Monday 14 June 2021

QuickLit June 2021

 Linking up with Modern Mrs Darcy as usual for quick reviews. Someone seems to have flipped the switch from spring to summer here on the Slovenian coast. Sun cream (sunscreen to US readers - don't ask why the British still use an old-fashioned word!), sea bathing and gelato is the order of the day, plus hiding indoors to read when it's too hot. Here's my reading from last month:

Taylor Jenkins Reid - Daisy Jones and the Six

This is going to be one of my best reads of the year. I love rock music and the whole rock scene from the late 60s/early 70s, and Reid brought it to life so vividly for me, I felt I was reading nonfiction. Told in interview-style as an investigative journalism piece, it explores how Daisy Jones and the group The Six got together, rocketed to fame - and broke up just as they reached stardom. Part of the hook is figuring out whose version you are going to believe, and to what extent. I've been recommending it to anyone I know who shares my love of that music genre.

Ruth Saberton - The Locket

A dual timeline story that revisits characters from The Letter (review here), which I really enjoyed. I thought this was okay, nothing amazing, perhaps because it is very similar to the first.  Looking for something to occupy her mind while her son serves in Afghanistan, Alison finally begins sorting through her mother's belongings, and brings to light a hidden WWI love story between her upper class great grandmother and a photographer.

One of Martin's whimsical illustrations for The Art of Repair

Molly Martin - The Art of Repair

The title is a play on words - this is a little book both about how to repair clothes, and a paean to it as an act of love, peppered with stories of rescuing beloved clothes (or toys). I devoured it in an evening, but am still returning to it over and over again. If you are looking for a comprehensive manual, you'll be disappointed, as Martin uses a very simple approach with just 6 basic stitches, but if you want something more philosophical and whimsical, you might check it out.

Charlotte Bronte - The Professor

This was unpublished in Charlotte's lifetime, and she largely rewrote this early novel into Villette. She made a wise choice - this first novel quite clearly works out the homesickness and cultural shock she (and Emily) endured during their years abroad as teachers/pupils more than it is crafted as a great novel. Rejecting, and rejected by, his family, William Crimsworth takes a position as a professor in Brussels, where his English Protestant sensibilities suffer amid Catholic culture, until he meets the (Protestant) woman who proves a fit companion. Honestly, it was hard to sympathise with someone who, from a modern viewpoint, is a misogynist and bigot. But now I only have Villette to go and I have (re)read all of Charlotte's novels this year.

Maggi Andersen - Never Dance with a Marquess

This is the latest in Maggi's 'Never' romance series. Nicholas is determined to abide by the wishes of his late mentor and friend, Max, to become the guardian of his two younger children, and see the elder daughter, Carrie, safely through her London Season and into the arms of a suitable husband. But Carrie does not care for the marriage mart when she has discovered the right man under her nose. Can she break through the defenses Nicholas has erected after a youthful tragedy, and, together, can they protect her siblings from Max's ruthless brother? Maggi (a member of my critique group) has perfected the art of the romantic novella, so if you want a perfectly-sized romantic treat, I recommend this and any of her Regency books. Maggi also kindly reviewed my novel on her blog recently.

I'm hoping that I won't be around for next month because PM Boris will finally have let me get into the UK without quarantine. We shall see...

Thursday 10 June 2021

A Dorset Summer reviewed by author Maggi Coleman!

 US Today best-selling author Maggi Andersen has kindly featured A Dorset Summer on her blog. Maggi, a member of my critique group, has forged a very successful 'second career' as a novelist after raising her family. I so admire the focus that brought her plan into fruition! I also love her books, though romance is not the genre I usually turn to, because her characters are immediately engaging, and the plots usually feature a mystery/suspense element.

You can check out the review on her blog, or visit her website for information on Maggi's own books. Happy reading!

Maggi Andersen's newest Regency novella