Weekly Reading Round-Up

This week, my amazing college roommate sent a care package to me. There was Hamster Princess: Harriet the Invincible for my daughter (who gave it the bedtime reading two thumbs up) and Elsie Lee’s Wingarden for me.

One of the things I love about Lee’s books is what perfect time capsules they are: little snapshots of the 1960s and early 70s, like watching an Audrey Hepburn movie. Elsie Lee’s novels tend to be set in exotic places, but this one took place in Virginia, around the machinations of a white supremecist group and the heroine who unwittingly puts a spoke in their plans when she inherits her grandmother’s house. I remember reading this ten years ago and thinking how dated it felt. Sadly, it feels a little less dated right now– but still an excellent read.

I moved from the 1960s South to one of my favorite vacation spots, 1920s London, via Dorothy Sayers’s Unnatural Death, one of her earlier Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries. I’d meant to move on from here to some Halloween reading, but there’s something terribly addictive about Lord Peter Wimsey. So it may be Whose Body? next, with The Haunting of Hill House pushed off until next week.

I’d love to find something Halloween-y I haven’t read yet, but, what with one thing and another, haven’t really had time to bob for books. So if you have any recommendations, I’m all ears!

What have you been reading this week?


  1. Miss Eliza on October 27, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    ADORED La Belle Sauvage. It’s Philip Pullman doing spycraft and it’s AWESOME! Just started The Bloody Chamber, and I can already see how it heavily influenced Crimson Peak.

  2. Sheila on October 27, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    The India Fan, by Victoria Holt, not her best, but still good reading.

    The Cinderella Pact by Strohmeyer, a great chick lit romp.

    Phyllis Whitney’s Star Flight

  3. Lauren H on October 27, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    After the scary vampires of Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot, I decided to move onto sexy vampires, so Dark Needs at Night’s Edge (Kresley Cole) it is.
    Also working on A Twist in Time, Julie McElwain’s second book in her 21st century FBI profiler stick in 1815 England series (I believe Kendra Donovan is the actual name of the series).
    Lastly, I’m working on Simone St. James’s upcoming The Broken Girls. So far I am loving it. It’s split between 1950 and 2014 in rural Vermont, centered around an abandoned girls boarding school with a malevolent past.

    • Lauren on October 30, 2017 at 11:03 am

      Lauren, I loved BROKEN GIRLS, too! Simone took pity on me and sent it to me last Halloween when I was going through St. James novel withdrawal symptoms….

      • Lauren H on October 30, 2017 at 4:45 pm

        It is my first by Simone St. James but it will definitely not be my last. I think discovering a new (to me) author to love is one of the best feelings in the world.

  4. Susan Gormam on October 27, 2017 at 11:11 pm

    I read and loved Kieran Kramer’s Christmas at Two Love Lane.
    Set in Charleston SC , it had lots of southern charm and appealing characters.

    Work has been busy and a bit stressful and holiday stories get me in the spirit! And there were corgis …so I was pleased! 🙂

  5. Freya on October 28, 2017 at 12:10 am

    I have nothing exciting to report about my own reading, but I can’t resist saying that I LOVE Lord Peter Wimsey. And Unnatural Death — such a brilliant, perfect time-capsule of its era. I so love the Barbara Pym-esque women in Vera’s and Mary’s set, the sinister “adventure-let” in South Audley Street, the thrilling way it all starts with a conversation in a restaurant — everything about it.

    I’ve been wondering for ages whether Miss Katherine Climpson is any relation to the Miss Climpson who runs the Select Seminary for Young Ladies in Bath. Dare one inquire . . . ?

    • Lauren on October 30, 2017 at 11:04 am

      Yes! I’ve stolen two names from Sayers: Miss Climpson for my headmistress and Paul Delagardie for Emma’s first husband in “Garden Intrigue”. Of course, neither of them have anything in common with the characters whose names I stole. But it’s a nudge nudge wink wink thing.

      • Lauren on October 30, 2017 at 11:05 am

        I daresay that Miss Climpson could, in fact, be a great-great niece of my Miss Climpson….

        • Freya on October 31, 2017 at 6:35 pm

          Ah! Wonderful! 🙂 I think I actually jumped & squealed when I first encountered your Paul Delagardie. 🙂

  6. Freya on October 28, 2017 at 12:35 am

    Re Halloween recommendations: I recently read Wylding Hall by Elizabeth Hand and loved it.

    • Miss Eliza on October 28, 2017 at 4:18 am

      Wylding Hall is SO GOOD!

      • Lauren on October 30, 2017 at 11:05 am

        How have I not heard of this?!?!?!

        • Freya on October 31, 2017 at 6:36 pm

          When you get around to it, please let us know what you think!

  7. DJL on October 28, 2017 at 1:45 am

    Dived into Francine Matthews’ Death on Nantucket (first Merry Folger mystery) and am enjoying VERY much.
    Also, LOVE Lord Peter Wimsey!

    • DJL on October 28, 2017 at 8:43 am

      Oops, flubbed that title: death in the off-season, SET in Nantucket 🙂

  8. Betty Strohecker on October 28, 2017 at 11:15 pm

    I read two fabulous books – the latest Tasha Alexander, Death in St. Petersburg, and the first in the Anna Lee Huber Lady Darby series, The Anatomist’s Wife.

    • Lynne on October 28, 2017 at 11:56 pm

      Betty and I are reading Death in St. Petersburg together, with our friend Suzanne, and we all agree that it’s one of Tasha Alexander’s best – great twists and turns and plenty of suspects. Highly recommended!

      • Betty Strohecker on November 1, 2017 at 1:14 pm


  9. Tara on October 29, 2017 at 5:18 am

    If you’re looking for a different kind of mystery try Ariana Franklin’s Mistress of the Art of Death series. It centers around a young woman who’s a surgeon/forensic scientist/detective under the reign of King Henry II of England.

    She’s compelling, and the time period and the historical characters are described beautifully.

    • Freya on October 30, 2017 at 1:41 am

      The Mistress of the Art of Death books are wonderful! Diana Norman also wrote some great non-murder mysteries including the utterly magnificent historical adventure-romance *The Vizard Mask*.

      • Tara on October 30, 2017 at 5:29 am

        They are definitely on my TBR list 🙂

  10. Carla on October 30, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    I just started A Murder of Magpies… your recommendation 🙂

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