Linking up with Modern Mrs Darcy as usual. For some reason, I got out of the habit of keeping up my list of books read. Not sure if it signals that I need to perk up my reading life, or just that I'm getting absent minded. Luckily, all my books are on my shelf or Kindle as I'm not living in an English-speaking country, so here's a round-up from last month.
Jennifer Robson - The Gown
This had been on my list of 'I'd read it if it came on sale' books - and my patience was rewarded. It's a three-way story, of two young women, Londoner Ann and Holocaust survivor Miriam who are embroidering the gown for Princess Elizabeth's wedding, and Ann's grandaughter, Heather, who is solving a mystery that Ann left behind. Although the plot was built on what, to me, was a bit of a flaw (that Ann's daughter never tried to find out anything about her father), I enjoyed the story, particularly the re-creation of postwar Britain. The modern day story, I felt so-so about. The trope of 'person finds photo/jewellery/diary and uncovers mystery' seems a bit ubiquitous nowadays.
Barbara Pym - Crampton Hodnet
Barbara Pym never disappoints with her comedies of manners. This is an early novel, but it was set aside when Pym became involved in war work, and left unedited until after her death, as she felt it was dated. Now, of course, it is a perfect period piece, set in Oxford in the 1930s. Elderly Miss Doggett likes to think she has her finger on the moral pulse of Oxford. She is eager to promote the romance between her great-neice, Anthea and a well-connected young man - and to quash the budding affair between Anthea's father and a young student. But the one liason she does not see is going on right under her nose, between her companion Miss Morrow and lodger, the curate Mr Latimer.
|Barbara Pym - brilliant writer, and cat lady|
Trisha Ashley - The Garden of Forgotten Wishes and The Little Teashop of Lost and Found
In a spate of mental exhaustion, I put my feet up with two light rom-coms. In The Garden of Forgotten Wishes, Marnie returns to the UK after several years in France hiding from her coercive ex-husband. She takes a gardening job in the little Lancashire village her mother had fled years ago, but decides not to reveal her identity. One of her employers turns out to be a former fellow student who has his own reasons to be hiding. After a thorny start, if you will forgive the pun, relationships, of course, are restored along with the garden. I liked this best of the two, savouring its quiet pace.
In The Little Teashop of Lost and Found, Alice is reeling from the death of her fiance. She decides to sink her inheritance and grief into the project of reviving a little teashop in Haworth, near where she was found abandoned as a baby. As she seeks to work through her loss and uncover answers about her life, she also finds herself attracted to her antiques dealer neighbour, who will inadvertantly lead her to the truth.
I've got books lined up until the end of the year, I think, so I've put a cap on Kindle purchases - unless of course, another TBR bargain pops up...