Weekly Reading Round-Up

My reading has been heavy on the non-fiction recently, but here’s the latest haul:

— Rhys Bowen, Her Royal Spyness.

Why did it take me so long to read this? Several of you here on this page have recommended this before– and you were oh so right. A sprightly, 1930’s-set mystery that reminds me a lot, in tone if not in time period, of my much-loved Dorothy Cannell mysteries.

— Juliet Nicolson, The Great Silence.

Social history is hard to do properly. Juliet Nicolson hits it out of the park. The subtitle is “Britain from the Shadow of the First World War to the Dawn of the Jazz Age” and that about sums it up. This beautifully written monograph looks at the immediate impact of the Great War in the months that followed the Armistice.

— Sara Wheeler, Too Close to the Sun: The Audacious Life and Times of Denys Finch Hatton.

Talk about your romance novel heroes in training! I’ve always loved biography as both a study in character and as a means of seeing an era through the eyes of an individual actor and this is a particularly good one on both scores. I also have to wonder whether Finch-Hatton played any role in the creation of M.M. Kaye’s Rory Frost. There’s just something so familiar there….

I am feeling homesick for fiction! What have you been reading?


  1. Elizabeth aka Miss Eliza on May 6, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    What with the end of the semester I haven’t had much time for reading. Just started Nancy Mitford’s The Water Beetle, which went from a funny story about her Nanny to one about Scott’s mission in Antartica, wildly divergent to say the least. I also am finishing up Jane Eyre and also reading the comic Castle Waiting, which is a must for fans of the Brothers Grimm.

  2. Christy on May 6, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Well, I’m swimming in kids’ activities this month and haven’t done much reading. I finished Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone last week and am reading “Something Borrowed” right now, in anticipation of the upcoming movie.

  3. Sheila on May 6, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    Lauren: You seem to be reading a lot of 20’s-30’s material. I HIGHLY recommend Suzanne Arruda’s Jade del Cameron series. Intrepid former WWI ambulance driver in Kenya….hangs out with Finch-Hatton wannabes and has thrilling adventures and a unique family background.

    I have been working my way through a triple biography of the Grey sisters, Queen Jane, Katherine and Mary,by Leandra deLisle, The Sisters Who Would be Queen. It is fascinating but all those titles are slowing me down.

    I love the Her Royal Spyness series, and have discovered that Rhys Bowen’s other series are also very worthwhile.

  4. Lauren on May 6, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Beat you to it! I have “Mark of the Lion” on the TBR pile. I was wondering if anyone would pick up on the 1920s theme….

  5. Am7 on May 6, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    I read the first book in the Rev. Clare Fergusson mystery Series by Julia Spencer-Fleming. The first is called In the Bleak Midwinter, and I am now reading the second book A Fountain Filled With Blood. I highly recommend it!

  6. Pam on May 6, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    I love the Her Royal Spyness series! If you’re continuing on your 20s and 30s kick, Stella Gibbons (Cold Comfort Farm, Nightingale Wood) is always wonderful.

    This week I read Crampton Hodnet by Barbara Pym, which was written and set in the late 30s. It features the usual Pym fare–spinsters, vicars, eligible curates and frustrated academics and their romantic misadventures–and was really delightful. I had to take a 5 hour train ride over the weekend and, accompanied by a thermos of tea, it made a perfect traveling companion. Then I started The Four Seasons by Laurel Corona, which I noticed, Lauren, has a blurb from you on the front. So I’m assuming it’ll be fun! I also took you up on your Nanny recommendation, which just arrived from the library and I started during lunch today. So far so good!

  7. Tracie on May 6, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    Ha! I just ordered a batch of books from Amazon today and Her Royal Spyness was one of them! I’m glad to see so much love for the series here.

    I had a not-so-fun week (5 hours in the ER on Tuesday . . . UGH), so I had lots of downtime to read and I finally picked up A Rather Lovely Inheritance by C.A. Belmond, which I’d first heard about here. It was just the ticket – a quick, pleasant read set in an exotic locale with a spunky heroine.

    I love, love, LOVE the 1920s (I always dreamed of having a Great Gatsby-themed wedding.) Lauren, if you tell us that you are in the process of writing a book set in that era, I will plotz. 🙂

  8. Carole on May 7, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    I’m just reading ‘Royal Pains’ by Leslie Carroll. I’m not that far into it, but I love all the tales about the bad seeds in the royal world. haha. It’s kind of funny in a weird way.

  9. Amy N. on May 7, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    I’m a Mary Shelley bent after having read “Valperga”. “Frankenstein” is off to a slow start. Recently finished “World Without End”. I’ve got “Jane Eyre” on the pile and have been trying to decide if I should read it before “Wide Sargasso Sea”. Any suggestions?

  10. Elizabeth aka Miss Eliza on May 7, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    Read Jane Eyre before Wide Sargasso Sea, otherwise it will make no sense. The book doesn’t really make much sense IF you’ve read Jane Eyre, it reads kind of like a fever dream.

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