And so books 96 – 99 of 2014 some good, some not so good, some slippers and one outstanding piece of writing………
Book 96 – The Fortune Hunter Daisy Goodwin
Her first book “The Dutchess” was I believe one of our first book club books a good few years ago now. Saw this second book in Barter Books in Alnwick but it took me a few weeks to get round to reading. Partly as I believed it would be a treat to read. I was wrong it was a soap opera in a book based on the Upper Class in 19th century England. To be honest not sure why I finished reading it as it took me over a week maybe as the only part that I did enjoy was the historical Royal history of the Habsburg empire and the Empress’s amusing spate with Queen Victoria which I found mildly amusing. The rest of the book though left me cold very cold.
Book 97 – Us David Nicholls
Another holiday treat. I loved his previous books had heard great things about this one and was looking forward to it. I started to read and had an immediate problem. I took an instant dislike to the main character, his wife who wanted rid of him when her son left home and said son. He was a wet blanket. She was full of self-confidence with a touch of supreme patrimony on the side and the son was a spoilt brat! What not to like? So they began their tour of Europe a last holiday fling. And? Well actually then I got into the book as it didn’t go to plan for all of them and once you got to see them from new angles I started to get quite fond of them all even the son! By the end of the book I was sad to see the end. Books are like that often worth challenging yourself to read on as unexpectedly you learn to love it. Though if you really lose the will to live stop reading life is too short and there are too many books in the world. This wasn’t one of those books.
Book 98 – Last Voyage of Valentina by Santa Montefiore
This was one of my comfortable slipper books which I knew was going to take me to sun and Italy which I enjoy at any time of the year but particularly in bleakest winter. It had a historical 2ww slant to the story too so it was bought. I really enjoyed this book though it did feature another spoilt brat the main character and this is maybe why I liked the book as the character evolved from thinking her family was against her to realising that all is not what it seems in your own mind and that your parents had a life before you came along. And often the one’s who brought you up did things not for their own good but for yours. Good story with a few twists and turns some of which totally took me by surprise. All that is superficially beautiful on the outside is not necessarily on the inside.
Book 99 – A Meal in Winter by Hubert Mingarelli
One of the January book club books a very short looking book recently translated from French. It is beautifully written with incredible descriptions that makes you from start to finish imagine that you are part of the making of this meal in a Polish hovel at the end of the 2WW with three German soldiers, a Pole and a Jew. I could right now create the meal as the descriptions are wonderful you start to mouth water yourself. The meal is the centre piece of the novel showing that in food we all come together in the most tragic of circumstances and our enemy can become our friend but just as equally after the meal our prejudices are just as acute as ever if we let them. This is disturbing reading, beautiful writing and a true insight into how the 2WW was for German soldiers, a Pole and a Jew on the run! It’s not comfortable reading but it does make you think and ponder what we do in terrible circumstances.
Book 100? Do I make it?