Weekly Reading Round-Up

I’ve still been reading my way through the rediscovered books tossed up by the move, among them:

— Alexandra Raife, Belonging.

The old family homestead in the Highlans has been turned into a hotel and it’s up to Rebecca to rescue it when her feckless cousin Tony leaves wife and hotel in the lurch to run off with another woman. I love books about hotels and bed and breakfasts, everyone pulling together to make everything work and learning about themselves in the meantime.

— Valerie Fitzgerald, Zemindar.

This is another old favorite (I’m very concerned about the health of my elderly copy), set in India around the upheavals of 1857. In good Victorian fashion, it’s told in the first person, as our redoubtable narrator finds herself embroiled in the siege of Lucknow. I’m now having urges to go read M.M. Kaye’s Shadow of the Moon— but that might be 1857 overkill.

What have you been reading?


  1. Jeffrey on June 1, 2012 at 8:46 am

    I got Lucinda Bryant’s Salt Bride on my Kindle for $0.00. So far, I’m really enjoying it.

  2. Julie H on June 1, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    I’ve been struggling through Elizabeth Kostova’s The Swan Thieves. I’m about 40% through, and I’m still not sure the story is going anywhere.

    I also read Overseas this week, which I enjoyed. And, I read my second Eloisa James novel, This Duchess of Mine, which I liked much better than the first of hers that I read. In fact, I think the heroine of this one might be one of my favorite regencies heroines.

  3. Christine on June 1, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Julie – The Swan Thieves doesn’t get any better. It was a gigantic disappointment after The Historian.

  4. Virginia on June 1, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    I just finished Sophie Kinsella’s latest stand alone I’ve Got Your Number. It’s pretty cute.

    So The Swan Thieves is a bit rough after reading The Historian, huh? I guess I’ll steer clear of that since I’m finding The Historian impossible to get through. So many people loved it, but it’s not doing anything for me.

  5. Elizabeth (aka Miss Eliza) on June 1, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Give up on The Swan Thieves, I still mark it as one of the worst books I’ve ever read. Stupid soup eaters.

    In other, good books, I finished re-reading Shannon Hale’s awesome Princess Academy, such a sweet story about girls on a mountain.

    Then I read my bookclub pick, The Reincarnationist, hard title, disappointing book, like Da Vinci Code but far far worse and the stupidiest ending ever.

    Just started The Uninvited Guests… I needed something British to cleanse by palet.

  6. Pam on June 1, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    Stick with The Swan Thieves. It is nowhere near The Historian, in part I think because Kostova’s strengths are style/atmosphere and plot rather than character and this book is far more character-driven. But it does get better. There were parts that infuriated me but I really loved the sections when she told the story of the artists whose letters Robert keeps. Ironically, when Kostova writes in the third person her characters and their emotions seem much more authentic. I didn’t end up loving the book by any stretch of the imagination but I did like it a fair amount.

  7. Judy on June 1, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    I’ve been rereading you, Lauren! Unfortunately I lent my copy of the Black Tulip to somebody but other than that I am having a lovely time reading them in order. Thanks for some great reads!

  8. Diana on June 1, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    The Spanish Match by Brennan Pursell. It’s historical fiction about Charles, Prince if Wales (not the current Prince), and George Villiers, Marquis of Buckingham going incognito to Spain to bring about an English/Spanish alliance through marriage to the Spanish Infanta. So far, I’m enjoying it. It’s not the best historical fiction I have ever read (that goes to you, Lauren), but it’s good.

  9. Julie H on June 1, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Everybody has opinions on the Swan Thieves, huh? I’m going to stick with it, because I hate to quit a book in the middle.
    Pam, I definitely agree that the third person sections are so much better than the others. In Swan Thieves, her first person sections seem almost clinical, even when the narrator is someone other than the psychiatrist. Kostova has some really great lines/moments in there where she really nails a description or emotion, but there aren’t enough of them to constitute a book of this size, at least without some sort of plot to go with them.

  10. CĂ©line on June 1, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    I spent the week rereading a French-Canadian author, Elisabeth Tremblay… before the fifth and final installment!
    And on Sunday, I’ll switch to a re-reading of Pink 1, with two friends of mine that I persuaded to give your series a try (I even bought the book and offered it to one of them to be sure she would read it – don’t know how many times I gave Pink 1 as a present to a friend!!).
    Is it Sunday yet?? 🙂 Can’t wait!

  11. Amanda V on June 1, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    I hate quitting in the middle of a book too and I thought about it with The Swan Thieves but it was totally worth pushing thru to the end. Good Luck!

  12. Tracie on June 2, 2012 at 7:36 am

    I finished Dancing Naked in Dixie by Lauren Clark, which I enjoyed because it was about a NYC travel magazine writer being sent to the smalltown South on assignment. Of course, she gets caught up with a bunch of eccentric characters, some family drama, and a local hottie. Reminded me of a Jennifer Crusie novel.

    I’m about halfway through Showbiz by Ruby Preston which is a Chick Lit set in the Broadway world. It’s written by a real-life female producer of Broadway musicals, so I’m loving getting an insider’s look at what really goes on in the NY theater world. It’s very soap-y and cutthroat!

  13. Amy N. on June 2, 2012 at 11:32 am

    This week I continue my European book jaunt that started with Garden Intrigue, then Dumas “Black Tulip”, then “Madame Tussaud” and now “Pauline Bonaparte” by Flora Fraser. Enjoyed the Historian. Has anyone read “The Secret Adventures of Charlotte Bronte”? MM Kaye – so good but so long.

  14. Am7 on June 2, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    I read The Long Shot by Ellen Hartman, a sweet story about coaches for a girls’ basketball team falling in love.
    I also read Ceremony in Death, which is my current favorite of the In Death series, which gets better and better the longer I read.

  15. Amanda on June 3, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    I just finished reading J. Courtney Sullivan’s “Maine” and will start on “Commencement’ shortly — she’s coming to my book group next month!

    Also loving the “Royal Spyness” series by Rhys Bowen, Jacqueline Winspear’s “Maisie Dobbs” series, and the Sebastian St. Cyr books by CS Harris.

  16. Alice on June 7, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    I read “the Secret Adventures of Charlotte Bronte” and really enjoyed it. It was a ton of fun and well written. I also agree with what everyone said about “the Swan Thieves.” Although I did not like it even half as much as “The Historian,” it is not a complete loss. Stick with it as I did really enjoy the conclusion and the past narratives are really good. Also finishing up “the Violets of MArch.” Can’t recommend this book enough! Very well written, interesting plot and loved the setting. I will have to get Sarah Jio’s new book “The Bungalow.” Anyone read it?

  17. Amy N. on June 9, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    @Alice — thanks for mentioning TSACBronte. Also, Violets of March looks interesting — I’m itching for a couple new books although Hubby is catching on to my switcharoo tactics on the TBR pile (sneaking in recent purchases by rearranging the piles from time-to-time)

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