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Vanessa's 2016 Reads

What have you read in 2016? Post your list here and update it as you go along! (One thread per member, please.)
User avatar
Vanessa
Bibliomaniac
Currently reading: The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell & And So It Begins by Rachel Abbott (Pigeonhole)
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
Favorite HF book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell!
Preferred HF: Any
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

Vanessa's 2016 Reads

Postby Vanessa » Mon February 1st, 2016, 9:29 am

Here's my list for January:

Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase 5
This intriguing tale had me avidly turning the pages straight away. A dual timeframe novel set during the 1960s and the present day, telling the story of the Alton family who spend their summer holidays at Black Rabbit Hall in Cornwall. During one such summer an incident occurs which has tragic consequences and sets in motion a chain of cataclysmic events. An absorbing, gripping and captivating debut which I can highly recommend, especially to fans of Daphne du Maurier and Kate Morton.

House of Shadows by Pamela Hartshorne 5
When Kate Vavasour wakes up from falling off the tower at Askerby Hall, she discovers she has lost her memory. Not only that she starts having flashbacks to the life of Lady Isabel Vavasour who lived and fell off the same tower in the 1500s. Isabel seems to be trying to tell Kate something and Kate decides that she must discover what that something is before she can move on. A well written story which I thoroughly enjoyed. I would recommend it to Barbara Erskine fans.

Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon 3.5
A psychological thriller involving two women who grew up in the same area but did not know each other. Amy Stevenson is attacked and left for dead, leaving her in a vegetative state on a coma ward in hospital where she has been for the past 15 years. Alex Dale is a freelance journalist and she is also an alcoholic. When Alex meets Amy for the first time she decides to investigate the attack and write an article. It seems that both women have their own secrets. It's told in an interesting way in several different voices. There are a few twists and turns plus the odd red herring. It kept me guessing until the end. However, I did find that the pace slowed down somewhat in the middle but picked up again towards the end. A good quality debut from a promising new author, who is a journalist herself. I think that it would adapt to TV very well if this was to happen!

Evergreen Falls by Kimberley Freeman 4.5
Really enjoyed this dual timeframe story set in a hotel during the present day and the 1920s in Australia. Flora Honeychurch- Black and her opium addict brother Sam are residents at the Evergreen Falls hotel where Violet Armstrong us a waitress. An affair develops between Sam and Violet. In the present day another waitress Lauren Beck discovers some love letters from the past and pieces together a passionate affair. Kimberley Freeman is becoming a favourite author of mine.
currently reading: My Books on Goodreads

Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you ~ The Shadow of the Wind

User avatar
Vanessa
Bibliomaniac
Currently reading: The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell & And So It Begins by Rachel Abbott (Pigeonhole)
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
Favorite HF book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell!
Preferred HF: Any
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

February

Postby Vanessa » Tue March 1st, 2016, 11:12 am

Here's my list for February:

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton 5
Set in the 17thC in Amsterdam. When Nella Oortman begins her marriage to Johannes Brandt, he gives her a doll's house, a replica of their home, as a wedding gift. Nella asks an elusive miniaturist to create items for the little house. These little items mirror Nella's life in strange ways and it's all very mysterious! I loved this book! It's not a happy tale, quite sad really. However, I found it compelling, unusual and quirky.

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton 3
Set in New York in the 1860s, a twittery classic about a love triangle and social etiquette. I found it a little tedious so it was OK but not my cup of tea. I didn't really engage with it.

Murder at Mansfield Park by Lynn Shepherd 4
A clever retelling of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park with the added excitement of a murder! I enjoyed it. The beginning was quite slow and the writing style took a little getting used to. But once the murder occurred, I really got into it and it turned out to be an intriguing and well written murder mystery. I thought it was an imaginative alternative to the original.

Daughter of the Sea by Maggie Freeman
Set in the 16thC on the island of Ternate. Mary Drake, whose mother had an affair with Sir Francis Drake and was captured by pirates, is sold to a Chinese sea captain for five gold coins as his temporary wife. She has a dalliance with a Spaniard named Paolo and then is reunited with her childhood friend-turned-pirate, Kyai, to look for the treasure her father buried. Then she takes it in her head to try to find her estranged father in England, where she finds out he's dead but comes across a tramp who says he's his adopted son......... And so it goes on. Well, what can I say about this book without being rude? There is a story and I think it could be turned into quite a good YA novel with some editing and polishing. As it is, I thought it was ludicrous, so disjointed and the writing is quite childish with the odd bit of bad language thrown in which was out of context with the rest of the book. I haven't rated it as I don't want to be mean!

Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf 4
Jack and Sarah Quinlan are called back to Jack's childhood home when his aunt has a nasty fall. When she dies, all clues point to murder and it appears her death has some connection to Jack's mother who died in similar circumstances 30 years previously. This is an enjoyable psychological thriller about family secrets and their consequences. The story begins quite slowly, feeding the reader with little segments of intriguing information as it goes along. As the build up increases, it fills in the missing pieces of the equation and leads to an exciting finale. Most of the action does actually take place within the last couple of chapters or so, but this adds to the suspense. It does what it says on the tin as they say! There are a couple of grey areas which I did let go over my head - I just went with the flow. It's an easy and entertaining read which kept me turning the pages until the end.
currently reading: My Books on Goodreads

Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you ~ The Shadow of the Wind

User avatar
Vanessa
Bibliomaniac
Currently reading: The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell & And So It Begins by Rachel Abbott (Pigeonhole)
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
Favorite HF book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell!
Preferred HF: Any
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

March

Postby Vanessa » Fri April 1st, 2016, 10:39 am

Here's my list for March:

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon 5
Set during the heatwave in England of 1976. When a neighbour goes missing, two ten year old girls play amateur detective. A brilliant bit of nostalgic reading which took me back to my younger days. A well written and crafted story with some fantastic and sad characters. Humorous with a serious thread running through. Loved it!

Property of a Lady by Sarah Rayne 4
The first in the Michael Flint and Nell West supernatural psychological mysteries. Michael Flint is enlisted by some American friends to look at an old house in Shropshire which they've inherited. The house has a dark history with ghostly goings on - a man chanting a creepy rhyme followed by a disappearance of a young girl. An enjoyable spooky tale. Entertaining.

The Truth About Julia by Anna Schaffner 4
I approached this book with trepidation as it did not appear to be my cup of tea at first glance. It is about a young woman called Julia who plants a bomb in a cafe in London, killing 24 people, and an investigative journalist called Clare Hardenberg who is writing Julia's biography whilst awaiting trial in prison. I need not have worried as it soon became something of a page turner for me! It did, however, become a little too political at times and I had the feeling the author was trying to get some sort of point across. A fast paced, absorbing and well written novel.

Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain 4.5
Set in the 1960s in North Carolina, a young social worker discovers a shocking secret amongst the poverty stricken tobacco farm workers and gets herself into trouble when she decides to help. I really enjoyed this book, although it is quite disturbing at times. Even though the subject matter is fairly alarming, it's an easy read as well as being thought provoking.

The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley 5
A dual timeframe story set in England, Scotland, France and Russia. Nicola Marter has a special gift in that she can touch an object and discover its past. When she touches a small bird ornament called a 'firebird', a mythical creature from a Russian fable, she sets out on a journey to discover the truth about its history. I had to suspend belief but nevertheless I thoroughly enjoyed it! Russia has never appealed to me as a place to visit but the descriptions of St Petersburg and its historic buildings made me want to go there.

Molly and the Cat Cafe by Melissa Daley 4
A captivating story told from the point of view of Molly the cat, who sets off on a journey seeking a new home when her beloved owner is taken into care suffering from dementia. After various adventures, Molly finds a safe haven with Debbie and her daughter, Sophie, who run a run-down cafe in the picturesque Cotswolds. A heartwarming and charming tale tinged with a smattering of sadness. Molly is a delight, such a beguiling creature, and I enjoyed following her trials and tribulations. The author knows her cats - their habits are well depicted. It's beautifully and imaginatively written, so easy to visualise. An entertaining read. Great for cat fans.
currently reading: My Books on Goodreads

Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you ~ The Shadow of the Wind

User avatar
Vanessa
Bibliomaniac
Currently reading: The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell & And So It Begins by Rachel Abbott (Pigeonhole)
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
Favorite HF book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell!
Preferred HF: Any
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

April

Postby Vanessa » Sun May 1st, 2016, 1:34 pm

Here's my last for April - I seem to have spent a lot of time in Cornwall this month!

The Butterfly Summer by Harriet Evans 5
An enchanting and bewitching many faceted dual timeframe story with a difference! The main character is a mysterious house called Keepsake, home to the Parrs, which is hidden from public view and has a garden full of the most beautiful butterflies. It's a tale about secrets. The female members of the aforementioned Parr family have dwelled and inherited Keepsake for generations ever since since the days of King Charles II. It is their birthright. It reads very much like a fairytale and has something of an other worldly feel about it. It's quite a mammoth read in some ways - it's a slow burner and quite involved so needs a certain amount of concentration. I was totally absorbed and found the whole book fascinating. It's quirky and unusual, definitely magical. I loved it!

The Heiress of Linn Hagh by Karen Charlton 4
First in the Detective Lavender series. Set in Bellingham in Northumberland in 1809, Helen Carnaby, an heiress, goes missing from her locked bedroom. Nobody in the village appears to want to talk and her siblings are not helpful. All this plus some mysterious gypsies makes for an intriguing story. I enjoyed it.

The Lake House by Kate Morton 5
Set mainly in Cornwall, a dual timeframe story set just after WWII and the present day. Whilst 16 year old budding author Alice Edevane and her family are celebrating a midsummer's eve party, her 11 month baby brother vanishes and is never found. Years later Alice is living in London having established herself as a popular mystery writer. A young detective, Sadie Sparrow, is staying at her grandfather's house in Cornwall, where she comes across 'Loeanneth House', Alice's old home, which is now derelict. She is fascinated by the house and delves into its history. This is another fabulous book from this author. Kate Morton knows how to write a story and draw you in. I loved it.

Behind Closed Doors by B A Paris 3.5
If you can suspend your belief, this is quite a page turner and an entertaining read! It starts off really well with a young woman meeting a charming and handsome man. She becomes bedazzled by him but under all that charm lies a control freak and a rather nasty one at that. It ends up being quite disturbing. It's a compelling read, one which I kept having to pick up even when I was cooking to find out what happened. It's a rollercoaster of a book which carries you along and keeps you on the edge of your seat, but at the same time it's not quite credible.

The Cornish House by Liz Fenwick 4
Widowed Maddie Hollis leaves London for Cornwall with her step-daughter when she finds out she has inherited a house, Trevenon. She comes across some papers which help her solve the mystery of her past. This is a pleasant and gentle story, an easy read.
currently reading: My Books on Goodreads

Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you ~ The Shadow of the Wind

User avatar
Vanessa
Bibliomaniac
Currently reading: The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell & And So It Begins by Rachel Abbott (Pigeonhole)
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
Favorite HF book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell!
Preferred HF: Any
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

May

Postby Vanessa » Thu June 2nd, 2016, 10:48 am

Here's my list for May:

A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding by Jackie Copleton 4
An absorbing, compelling and poignant story about family, love, guilt and forgiveness set before, during and after the horrific bombing of Nagasaki in WWII. This is a well written and beautifully told tale. Although it is moderately slow paced at first, building up gradually, it kept my attention. It gave a great insight into a culture I know little about. I particularly liked the Japanese words or phrases and their English definitions at the beginning of each chapter, which in some way pertained to the story. It is not always easy to read, but I found it very interesting, moving and engaging, a bit of a history lesson even!

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry 5
What a fabulously quirky and unusual book! Set in the Victorian era when scientific discoveries were being made and debates abounded, amateur naturalist Cora Seaborne, also a widow, moves to Aldwinter in Essex to further her studies. It is in the midst of village gossip about an enormous serpent which has supposedly returned to haunt the eerie Blackwater marshes. Cora meets the local vicar, William Ransome, and together they form a strange bond whilst trying to prove or disprove the mythical beast theory. This is mostly their story. An engaging, captivating and absorbing read which I enjoyed tremendously.

Florence Grace by Tracy Rees 4
A charming family saga set in the Victorian era about fate and secrets, and about how such secrets can affect those around them. The author has a wonderful and evocative way with words. The descriptions of the Cornish countryside transported me to this most beautiful place within the British Isles and I wished I had a magic carpet to whisk me there! There were a couple of interesting twists in the plot which helped to move the story forward towards a satisfying and optimistic conclusion. An easy, well written and engaging read.

Sanctuary by Robert Edric 3
Set in Haworth, West Yorkshire, in 1848, this is basically the story of Branwell Bronte's last few months. I. didn't really engage with the story and found it mostly quite tedious to read. I found it a little disjointed, too. The chapters didn't always flow on well from each other. However, it was interesting in that it gave an insight into Branwell's short life so I feel I know a little more about him now. So not all negative!

The Revelations of Carey Ravine by Debra Daley 4
Set in 18thC London where everyone and everything are not what they seem, Carey and her husband Nash are very ambitious and they are trying to progress in society. But has Nash got something to hide and who are these mysterious strangers? Told in the first person, it's a tale of skulduggery and deception galore. There are some serious themes, but it's also light hearted and lively. I thought it was fast paced and well written, too. An intriguing and engrossing read which held my attention throughout.

The Fire Child by S K Tremayne 4.5
This is a brooding and menacing psychological thriller set in Cornwall, revolving around a dead first wife, a paranoid second wife, a grieving son and a partially renovated mansion. There are hints of gothic and at first I was reminded of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca. However, it does go on to become quite a dark tale. It's a slow burner where the suspense is gradually built up and the main character's paranoia grows and grows. The style of writing is descriptive and vivid, full of metaphors and very evocative of the Cornish landscape, which adds to the tension. A creepy, suspenseful read which I very much enjoyed.
currently reading: My Books on Goodreads

Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you ~ The Shadow of the Wind

User avatar
Vanessa
Bibliomaniac
Currently reading: The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell & And So It Begins by Rachel Abbott (Pigeonhole)
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
Favorite HF book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell!
Preferred HF: Any
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

June

Postby Vanessa » Sat July 2nd, 2016, 2:40 pm

Here's my small list for June. I've not had a good month and have lost a bit of my reading mo-jo recently.

Katherine of Aragon, the True Queen by Alison Weir 5
The first in the Six Tudor Queens series, this one tells the story of Katherine of Aragon from the time she was married to Prince Arthur, Henry VIII's brother, until her death. I thought it was brilliantly researched and beautifully and imaginatively written. An excellent insight into the life of this long suffering queen.

Let Me Tell You About a Man I Knew by Susan Fletcher 4
A compelling and gentle story set in Provence during 1889 when artist Vincent Van Gogh stayed at the Saint-Paul-de-Mausole, a hospital for those with mental issues. The main character, however, is not Van Gogh as the reader would expect. This award goes to Jeanne Trabuc, the warden's wife, who is fascinated by the new patient nicknamed 'le fou roux'. This is a beautifully and cleverly written novel about loneliness, growing older, misunderstandings and the rediscovery of love. It is a combination of fact and brilliantly imagined fiction. The style of writing is very evocative and poetic. The descriptions of Provence, in particular St Remy, are vivid and colourful just like Van Gogh's paintings! The characters are well drawn and realistic. I felt quite a lot of empathy towards Jeanne, she's an endearing personality and has so much love to bestow. I liked her. An engaging, poignant and absorbing read which I very much enjoyed and an interesting insight, albeit semi-fictional, into a small part of Van Gogh's life.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel by Deborah Moggach 3
This is about a group of pensioners who up sticks and go to live in India in search of a new life. It's very character based. Its about finding yourself again and realising that it's never too late to start again. It's well written but I did find it a bit of a slog at times. There are some humorous bits - very British tongue-in-cheek almost racist humour. I think some reviewers have found it quite cringe-worthy. Quite topical, really, too. I much preferred the film.
currently reading: My Books on Goodreads

Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you ~ The Shadow of the Wind

User avatar
Vanessa
Bibliomaniac
Currently reading: The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell & And So It Begins by Rachel Abbott (Pigeonhole)
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
Favorite HF book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell!
Preferred HF: Any
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

July

Postby Vanessa » Tue August 2nd, 2016, 11:07 am

Here's my list for July:

The Shadow Hour by Kate Riordan 4.5
A dual timeframe story set 50 years apart about two governesses who work at Fenix House and how their lives connect. A tale of families and secrets. I really enjoyed this one and thought it was a well thought out and intriguing story. There is a good twist at the end. I love stories set around houses and secrets, so this was right up my street!

The Ashes of London by Andrew Taylor 5
Historical thriller set during the aftermath of the Great Fire of London in 1666. A mutilated body is found in St Paul's Cathedral with his thumbs tied behind his back. Government informer James Marwood, the son of a disgraced printer and traitor, is tasked with finding the killer. I thought this was an excellent thriller, very atmospheric and well researched. It really caught the feel of a devastated London.

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty 4
A thought provoking story centring around a terrible incident at a barbecue. The tragedy does not happen at the beginning of the book, but about two thirds of the way through. So, it's a slow burner and as events unfold, the lives, thoughts and dreams of all those concerned are revealed little by little. It's very much a character based tale and is about their reactions before, during and after the barbecue and the repercussions. An absorbing and compelling tale about how we respond to what life throws at us. It's also about blame, self-reproach, and absolution. I very much enjoyed it.

The Last Days of Summer by Sophie Pembroke 4
This is an enchanting, easy and gentle read about a girl who returns to her family home, after having run away to escape her past. I love stories which revolve around houses, books and family secrets and this one fits the bill exactly in my opinion. There are some great characters and there is a good storyline with a hint of mystery and the supernatural! Although the tale does have a sprinkling of fairy dust, there is quite a serious thread running through the narrative and it also points out that there is sometimes truth behind the fiction. An engaging book which I very much enjoyed.

Aphrodite's Workshop for Reluctant Lovers by Marika Cobbold 3.5
Romantic novelist Rebecca Finch has gone off the idea of love so how can Aphrodite and her gods on Mount Olympus help her to find her writing mojo back and fall in love with the right man? I thought this was a fun, easy and quirky read. An entertaining sort of spoof!

Closed Casket by Sophie Hannah 4
I approached this book with an open mind as I am quite an Agatha Christie fan and have been since my early teens. I am happy to report that I was pleasantly surprised by this country house murder story set in Ireland, the second in a recently commissioned series of Hercule Poirot mysteries. I think it does capture the essence of Agatha Christie's style, but it is not an exact imitation. I think it would be very difficult to replicate Christie's method completely. It's a bit of a slow burner and the plot is quite complex. It has, however, all the classic 'whodunnit' features in that everyone is a suspect and there are plenty of twists and turns plus the odd red herring! There's also some dry and subtle humour running through it. An entertaining and intriguing mystery which kept me on my toes until the summing up and the final reveal. I haven't read the first Hercule Poirot mystery by Sophie Hannah but am now looking forward to doing so!
currently reading: My Books on Goodreads

Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you ~ The Shadow of the Wind

User avatar
Vanessa
Bibliomaniac
Currently reading: The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell & And So It Begins by Rachel Abbott (Pigeonhole)
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
Favorite HF book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell!
Preferred HF: Any
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

August

Postby Vanessa » Thu September 1st, 2016, 11:27 am

Here's my list for August. A good month for me.

The Girl in the Glass Tower by Elizabeth Fremantle 5
The story of Arbella Stuart, niece to Mary Queen of Scots and presumed successor to Elizabeth I. Little is known of Arbella as she was kept very much a prisoner under the eye of her grandmother, Bess of Hardwick. It is also the story of Aemilia Lanyer who was a writer and poet and how her life is entwined with Arabella's. She tries to help Arbella in her bid for freedom at great danger to herself. This is a fascinating read, well researched and beautifully written.

The Venetian by Shani Struthers 5
Book one in 'This Haunted World' series inspired by true events/occurrences. An atmospheric and compelling tale of supernatural suspense set in Venice (one of my most favourite cities to visit) and on Poveglia Island, allegedly one of the world's most haunted places. This is an exceptionally good ghost story, almost a horror story you could say. It's wonderfully and disturbingly eerie with an element of sadness. I thought it was well written and fast paced - it kept me on the edge of my seat right up until the end. It's very much a page turner. If you enjoy books about things which go bump in the night, this one is definitely for you!

Letting in the Light by Emma Davies 5
A heartwarming read about relationships, secrets, guilt and forgiveness set in a picturesque village in the heart of England. It's mostly lighthearted and undemanding. However, there is a very serious element which isn't revealed until after halfway through and then it does get a little darker. The author has an effortless and relaxed style of writing which is easy to read. There are some wonderful and vivid descriptions. I really liked the characters - they all have their own issues and problems along with their individual foibles just as we all have. They seemed true to life and people who one would wish to know. They always seemed to be eating cake and the world is put to rights with a cup of tea or hot chocolate and a slice of lemon drizzle! Sounds good to me! There is a satisfying ending which is left on an optimistic and hopeful note. An engaging story.

Jeremy Poldark by Winston Graham 5
Third book in the Poldark series. It begins with Ross Poldark being on trial for ship-wrecking and Demelza drumming up support for him. He still has his enemies, though, chief of whom is George Warleggan who would love to see his downfall. A highly enjoyable series of books and a great (second) TV adaptation. I remember the first!

The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho 3
This is the story of Athena or Sherine who is dubbed 'the witch of Portobello' as she is a little strange, has supposed prophecy powers and was brought up in that neck of the woods in London. It is told via various recorded interviews with people who knew her, following her mysterious birth in Romania to gypsies, her adoption, her childhood in Beirut and her move to London at the outbreak of war. It was a little too much 'dancing round the toadstools' and communing with your navel for me. I'm sure it's full of great advice but I just found too philosophical. I did enjoy the style of writing, though, and it is actually an easy read.

The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood 4.5
Wealthy Sean Jackson decides to have a 50th birthday bash at a house he has recently renovated but is shortly putting up for sale in Bournemouth. No expense spared! His friends and family are there, including his current wife, two teenage daughters and two infant twin daughters. Then something awful happens, one of the twins disappears and is never seen again, causing lots of police enquiries and searches. Twelve years later Sean dies and all the people associated with that fateful birthday weekend reunite for the funeral. As the story progresses, the darkest of secrets are revealed! I found this book quite a page turner and very gripping. It's well plotted with some very dislikable characters. It held my attention throughout. The only niggle I had with it was that the writing confused me a little at times as I didn't always understand what the author was trying to say. Nevertheless it's a cracking read!
currently reading: My Books on Goodreads

Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you ~ The Shadow of the Wind

User avatar
Vanessa
Bibliomaniac
Currently reading: The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell & And So It Begins by Rachel Abbott (Pigeonhole)
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
Favorite HF book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell!
Preferred HF: Any
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

September

Postby Vanessa » Mon October 3rd, 2016, 9:45 pm

Here's my list for September:

Warleggan by Winston Graham 5

Fourth in the Poldark series of books set in Cornwall during the late 18thC. Cousins Ross and Francis Poldark go into a new but risky mining venture together with tragic results. The love triangle between Ross, Demelza and Elizabeth goes a step further leading to Demelza having a dalliance with a Scottish soldier. Love this series! Well written books.

The Huntingfield Paintress by Pamela Holmes 3.5
A charming and interesting little story inspired by the life of Mildred Holland, a rector's wife, who painted the ceiling of St Mary's Church in Huntingfield during the 1850s. This is not just any old painting. It's a brilliantly colourful masterpiece! I was prompted to look it up on the Internet and it's an astonishing work of art, just fabulous. There are some great descriptions of how this intricate accomplishment unfolds and there is quite a lot of attention to detail. However, I have to say that although I found the art side fascinating, I was not totally gripped by the storyline for some reason. Mildred's life is for the most part imaginatively told, but at times the tale did drag a little for me. Nevertheless, I thought it was a worthwhile read and I did enjoy it.

Lady Chatterley's Lover by D H Lawrence 3
Lonely Constance Chatterley begins a passionate with her gamekeeper after her husband is paralysed in the war in this controversial novel written in the 1920s. It's quite tame by today's standards. I found it dull and tedious for the most part, waffling on about the class system and politics. It's very repetitive. Not one for me, really.

Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon 5
Seventh in the Outlander series, a tome of a book at over 1000 pages! This one is set mostly during the American Revolution. Jamie and Claire Fraser are living on the Ridge in North Caroline planning a trip back to Scotland to regain Jamie's printing press and to visit family. Meanwhile in Scotland in the 1980s, Roger and Brianna Mackenzie have set up home at Lallybroch with their children, keeping up with events from the past via letters left to them via Bree's parents. An awful lot happens in this book and it flits from character to character and we meet some new characters, too. Another series I love. Where will it all end!
currently reading: My Books on Goodreads

Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you ~ The Shadow of the Wind

User avatar
Vanessa
Bibliomaniac
Currently reading: The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell & And So It Begins by Rachel Abbott (Pigeonhole)
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
Favorite HF book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell!
Preferred HF: Any
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

October

Postby Vanessa » Wed November 2nd, 2016, 11:49 am

Here's my list for October:

The Last Pearl Fisher of Scotland by Julia Stuart 4
A gentle tale about a man who is searching for an extra special pearl to complete a necklace for his wife to help save his marriage. His daughter tries to lend a hand but it all goes disastrously wrong. This is an enjoyable, sweet and poignant story told with a sense of humour.

My Husband's Son by Deborah O'Connor 3.5
A compelling and creepy psychological thriller revolving around child abduction and the aftermath, set in the north east of England. I found this quite a page turner, although there were some bizarre episodes which I did not think were always necessary or ring true for me. The characters were not particularly likeable. The female lead, a tortured soul with a screw loose, seemed to get herself into all sorts of scrapes which sometimes made me cringe! Nevertheless, the plot is a good one and I was eager to keep reading to find out what happened. An enjoyable and worthwhile read with a thought provoking twist at the end.

The Museum of You by Carys Bray
I thoroughly enjoyed this gentle and poignant story about family, friendship, love and guilt. It's also about how a father and daughter each deal with grief in their own special ways. It has some very touching moments but it's not all sad as there is a message of hope running through it. It's brilliantly written and it's told with a lot of sensitivity as well as humour. Some of it made me giggle out loud. The tale really drew me in and I found it difficult to put down. A captivating and engaging story which I can highly recommend.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman 4
A man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Whilst there he reminisces about his past and his connection to some neighbours, the Hempstock women, who helped him when a man committed suicide in the family car, which led to a bizarre chain of events. I found this weirdly enjoyable and compelling to read. It's quite dark and spooky, very much a fairytale. It's also very imaginative.

Fear Dreams by J A Schneider 2
A young woman who is recovering from a bad accident begins to see spooky sightings of another young woman who appears to be drowning. She seems to be trying to tell her something, leaving messages scrawled on windows and shower screens. This book has many glowing reviews, but I'm afraid it didn't really grab me. I didn't like the writing style - I found it quite disjointed and jerky. Some of the sentences didn't seem finished, almost as if there were some words missing. The plot was very transparent. I'd had my suspicions about what really happened very early on, so I had to continue reading to see if they were correct. They were! It also very much reminded me of a film I watched a few years ago and this helped with my deductions. Other readers seem to have really enjoyed it. Unfortunately it didn't hit the right notes for me.
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Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you ~ The Shadow of the Wind


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