Weekly Reading Round-Up

I’ve been on something of a Roaring Twenties kick.

— Kate Morton, The House at Riverton

A graceful and elegant book that sways gently between the 1910’s and 20’s and the 1990’s. It reminded me, in the best of all possible ways, of “Upstairs, Downstairs” and “Remains of the Day”.

— Nancy Mitford, Wigs on the Green

In keeping with the Bright Young Things theme…. I’ve always been a huge fan of Nancy Mitford’s sharp-edged send-ups of life in the 30’s and 40’s and was thrilled to find that the book she refused to allow reprinted is finally back on the shelves. In this one, she mocks the British fascist movement, aka the “Jackshirts”.

— Nancy Mitford, The Pursuit of Love

Once you pop, you can’t stop. After reading “Wigs on the Green”, I had to go back to Mitford’s classic tale of life and love in 1930’s and 40’s England.

— Frances Osborne, The Bolter

The remarkable true story of Idina Sackville, who partied her way from London to Kenya, acquiring and disposing of five husbands along the way.

What have you been reading?


  1. Angie on March 4, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    Reading The Spanish Chest, a free ebook I found somewhere. It appears to be set in the first part of the 20th C (there are references to a character losing his arm in a battle I haven’t had time to look up) and focused on some kids’ search for proof that the future Charles II took refuge on the Isle of Jersey before the restoration. Can’t find any background info, but I suspect it’s what we’d call today a Young Adult novel. Quite a breezy read.

  2. Carole on March 4, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    I’m reading La Dame aux Camelias by Alexandre Dumas. I’m nearly half-way done with it. It’s alright so far. lol

  3. Céline on March 4, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    I’m currently reading (and enjoying) The Seduction of the Crimson Rose!! Love what you did with Vaughn!! 🙂 I’m halfway through it now and I can’t wait to discover how it will turn out for Mary and Sebastian…. and for Colin and Eloise!!! Love them both!

    By Kate Morton, I’ve read (and loved) The Secret Garden and I’ve been dying to read this one too and the book she’s just published. I overly enjoyed The Secret Garden!!!

  4. Cassandra on March 4, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    Love Nancy Mitford’s works.
    Have you read the biography on the Mitford sisters?
    I read, “The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family” by Mary S. Lovell.
    It was on a 99 cent stand…
    That Half Price Books employee who put it there, should be ashamed!
    Read it for another 1930’s/40’s fix!

  5. Lauren on March 4, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    I stumbled on that one when it came out in England when I was over there for my dissertation research back in ’02. I’m definitely planning to re-read that, along with “The Viceroy’s Daughters”, about the Curzon sisters. Such a fascinating time period…. Oh, and I’ve also ordered “Hons & Rebels”, Jessica Mitford’s memoir, which I’ve never read.

  6. Cassandra on March 4, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Lucky you!
    Hons & Rebels is my favorite, by far.
    And Jessica became my favorite sister.
    A spitfire, for sure.

  7. Sara G. on March 4, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    I really love Kate Morton!! Such a fantastic author!!

  8. Ashley on March 4, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    I love your blog – the perfect way to procrastinate and avoid midterms!

    I am reading Jean Plaidy’s Madonna of the Seven Hills – I am on a Borgia kick lately and have never read a Jean Plaidy…so far, I really like it. The Borgias are just so deliciously scandalous

  9. Elizabeth aka Miss Eliza on March 4, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    You’ve never read Hons and Rebels!?! One of the best books I’ve read in a long, long, long time! I’ve been in the land of Manga Victorian Maids with the series Emma and also reading The Name of the Wind, so long but so good!

  10. Lauren on March 4, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    I saw two Borgia books just yesterday, as I was browsing in the bookstore. One was called something like “The Sins of the Borgia”, and I can’t remember what the other one was, but it was also on the new trade paperbacks table. I also like E.R. Chamberlin’s “The Fall of the House of Borgia”.

  11. Abigail on March 4, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    I just started “The Forgotten Garden”—so far, so good. 🙂 And speaking of “Upstairs, Downstairs,” did everyone watch “Downton Abbey”? Loved it!
    And I just got a copy of “When Beauty Tamed the Beast” because of your high praise a couple of weeks ago, Lauren. I’m really looking forward to it.

  12. Tracie on March 4, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    I just started reading Georgette Heyer’s “Friday’s Child” for my book club and I am LOVING it! Definitely one of the funniest Heyers I’ve read and I always enjoy a romance between a hero/heroine who were childhood friends.

    I’m, also, about 125 pages into Secrets of a Lady by Teresa (Tracy) Grant, which has had some really interesting twists and turns.

  13. Joanne M. on March 4, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    Oh, I loved Kate Morton’s The House at Riverton and The Distant Hours!!

    Currently delighting in Michelle Moran’s Madame Tussaud.

  14. Ginger on March 4, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    A good roaring twenties/modern heroine tale I just read was “Twenties Girl” by Sophie Kinsella. Good laughs, good challenges and was a good times read!

  15. Sheila on March 4, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    I am still hooked on The Morlands, now on book 4, The Oak Apple. I love not having to wait a year between books, unlike a certain series we know and love.

    Read as much about the Mitfords as I could, esp after going to Chatsworth and met the Duke, whose wife writes an interesting memoir about books she loved. The sisters, from Nazi satirizer to friend of Hitler, they run the gamut. And Idina inspired Pursuit of Love, and was also involved with Isak Dinesens husband. Talk about six degrees of separation. What fun to read about. Charlie Sheen has nothing on those Happy Vally people.

  16. Pam on March 4, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    I’m on a mystery kick right now. I read the second two installments of Charles Finch’s Charles Lenox mysteries–The September Society and The Fleet Street Murders–which are charming but taut neo-Victorian cozy thrillers and now I’m a bit of the way through Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen, which is a complete scream. “I wonder how many people have had life-changing experiences while on the loo?” Love it!

  17. Samantha on March 4, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    I’m reading ‘Borrower of the Night’ by Elizabeth Peters after you recommendation a few weeks ago Lauren. So fantastic! I’m looking forward to reading more in the series.

    I also am about 100 pages into ‘The Orchid Affair’ and, like the other Pink Carnation books, am loving it! Laura Grey is a great character!

  18. Heather on March 5, 2011 at 12:08 am

    I loved Downton Abbey and can not wait for the second season. PBS has just announced that Masterpiece will be showing it next year.

    I have been reading Beach House by Mary Alice Monroe. I’m about half way finished and love it. Even though she is not from South Carolina; she captures the voice and air of the truth of South Carolina.

  19. Vizelle on March 5, 2011 at 12:37 am

    I recently finished India Black, by Carol K. Carr and I enjoyed it a lot. It’s about a Victorian era brothel madam who gets drawn into a spy caper when one of her patrons (a government official carrying sensitive documents) kicks the bucket in her establishment. It was definitely a fun read!

  20. Gina on March 5, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    I’ve been meaning to read some Kate Morton for awhile now, but I haven’t started anything yet.
    Recently, I finished Absalom, Absalom by Faulkner, Death Comes for the Archbishop by Cather, and volume 1 of a Calvin and Hobbes anthology. Guess which 2 were for class? haha
    Next, I’m being forced to read Rebecca (which I know a lot of people like but I really didn’t…) and Angle of Repose.

  21. Anwen on March 6, 2011 at 4:29 am

    This week I have been on an earlier historical kick- I read ‘The Half-Slave’ by Trevor Bloom, about the Saxons and Franks during the time when the Roman Empire was falling to invaders, and the next was ‘The Last Kingdom’ by Bernard Cornwell- focusing on the Vikings battling it out with Alfred the Great. Both were really enjoyable,pulled me into their tales with believable characters, and I had a fantastic time putting some imagination into a period I’ve shamefully never studied much!

  22. Jane on March 6, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    The Royal Spyness mysteries by Rhys Bowen are tremendous fun. The bright young things are still partying, but the Great Depression has begun to affect even titled families.

    Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, known to her friends as Georgie, moves to London after her brother stops her allowance. She does rather well at solving the murder cases that she encounters, but how does one boil an egg?

    My only complaint is that Ms Bowen insists on keeping her other series going instead of focussing on doing another Lady Georgie for me.

  23. Nikki on March 7, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Just finished “Bitter is the New Black” – LOVED IT! Started a “Cat Who..” mystery (The Cat who saw Stars), I haven’t read one since high school and it was on sale (since my local Borders is closing, very sad!), so I thought I’d check it out. Have 2 more Jen Lancaster’s lined-up. Can’t wait!

  24. Libbi on March 7, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    i love this section as it gives me lots of ideas of what to try next. I have just finished two of my favorites – both take place in the past & present simultaneously – wonderful stories – The Eight, by Katherine Neville – a wild ride following an ancient chess service and “the game” which involves real people as chess pieces trying to solve the mystery of the Montglane Chess service. Set in 1760’s France and various locals in the 1980’s.
    The other is The Map of Love, set in Egypt in 1900 and 1996 – and how the romance & families from the earlier era, connect to the present day, including politics!

  25. Dawn on March 7, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    I have to say this is one of the blog posts I most look forward to every week. I look forward to seeing what everyone is reading and what new books ideas I find.

    I have had a PC week. I finally repurchased ‘The Black Tulip’. I was so upset when I met you last summer, at the big signing event in Orlando, and discovered I didn’t know where my copy of ‘Tulip’ had gone. I am glad I have it so I can do a re-read of the series and possibly join the PC reading challenge. And hope if I ever get to meet you again, I can get this copy signed. What really topped off my week was to find out I won a copy of ‘The Orchid Affair’ from Arleigh at historical-fiction.com blog. I admit to squealing and doing a happy dance, which startled my husband and our cats.

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