Weekly Reading Round-Up
This has been a very Regency inflected reading week for me. Here’s what I’ve been reading:
— Joan Wolf, The Arrangement.
Very few people can write Regencies in the first person and get away with it– and Joan Wolf does it so very well. The Arrangement, in which an independent single mother finds herself entangled, by an unwanted legacy, in the complicated household of the Earl of Savile, has always been one of my favorites. Her heroines are all supremely sensible and determined people, and Gail, the heroine of The Arrangement, is no exception to this rule. I would have gone on reading Joan Wolfs all week but for the fact that my little sister has all the rest of them. Hmph.
— Kasey Michaels, Maggie By The Book.
With RWA coming up fairly shortly, it seemed a good time to read Kasey Michaels’ hysterical send-up of romance conferences, the publishing industry, and, yes, Regency romance authors.
— Georgette Heyer, Black Sheep.
With all that Regency-ing, it seemed time to go back to the mother of the genre. Black Sheep is one of those Heyers I know less well, but very much in her usual line: an independent lady of means comes up against the antics of the young, prevents all sorts of mayhem, and, along the way, falls in love with a rogue of her own. I’d forgotten that Black Sheep was set in Bath– it was particularly amusing reading about one of her characters putting up at the White Hart when I’d just had Miss Gwen there two chapters ago, terrorizing the chickens in the inn yard.
What have you been reading?
Regency-oriented, huh? Researching your next novel ou just personnel wish? 🙂
As for me, I’ve spent the whole week reading Zweig’s Marie-Antoinette, and I love the way he depicts her personality, his opinions concerning her relationship with Axel de Fersen and how he proves them…
I’m not finished yet, still a 100 pages to go…
Have you read it yet, Lauren?
*or just personal wish* … sometimes, on Fridays, my brain and my fingers stop communicating. Sorry for that! :S
(it shows that English isn’t my mothertongue, on those days… 🙁 )
I love the Zweig biography of Marie Antoinette! That man can write.
Celine, my sister and I frequently speak “franglais” to each other, throwing in gratuitous sans and avecs and so on into English phrases– so the ou sounded perfectly normal to me!
I’m relieved to read that! I’m sometimes embarrassed to make to many mistakes due to my wanting to post a reply so quickly… :S And it’s worse at the end of the week!
Do you speak French fluently, Lauren?
And I do agree with you about Zweig’s writing… he is such a great author! I’m glad that his work has fallen into public domain in Canada, his books (their French version, actually – sadly, I can’t read German any more) are being digitalized and I’ve been informed that Mary Stuart is now available, among a few other novellas. I can’t wait to read it!
I’ve read a few of his books, and fell in love with his writing each and every time!
My daughter gave me a novel that she insisted I read straight-away. It is The House At Tyneford by Natasha Solomons. I’m only half-way through the 357 pages and cannot put it down! The plot: Set in 1938, an affluent Austrian Jewish family sends their 19 year old daughter to England to work as a maid in a manor house because they cannot get her an American Visa. The setting is on the scenic Dorset coastline (I’ve been there!) and the heroine manages to fall in love with the son of the manor house owner. Packed with suspense (she doesn’t know if the rest of her family have escaped Austria) Humor-she does not make a very good maid and clashes with the staff and she is a jewess in a gentile world. So far, one of the best reads in years. A WONDERFUL compelling story!
Your book sounds so interesting Jeffrey, I’ve jotted down the title and author and I’m gonna look for it!
I was actually really disappointed in The House at Tyneford. I had very high hopes for it, given the setting and plot, but I felt the ending fell very flat. I hope you enjoy it more than I did!
For a romance writers’ convention there’s always Elizabeth Peters “Die for Love”.
Katie MacAlister’s Light Dragon series. I’m on the last book now! 🙂
LOVE Elizabeth Peters! Especially her Amelia Peabody series. A little Victorian Egypt, yes please!
I’ve read a few Graphic Novels that where not worthy of noting. Other than that, I’ve been working my way through the sequel to A Discovery of Witches. I just passed the half-way point and it’s starting to really pick up. The first hundred pages are more a travel guide to Elizabethan England than an actual story, not that that is really bad… just I was waiting for some plot and now I finally have it!
Thanks to you, I’ve been reading Patricia Veryan and Elsie Lee (both hard to get in England) – and Joan Wolf! They’ve been arriving in fits and starts in response to orders placed with US used booksellers.
I’m now going to buy and read the Kasey Michaels book. I loved her Beckets of Romney Marsh series (which is set during the Regency, I think). Now that’s a theme you could explore – books set on Romney Marsh! We could start with Georgette Heyer (as always) and The Unknown Ajax… There’s also an excellent trilogy by Lucilla Andrews (some published under pseudonyms Joanna Marcus and Diana Gordon), which I re-read frequently: A Few Days in Endel (aka Endel House), Marsh Blood, and The Sinister Side. They’re set in the 1960s and are best described as romantic suspense, I think. They show detailed knowledge and understanding of the Marsh, and are wonderfully atmospheric.
If you don’t fancy Romney Marsh books, how about ones set in Bath? More Georgette Heyer, and of course Jane Austen!
Finishing up “Secret Adventures of Charlotte Bronte”. Not sure if Dumas, Henry James or Wharton will be next. It could all change – TBR piles are unpredictable. I was tempted to pick up “Jane Eyre” or “Wildfeld Hall” (?) or “Wuthering Heights”. I have already read “Villette”. Since my uncle has been in the hospital I’ve been reading to him from the Imponderables books — Why do we milk cows from the right? Why is a “Rear Admiral” called a “Rear Admiral”? Why do soldiers step off with the left foot? Why do rabbits wiggle their noses? Why are M&M’s seamless? If you ever need something to pass the time but pack a punch for just minutes give these books a go. Just what the doctor ordered.
Bossypants by Tina Fey! I’m a bit behind, it came out a while ago, but it’s fantastic. Hilarious, insightful, genuine, all of it.