I’m guessing if you read my post from about a year ago, it would sound very much the same as this: the summer is waning, I’m hustling to get ready for school, my reading has slacked off, I’m behind posting (read: I haven’t blogged a darn review all month!). Am I right?! So here are a few brief looks at the books I’ve been reading.
Mrs. Poe (NetGalley)
release date: October 2013
The idea behind Lynn Cullen’s Mrs. Poe, due to be released October 2013, is intriguing. Lady poet (because that’s how they were characterized in 1845) Frances Osgood crosses paths with Edgar Allan Poe–and his curious wife Virginia–just as his poem “The Raven” is all the talk in New York. Estranged from her philandering husband, Frances is drawn to Poe’s intensity and Virginia’s fragile devotion. But as Frances and Poe grow closer, Virginia’s devotion reveals its dark side. I might just have reached my historical fiction limit (what with Aviator’s Wife, Dressmaker, Fever, Mary Coin) but I only made it through about three-quarters of the book before flipping to the end. It isn’t a horrible read; it’s just not a memorable one. I was curious enough about Frances Osgood, though, to do a little bit of “research” about her on the interweb. And, truthfully, my reading there–complete with poems the two had written to each other–was more compelling than the novel.
The Lavender Garden (Galley Alley/Atria Publishing)
Now this was a story that kept me page-turning from the get-go. My husband calls it a “book divorce.” Emilie de la Martiniers buries her mother and a few days later the London veterinarian finds that she’s inherited an apartment in Paris and a rambling chateau and vineyard in southern France–and immediately begins to regret having to sell it. Enter a handsome stranger who appears just as Emilie is dealing with a break-in at the chateau. Worming his way into her life, the two are soon married. Although I was suspicious of Sebastian from the start, Emilie seemed so intelligent, so level-headed, I didn’t for a minute think she’d fall for a cad. Hah! Emilie and Sebastian are connected somehow through his grandmother Constance–and so author Lucinda Riley begins to alternate between the two women’s stories. There’s another crumbling estate in England, a brother-in-law in a wheelchair (Mr. Rochester!), secrets and mysteries from World War II, and an orphan. Book divorce for sure!
A hint for buying Christmas books for friends and family–always get them books you think you might like but don’t want to spend money on. And when, say, six or seven months have passed, you casually ask to borrow the book. That’s what I did with Gone Girl which I gave to my daughter this year. I realize I might be the last person in the US who hasn’t read the book-of-the-year (oh, wait–Denice is!) but read it I finally did. And loved it. Until the last page. I’m not even going to give a synopsis, since everyone surely knows the gist of the book at this time. And if you don’t, the inside flap blurb will give you enough to go on or you can read more here. The book twisted and turned, and I alternately figured it out, then didn’t, then figured it out for sure, then didn’t. It was a page-turner (as everyone says), fascinating insight into the mind of a sociopath–or is it psychopath? Whatever–they were both screwed up.