Happy Friday, all!
I started off the week with Ann Mah’s luminous Jacqueline in Paris. Jacqueline Kennedy is such a well known character and there are so many layers of assumption and expectation and legend lacquered onto her that I couldn’t imagine how anyone could chip through all that to the young girl underneath– but Ann did, and did it brilliantly. This is the story of a Vassar girl in Paris, grappling with the post-war world and her own family baggage, trying to figure out just who and what she wants to be. Ann Mah’s Jacqueline is so warm and immediate and engaging that you’ll be so busy living her year in Paris with her that you’ll completely forget to think ahead to the woman she became later– which is really an amazing feat!
I had a distinct book hangover– I was still mentally with Jacqueline in Paris– so, instead of reading any of my pile of new books, I went back to an old childhood favorite, Barbara Michaels’s Witch, in which an empty nester (who I’d thought was at least in her fifties but is actually thirty-eight!) buys a cottage in the woods with a dubious history, and runs afoul of the local villagers and her suspiciously charming neighbor. To be honest, I don’t love it as much as I once did, and I’m not sure why. I’m still working out why some of my beloved Barbara Michaels books have aged better than others. Maybe because my expectations for the ones that were once my favorites are so high? Possibly I need to let it sit for another ten years and go try again– and in the meantime just go back to re-reading Ammie Come Home and Shattered Silk.
Did you know that the author of The Marlow Murder Club was the creator of Death in Paradise and wrote a handful of Death in Paradise novels? I loved Marlow Murder Club and I’ve watched every Death in Paradise, so, of course, I bought them. They did feel thinner than Marlow Murder Club— a bit of that “book of the show” feeling– but they were still fun, quick reads.
And then it’s back to the ARC pile for me!
What have you been reading this week?