Pink Sugar, O Douglas
Plain Truth, Jodi Picoult
Priorsford, O Douglas
Dombey and Son, Charles Dickens
Quite a long time since I read this and I could see why. The theme is quite advanced; a proud man refusing to acknowledge the value, almost the existence of his daughter, while fixing his hopes on the son who dies. The two are reconciled in the end but only through Florence’s superhuman powers of forgiveness. She is portrayed throughout as exceptionally good and clever and finds happiness in the end in being a wife, mother and dutiful daughter. There are longeurs in this book but it also contains some passages which are absolute tours de force of writing: the descriptions of the building of the railway, for instance, and Carker’s nightmare journey. Genius.
Ann and her Mother, O Douglas.
This is one of my least favourite of the author’s books. Widowed ‘old lady’ of sixty lives with her very tiring daughter in a house which the latter has wilfully built in the middle of nowhere. Ghastly weather, little company, not much to do except knit, so Ann decides to write her mother’s life and her story is told in a series of not very successful flashbacks. Ann was cruel, I think, to take her mother from lively Priorsford to live in a glen which becomes cut off from the outside world by snow but O Douglas obviously expects the reader to like her.
Grasshopper, Barbara Vine
This was very disappointing. What one thinks will be the central mystery of the book is revealed fairly early on and the chief secret remains who it is that the heroine has married. Nice London descriptions but repetitive and not much of a page turner, which is what I was hoping for.
Eliza for Common, O Douglas
A Question of Upbringing, Anthony Powell
I thought it would be a neat idea to read an entire series straight through and started on A Dance to the Music of Time; my third reading. Half way through this book I nearly abandoned the project as we became bogged down in France, yawn, yawn. You have to remember though that everything that happens, however trivial, will have a bearing on later events, so must be persevered with.
The Setons, O Douglas.
This time round, I gave up half way through as I couldn’t stand Elizabeth’s relentless cheerfulness another moment. I am also heartily sick of O Douglas’s selfish old ministers, always described as ‘saints’, who spend hours in their studies every day writing sermons while their womenfolk consider it a privilege to do all the work.
A Buyer’s Market, Anthony Powell
The Acceptance World, Anthony Powell
At Lady Molly’s, Anthony Powell. The most enjoyable so far.
The Rain Before It Falls, Jonathan Coe. A Christmas present from fellow Coe admirer huskyteer. Goodness it's sad. One of those books you read quickly to find out what happened in the past, then read again to enjoy the writing. A short book but there's more in it than might appear at first.
Kiss, Jacqueline Wilson. Another Christmas present and I'm glad to see Dame Jackie right back on form with this one. Much better than Candyfloss or Love Letters, even though the plot device is obvious early on. She is so good at domestic interiors.
The Good Husband of Zebra Drive, Alexander McCall Smith. My last Christmas book, from someone who knew I was longing to read it. Nor did it disappoint. I love this series to bits.
Casanova’s Chinese Restaurant, Anthony Powell. The best title in the series.