Getting behind and heaps of books and toppling towers all over the place and need to catch up so one of my whistle stop rounds ups. Only way I will assuage my guilt. Here goes.
Bellman and Black - Diane Setterfield. A long wait for this author's second book. Her first, The Thirteenth Tale, was loved by me, but I know others who did not like it at all. Sadly, after being thrilled to see this was being published, I now fall into the latter category. A dark, sinister, Gothicky tale which piles tragedy upon tragedy and laden with doom and darkness. I could appreciate its writing, the fact that it kept me gripped to the end, but when I closed it up I felt rather let down. Not sure why. William Bellman is ten years old when he accidentally shoots and kills a crow. It troubles him and lingers with him always and the reappearance of this black rather scarey bird at regular intervals in the narrative is the signal that something awful is about to happen. At first every venture, be it business or personal, thrives under William's touch, it seems he cannot fail at what he does, but then tragedy upon tragedy is heaped upon him. He becomes increasingly driven, on and on, unceasing work and labour and he finds no peace of mind. The triumph of his business scheme is the opening of an Emporium dealing with death, from mourning clothes to jet jewellery to specially trained 'sympathetic' shop assistants. In the end it takes over his life. The entire book is black, the story, the settings, all is steeped in blackness and I found it rather depressing.
Two days later: I feel I have to come back to this post to say that his review might be rather misleading in that it does not mention that Bellman and Black is extremely well written and crafted and, as it kept me gripped to the end, has a great narrative drive. It is a terrific book but just left me feeling a tad depressed. But please don't let that put you off reading a really good story.
A Tap on the WIndow - Linwood Barclay. Carl Weaver gives a lift home to a girl in distress. Clare is a friend of his son and he seems no harm in this. On the way back she asks him to stop as she needs to go to the rest room. He does. He waits and then she gets back in the car. She sits huddled in the corner and seems not to want to talk to him. After a while he realises that though, superficially, she looks like Clare, it is not her and a swap has taken place. Challenged, the impostor runs off. No sign of Clare anywhere and when a body turns up Carl finds himself in trouble. Good, tight thriller. Lots of fun and twists and turns. I always enjoy this author's books.
When you walked back into my Life - Hilary Boyd. A romance featuring a couple in their forties which is always nice as I sometimes think that most romantic writers think that love and sex cease when you are 30 if you are lucky to live that long. I read this author's Thursday in the Park and was not exactly bowled over by it though I vaguely remember enjoying it, I think....
This one is much better and engaged me from the start. Flora wakes up one morning and finds the man she has been with for several years has upped and gone. He climbs mountains and has always spent time away from her but he always came back. Not this time. Seems Flora, who feels time is running out, has been discussing having a baby and that was enough to make him bolt. Heartbreak, illness and depression follow and Flora is just getting her self esteem and her life back when Finn turns up again saying he has changed, he is sorry and he wants her back. Will she give him a second chance? Well, of course she does and of course all is not plain sailing with lots of secrets coming out of the woodwork and family upset.
The theme of the book is can you find love again and can you trust a person who has let you down in the past? Do you tell him to sling his hook or take him back? As one stupid woman, ie me, who did this and suffered the consequences I say NO NO NO. Cynical moi?
Well written and I enjoyed it.
OK that is it for today. Lots more to go but at least I have made a start. Currently reading the latest Elizabeth George and I have a love hate relationship with these books, but as I have read them all I have this compulsion to carry on even though I find Lynley a real pain. Havers is the interesting character.
Pouring with rain outside so my plan for doing a bit of gardening abandoned for the day, but as I have had a mad sort out of my wardrobe and tidied and discarded and sorted out stuff for the charity shop, I feel I have done enough for one day and can now return to my books.