I got through quite a “few” books whilst I was away- way more than I had intended to, though I’m certainly not complaining! Reading so many over there means I can now get stuck into a few chunksters now that I’m home, which I’ve been putting off reading for a while. I have Trade Winds on the go (which I started whilst I was in Greece) and yesterday finally began The Count of Monte Cristo. Both of which I’m expecting will take me a really long time to get through as they are doorstop books. I also started a new audiobook this morning on my walk to work- The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert. It’s narrated by the utterly brilliant Juliet Stevenson and I can anticipate I’m probably going to love it. I hope so anyway! For me, sometimes it’s the narrator who really makes an audiobook a hit or a miss and Juliet Stevenson is exceptional at bringing a story to life.
I had in mind that I’d do a snapshot review post of everything I read whilst I was away, but that’s a bit of a crazy idea as it would end up being an overly long post! Instead, below are a few particular reading highlights from what I picked up this past fortnight:
The Distant Hours- Kate Morton; my favourite holiday read. This novel follows Morton’s tried and tested formula of the multiple time-frame narrative, with part of the story set before and during World War II and the latter based in a more modern setting. It is the story of three spinster sisters, a castle in the south of England and an intriguing murder mystery that spans almost five decades. Morton’s prose is elegant, the settings vivid and I utterly loved this book. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Summer at the Lake- Erica James; I’m a big fan of Erica James. Her books offer a perfect blend of romance and escapism and this is a novel I’d been considering purchasing for a while. Happily, it was left in the book-drop at the hotel, so I was able to experience it for free! Set amidst the beautiful Italian Lakes, this is another dual-time frame novel that tells the story of an impossible romance between Englishwoman Esme and Theology student Marco. Decades later, Esme returns to the lakes with two friends to trace her past. A tale of unexpected friendships, regrets and romance, I found this to be an engaging read. 4 stars out of 5.
The Silkworm- Robert Galbraith; The second book from J.K. Rowling in the Cormoran Strike series kicks off with a bang. This time Private Investigator Strike and his PA Robin are trying to track down an author who has seemingly vanished into mid-air, only when he is found murdered in exactly the same way of one of the characters in his as-yet-unreleased book, it seems something more sinister is afoot…
I really enjoy this crime series by J.K. Rowling. The characters are well-developed and convincing and this story was well-paced with a good degree of drama and depth. As this series continues I look forward to getting to know both Robin and Strike better, and hopefully seeing the possibility of some kind of romance developing between them…? 4 stars out of 5.
Robinson Crusoe- Daniel Defoe; a classic that needs no introduction. It felt appropriate that I was sat reading this whilst sat by the ocean, too. I loved this tale of a castaway spending almost three decades on a deserted island, along with the evocative accounts of his seafaring journeys. A Guardian read, it is nonetheless a novel I have been meaning to get to for a while- the book has been sat in my shelves for years. 4 stars out of 5.
Pieces of You-Ella Harper; oh woe. My heart broke a little whilst reading this story of relationships, secrets and betrayal. What do you do when your world is turned upside down? And what happens when the person you believed you could trust implicitly is responsible for it? A riveting story of marriage and family, this compelling drama has generated a lot of buzz lately and I can completely understand why- and talk about a sucker-punch of an ending. 4 stars out of 5.
Lovers and Players- Jackie Collins; good old Jackie Collins. There’s nothing like a salacious Hollywood bonkbuster for a bit of escapism. I whizzed through this chunkster in mere hours, gripped by the sordid goings-on of the Diamond family and a whole slew of other madcap characters, caught up in a showbiz bubble. 4 out of 5 stars.
Typhoon- Qaisra Shahraz; I got this as a kindle cheapie a while ago and then promptly forgot about it. Mistake! This was a moving story of redemption and regret that raised some thought-provoking questions about Sharia law, family and marriage. I enjoyed reading about the Pakistan setting and meeting the various characters involved. Happily, I already have another book by Qaisra Shahraz waiting on my kindle which I will definitely be getting to soon! 4 stars out of 5.
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves- Karen Joy Fowler; an interesting family drama with an unusual twist. I found this to be an engaging novel that incorporated some more in-depth issues than I had expected. I don’t want to say too much about it for risk of inadvertently spoiling the story for anyone, either! 4 stars out of 5.
The Missing One- Lucy Atkins; an interesting story about families, secrets and betrayal set against a stunning backdrop- not to mention just what risks a mother will take to protect her child. I personally loved this story as it contained some interesting elements about whale research, too! Albeit a little bit far-fetched in places, the writing was atmospheric and pacey- and I would certainly read more by Atkins in future. 4 stars out of 5.
So that’s it- a holiday reading round-up over; it’s safe to say that I enjoyed the great majority of books that I encountered- with most of the ones I picked up being 3.5-4.5 star reads! Regular reviews will resume again on my blog shortly 🙂