I don’t want to distract from the Pink Carnation recap (three down, six to go before we get to Miss Gwen’s book!), so I’ll report this week’s reading speedily….
— Jane Aiken Hodge, Maulever Hall.
I had mixed feelings about this 80s Gothic, which veered unevenly somewhere between Regency and Gothic territory, sometimes arch, sometimes earnest. When it was good, it was very, very good, but it periodically derailed into “really? you’re going there?” on the part of the heroine, who seemed perfectly sensible at some points and absolutely idiotic (in a “let me run off into the night instead of asking for an explanation!” sort of way) at others.
— Elizabeth Peters, Naked Once More.
This is the fourth book in Peters’s Jacqueline Kirby mystery series. (If you haven’t read these before, start with The Seventh Sinner.) Jacqueline’s internal monologues and pithy commentary are a source of joy. I hadn’t realized until this re-read just how powerfully her character shaped my own Miss Gwen…. But more on that later.
— Alexandra Aldrich, The Astor Orphan: A Memoir.
An unhappy account of a childhood poised between ancestral privilege and present day poverty in a crumbling mansion on the Hudson, this memoir reminded me a bit of Alexandra Fuller’s Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight with its narrative of parental irresponsibility, alcoholism, and the search for some sort of normalcy.
What have you been reading this week?