Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.
I had forgotten how much time there is to read in summer. My friends are all out of town on holiday, there is nothing to watch on television, and the days are ridiculously long. I have been waking up at five most mornings and have a lovely summer routine now of reading for a few hours before I start on the day’s activities. Since the day also ends with reading, I have been getting through a truly ridiculous number of books. Early morning hours are not meant for heavy books (or at least I am not meant to read heavy books at that hour) so there’s been lots of fluffy romance, mystery, and chick lit books coming home with me from the library, as well as the more “serious” literary offerings. So far, it has proved the perfect balance.
Reading a few of Peters’ books while on holiday reminded me of how much I enjoy her writing and how little of it I have read outside of the Amelia Peabody books.
Devil May Care by Elizabeth Peters – A very fun ghost story.
Ellie and Henry are young, rich, and engaged. When Ellie’s eccentric Aunt Kate asks her to house-sit at her palatial estate in Burton, Virginia, Ellie is happy to oblige. She feels right at home there with the nearly invisible housekeepers and the plethora of pets, but conventional Henry finds Aunt Kate and her lifestyle a little hard to take. After he leaves, Ellie realizes that there are disturbing secrets about the local aristocracy buried in a dusty old book she has carried into the mansion, and her sudden interest in the past is attracting a slew of unwelcome guests—some of them living . . . and some, perhaps, not.
The Love Talker by Elizabeth Peters – Laurie has finally returned to Idlewood, the beloved family home deep in the Maryland forest, where she found comfort and peace as a lonely young girl. But things are very different now. There is no peace in Idlewood. The haunting sound of a distant piping breaks the stillness of a snowy winter’s evening. Seemingly random events have begun to take on a sinister shape. And dotty old Great-Aunt Lizzie is convinced that there are fairies about—and she has photographs to prove it. For Laurie, one fact is becoming disturbingly clear: there is definitely something out there in the woods—something fiendishly, cunningly, malevolently human—and the lives of her aging loved ones, as well as Laurie’s own, are suddenly at serious risk.
The Seventh Sinner by Elizabeth Peters – At first, Jean Suttman thought she had died and gone to heaven when she was granted the opportunity to study in Rome. But the body that’s lying in the ancient subterranean Temple of Mithra—the murdered corpse of a repulsive and disliked fellow student—is far from her idea of heavenly. Now she’s truly frightened, and not just because small “accidents” seem to be occurring around her with disturbing regularity. It’s the ever-increasing certainty that someone, for some unknown reason, is ruthlessly determined to do her harm. Jean’s innocent underground excursion into a sacred pagan place has trapped her in something dark and terrifying, and even the knowledge that practical, perceptive fellow American Jacqueline Kirby is on the case won’t ease her fears. Because there’s only so far Jean Suttman can run . . . and no escape for her except death.
I Can’t Complain by Elinor Lipman – a wonderful collection of personal essays.
The Dearly Departed by Elinor Lipman – I read this yesterday and it was marvellous.
When Margaret Batten and Miles Finn are found dead in Margaret’s gray bungalow, all of King George, New Hampshire, is abuzz. Is it foul play? (No.) Were they engaged? (Yes, if you believe the cleaning lady.) And why do Margaret’s daughter, Sunny, and Miles’s son, Fletcher—perfect strangers until the funeral—have the same corona of prematurely gray hair?
The Way Men Act by Elinor Lipman – Melinda LeBlanc, at 30, makes an untriumphant return to Harrow, Massachusetts, her recently gentrified hometown. She’s unmarried, romanced out, designing wedding bouquets for old classmates who hadn’t known a fraction of her early popularity. So why is she alone—not counting the occasional horizontal encounter—while these dull brides have found men and happiness?
Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O’Farrell – Gretta Riordan wakes on a stultifying July morning to find that her husband of forty years has gone to get the paper and vanished, cleaning out his bank account along the way. Gretta’s three grown children converge on their parents’ home for the first time in years: Michael Francis, a history teacher whose marriage is failing; Monica, with two stepdaughters who despise her and a blighted past that has driven away the younger sister she once adored; and Aoife, the youngest, now living in Manhattan, a smart, immensely resourceful young woman who has arranged her entire life to conceal a devastating secret.
The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani – It is 1930, the midst of the Great Depression. After her mysterious role in a family tragedy, passionate, strong-willed Thea Atwell, age fifteen, has been cast out of her Florida home, exiled to an equestrienne boarding school for Southern debutantes. High in the Blue Ridge Mountains, with its complex social strata ordered by money, beauty, and girls’ friendships, the Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is a far remove from the free-roaming, dreamlike childhood Thea shared with her twin brother on their family’s citrus farm—a world now partially shattered. As Thea grapples with her responsibility for the events of the past year that led her here, she finds herself enmeshed in a new order, one that will change her sense of what is possible for herself, her family, her country.
A French Affair by Katie Fforde – not Fforde’s best.
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein – Two young women from totally different backgrounds are thrown together during World War II: one a working-class girl from Manchester, the other a Scottish aristocrat, one a pilot, the other a wireless operator. Yet whenever their paths cross, they complement each other perfectly and before long become devoted friends. But then a vital mission goes wrong, and one of the friends has to bail out of a faulty plane over France. She is captured by the Gestapo and becomes a prisoner of war. The story begins in “Verity’s” own words, as she writes her account for her captors.
Audrey in Rome – an interesting collection of photos of Audrey Hepburn in Rome from the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s.
Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl – Recommended by Nancy Pearl, a young adult book with shades of Austen, shades of I Capture the Castle and nothing original whatsoever. Instantly forgettable, it confirmed my theory that Pearl’s recommendations really do not suit my reading tastes.
Amber Scott is Starting Over by Ruth Saberton – Amber Scott loves her city life—she has a terrific job working at a glossy magazine, and a fiancé, Ed, whom she’s known since college. Even if Ed doesn’t take her job seriously (as a solicitor, he doesn’t have much time for women’s magazines), it is Amber’s dream job. So Ed’s news that he has taken a job in the West Country turns Amber’s world upside down. The new life in Cornwall does not get off to the best start. The huge house Ed was so into is, well, huge—what is Amber going to do with four acres? And when a handsome, if surly, man leads the local hunt over her land, it’s more than Amber can stand. So how is it that, before long Amber is friends with the local eccentric Lady of the Manor, making love potions at her mother’s recommendation, and answering the door naked to strangers?
Lessons from Madame Chic by Jennifer L. Scott – When Jennifer Scott arrived at the doorstep of a grand Sixteenth Arrondissement apartment as a foreign exchange student, she was greeted by the woman who would become her mentor and the inspiration for the way she lived long after her time abroad was over. Madame Chic took the casual California teenager under her wing, revealing the secrets of how the French elevate the little things in life to the art of living.
Unsuitable Men by Pippa Wright – After eleven years of coupled-up domesticity, Rory Carmichael is single for the first time in her adult life. Even she would admit that her ex-boyfriend Martin wasn’t the most exciting man in the world — let’s face it, his idea of a rocking night was one spent updating his Excel spreadsheets — but Rory could rely on him and, having watched her mother rack up four turbulent marriages, that’s what matters. But when she discovers that her supposedly reliable Mr Right is a distinctly unreliable cheater, she’s forced to consider the possibility that everything she knows about relationships is wrong. In an effort to reinvigorate both her love life and her lacklustre career at posh magazine Country House, she sets herself a mission to date as many unsuitable men as possible. Toyboys. Sugar daddies. Fauxmosexuals. Maybe the bad boys she’s never dated can show her what she’s been missing in life. But if Mr Right can turn out to be so wrong, maybe one of her Mr Wrongs will turn out to be just right …
Breakfast at Darcy’s by Ali McNamara – When Darcy McCall loses her beloved Aunt Molly, she doesn’t expect any sort of inheritance – let alone a small island! Located off the west coast of Ireland, Tara hasn’t been lived on for years, but according to Molly’s will Darcy must stay there for twelve months in order to fully inherit. It’s a big shock. And she’s even more shocked to hear she needs to persuade a village full of people to settle there, too. Darcy must leave behind her independent city life and swap stylish heels for muddy wellies. Between sorting everything from the plumbing to the pub, she meets confident, charming Conor and sensible, stubborn Dermot – but who will make her feel really at home?
The Dating Detox by Gemma Burgess – If you can’t date anyone nice, don’t date anyone at all…Dating is a dangerous sport. So after her sixth successive failed relationship, romantically-challenged 20-something Sass decides she’s had enough. The Dating Detox is born. No men, no break-ups, no problem. The result? Her life – usually joyfully/traumatically occupied with dates, clothes and vodka – is finally easy. Chastity rocks. No wonder nuns are always singing. Everything falls at her feet. Especially men. Will Sass break the rules? Why does fate keep throwing her in the path of the irritatingly amusing – and gorgeous – Jake? Will she ever roll the dice and play again? Or is a love-free life too good to risk losing? For the post-Carrie Bradshaw, post-Bridget Jones, post-credit crunch generation of singles, life isn’t beautiful, a bitch, or a beach. It’s a party.
Goddess of the Hunt by Tessa Dare – I have read a few of Dare’s romance novels now but this one, her first, is my hands-down favourite.
What did you pick up this week?