Seem to be motoring through books at the moment. Must be the cold and drear that makes me want to hole up and do nothing. So I find that I have read four books in the last four days. All enjoyable reads and here they are:
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel by Deborah Moggach. Found this at the library the other day so thought as I had just seen the film I would give it a whirl. One of those horrid editions with Now a Major Motion Picture plastered across the front. Odd how it is never a Minor Motion Picture...
Of course the book and film are going to be different and the Maggie Smith character seems to be an amalgam of two people, fair enough, makes sense as the combination makes for more interest. The rather elegant but lonely Norman, played by Ronald Pickup in the movie is, in fact, a rather unpleasant dirty old man in the book and the lonely gay man who comes to India to find his lost love, is heterosexual in the book who is lonely because his fiance died. So why they had to make him gay I do not know. It is another character who is searching for something and somebody and it is equally poignant. Ah well... Beautifully written and I am now seeking out more by this author.
Act of Faith by Erica James. I have mentioned this author before as one I do not actively seek out, but am always glad to come across her books and this is another one I borrowed from the library. Ali Anderson is divorced from her husband Eliot as their marriage collapsed in a welter of anger and sorrow after the tragic death of their young son Isaac. It does not make for easy reading and is quite heartwrenching in places and reduced me to tears, but the tragedy of this couple is balanced out by the narrative strand about Sarah, Ali's best friend, who is married to a truly awful husband, who rejoices in the name of Trevor and is an absolute pain. A real page turner and one of her best that I have read so far.
The Last Girl by Jane Casey. Fourth book by this author and I remember reading her first one, The Missing, which I enjoyed until the last third of the story when I thought it ended in a rather far fetched manner and said so in my post. Jane emailed me to thank me for my review though she said 'it made me wince a bit' and of course, I felt totally conscience stricken. But she was kind enough to send me her following two which were so much better and well plotted and now this one which is the best of the lot so far. Called to a murder scene in Wimbledon, Maeve Kerrigan discovers a double murder, that of a mother and daughter. The husband is found bloody and unconscious in the upstairs room and insists that he is not guilty though this is greeted with some scepticism by the police. He is a leading barrister who has made many enemies during his life, including the women he has used and discarded so the field of suspects is pretty wide. However, one daughter escaped the carnage but is a complex and secretive girl who is saying very little. So is the culprit closer to home? Very well done indeed and the author is really hitting her stride with this series.
The Villa - Rosanna Ley. New author to me and I gather this is her first novel to be published and not surprised to hear that another is on the way. Single mother of a teenage daughter, Tess Angel is astonished to receive a solicitor's letter telling her that she has been left a villa in Sicily. Her mother, Flavia, left Sicily after the war to seek out a young airman she fell in love with during World War II whose plane had crashed near their village. Her parents opposed their marriage and she waited to hear from him but in vain. When her father put pressure on her to marry a young Sicilian who would bring money and property to their family she fled to England with the help of her employer, Edward Westerman, the owner of the villa of the title. She never returned and never told her daughter the reason why and now Tess is returning to the home of her mother's childhood.
My favourite device used here, while Tess is in Sicily, her mother Flavia takes us back to her story and we learn why she left. This is alongside her writing down of her recipes and thoughts on Sicilian cuisine (no it does not turn into a cook book, the descriptions just add to the story) and then we come back to the present day and are with Tess as she meets friends and protagonists in equal measure, some of whom are not pleased she is there and has decided to keep the villa. Throw in a rather darkly handsome Sicilian, another not so nice who may have Mafia connections, and a missing treasure and you have a stonking good story which I thoroughly enjoyed. Looking forward to her second.
So there you have it. Four more good page turners, good reads for you all to think about. Each excellent in their own way.