Weekly Reading Round-Up
The re-read marathon continues!
This week, I re-read two more of the Sarah Caudwell mysteries: The Shortest Way to Hades and The Sirens Sang of Murder. For those of you watching the new PBS series, Silk, these tongue in cheek books about British barristers make a fun companion read. They’re a little bit Rumpole of the Bailey with a touch of the absurd entirely their own.
Then, in my quest to revisit the Heyers I generally don’t re-read, I dug out The Reluctant Widow— it’s still way down on my list of Heyers (something about the heroine just doesn’t click for me), but it is a fine example of the way a talented author can make even a truly absurd plot premise work. For some reason, it makes me want to re-read The Talisman Ring. That one may be up next….
What have you been reading this week?
I just finished an ARC of “Under the Wide and Starry Sky” by Nancy Horan (who also wrote “Loving Frank”). It’s the loves story of Robert Louis Stevenson and his wife Fanny. I think Nancy Horan is a great storyteller. I didn’t know much about RLS, and I’ve only read one of his books, but I really enjoyed reading about him.
Finished NIne Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MAcLean– fun read. started Gone GIrl but could not connect with the characters and returned it to the library. reading Beatriz Wiliams A Hundred Summers and enjoying it very much!
I’ve got a few on the go. How to lead a life of Crime by Kristen Miller. I’m iffy on it, I’ve liked her other stuff but this one isn’t working for me. Finished My Soul to Save by Rachel Vincent, very light but entertaining. I’ve just started The Legacy of the Clockwork Key by Kristin Bailey and I’m in the inn with Miss Gwen and the Colonel (Loving every minute of it, I might add). When I’m done Plumeria, I have to switch gears and read Masacre Pond by Paul Dorion.
After finally(!) finishing teaching my summer course I finished Susanna Kearsley’s The Rose Garden, which was quite wonderful. Now I’m reading The Grey Beginning (Barbara Michaels) and so far it’s very fun. You really can’t go wrong with a crumbling Tuscan villa, a subtly sinister dowager countess, a damaged yet plucky heroine, and Secrets.
I’m on a rampage through Candice Hern’s entire literary repertoire. I’m reading the last of her “Merry Widows” trilogy: In the Thrill of the Night, Lady Be Bad, and I’m half-way through Just One of Those Flings. They are bawdy but Candice showcases some memorable heroes, heroines and some unlikely and surprising romantic pairings.
The Nobodies Album, by Carolyn Parkhurst. The plot sounds like a Movie of the week–writer’s estranged rock star son is accused of murder–but it is actually beautifully written, quite “literary”, and I am really enjoying it.
I’m almost done with “Almost True Confessions” and it’s hilarious. Release date is October 1 and I highly recommend it. Funny, snarky, well-written, good mystery.
Up next is The Perfume Collector!
I’m finishing the Water Witch by Juliet Dark, it’s about a small town called Fairwick that’s home to witches, faeries, vampires, even a retired succubus! I’m quite loving the series.
After that I’ll begin to read Blood & Beauty: The Borgias by Sarah Dunant.
Also, I’m skimming though the Austenland books again because I just saw the hilarious film!
I love the Sarah Caudwell books. Another excellent author who dies tragically young was Kate Ross, who’s Julian Kestrel books I’ve been re-reading.
HJ, those two authors are always linked in my head, too! I think it’s because they both died young… both had four books… and I discovered both authors’ books at the same time in the same place (my second year of grad school at the late, lamented Wordsworth Books in Cambridge.)
Another author who wrote irreverent & absurd, yet highly intelligent & literate, mysteries was Edmond Crispin. They date from the 1930’s through the 1950’s, and are a lot of fun. Sadly, there are only about 10 of them.
Take this Bread by Sara Miles (a spiritual memoir) and I’ve been on a mystery kick so I read The Catsitter’s Cradle, the most recent installment of the Dixie Hemingway petsitter mysteries. The author Blaize Clement died in 2011 and this one was finished by her son John Clement. I also read The Last Word which is the final book in the Spellman series by Lisa Lutz.
I just finished Testimony, by Anita Shreve. It’s good, but almost like she morphed into Jodi Picoult for a bit. I started The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova, and I’m hooked. I loved her book The Historian.
I just finished PLUMERIA and now I’m reading Louise Penny’s latest Gamache mystery HOW THE LIGHT GETS IN. Next up is Charles Todd’s latest A QUESTION OF HONOR about WWI nurse Bess Crawford.
Heyer’s Talisman Ring is possibly my favorite of hers – but so are a number of others! My Purple Passion finally came, but I’m rereading some of the others leading up to it – starting with Mistletoe – and enjoying them immensely once again!
Right now I’m reading Omens by Kelley Armstrong. Before that I read a couple of thrillers, Never Come Back by David Bell and The Edge of Normal by Carla Norton, which I enjoyed far more than I usually do thrillers and reviewed on my blog. In between I had a few false starts with things that didn’t pass the fifty page test.
I’ve been living “Under the Dome” for about a week now. Just seemed the perfect end to summer (though the weather apparently thinks it’s mid-July!)
Finished “Leaving Everything Most Loved” by Jacqueline Winspear. Very sad that I have to wait a while to see what Maisie will do.
I’m one-thirds of the way through “Royal Blood” by Rhys Bowen. I do so like the oh so plucky Lady Georgie….
I agree with about The Reluctant Widow by Georgette Heyer. It’s one of the fine Heyers that doesn’t work for me at all. I think it’s the dynamic between the hero and heroine. I like the heroine, who is long-suffering, but the hero is one her bossiest alphas. Unlike say Leonie or Mary or Judith, who fight back, poor Elinor is too down-troded? to really effectively go up against the hero. That’s my opinion.
This week I finished alot:
Marriage of Mercy by Carla Kelly
This one started slow. I recommend it to those who like gentle historicals. It’s a regency set in England but nothing like a traditional “Regency Romance”
Carnal Innocence by Nora Roberts
Really good suspense. Very dark. Not for the faint of heart. Good Romance, but the ending didn’t work for me.
Beauty Dates the Beast by Jessica Sims
I really like this one. It’s the first in romantic paranormal shifter series. If you like paranormal, this might work for you.
I am still on my re-reading Elizabeth Peters stand-alones kick. I read The Night of Four-Hundred Rabbits (late 1960’s Mexico City) and am part -way through The Dead Sea Cipher (1970 Beirut … a popular vacation spot, at the time … amazing!). I also re-read the third Jacqueline Kirby, Die for Love.
As for The Reluctant Widow, it is one of my favorites. I think that Elinor was protesting, but not always meaning it. But maybe she should have put her foot down occasionally. I enjoy it a lot, except for the very end. I don’t think that GH developed the relationship between the hero & heroine enough. With him always dashing in & out of the house, how was she to know that he had any feelings for her at all. They didn’t spend enough time getting to know each other.
Just finished Spring Awakening by T.J. Brown. It is the last of the Summerset Abbey trilogy. Very reminiscent of Downtown Abbey. I enjoyed all three.