Weekly Reading Round-Up

This week, I’m very grateful for the kindness of friends (okay, my Tennessee Williams drawl just did not come out right on that one). Actually, the kindness of one friend, who sent me this care package:

I haven’t watched the movie yet, but, as you can imagine, neither of those books went un-read.

Here’s what I’ve been reading this week:

— Anne Fremantle, editor, The Wynne Diaries The Adventures of Two Sisters in Napoleonic Europe.

If you like pure, unmediated history with a tang of epistolary novel, this is the compilation for you. These are the diaries and letters of Betsey and Eugenia Wynne, along with the letters of some of their friends and compatriots, including Betsey’s husband, Captain Fremantle, arranged chronologically. The letters run from 1789 through 1820 and provide a brilliant, court-side view of many events and characters with which we’re familiar, from Admiral Nelson to our old buddy, the Duc de Berry. For anyone who gets annoyed with “in the early nineteenth century, a lady would never…” here’s your rejoinder. These ladies got around.

— Julia Spencer-Fleming, One Was a Soldier.

I love this series. The character development, the plotting, the prose. For those who haven’t read these Adirondack-set mysteries, start with Book I, In the Bleak Midwinter.

— Jo Goodman, If His Kiss Is Wicked.

How did I never discover Jo Goodman before? This is a beautifully written, cleverly plotted 1820-set romance. It’s not a light and fluffy bonnets and beaux book, but darker, in a way that reminds me a bit of Meredith Duran’s books. Very highly recommended. (Thanks, Vicki, for sending it to me!)

— Kate Saunders, Wild Young Bohemians.

I’m a huge fan of Kate Saunders’ The Marrying Game and Bachelor Boys, so I was thrilled to discover that she had three previous books out. This one, about a group of Oxford friends in the 1980s, the family home with which one of them is obsessed, and the path of destruction that follows that obsession, is a little… odd. Compelling, but odd. I spent most of it hating most of the characters, but couldn’t stop reading anyway.

What have you been reading?


  1. Ashley on April 27, 2012 at 10:14 am

    I just finished Deanna Raybourn’s “The Dead Travel Fast.” I was so excited to find out she had a stand-alone book (as the copies of the next book I need in the Lady Julia Grey series at ALL my local libraries are checked out). Although I think I liked “Silent in the Grave” more, I still really enjoyed this one. I was up until 2:00 am to finish, and I thought the end leaves you with just the right mix of closure and “what if?”.

  2. Angela on April 27, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Pulled Labyrinth by Kate Mosse off my bookshelf earlier this week. Kind of in the Da Vinci Code mode, concerns a long-standing myth re: the Grail and features a historical story with a contemporary one. I had been enjoying it, relatively speaking, at least compared to Code, then it fell apart when the author inserted a romance late in the contemporary story for the main character and a previously, barely seen male character. And it’s just getting worse for me. I’d drop it but I’m only about 50-60 pages from the end. Oh well.

  3. jeffrey on April 27, 2012 at 11:02 am

    I’m reading A. P. Maddox’s debut novel NORTHLAND COTTAGE. It is a contemporary adaptation of Sense and Sensibility which takes place throughout North Carolina. I have found the locations mentioned by the author: Asheville, Winston-Salem and Charlotte especially appealing because my wife and I have visited all of them and LOVE North Carolina. My review of Northland Cottage will be forthcoming.

  4. Leslie on April 27, 2012 at 11:20 am

    I just finished Nalini Singh’s well plotted Psy/Changling series. Very creative. I really liked the “cats”.
    Jo Goodman is great, check out her series The Compass Club. May be hard to find in mmpb, but worth the search. And yes, “If His Kiss is Wicked” is unusually dark and twisted, but I loved every page.

  5. Pam on April 27, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    I’m reading Look at Me by Anita Brookner, about a solitary young researcher who gets drawn into the circle of a glamorous doctor and his wife in post-war London. It’s really a meditation on loneliness. Beautifully written, but it kind of makes you want to shoot yourself–so don’t read it if you’re having a bad day. 🙂

  6. Sheila on April 27, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton, really enjoyed this, and would not have known about it if not for this site. Have also finished book 3 of Eloisa James’s Dangerous Duchesses.

  7. Gina on April 27, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    I just started Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer. It’s good so far – confusing, but that’s because I’ve barely gotten into it. I’m quite sure it’s going to be amazing, if his other book is any indication.

  8. Céline on April 27, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    I (re)read Shadowfever, the last in Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series, with a bunch of friends… then I went back to A Dance with Dragons. Barely halfway through it, the book is going to take me a few more hours to finish! 🙂

  9. Elizabeth (aka Miss Eliza) on April 27, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Finished The Enchanted April… wasn’t enchanted. The read my book club pick, Wild by Cheryl Strayed, which was better than I thought it would be, seeing as a non-fiction about hiking the PTC isn’t my usual read, but now I have serious nightmares about losing toenails.

  10. Vicki on April 27, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    I’m so pleased that you liked If His Kiss is Wicked! Jo Goodman is not nearly as widely read or appreciated as she should be. Her stuff definitely skews a bit darker, but there is always intelligence, wit and humor to offset the broodiness. Let me know if you decide you want to read the Compass Club books. I have extras!

  11. Pat on April 27, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    This week I read The Haunting of Maddy Clare. Wow! Great story, hot love scenes. Then I finally got River of Darkness by Rennie Airth from the library. Another wow. Have requested the next book from that trilogy. These stories are post WW1. Just finished Jane Vows Vengeance. This is the 3rd book in a funny series about vampire Jane Austen in present day; she is not a sweet demure milksop! Just about to start another library book: Jacqueline Winspear’s Elegy for Eddie. Her Maisie Dobbs’ stories are really interesting. Oh, I also read Tracy Grant’s Imperial Scandal. There. I think that’s it.

  12. Amy N. on April 27, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    While on a jaunt through the local used bookstore I picked up a small paperback, printed early 70’s/late 60’s, titled “Lost Horizon”. I’ve seen the movie and wondered about the book. Sean Connery is with me every step of the way — he’s just dreamy. What would the author think of today’s world? I doubt if Shangri-La could go unnoticed in today’s world.

  13. Angela on April 29, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    Amy, pick up Lost in Shangri-La, the true story of a WWII army plane crash in a previously, virtually undiscovered part of New Guinea that 3 people survived.

  14. Amy N. on April 30, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    Thanks Angela!

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