January has seen one of the best reading months for awhile with a grand total of 12 books read or listened to as two were audio books.
1. The Italian Girl by Lucinda Riley
A light hearted start to the year. But it did make me ask the question can you love someone too much and put them before everyone including your child? And what kind of man is it that lets you do this in fact expects it? Not her best book but wiled away a day or two over festive break.
2.Coming Home for Christmas by Patricia Scanlan
My mum bought this book to cheer herself up during a stay in a miserable hotel and handed it to me. As she said it’s not the greatest book you will ever read but it’s enjoyable none the less. I couldn’t sleep night before normal routine started post holiday and read it in one go then slept all night mulling it over in my dreams. So appreciate it just for that.
3. TheUndertaking Audrey Magee
My bookshop/club book for January along with a Meal in Winter. Both set in Nazi Germany. Both books look at the war through the eyes of Germans. I have never read any books from this perspective before so found it thought provoking. I understand from a historic point of view why the Nazis came to power but fail to see how the German nation didn’t see through The madness of national socialism. This book is about a soldier at the Russian front who marries a German back home to get leave home having only seen her photo. The couple meet only twice. Once during their honeymoon and at the end of the war. For a time they write to one another and then both of them face challenges of war that we can only read about but I suspect until you’ve lived it you don’t know how you would cope. This book holds no punches. You see antisemitism. You see the severity of food shortages even early in the war. You wonder how they can cope one at the Russian front the other in Berlin. This is not a book you will like but it does make you think and I appreciated that it could have ended well Holywood style but it didn’t as really how could it? And be true to that time in history?
4. Off Shore Ann Cleeves
I am not a short story reader I never have been and at this stage in my life suspect it won’t change. But I love Anne Cleeve’s Shetland books and I love islands especially the Hebrides and this book included both so I read them. A review I read said although enjoyable would have been better as novels rather than short stories. I have to say I agree but that in itself is a compliment as almost every story led me in wanting to know more about the story and its characters.
5. Daughter Of Catalonia Jane Mackenzie
Escapism to a degree set in the South of France in the 1950’s. About a English girl born to a Spanish father and an English mother in France. She can barely remember her father who died as part of the resistance after she and her mother and brother escaped to England. With her mother dead she now wants to know what happened to her father and who betrayed him so she returns to the small fishing village and learns the truth. Not the greatest historic novel and very wooly in parts and tried too hard to end it well but enjoyable.
6. A Hidden Affair Pamela Jenoff
I have read previous books by this author and handed them on to my dad. We both agreed they were good. I found this one in the book shelf bought a couple of years ago and never read. Set as a spy book in fairly recent times. I didn’t enjoy it at all. It was shallow and read like a very third rate James Bond book. Such a disappointment after her very good novels set in the Second World War.
Books 7-12 of 2015 to follow in next blog article. Looking at my book review book the second half of January was the superior read as not a bad one among them.