So much for my resolution to keep more regular posts coming here. Last week or so has been so busy and crowded and very exhausting but now it is a quiet Sunday, I am at home, the sun is shining and I am determined to catch up on my reading. It has been easy relaxing reading for the most part as I have had to grab time in between visits, grandchildren, driving etc and so I have had no time to really concentrate.
The Young Clementina - D E Stevenson. I have read many by this author over the last few years and do enjoy them, though the standard is variable, some are so much better than others, inevitable I suppose if you write a lot and also age does tend to catch up. However, this is one of those that I really enjoyed. I had never heard of this one and spotted it in my recommendations on Amazon so checked it out. I am always glad at reissues of older books and tend to hone in on them like an Exocet, if you will pardon the simile.
Charlotte has been in love with Garth all her life but when he comes back from the war he has changed towards her, now he seems to actively dislike her and has turned into a sarcastic stranger. Her heartbreak is complete when he turns from her and marries her younger sister Kitty. Their father dies and Charlotte has to leave their home and live in London where she ends up as a librarian 'the library is not one of those bright modern places..... but a musty dusty room on the ground floor of an ancient building...'
She lives in a flat, rather shabby and small and very rarely sees or hears anything from Kitty and Garth until one night Kitty turns up and asks if she can stay and it is clear that she is unhappy and the marriage is not a success. This visit sets off a train of events which culminate in Kitty being divorced by her husband, Charlotte being enmeshed in a web of deceit (whoops pardon the cliche) and ultimately being asked to return to her childhood home to look after her niece while Garth is away on an expedition for several months.
Will say no more except that this is really a Cinderella story and Charlotte eventually finds out the reason for Garth turning from her and his marriage to Kitty. It is rather old fashioned, rather sweet and has a happy ending and I really enjoyed it.
The Gauntlet - Ronald Welch. SO happy to see these being republished. Slightly Foxed are producing a new issue of the Carey family novels by this author and OUP have now issued this title which I first read when I was a teenager. Peter is on holiday in Wales and immersed in local history and fascinated by the castle ruins of Carreg Cennen. He finds an old gauntlet and when he slips it on finds he is back in the 14th century, to a time when his Norman ancestors held the castle. It turns out that he is the son of the Lord of the Castle and the reader is plunged into the daily life of a boy of that age. Wonderful descriptions of hawking, learning the different parts of armour, being taught how to manage the longbow, coping with the fact he has to eat with his fingers and watching his mother genteelly spit any excess onto the straw at her feet, wearing strange clothes. All totally fascinating and it is clear that Ronald Welch loves his subject and is keen that we do too.
The castle is besieged and Peter discovers first hand the way that wars were fought and sees a trebuchet in action. The entire book is a history lesson but so engagingly written that the reader is never bored. I loved reading this all over again and delighted that this edition has retained the original illustrations
Two by Anne Cleeves -Hidden Depths and Telling Tales. Given to me by a good friend who recommended them as she knows how I love detective stories. These feature DI Vera Stanhope and I am thoroughly enjoying them. I have also just started another by her which features a detective on the Shetlands and as she has written a lot, this will keep me busy for a while.
I am making very little impression on my To be Read pile which has increased while I was away as I came back to ten parcels awaiting me.......
Back soon - I hope