NanaCC's (Colleen's) 2018 Reading
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Happy reading everyone. I'm looking forward to all of your book bullets.
Firefly Summer by Maeve Binchy
In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
The Essex Serpent Sarah Perry
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset, Narrated by Erin Bennett
The Whiskey Rebels by David Liss, narrated by Christopher Lane
If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino, narrated by Jefferson Mays
Romeo and Juliet: A Novel by David Hewson, Narrated by Richard Armitage
1- Lion in the Valley by Elizabeth Peters
2- The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie
3- For the Sake of Elena by Elizabeth George
4- And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
5- Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
6- David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
7- The Corinthian by Georgette Heyer
8- A Dangerous Place by Jacqueline Winspear
9- Journey to Munich by Jacqueline Winspear
10- News of the World by Paulette Jiles
11- A Pale Horse by Charles Todd
12- White Houses by Amy Bloom
13- A Matter of Justice by Charles Todd
14- Tangerine by Christine Mangan
15- The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben
16- Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
17- War Brides by Helen Bryan
18- The Red Door by Charles Todd
19- A Lonely Death by Charles Todd
20- The Confession by Charles Todd
1- Queen of Hearts by Rhys Bowen, Narrated by Katherine Kellgren
2- A False Mirror by Charles Todd, Narrated by Samuel Gillies
3- The Unexpected Mrs Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman, Narrated by Barbara Rosenblat
4- The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place by Alan Bradley, Narrated by Jayne Entwistle
5- The Amazing Mrs Polifax by Dorothy Gilman, Narrated by Barbara Rosenblat
6- Malice at the Palace by Rhys Bowen, Narrated by Katherine Kellgren
7- What Remains of Heaven by C. S. Harris, Narrated by Davina Porter
8-Crowned and Dangerous by Rhys Bowen, narrated by Katherine Kellgren
9- On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service by Rhys Bowen, Narrated by Katherine Kellgren
10- The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen, narrated by Jonathan Keeble and Katy Sobey
11- Hall of Mirrors (Bryant and May) by Christopher Fowler, narrated by Tim Goodman
12- The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths, narrated by Jane McDowell
13- The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths, narrated by Jane McDowell
Books Read Total = 33
Print/Kindle = 20; Audio = 13; Women authors = 22; New to me authors = 8
Paul, it is nice to see you here. I’ve missed your posts.
Alison, hopefully we will both succeed in the posting goal :)
Rachel, I think a lot of us were in the same boat this past year. I let myself get too absorbed by the whole political fiasco.
Lois, I’m not sure why Chris doesn’t participate. I will tell her you were asking for her. I will check out your mystery thread. It seems to be my genre of choice these days.
Brodie, Happy New Year to you too.
1. Lion in the Valley by Elizabeth Peters.
This is the fourth book in the Amelia Peabody series. Victorian era Amelia Peabody and her husband Emerson are on another archeological expedition in Egypt. The mysteries are not very taxing, but the entertaining dialogue makes me smile. Their precocious son, Ramses, is far beyond belief. But again he makes me smile.
>13 NanaCC: This year, I think I actually am going to make a start on the Amelia Peabody series. It sounds like it's a good one for when you just want something fun and entertaining.
Book number 8 in the Her Royal Spyness series has Lady Georgiana headed to the United States. She is accompanying her mother who is off to Las Vegas to obtain a divorce, so that she can marry the latest in her string of wealthy men. Georgiana's mother is a famous actress, and is asked to take a role in an awful movie, so they make a side trip to Hollywood. Murder and mayhem, of course, happen wherever Georgie seems to be. These definitely fall into the cosy mystery class. The books are mostly silly fun. Katherine Kellgren's narration is very good.
Jerry Burton and his sister, Joanna, head to a quiet little village called Lymstock, where Jerry will recuperate from injuries he sustained in a flying accident. Anonymous nasty letters start appearing at the doors of many of the residents, including Jerry and his sister. Suspicions about who is doing it go from one person to another, but when a suspected suicide seems to be prompted by a letter, everything becomes more sinister. Miss Marple doesn't appear until near the end of the book, and of course she helps tie up the loose ends and identify the killer (oh, yes, a murder or two). This book is third in the Miss Marple series. An enjoyable read, as usual.
In the fifth book in the Lynley/Havers series, a deaf college girl, Elena Weaver, was murdered as she took her usual morning run. Her father is a highly regarded professor at the college, St. Stephen’s in Cambridge. He has put many restrictions on Elena, which she resents and has rebelled against. There are many possible candidates for the murderer, and it did take me quite a while to figure this one out.
The ongoing storylines of Lynley’s wanting to marry Lady Helen, and his sergeant, Barbara Havers, trying to come to terms with her mother’s worsening dementia add character to the book.
I am still enjoying this series.
The author includes a map at the start of the book to show where this fictional college would be situated by Trinity College, even though there is no physical way there would be room for it.
This is the ninth book in the Inspector Rutledge mystery series. The series takes place just after the recently ended Great War. Rutledge carries with him post war trauma, and with it the voice of Hamish, one of his men during the war whose death he had to order at the hands of a firing squad. In this book, a man is found beaten nearly to death by the waters edge. The suspect is the former lover of the man’s wife. Rutledge is asked to come and prove the suspect’s innocence, a difficult task because this man is someone he despises. Two murders complicate matters, when the injured man disappears. A fairly good who-done-it. I will be continuing with the series.
This delightful book was such an unexpected surprise. I wish I could remember how I heard about it. Mrs Emily Polifax, a widow with grandchildren, was quite bored with her life. The garden club, and her charitable work were becoming tiresome, and she longed for adventure. From the time she was young, she had thought how exciting it would be to become a spy. She takes herself from her home in New Brunswick, New Jersey and travels to Washington D. C. where she shows up at the offices of the CIA asking for a job. In a case of mistaken identity, she is sent to Mexico, where she is to be a tourist for a few weeks, and pick up an important package at a bookstore. Things go wrong, and she winds up in Albania.
The book was written in 1966, during the Cold War. Russian communists, Chinese communists, and intrigue abound. Having lived through that time period, I understand how dangerous the time was, and remember The Man from U.N.C.L.E. This book is filled with humor. To believe this 60 something grandmother could be so “Unexpected”, takes some putting aside reality, but I was quite willing to do so. The book was quite funny for a spy novel. There are fourteen books in this series, and I have downloaded the second, which I will most likely listen to soon. Barbara Rosenblat’s narration is wonderful.
There is also a thread in our group where you might get some ideas for mystery and crime novels that you’d enjoy based upon the current discussion. http://www.librarything.com/topic/280015
I’ll stop by your thread to see what you are currently reading.
I also knit, and will listen sometimes as I do so (if my husband isn't watching YouTube videos on the TV, that is; then those will provide background noise) and I definitely listen as I am cooking or cleaning. And when I take walks. And sometimes just because. :)
This book was originally written in 1939, under the title Ten Little "N#@#" (I don't feel comfortable using the N word here.) When it was published in the U.S. the title was deemed unacceptable, and was published under the title Ten Little Indians. More currently, that title became unacceptable, and hence the title And Then There Were None, using the last line of the poem which is the plot line that keeps the book moving forward. (Even the poem's lines have been changed from Ten little Indians).
The poem which I refer to is this:
"Ten little soldier boys went out to dine; One choked his little self and then there were Nine.
Nine little soldier boys sat up very late; One overslept himself and then there were Eight.
Eight little soldier boys traveling in Devon; One said he’d stay there and then there were Seven.
Seven little soldier boys chopping up sticks; One chopped himself in halves and then there were Six.
Six little soldier boys playing with a hive; A bumble bee stung one and then there were Five.
Five little soldier boys going in for law; One got into chancery and then there were Four.
Four little soldier boys going out to sea; A red herring swallowed one and then there were Three.
Three little soldier boys walking in the Zoo; A big bear hugged one and then there were Two.
Two little soldier boys sitting in the sun; One got frizzled up and then there was One.
One little soldier boy left all alone; He went and hanged himself
And then there were None."
Ten people are invited to an island, which in this version is called Soldier Island. They've all been invited by a Mr. or Mrs. Owens, with enough information that they believe they know the person, although with some reservations. When they get to the island, they are stranded with no means of escape, and at once find themselves all accused of having been instrumental in the death of someone. Each bears a little guilt, although nothing would ever pass a court of law. As with the poem, they find out that one by one they will die. Who will be next? Who is doing the murders? They know it has to be one of their party. Suspicion and fear are, of course, vey high.
This is considered to be one of Agatha Christie's best novels. The mystery is very complex. The characterizations are very good. In a way, it explores the question, "What is guilt?" I really enjoyed this one. I didn't guess the murderer, although once the culprit was revealed, I realized that the clue was there. If you like a good who-done-it mystery, I think you'd really like this one.
>47 VivienneR: I’ve been a fan from early on too, Vivienne, but I must admit that I haven’t read quite a few of them. I’m trying to read the ones I’ve missed, although I have favorites that I might revisit.
My favourite old mystery-writers are Anna Katherine Green (she's one of the first detective-writers, so it's interesting to see how she put the genre on the map), Mary Roberts Rinehart (always fun and engaging). There are quite a few books by other authors that I liked, e.g. Malice Aforethought by Francis Iles and The Moonstone, a classic by Wilkie Collins.
A few years ago, I read the first six cozy mysteries in the Aunt Dimity-series by Nancy Atherton. Very fluff, but a lot of fun.
I found The Meaning of Night and The Glass of Time by Michael Cox two of the best mystery comfort-reads I'd read so far. And an honorable mention for Gillespie and I and The Observations by Jane Harris.
I wonder if you have read any of these?
Another ‘closed room’ mystery by Agatha Christie, although the “room” is a train that has been stranded in the snow. A murder takes place, and one of the passengers must be the murderer. I’ve read this one before, ao there was no surprise. It was still enjoyable. There have been several film adaptations, and I look forward to the newest once it is released on dvd this month. If you haven’t read it, it is a good one.
It might be worth a re-read as an adult but, reading your comment, I'll focus on the yet unread stuff that attracts me more.
I needed something entertaining to listen to on my five hour drive to Boston last week.This book, 9th in the charming Flavia de Luce series, was just the ticket to get me there and back. The precocious Flavia is maturing both mentally and physically. She is learning not to just blurt out the first thing that comes into her brilliant mind. On a quiet get away with her sisters and their faithful friend Dogger, Flavia discovers a body, and sets out to put right a wrong.
The series is best read in order. The setting is 1950’s England, when, I think, children were a bit more innocent than they are today. Part of the charm for me is that the time reminds me of my own childhood (minus the dead bodies, of course). This book is my favorite in the series so far. The ending left open possibilities for it to take on a slightly new direction. I guess I will need to wait and see.
>67 BLBera: Our varying tastes are odd, aren't they? Although I liked it, the first one wasn't my favourite.
>68 VivienneR: I can’t listen to just any book while driving. Mysteries seem to work best for me, and the reader must be really good. I’ve been listening to Romeo and Juliet: A Novel by David Hewson, and I’m enjoying it. But it is a bit slow for a car trip. I can’t listen to most non-fiction books in the car, because I usually find myself wanting to look up something, which of course I can’t do in the car.
Edited to add that my reading has come almost to a standstill this week, as I’ve been watching a lot of the Olympics events.
Appreciate the recommendations on locked room mysteries, a favorite of mine! You can indeed get The Mystery of the Yellow Room on Kindle for .99, so I picked it up.
Another trip up to Massachusetts to see two of my grandchildren in a play. (It was actually quite wonderful) I decided to listen to the second book in the Mrs Polifax series, and once again, I had some good laugh out loud moments.
Emily Polifax is given one hour to cancel her karate lesson, make excuses to her garden club, and pack for a trip to Turkey, where her CIA handler sends her to assist a defecting Russian spy. These books are quite funny spoofs, which were written at the height of the Cold War. Perfect for my 5 1/2 hour car ride.
This was my first time reading David Copperfield, and I loved it. It is no wonder Dickens called it his favorite child. The cast of characters are all so interesting. Uriah Heep gave me the creeps. Betsy Trotwood, David’s aunt, was wonderful. The mean Murdstones couldn’t have been more awful, along with that stinker Steerforth. Mr. Micawber was a hoot. Poor Dora, patient Agnes, Traddles, and innocent Mr Dick, the Peggottys- so many wonderful characters. David Copperfield’s life goes from a sad childhood to a successful adult life, with much sadness and love along the way. Highly recommended.
I’m thinking about reading A Child in Time by Ian McEwan, as there will be a Masterpiece adaptation on PBS in April. Has anyone read it?
Mrs. Polifax is wonderful! Since you like her I suggest you try the Mrs. Pargater books by Simon Brett. She is also a widow, her husband was a British mobster and she inherited his black book so when she has a problem she can find help. This series fits into the senior mysteries category. The first is A Nice Class of Corpse.
Heyer is a great guilty pleasure.
I think my favorite Dickens might be Great Expectations.
I should try Mrs. Pollifax; I think I would enjoy her.
It's David Suchet for me as Poirot.
>105 pmarshall: I'll have to check out the Mrs. Paragater books as well if they are at all similar to Mrs. Pollifax!
Similar in that both main characters are widows and have humour, but different in that one is a law abiding American who assists the CIA. Mrs. Pargerer is English, very much a lady and her husband was head of a mob. However she tries to overlook whar he did until she is asked to assist someone and she has to turn to his black book to get help from his former colleagues. Intriguing and amusing!
>120 shadrach_anki: I’d love to hear your thoughts about David Copperfield if you read it. Have you tried Mrs Polifax? I’ll have to look.
Edited to add that I’d forgotten our conversation about Mrs Pollifax. You’ve probably read more of them than I have. :)
>121 pmarshall: I’ll keep Mrs Pargerer in mind when I’m looking to try something new.
I haven't seen this series, but have read all the books. I think it would definitely think it would have to be someone who can be convincingly rumpled and shaggy, but intelligent --- Brendan Gleeson comes to mind. He would have to work on the accent though!
I finished this book on the plane yesterday on my flight to Marco Island, Florida. I’ve said before that Georgette Heyer is one of my guilty pleasures, and this one didn’t disappoint.
Sir Richard Wyndham is being pressured by his family to marry a woman he has known from the time he was a boy. He’s more interested in marrying for love, than for marrying to save her family from their many debts. On the night before he is supposed to propose, he’s walking off too much drink, when a young girl climbs out of a window dressed as a boy. She is also being pressured to marry a cousin she dislikes, and is set to run away. They set off on an adventure that includes robbers and murderers. An entertaining romp.
Book 11 in the Maisie Dobbs series finds Maisie traveling home to England, while trying to come to grips with tremendous personal loss. Her ship docks in Gibraltar, and Maisie becomes involved in the murder of a photographer. She is determined to stay and discover who the murderer is. The British Secret Service becomes involved, and Maisie is pulled into some intrigue regarding the Spanish civil war. This was an interesting turn.
I’ve seen mixed reviews for this one. Many fans loved it, and others were angry. I’ll not get into why. I think the storyline presented an opportunity for Maisie to branch out. I’m curious to see what happens next.
I also don't think I could take to anyone other than Suchet playing Poirot now, certainly not the weird Branagh version.
I don't have much to say about Dickens because what I've read hasn't knocked my socks off. However, I really enjoyed two television adaptations, one of Bleak House with Gillian Anderson and the other of Little Dorrit with a very young Claire Foy (now known for playing Queen Elizabeth in The Crown).
I still haven’t watched season two of The Crown. I was watching the second season of Victoria and was saving The Crown for after I get back from vacation. Hopefully it will still be available.
I warched the second season of The Crown. It is darker than the first, partly because of the events, the Suez Canal, Charles at school, Margaret, all causing great stress and strain on Elizabeth and the public, with Philip, her marriage and politicians. But they come through the ten years stronger. Interesting take on family and national issues. Netflix still has season 1 so you shouldn’t have a problem seeing season 2.
I like Branagh as Wallander. He is him as he is all I have seen and I thing he portrays the book character well.
I hope you are enjoying the weather.
Number 12 in the Maisie Dobbs series takes Maisie to Nazi Germany in 1938. The Secret Service has asked her to assume another person’s identity and bring “home” that person’s father from Dachau where he has been held for two years. The man has information that the British government feels they need. The situation in Germany is getting very dicey, so this is a dangerous assignment. It seems that some readers are disappointed in the direction the last two books have gone, but I think a change was needed. I had a hard time putting the book down.
Anyway, I keep telling myself, it's just a book. :)
Anyhow I saw this production before the Branagh came out and while I did watch a fair number of the UK episodes, my heart belongs to Hendrisson (and there is something about it being actually Swedish...).
The book was a National Book Award finalist in 2016. An historical novel that takes place just after the Civil War.
71 year old Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd has lived through three wars and is a veteran of two of them. He makes his living going from town to town in north Texas to read the news to audiences of people starved for news from outside their area. They are willing to pay 10 cents to hear him read. As the story begins, Captain Kidd is asked if he would be willing to take a ten year old girl, who had been captured by the Kiowa when her family was slaughtered four years earlier, back to relatives in San Antonio. The family has offered a fifty dollar gold piece for the task. Against his better judgement, he agrees to the dangerous task, which will take them hundreds of miles through hostile territory. The child has become a native in every sense of the word, and has no desire to be taken from the Kiowa, the only family she knows. As the story progresses, the pair develop a bond that gets them through the journey.
I enjoyed this short book (about 200 pages) on my flight home from Florida on Friday. It reminded me a little bit of True Grit or maybe of parts of One Thousand White Women. I thought it was well written, although I would like to have seen the ending developed a bit more. It felt a little rushed at the end. Even so, I think it was worth the read.
I also need to stay away from the mystery thread - I think I have about 300 series I'm following on FictFact. It's just that there are so many good ones!
>153 BLBera: I haven’t read anything else by Paulette Jiles, Beth. I’ll have to look. What next?
Thank heavens for FictFact. It helps me when I’m trying to figure out what I want to read next.
>154 lauralkeet: All I can say is ‘You’re welcome’, Laura. :) Sorry!!
Yes, FictFact is great for holding my place in series.
Book 10 in the Inspector Ian Rutledge series has the Inspector sent to watch for a man who has worked on a secret project for the government. He is kept in the dark about the man’s past, and when he begins to link the man’s disappearance with a victim found miles away at an abbey, he is told to let it go. Why?
This was another enjoyable installment in the series.
This is the ninth book in the Her Royal Spyness series. While the series is quite silly, the bits of actual history that the author throws in are interesting to hear. I’ve listened to the books in this series, and the reader is perfect. In this one, Prince George is set to marry Princess Marina of Greece. Georgie is asked to escort her around London and to try to keep stories of George’s indiscretions from reaching the princess’s ears. The body of a woman is found, and since she was at one point one of George’s mistresses, the investigation must be hush hush.
This novel is a fictionalized story of the relationship between Eleanor Roosevelt and “First Friend” A.P. reporter Lorena Hickok. The story flashes back and forth through time, told from Lorena’s point of view. From her first meeting Eleanor as she covered FDR’s first presidential campaign, her own abused childhood, to the loving relationship that developed between the two women, including time that she lived in the White House.
The author stresses that this is a fictionalized version, although she based it on over 3,000 letters and diaries that are kept at the Roosevelt library in Hyde Park. It is very sad that in all of the family photographs, Hick, as she was called, is cut out of all of them.
Thank you to Lois for the recommendation. I really enjoyed the book.
This book is number eleven in the Ian Rutledge series. At the beginning of the book we find out about an incident that keeps us ahead of the Inspector all the way through his investigation. We have a pretty good idea of who done it. However, for me, it didn’t take anything away from the story. I felt Rutledge’s frustration as he hit dead end after dead end. I’m still enjoying the series and will continue.
Good news about a new Tana French book! That's another series I have to catch up on.
After I read the first Tana French, I couldn’t wait for each new book to come out. The one to come out this year is a stand-alone, so I’m curious to see where it goes.
I really enjoyed White Houses. It was a Lois recommendation, and we can’t go wrong there. :)
>179 VivienneR: I read the first book by Charles Finch a couple of years ago. It didn’t bowl me over, but I might give the second a try at some point. The Charles Todd series was another Lois recommendation when I first joined LT and mentioned that I loved mysteries. I know that she reached a point where she lost interest. I haven’t reached that point yet. I had recommended it to Rebeccanyc when she started reading mysteries once her illness really took hold. She started plowing through them. I don’t know how far she got.
I was looking at Lonesome Dove recently but it's huge! I don't think I can physically handle a book that size. If I can find an audiobook I'll give it a try and consider the bullet from you and >178 RidgewayGirl:. I don't think I've ever read a western.
Can't remember what the Finch book was about, but it featured a cute empty-headed upper-crust ninny that put me right off. :)
ETA: >171 NanaCC: Rebecca recommended Amy Bloom too!
The Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries do sound interesting. I've been finding enjoyment in historical mysteries lately, so I will have to add that series to my (ever growing, never shrinking) list of books to investigate.
Vivienne, I’ve never read anything by Amy Bloom before, but Lois recommended White Houses. I will need to look for more.
Anki, the Ian Rutledge series is interesting. He is recovering from what I assume is PTSD, and carries around with him a voice of a soldier he was forced to have executed. It is definitely a series that needs to be started at the beginning.
Number five in the Sebastian St. Cyr series set in early 1800’s London, was the best yet. The Bishop of London is found murdered in an ancient crypt. Beside him is another unidentified body which appears to have been murdered at least twenty years earlier. Sebastian’s aunt asks him to help identify the bishop’s murderer. The investigation brings him in contact with Miss Hero Jarvis, with whom he has an odd relationship. The historical tidbits in these stories often lead me to the internet to see if I can separate fact from fiction. The author has a Ph.D in history, which I believe adds authenticity to the historical aspects of these stories.
Number ten in the Royal Spyness series has Lady Georgiana and her fiancé Darcy O’Mara setting out to elope, when they get caught in a snowstorm forcing them to stop for cover. The newspaper headline they read at their stop has Darcy running off to Ireland to support his father who has been charged with murder. Ever the optimist, Georgiana assures him that his father must be innocent, and they set out to prove it.
22. On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service by Rhys Bowen, narrated by Katherine Kellgren
I decided to move right on with the next book in the series, as it kept my knitting project moving along as I listened. Lady Georgiana and Darcy have decided to have a proper wedding, and to do so, Georgiana must petition the queen to be taken out of the line of royal succession. The queen asks to see her, and when she finds out that Georgie is planning to go to Italy to spend time with her friend Belinda, she asks her to do a little spying for her. Queen Mary asks Georgie to attend a house party that will be near the villa Georgie is going to. The queen’s son David, the Prince of Wales, and the dreadful Mrs. Simpson will be at the party, and the queen is worried that it might be for a secret wedding. There is, of course, danger involved when Georgiana gets there. A Nazi general, an Italian count who is also a Nazi supporter, and the Prince of Wales. What could possibly go wrong?
I really enjoy these books, which bring in the historical aspects of the time. I’ll have to wait for the next one, which I believe is due out this summer.
Joyce Carol Oates’ endorsement for this novel says ”As if Donna Tartt, Gillian Flynn, and Patricia Highsmith had collaborated on a screenplay to be filmed by Hitchcock —- suspenseful and atmospheric.”
My comment... Not bad for a first novel. Two young women, Alice and Lucy, become roommates and fast friends at Bennington College in Vermont, until something happens to split them apart. (We gradually learn what it was that split them apart.) The story begins with Alice and her husband in Morocco around 1956 as the country is gaining its independence from France. Alice’s husband is enthralled with the city of Tangiers, while Alice is frightened and nervous. Lucy shows up unexpectedly and uninvited. From there the tension builds. The narration of the chapters moves back and forth between Alice and Lucy with their differing versions of the story as it moves forward, and through flashbacks to their days in Vermont. At first we aren’t sure whose version is the right one, but as the story continues everything becomes clear and you know that disaster is just waiting to happen. I thought it was pretty good. Maybe not perfect, but I enjoyed it.
I read that George Clooney bought the rights for a movie, and Scarlett Johansson has signed on to star in it. The book has mixed reviews, but all seem to indicate that it would make a great movie.
The book cover is perfect.
In 1944, Hugo Langley, a British bomber pilot, parachutes from his plane before it crashes into the Tuscan countryside, which at the time was occupied by the Germans. A young woman, Sofia, risks everything to help him survive, and they fall in love. Thirty years later, Hugo’s daughter, Joanna, has returned home from London to attend his funeral. While going through his things, she finds a letter that he had written to Sofia. A letter that had been returned unopened with the notation that she was not at this address. Joanna goes to Tuscany to learn more about the past that her father never told her about. The story goes back and forth between 1944 and 1974.
I enjoyed this story and the mystery involved. The descriptions of Tuscany were vivid, and the descriptions of the food made me hungry. :)
Margaret (auntmarge64) had reviewed this book a little while ago, and the science nerd part of me downloaded it right away. It was definitely a fascinating read.
I will never look at trees the same way again.
From the book description:
”In the Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben shares his deep love of woods and forests and explains the amazing processes of life, death, and regeneration he has observed in the woodland and the amazing scientific processes behind the wonders of which we are blissfully unaware. Much like human families, tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, and support them as they grow, sharing nutrients with those who are sick or struggling and creating an ecosystem that mitigates the impact of extremes of heat and cold for the whole group. As a result of such interactions, Trees in a family or community are protected and can live to be very old. In contrast, solitary trees, like street kids, have a tough time of it and die much earlier than those in a group. Drawing on groundbreaking new discoveries, Wohlleben presents the science behind the secret and previously unknown life of trees and their communication abilities; he describes how these discoveries have informed his own practices in the forest around him. As he says, a happy forest is a healthy forest, and he believes that eco-friendly practices are not only economically sustainable but also benefit the health of our planet and the mental and physical health of all who live on Earth.
This past week, I was visiting my daughter in Massachusetts, and I was telling her about how interesting much of the detail was. I thought that the science teacher in the school might be interested in it, as she is always taking the kids outside to explore. My granddaughter who is almost twelve piped up and told me that the teacher had read a lot of the book to the class, and she proceeded to enlighten us with the things she had learned. I’m sure the teacher read an abridged version, as there is a lot of repetition, but I was delighted that she was so informed.
Lovely to have such a teacher.
This was clearly an homage to the Golden Age of crime novels. Agatha Christie would be proud. It is a novel within a novel, and the two mysteries are cleverly interwoven. Susan Ryeland, the editor of Cloverleaf Books is given a manuscript by their famous author, Alan Conway. Alan is the company’s cash cow. We read the manuscript, a mystery, along with Susan, only to find out that the final chapters are missing. I won’t add more, because the mystery within the mystery is fun to read. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good mystery. And, you get two for the price of one.
I think it was cleverly done.
In this latest installment of the Bryant and May series, the author takes us back to 1969, when the young cops, Arthur Bryant and John May,have been given the task of protecting a whistle blower, Monty Hatton Jones. Monty tells them that if they want him to testify, they must accompany him to a country house party, rather than keep him in London over the weekend. There is an odd assortment of guests at this party, and Bryant and May are sure that someone is there to cause mischief to keep Monty from testifying. There does seem to be someone with something sinister in mind. It was a change from previous books where Bryant has aged, and has started to become forgetful. The young cops are just starting to come into their own as detectives in the Peculiar Crimes Unit. I’ll be interested to see if Fowler continues the series, or if this is a last hurrah for the team.
I was interested to see how this novel would handle the lives of women during WWII. My mother was a war bride, marrying my father who was an American soldier she met while working in England. I often thought she should have written a book, as the stories she told us were so interesting.
In this book, five women from very different backgrounds come together in a small village on the coast of England called Crowmarsh Priors. A British debutante, a vicars daughter, a young girl who is an evacuee from a very poor neighborhood in London, a young Jewish bride who has escaped the Nazis with her new husband, and an American beauty who arrives married to the man the vicars daughter had been engaged to. Despite their differences, they form a bond that helps them survive the shortages of food and just about everything else, along with constant danger during the frequent air raids. The book’s ending with the women reuniting in the village for a fifty year reunion was a bit rushed, but overall I enjoyed the book. I’d probably give it 3 or 3.5 stars.
I agree about the convenience of the e-readers. I use mine at the gym and traveling mainly.
As for my kindle, I am so thankful right now. I had cataract surgery this week, and while my distance vision is perfect, my reading vision is clearly not. (Pun intended) At least with the kindle I can change the font to a size I can read. It takes a month for the eyes to settle down, so I need to wait to get the perfect reading glasses. For now, I’ll probably try all the different strengths that I can get at the pharmacy.
>216 valkyrdeath: I think you’d enjoy Magpie Murders. It was definitely fun for me.
I had considered War Brides, it is available through Kindle Unlimited, but didn't borrow it. I now have it and it may be my next book. A break from Dick Francis.
Amazon.ca has this for $3.99. It sounds intriguing.
>220 BLBera:, >221 VivienneR: Cataract surgery is “easy peasy”, Beth and Vivienne. I’m really delighted. I hadn’t realized how bad my cataracts were until after having the first eye done, I was looking at my neighbor’s house across the street. When I looked with just the eye that had been done I could tell the house was white, when I looked with the eye that hadn’t been done, it looked more yellow. Everything is bright and clear now, and as I said, my distance vision is perfect. I will need reading glasses, I just need to wait about a month to find out the correct strength.
This book is number twelve in the Ian Rutledge series. Murder, secrets, and lies offer Rutledge challenges to solve several puzzles. How does the disappearance of a man named Teller fit in with the murder of a woman whose last name is also Teller, when the man’s family insist they have no connection to her? There are a couple of subplots - one involved Rutledge’s godfather, another involved a young man whose robbery actions at knifepoint eventually end in murder. This installment was not one of the better ones, but I enjoyed it.
Vivienne put this series on my radar, and this first book was pretty good. Ruth Galloway is an archaeologist and lectures at university. Her home is in a little hideaway called Saltmarsh overlooking the North Sea. DCI Harry Nelson asks Ruth for help when bones are found on the marshes. He has been searching for a missing child for ten years, and he hopes and fears that the bones are those of Lucy. The bones turn out to be thousands of years old, but Ruth becomes involved in the investigation. I thought the atmosphere was well done. I liked Ruth who seemed no nonsense and comfortable in her own skin. I’ll definitely continue with the next book.
Number thirteen in the Inspector Rutledge series finds the Inspector called to a Sussex village where three men have been murdered with a garrote. The three men were all soldiers during the Great War, and survived only to meet this awful end. Each had a soldier’s identity disc in their mouth, but the disc was not their own. Another death occurs after Rutledge arrives, and he and the local constabulary are pressed to find the murderer before any other man is killed. This was a good entry in the series. I still haven’t tired of them.
I read and enjoyed both books. War Brides was interesting because, without much emphasis, it brought together a diverse group of women who all suffered in different and the same ways from WW II.
Magpie Murders was two books in one. The first a take on an Agatha Christie and the second a modern day murder. I got taken up by the first and was surprised when the second intruded. I had to reread the first chapter!
Thanks for the recommendations.
>232 BLBera: Sorry I missed your post, Beth. I’m just about finished with The Janus Stone. I’m really enjoying it. I’ll finish it this week while driving around after dropping my grandson off at his camp. I’ll have to decide on something else to listen to for my drive home to NJ on the 2nd. I have a few waiting in the queue.
This is the 14th book in the Ian Rutledge series. A dying man walks into Rutledge’s office and confesses to a murder. Only the name he gives is not his own. The confession leads to a rather complicated case after the man is found murdered.
This is the second book in the Ruth Galloway series. I enjoyed it every bit as much as the first. The bones of a young child are found during the demolition of an old school. Ruth is brought in to define the age of the bones, and finds herself closer to the investigation than she’d like to be, as it seems she is being stalked.