I don’t seem to have finished many books this month. Hermione Lee’s Virginia Woolf is an ongoing read and very good it is, too. As part of that read I’ve dipped again into Mrs Dalloway (goodness, those first pages are a wonderful piece of writing) and A Room of One’s Own.
Pretty much a month of light fiction with three novels by Katie Fforde. Stately Pursuits has a young woman saving an ‘istoric hice and getting her man, both rather easily. In The Rose Revived three heroines work together on making money and love. Some nice and technical stuff about canal life in this one. Of the three I most enjoyed Wild Designs, about an older woman (nearly forty!) with three teenage children, not enough money, a garden design to finish for Chelsea Flower Show and a wonderful new man her conscience won’t let her fall for. Amusing, full of domestic details and lots of gardening: what’s not to like?
I’ve already written about the next four books:
Our Spoons Came from Woolworths, Barbara Comyns
The Interpretation of Murder, Jed Rubenfeld
Black Swan Green, David Mitchell
Wild Mary, Patrick Marnham
After Wild Mary I had to reread The Camomile Lawn. Strange to see I must have bought this twenty years ago. It seems quite bad now, full of cheap shocks but at the time I enjoyed her novels as they came out. I suppose then they were new and different.
Mrs Darcy’s Dilemma, Diana Birchall.
Past Caring, Robert Goddard. This is the first book I’ve read by Goddard which has any longeurs in it. An unemployed history graduate is given the task of finding out why a forgotten Edwardian politician, Edwin Strafford, Home Secretary in Asquith’s government, lost his job and lived for years in exile in Madeira. Of course there is more to this than meets the eye and the investigator is soon in trouble. Unfortunately the key source for solving the mystery is Strafford’s Memoir, which is printed in full and is very boring. Stay with it, readers, and it gets better.
The Pact, Jodi Picoult. I didn’t like this as much as My Sister’s Keeper or Plain Truth.
The World According to Bertie, Alexander McCall Smith. See earlier comments. Haven’t quite finished this as I keep falling asleep over it in bed.
Grey Mask, Patricia Wentworth. As far as I know, this was the first Miss Silver book, published in 1928. I loved it, just confirming that I much prefer her earlier books. But what a long career!
Book of the Month? A toss-up between Barbara Comyns and Jed Rubenfeld and I’m going for Our Spoons Came from Woolworths as the one I’m most likely to read again.