diving straight into is Trisha Ashley – One More Christmas at the Castle and this is her latest. A Christmas novel in August always seems an alien concept but I don’t care the world has been topsy-turvy enough of late to worry about such things. This is a delightful book and I adored it and any fan of Trisha Ashley will too.
Whilst I only have one of Trisha Ashley’s back catalogue to read, I do still have a few more of Caroline Roberts – The Seaside Cocktail Campervan to catch up on. But in the meantime in her latest I was transported to parties, festivals and markets to partake of a cocktail and a pizza or two and to fall in love with the main characters. I do hope we get to see more of them in future novels.
I am up to date with the wonderful Tracy Rees – The Rose Garden and her latest historical offering which brought the plight of various different females, of various different creeds and classes in London near the turn of the twentieth century. How far and how little the position of women has perhaps come in those intervening years. I am now looking forward to coming back to the present with Tracy Rees more contemporary offering for Christmas.
And as the month closes I return to Ann Cleeves and her new detective, Matthew Venn. Ann Cleeves – The Heron’s Cry. A classic piece of writing from this author, in the vein of all her others but with the background of North Devon and the tense conscious of a detective with a methodical clam presence which covers the guilt he seems to carry with him.
The Christmas books are now appearing alarming regularity so I can see how the next couple of months are going to be spent. Hopefully punctuated by some other great reads too. Do keep reading to find out more.