Weekly Reading Round-Up

It’s been British Chick Lit fest for me this week! It all started with:

— Trisha Ashley, Twelve Days of Christmas.

You know my weakness for house inheritance books, right? This one isn’t an inheritance– the heroine is hired to house-sit for the Christmas holidays– but it’s still the fun of the heroine exploring a draughty old manor house and becoming part of the dotty local community. I really enjoyed it.

— Kate Saunders, The Marrying Game.

Once the British chick lit bug bit me…. The Marrying Game begins and ends on Christmas, so it seemed like the right follow-up to Twelve Days of Christmas. It is a beautifully written book that wears its erudition lightly and it has one of my absolute favorite characters: Berry, who’s sort of a cross between Turnip and Miles.

— Kate Saunders, Bachelor Boys.

You can see how one thing leads to another. I adore Kate Saunders’s writing style, so once I’d started, it made sense to go on and re-read her Bachelor Boys, another novel of matches, mis-matches, dealing with loss, and learning about love.

Next up? Probably Elizabeth Young’s Fair Game, which is an annual re-read for me, taking place, as it does, over the Christmas holidays. The US edition has the appalling title A Promising Man (and About Time, Too), but I’ve clung to my beloved old UK edition.

This orgy of British chick lit does have another purpose. The modern segment of the book I’m currently working on (the second non-Pink book) is set in a suburb of London, and I find it helps to immerse myself in contemporary British fiction and television to get the idioms and rhythm of speech right.

What have you been reading?


  1. Heather on November 30, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    I’m reading the new book in the Dresden Files series, “Cold Days.” So far, it’s better than his previous entry, “Ghost Story.” But this series is fantastic, and it’s one I highly recommend to a lot of my friends & bookstore customers.

  2. Pam on November 30, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    British Chick-Lit for me, too. I finished Marianna (Susanna Kearsley) and loved it, and I didn’t want to jump right into something else really absorbing while still ruminating. So this week is Beautiful People by Wendy Holden, which is fun so far, though most of the characters are appalling. I read Fair Game (unfortunately under its A Promising Man, etc. title with an equally unfortunate cover featuring underwear) last year and thought it was great. I’ve got a Trisha Ashley on my kindle, A Winter’s Tale, and may need to give it a go.

  3. Angela on November 30, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Finished JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy. Very sharp, biting satire. And also finishing up The Saracen Blade, an old, medieval, crusade-set novel from the 40s, I think, for a class on the history of the crusades. Then it’s back to an Agatha Christie novel I had to set aside for the crusades class.

  4. Ashley on November 30, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    My two this week were Ian McEwan’s “Sweet Tooth” (which was good, but felt a little bit like I was reading a homework assignment in a college lit course) and Amor Towles’ “Rules of Civility,” set in 1930s New York, which I really loved!

  5. Céline on November 30, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    This week was a Time travel week for me, as I read the first installment of a YA series titled Time Riders. It was well written, fast paced and had me kooked and reading well past reasonnable hours (I’m missing a lot of my beauty sleep now… but it was so worth it!).
    And now, while waiting for my copy of The Casual Vacancy to become available, I’m reading His Spanish Bride, by the wonderful Tracy Grant… probably followed by Seduced by a Pirate, by the equally wonderful Eloisa James…
    Lauren, have you read Sophie Kinsella’s latest? I’ve got your number? It was very very good and I cannot recommand it highly enough (probably my fav, with 20ies girl…)

  6. Alice on November 30, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    Just finished “The Twelve Clues of Christmas” by Rhys Bowen. Another Lady Georgie book and it was tons of fun. Also, “In Sunlight and in Shadow” by Mark Helprin. His prose is really beautiful and lyrical but I felt the characters were very flat and lacked sufficient emotion. I never felt invested with them which was a disappointment.

  7. Allison (Allure of Books) on November 30, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    I love Fair Game! I read it around this time last year. British chick lit is one of my favorite genres…have you read Sarra Manning? Unsticky and especially You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me (which reminds me a lot of Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie) are fabulous reads.

  8. Christine on November 30, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    One of the first books I got for my Kindle months ago was the first in the High Heel Mysteries series. It was cute and fluffy. Recently, the first 3 plus a short story were sold as a set for 99 cents so I got it. They’re not particularly well written and there are lots of things that bug me – the heroine is beyond stupid, the author uses the same trite descriptions and phrases over and over… yet there’s something about them that’s fun and I can’t stop reading them. I just downloaded the box set of books 4-6. Maybe it’s the hot cop boyfriend.

  9. Nessa on November 30, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    After reading Sarah Bradford’s “Disraeli” I was so fascinated by him, that I ordered old BBC series starring Ian McShane as Prime Minister himself.
    I also read Mary Stewart’s “The Stormy Petrel”, set on Scottish Island of Moila.
    It was not my favourite of her books, but I did enjoy it, especially beautiful descriptions of scenery and various kinds of sea birds.

  10. Jeffrey on November 30, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Still another endless but entertaining regency romances. I just finished the Hopeless Hoyden by Margaret Bennet with a tom-boy of a natural unaffected mis-fit of a heroine that I just fell in love with. Only drawback? The Kindle version is riddled with misspellings and grammatical errors.

    I also just started on Lady Iona’s Rebellion by Dorothy McFalls. Cute twist to this one: The very proper, sheltered daughter of a duke wants to go on the wild side and the hero, who is a total rogue, is trying desperately to keep her from going where he has been. Very funny and sweet so far. It is a ‘sort-of’ continuation of her Marriage List which I also thoroughly enjoyed.

  11. Sheila on November 30, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott, and Murder Most Austen by Tracy Kiely, good reads both of them. But do you Janeites actually carry on conversations consisting of appropriate Austen quotes ?

  12. Gina on November 30, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Just finished Breakfast with Buddha by Roland Merullo – I really recommend it. I will say it took some getting into (I started months ago and took a long break) but as you get further on, there’s this great combination of humor, wisdom, and affection in it that I love. Very thought-provoking, too.

    I’ve just started Nine Rules to Break… by Sarah Maclean (I must say, I’ve avoided telling anyone who asked the title…I would have named it something else) and I am enjoying it thoroughly.

  13. Leslie on November 30, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    I read Isabel Wolff’s A Vintage Affair and I really enjoyed it. A Royal Pain by Megan Mulray was a mixed bag. I think her editor let her down. I really liked the characters though, especially Max.
    For the weekend I have Jill Mansell’s latest and three books by Juliette Fay. Her first book Shelter Me is a really wonderful book that I highly recommend.

  14. Katie R. on December 1, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    This week I read Princess Elizabeth’s Spy by Susan Elia Macneal, the second book in the Maggie Hope novels (Mr. Churchill’s Secretary). It was very good- even better than the first book!

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