It’s been a very strange first week after Labor Day, hasn’t it?  It’s that odd “no time but possibly any time and which season is it again?” feeling of the pandemic.  I’m going to have to up my pumpkin-themed baking and ghost story consumption to make it feel like fall!

On the plus side, it’s been a wonderful reading week.  Someone, ages ago, recommended Riley Sager’s Home Before Dark to me.  (Was it you, Miss Eliza?)  And, oh, how I loved it!  It reminded me so much of the Netflix Haunting of Hill House mini-series that came out two years ago (which is not at all like the real Haunting of Hill House but deeply satisfying in itself).  It has just the right amount of classic ghost story chill down the spine without making entirely creeped out.

A week during the pandemic wouldn’t be a week during the pandemic without a Miss Silver mystery!  This week it was Ladies’ Bane, in which the heroine visits her sister and husband in the 14th century house they’re renting– and has to figure out who’s trying to kill her.  Props to Patricia Wentworth for completely faking me out with this one!  It was not at all who I’d thought dunnit.

Right now I’m re-reading Robin McKinley’s Sunshine, which I’d first read when it came out umpteen years ago.  It wasn’t the right book at the right time for me back then.  I resented it bitterly for not being The Blue Sword or The Hero and the Crown or Beauty or even The Outlaws of Sherwood.  I’d hated that it was post-apocalypse and modern rather than once upon a time.  I came away with a bitter taste in my mouth and stuck my hardcover copy on the back of the shelf.  And now….  It’s absolutely the right book at the right time.  I’m loving a lot of the things I hated about it in the first go round– the unapologetic frankness of the heroine.  The fact that she isn’t heroic, but just coping– and finding the heroism sideways.  That there aren’t bugles blaring and cavalry thundering but a lot of discussion of cinnamon rolls.  Which just goes to show that so often, when we bounce off a book, it’s not the book, it’s us. (Although sometimes it really is the book.)

In the happy coincidence category, Sunshine pairs wonderfully with T. Kingfisher’s A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking, which also involves baked goods, magic, and an unexpected heroine.

What have you been reading this week?

5 Comments

  1. Pat Dupuy on September 11, 2020 at 12:27 pm

    I tore through Darcie Wilde’s Rosalind Thorne series. I had read an ARC for the fourth book through Netgalley and realized I didn’t remember much of the back story. I have books 1 and 2 and found #3 on special as an ebook, so I read away for much of the week. When I was caught up I reread the ARC and enjoyed it much more! Now I want book #5 to see what develops! These stories are set in the Regency and work historical events and real people into the plot. Almack’s and its patronesses are featured in the first story, A Useful Woman. Lady Caroline Lamb pops up in the third story.

  2. DJL on September 11, 2020 at 1:18 pm

    In the midst of a re-read of Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope, always enjoyable.

  3. Elizabeth (AKA Miss Eliza) on September 11, 2020 at 6:44 pm

    Yes it was me! My book of summer! It does remind me so much of the Netflix miniseries, but also so much it’s own deliciously spooky thing! So much so that I devoured his earlier book Lock Every Door last weekend, that’s a tribute to Rosemary’s Baby! I’m now eying his other two books while at the same time trying to finish Master and Margarita for book club, it has it’s moments, but is too bleakly Russian at times for me.

  4. Joan on September 11, 2020 at 7:14 pm

    Just finished Something Read Something Dead and Read and Buried by Eva Gates. They are set in the outer banks north carolina about a librarian who works in the local lighthouse librarsy and are very cute mysteries. I’m about to start Singapore Sapphire by A. M. Stuart set in 1910 Singapore.

  5. Megan on September 13, 2020 at 10:04 am

    I’m reading T. Kingfisher’s A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking right now. I love it (and Bob).

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