Weekly Reading Round-Up

It has been a banner book week for me. So good, in fact, that I can’t imagine what I’ll read next.

First up? Simone St. James’s The Broken Girls. Here’s the unofficial blurb as relayed to me by Simone:

In 1950 Vermont, four lonely girls in a remote boarding school protect each other against the ghost in the darkness – and the terrors of their own lives – until tragedy strikes and changes them forever.

In 2014, a journalist covering the restoration of the long-abandoned school finds evidence of a decades-old crime that eerily echoes the tragedy in her own life. And alongside the secrets of the school, she awakens a haunting that has lain dormant in the cold, idyllic woods – until now…

I read it the day before Halloween. I’d meant to save it for Halloween, but a new Simone St. James? About a New England boarding school? No one has that kind of will power.

It is so good. So good. Creepy New England, interwoven mysteries, and ghostly happenings good. Think Barbara Michaels at her best, but with a dual plot-line.

The Broken Girls comes out in spring of 2018. There aren’t pre-order links up yet, but when there are, I know I’ll be clicking that buy button. This is a book I’ll be reading again.

It took a strong book to follow that, but, fortunately for me, I had Abby Fabiaschi’s I Liked My Life on hand. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this book, told from the points of view of the ghost of a woman who had committed suicide and the husband and daughter she had left behind. How was that going to work? But it did. It worked beautifully, watching each coming to terms with themselves and their lives– and unpicking the mystery of why a seemingly happy woman would decide to take the plunge off the top of Wellesley’s library. There were so many thought-provoking reflections about the sorts of lives we lead, the pressures of work and motherhood (and teenagerhood) and the family baggage we carry with us. But, mostly, how poorly we read and how little we know about the people who are closest to us.

I Liked My Life comes out in January. I highly recommend it. Think Liane Moriarty, but not Australian.

To top it all off, I treated myself to Sonali Dev’s latest, A Change of Heart. Spouse, upon seeing the cover and title, quipped, “So it’s about illegal organ trafficking in Mumbai?” To which I replied, “Yes, yes, it is.” The change of heart in the title is both figurative and literal, the romance taking place against a background of high stakes skullduggery.

What does one read after a run of books like that? I have N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season at the top of the pile, but I’m not sure I’m ready to read it quite yet.

What have you been reading this week?


  1. Miss Eliza on November 4, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    Sadly I’ve been almost too busy to read (that really should be possible!) I’ve been reading a little of We Have Always Lived in the Castle each night. Damn I love Shirley Jackson!

    • Freya on November 5, 2016 at 6:36 pm

      Yay! I love her, too! 🙂

  2. Lauren H on November 4, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    I love N.K. Jemisin! I haven’t read The Fifth Season, just her Inheritance trilogy, and adored it.

    As for my reading this week. I’ve decided to take a short break from all the Sci Fi and Fantasy I’ve been reading and have started Sarah MacLean’s A Rogue By Any Other Name. It’s my first of her novels and so far, I love it!

  3. Amy on November 4, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    I read A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear, Maisie Dobbs #8. It started slow, but it was good anyway.

  4. Sheila on November 4, 2016 at 8:14 pm

    The Royal Nanny, by Karen Harper, a fictionalized story of the woman who raised The Duke and Windsor and his siblings: interesting and touching.

    Letters of Note, vol 1, a mixed bag of very interesting correspondence from famous and less so, covering several centuries.

  5. LizC on November 4, 2016 at 11:41 pm

    This was a travel-for-work week, so I wasn’t able to spend as much time reading as I would’ve liked. But, I spent 12 hours today in airports/on planes, and in that time I finished Deanna Raybourn’s A Curious Beginning (mixed feelings about that one) and one of Maisey Yates’ Copper Ridge books; continued with a couple more chapters of Let’s All Be Brave (Annie F. Downs); and started Karen White’s The House on Tradd Street and A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. The former I began in anticipation of my mini-holiday to Charleston next week, but decided after a few very atmospheric chapters to save until I actually get to Charleston. I think it’s going to be even more fun to read when I can more or less live the book’s setting.

  6. Rachel Adrianna on November 5, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    I finally read Amy Stewart’s sequel, “Lady Cop Makes Trouble”– sheer perfection! Just as amazing as “Girl Waits with Gun.”

    I also read Tasha Alexanders’ latest Lady Emily book, “A Terrible Beauty”– beautifully parallel to her first novel.

  7. Freya on November 5, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    I’m enjoying *An Inquiry Into Love and Death* by Simone St. James. I adore ghost stories and stories about women and houses. 🙂 (The author’s idiom sounds very North American, though. There should be a vetting service for non-Brit authors who are writing in the voice of British characters.)

  8. Betty Strohecker on November 7, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    Lost Among the Living by Simone St. James, an author I was introduced to on this site.

    My Cousin Rachel by the wonderful Daphne Du Maurier.

    Also, Tracy Grant’s new novella, Mission for a Queen.

    • Miss Eliza on November 7, 2016 at 6:54 pm

      I feel like My Cousin Rachel is kind of an odd duck among the other awesome Du Maurier novels…

      • Betty Strohecker on November 7, 2016 at 10:36 pm

        What are your thoughts about the ending?

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