Have read two simply stunning books in the last week which I will review fully as soon as I can get my hear around it all. Been up to London as per and family are moving again and all is upheaval and stress so blogging has, once more, been on the back burner. Apologies all round.
OK so have read those great books and all the others have been a bit meh in comparison. I find this happens on occasions and just ignore it and the wheel will turn full circle and more goodies arrive.
Laura Madeleine - The Confectioner's Tale. Set in Paris in 1909 and up to date when an academic discovers a photograph of her grandfather as a young man and starts tracking his story down. Two time lines, fine, I normally enjoy this strategy but the rock on which I founder so often is the use of present tense. Past tense also used in the time line swap and I persevered but in the end found that I was not enthusiastic enough to persevere. Shame as the premise sounded right up my street.
A Perfect Heritage - Penny Vicenzi.700+ pages of a saga all about The House of Farrell, inventor of an iconic face product but the company has now been overtaken by new technology. Cue hedge fund managers, take overs, fights, the Matriach in her killer heels and diamonds determined to fight it tooth and nail, driven businesswoman who puts her work before her family, daughter being bullied and nobody notices blah blah blah. Yep great fun but read it all before. Out of the 700+ pages I probably read about half, skimming the rest with no notable loss of narrative. I love this author and have read all her books but this one left me cold.
Sidney Chambers and the Forgiveness of Sins - James Runcie. Oh I am sorry to diss this book in any way as the series is delightful and right up my street. But but but...one of the reasons I gradually gave up reading Alistair McCall Smith (with the exception of the Isabel Dalhousie series) is MEANDER. Oh how they meandered to the point where I would fall into a coma half way through the story. I am now finding the same with the latest Sidney book who is now an Archdeacon and has moved to Ely. The endless conversations which permeate the stories have no She said He said anywhere at all just pages of backwards and forward remarks and after a while it is impossible to know who is saying what to whom. And Sidney's friend Amanda who is being sent nasty letters after her engagement, gets ANGRY with him and IT IS ALL IN CAPITAL LETTERS and this is a device that JK Rowling used in Harry Potter and the Tin of Baked Beans or whatever it was and it all got a BIT TEDIOUS.
Note to editor of James Runcie: please point this out to him
And we are in 1966 and if you are in doubt there are endless references to mini skirts, World Cup, Geoff Hurst etc just to make sure that we know.
I read it and enjoyed it in a sort of subfusc way and that is all I can say really.
Books I did enjoy: Harbour Street by Anne Cleeve. Another Vera Stanhope. Well written, amusing and tight plotting and characters I am interested in. Excellent.
The Lonely Desert - Sarah Challis. Sequel to Footprints in the Sand. Four friends off to Mali to track down Clemmie who stayed behind to live in the desert with her lover, a tribal warlord and who now may be in trouble. Thoroughly enjoyed the first one, a great yarn, and this one the same. Recommended.
No Other Darkness - Sarah Hilary. Two bodies of two small children found in underground bunker. They have food, water, a bed to sleep on and toys. So what happened? They died of starvation and weakness. Was this deliberate or an accident? Gut wrenching in parts. I read her first novel Someone Else's Skin featuring DI Marnie Rome and though I thought it well written it made me feel rather uncomfortable. This one does as well but I found I could read this without feeling I really wanted to put the book down and forget everyone in it. All gets a bit complicated at the end and the denouement slightly over the top I felt but a good read.
So a mixed bag of a week. But this does not matter because of the other two books, both excellent, which I will be reviewing as soon as possible.