Friday, March 14, 2008

What I've Been Reading

I have been reading the greatest books of late. I love it when I hit a stretch of books that I look back on and can’t find a bad one among them ; I find only good stories that I was sad to leave. I have been wanting to write a blog about the books I’ve read for a long time and realized that it would be wrong of me to put it off any longer and not share these stories with you. I can be such a procrastinator at times; it drives me nuts. Anyway here are the books. Enjoy.

Pride and Prescience by Carrie Bebris
Yes, this is yet another book about the world that Jane Austen created in Pride and Prejudice, one I have to say does a wonderful job following the tone that Austen set in her original story. Pride and Prescience starts at the newly married Darcy’s wedding party and follows them through the first weeks of their marriage as they become involved in a mystery concerning Mr. Bingley’s sister Caroline. I would put this book in the Victorian Cozy Mystery reads, a genre that I find light and fun, even when dealing with some of the supernatural as this one did. I enjoyed this book so much that I went to the library to find book two, Suspense and Sensibility, and enjoyed it as well, though it delved a little more heavily with spiritualism than the first, changing the tone slightly. Still it was a fun read, that I enjoyed.

The Thief Taker
by Janet Gleeson
Agnes Meadows a cook for a family of Silversmiths is asked by her employer to help solve a burglary that has taken place, leading her into criminal underworld of 18th century England. I could not put this book down. It felt like I was back in Old England myself with the descriptions of the area and the people. At times I could smell the food that Agnes was cooking or the open sewers of the city. I felt that Gleeson really stayed true to how the people would have behaved, especially the servants towards the employers. My only warning about The Thief Taker is that it can be a bit grisly when a murdered body or two show up. It didn’t bother me, but if one is very sensitive be warned. I can’t wait to read some of Janet Gleeson’s other stories.

A Proper Pursuit by Lynn Austin
Lynn Austin is one of my favorite authors; I have immensely enjoyed all six of her books that I have read. She brings both other times and places alive in her stories while creating wonderful characters that are real in their life and walk with the Lord. I have purposely not read all of her books so that they are there when I’m at a loss of what to read and just want a good book. Silly I know, but fall backs are very important in the literary world. When I first started A Proper Pursuit I was slightly taken aback, because it dealt with a young woman out of finishing school in the 1800’s; like so many other books both Christian and non-Christian that are in the market right now. I almost didn’t read it; what a loss that would have been on my part. Instead of finding a silly book about etiquette fiascos I found a really sweet, charming story about a young woman in search of a mother that she barely remembers. While searching for her mother in Chicago during the Worlds Fair in 1893 with her Grandmother and Great-Aunts in tow Violet Hayes finds more than she bargains for (with one or two fiascos) in suitors and the reality of life. I really enjoyed this coming-of-age story with it’s delightful ending.

The Kommandant's Girl by Pam Jenoff
Emma Bau becomes a spy for the resistance during World War 2 masquerading as a gentile secretary to a high ranking Nazi official. Written in first person this story does not go into a lot of historical detail, but more into the moral decisions and stresses that Emma has to make to help her people against the devastation of the Nazi’s. Her job places her marriage vows and the people that she loves on the line. While I didn’t agree with all the choices that Emma made in her life, I found the story to be interesting, bringing to light situations that I hadn’t thought about concerning World War 2. I don’t think that Pam Jenoff created a really strong, memorable character in Emma, at times I felt that she really didn’t grasp the seriousness of the war and what was going on around her, but then does one really understand what they are in the middle of each day, while trying to survive. Maybe in writing about a character that felt lost, confused, and a bit selfish Pam Jenoff created a real person. For me personally I wouldn’t call this a great book in writing style or characters,but an interesting read all the same.
There are other books that I would like to write about, but I have been catching up on email and other computer stuff all day and am going a little cross eyed. I will have to write more later and share a little about our daily lives too.

Happy Reading,



heidi said...

i LOVE getting great novel recommendations! i'm always requesting new books at the library and making lists of "must reads" whenever i read a great review. i'll be sure to check out the lynn auston one (eve's daughters was a favourite book of mine) and the jane austen-esque books sound great, too!

i also wanted to thank you for your suggestion re. the cookbook simply in season. as i read your comment, i thought that the title sounded familiar. sure enough, deep in the depths of my recipe cupboard, i found the book! i got it for my birthday a few years ago and i don't think i've tried any of the recipes. at the time i think i was frustrated at how it was organized by season instead of by types of recipes; obviously i didn't really understand the concept of using foods in season. this morning i cracked it open and read the introduction pages and i'm now looking forward to checking out some great new healthy recipes! thanks :) do you have any favourites among them?

Anonymous said...

My Dear, You are amazing. You put things so clearly and leaving one wanting more. I love you and am proud you are my daughter. Hugs, Mom

lil said...

Thanks for the list of book, Naomi!! I want to get a couple out, maybe even audio, that Dad & I can read on our trip to BC!! (We'll tell you about that on Easter Sunday.)