Friday, 22 June 2018

Six in May

I read six books in May.

Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner
A second police procedural with the terrific DI Manon Bradshaw. I read the first one Missing, Presumed and loved it; was not disappointed with this one and do hope there will be more.
As dusk falls, a young man staggers through a park, far from home, bleeding from a stab wound. He dies where he falls, cradled by a stranger, a woman's name on his lips in his last seconds of life. ...

Bought in Christian Aid book sale.
Years ago I read and loved Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by the same author. I liked this one less but there is something fascinating, when you live in a place that’s more often than not a wee bit wet and chilly (OK, ‘dreich’), to read about the Deep South of America when the intense heat and the fecundity of nature transfer themselves to the printed page – and you find characters with names like Calla Lily … Louisiana is a brilliant place to spend a few hours virtually, but I’ll stick with dreich for everyday.

Plotting for Beginners by Sue Hepworth and Jane Linfoot
Bought in Christian Aid book sale
In his fifties, Sally’s husband goes to build himself a cabin in the wilds of America, and live like his hero Thoreau for a year. Sally is happy enough anticipating all that time to herself and trying to make a success of her writing, but first her d-i-y obsessed brother in need of a temporary home disturbs her peace and then there’s her boomerang son and the local lothario and other distractions. Can her long-distance marriage survive?

Read on Kindle
‘Nine romantic novelists from Yorkshire and Lancashire, including best-selling and award-winning authors, have joined together to create this collection of uplifting stories guaranteed to warm your heart. This intriguing mix of historical and contemporary romances will make you laugh, cry, and believe in the happy-ever-after.’ What more can I add except that I enjoyed this collection – and every community should definitely have a Miss Moonshine.

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
Bought in Christian Aid book sale.
ES has been on my radar for a while but this is the first one I’ve read. Why have I waited so long? It’s a miracle, this book. Olive, a retired teacher, is looked at from the points of view of various people with whom she is regularly, or hardly ever, in contact with. In some chapters she barely appears. Sometimes she comes over in a good light, sometimes not. I didn’t really like her, not until the very end – not that that mattered at all because I think this is the most effective portrayal of a character I have ever read. It’s all beautifully written but the last chapter particularly – I read it quickly because it drew me in and then read it again to appreciate the language.

Midwinter Break by Bernard MacLaverty
A retired Irish couple take a break in Amsterdam and over the few days the fractures in their relationship are revealed.

This has been much lauded but my appreciation of it suffered because I read it directly after the Elizabeth Strout and any book would have paled in comparison … plus for me two authors, Anne Tyler and Carol Shields, have covered this territory more beguilingly.

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