I’m spending 2018 reading mostly women. Only mostly, because I don’t want to be too restrictive about these things. If I read a book by someone who is not a woman I won’t have “failed”. I’m also trying to read books that are recommended to me, books by people I follow on Twitter, that kind of thing.
In April I read:
Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley – I started this in Feb and didn’t mention it in March so you can see it didn’t grip me, but it was nice enough. Afraid that might be damning with faint praise. If you’d like to hear about Jane Austen’s life through the lens of the houses she lived in, you might like this. If you are not sure, you probably aren’t interested.
The 9:45 to Bletchley by Madalyn Morgan – I love Bletchley Park stories. I went to visit it and did the tour and could really imagine how it would have been such an adventure. If you were a middle class girl (which I wouldn’t have been, but never mind), getting just enough education to nab yourself a good husband, it must have been such a change. Sure, then men are all off fighting and dying and there won’t be enough husbands to go round, but let’s look on the bright side. I wondered if this book was aimed at young people – if I were guessing I’d put it in YA.
Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire – Urban fantasy – but not the kind where teenagers fall in love with broody vampires. (not that there’s anything wrong with that) The masquerade is in place, and there’s a full history of our heroine’s family and their interactions with the underworld. The quotes at the beginning of each chapter are great and I’d like some of them on a shopping bag.
Accused by Lisa Scottoline – A book recommended by my mum! Her description made it sound a bit like The Good Wife, in that there are lawyers but we also hear about their lives and families etc. I can see this getting more and more enjoyable throughout the series as I get more familiar with those friends and family, but one thing I don’t like it when people’s dialogue is written in dialect and this featured a bunch of Italian-American written-out speech that felt like it was taking the piss.
Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng – A Gothic fairy story along the lines of “what if colonising explorers discovered Fairyland, and we sent missionaries to try to convert them?”. I enjoyed much of this, particularly the questions of whether the fairies had souls, whether they also were cursed by the original sin, etc, but some was dark enough to make me a little bit uncomfortable. (that’s not a non-recommendation, you might like darker things than me or be less easily squicked)
The State of Grace by Rachel Lucas – The only other book I’d read by Rachel Lucas was a romcom where a woman moves to a Scottish island for slightly spurious reaons and falls in love with the laird. This is a much more grounded (relatable, even?) story of a teenage romance (and teenage falling-out-with-your-friends, which can be much more emotional than romance), told through the eyes of an autistic girl. Even better, the afterword explains how the author’s daughter was diagnosed with autism and shortly afterwards the author herself, as an adult, realised that she too was autistic.
Death in Dulwich by Alice Castle Dulwich is near where I live, but much posher. This book made me realise quite HOW POSH. This is a nice cosy present-day murder mystery, the kind where you know that no characters you like are really in danger.