September was a glorious month maybe not quite the hot Indian Summer that we wanted but certainly full of warm sunny days with glorious blue skies missing from the summer months. And for me it was a warm reading month too not least as I read the latest novels from two of my favourite authors Patrick Gale and William Boyd. In fact with one exception it was a month of returning to favoured authors and a reading list that takes me up to a crazy 88 books read this year.
A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale
Patrick Gale is a beautiful empathetic writer and reading one of his books is like wrapping yourself in a blanket by a fire and immersing yourself in a different world from your own as you read his book. The only issue being that you tend to read his books very rapidly as much as you want to savour the experience. That said Patrick Gale is not afraid to tackle big issues and this book is no exception with the principal character discovering post marriage that he is gay difficult today but at the beginning of the 20th Century when the book is set considered a mental illness. In the course of the book you also see into what it might feel to be transgender as the book takes you from England to the wilds of Canada the prairies and a mental hospital. For me the spirit of the book is that we all love and have the capacity to be loved but we don’t always look at other’s and see their lives through their eyes. A book I didn’t want to finish but read all too rapidly.
Dacre’s War by Rosemary Goering
I read Rosemary’s first book and was waiting for the second to immerse myself in the world of post Flodden Scotland and the Border Reivers. This book continues the story and does not disappoint as you are taken to the dastardly and often courageous world of the Reivers. This is out and out historical fiction and I realise doesn’t appeal to everyone but if you do like historical fiction and or you live or love the Border Lands this book and the first one is well worth reading especially in the heart of the Scottish Borders by a fire at winter time.
Sycamore Gap by LJ Ross
Again set in the Borderlands this time Northumberland but in the current day. This is a new detective series with the first one set on Holy Island. The sequel also carries on the story from the first and like the first takes you into a world of intrigue and evil that reads so believably but as someone who lives in this part of the world you can also scarcely want to believe it. I read this one rapidly too and can’t wait for the next one.
Sweet Caress by William Boyd
Such a great name for a William Boyd book as his novels are for me like a bookie hug. Confessions I read this on my Kindle at a price I wouldn’t normally pay for a Kindle book but one I find it hard to resist a William Boyd book and two when I read some of it was set on a Scottish island I had pressed the buy button before I knew it. The best compliment I can give this book is that although I have the Kindle version I will buy it in paper back when it comes out as it’s a book I would read again. Beautifully written and if anyone wants to read a fiction book on the 20th Century this book covers the key historical events. But it is so much more with the use of photos that William Boyd has collected over the years woven into the story and then there is the ending. I won’t give that away but it hits you with full force.
Redemption Road by Lisa Ballantyne
Saw this book in a book shop in Edinburgh on my first trip on the Borders Railway and I knew I had read the author previously but couldn’t place her. But after searching on the web quickly realised that her previous book “The Guilty One” had been one that had been totally thought provoking as indeed was this one. It’s about a father who kidnaps his daughter and their short time together and how that experience impacts on them for the rest of their lives till they unexpectedly meet again though the daughter can’t till she meets her dad again remember it. It is about the power of being a parent and the fact that doesn’t have to be your biological parent it’s to all parents out there who love you and care for you no matter what.
The Planter’s Wife by Dinah Jeffries
My easy read of September’s months reading though I learnt some interesting biological lessons on the way hopefully not giving away the plot. Set at the end of the Empire in what was Sierra Leone about a couple who actually deal with everything that is thrown at them do have a stronger relationship than both of them realise. Though does show trust is key and openness in any marriage.
A golden September not just in the weather but also in reading.