Friday, November 2, 2012

mini book reviews

This morning I posted this to Scarlet Threads, but thought I'd share here too! I don't think I've posted book reviews in quite a while, despite the fact that I read all the time! I've read several great books recently, and wanted to post about the tones I really loved!

The Secret Keeper is the newest novel from Australian writer Kate Morton. She has three earlier books, all of which I've read and enjoyed, but I think this was by far my favorite. I've posted about them before, actually. It just came out about two weeks ago, and I managed to grab it from my local library the same week! I devoured it, finishing it in just a few days. Typical of me, really!

The Secret Keeper weaves back into time, along with present day, telling the story of Laurel Nicolson. We meet her as a sixteen year old living in the English countryside, as she witnesses a shocking crime within her family. Fifty years later, she is a successful actress in London, and her family gathers for her mother's 90th birthday party. She wants to learn the secret that has haunted her mother all these years. We also meet her mother, Dorothy, as a young woman in pre-WWII London, through the Blitz and then beyond. We meet Jimmy and Vivian, all from very different lives, but we see how they are intertwined, and will be, forever. While I found myself guessing parts of the ending, I was certainly thrown off by several aspects of what happened, and that is something that I love. 

It was a wonderful story, as are Morton's other three books! 

Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal is another recent favorite. 

Also taking place in wartime London, Mr. Churchill's Secretary introduces us to Maggie Hope, born in Britian, but raised in America. Maggie lost her parents at a young age, and was raised by her aunt, but goes to London to settle the estate of her recently departed grandmother. She graduates at the top of her class from a highly regarded university, but as a female, can only find work as a typist, leading her to 10 Downing Street to work for the newly sworn-in Winston Churchill. This position puts her in a unique position to learn a great deal of information, both about the inner-workings of a government at war, as well as within her own family. Maggie's knowledge of mathmatics, codes, and languages soon assist her in carving a new role for herself as she finds herself in the middle of an assasin plot against the Prime Minister himself. This is very much an edge-of-your-seat type of book, and I loved all of the twists and turns- I never quite knew what to expect, 
but I had a good feeling about our Maggie. 

When I finished the book, I was a bit sad, as I hate when a good book comes to an end, though I soon learned that the sequel to this book, called Princess Elizabeth's Spy just came out this past week! I cannot wait to get a copy of that one! Also, Susan Elia MacNeal, the author, is on twitter (linked above!), and she and I chatted a bit. She's writing the third installment of this book now, and I couldn't be more thrilled. Also, she let me know that Royal Corgis make an appearance in the second book. Anything with corgis is a good thing!

Not a novel, but a cookbook! This is a family favorite, actually, and I recently pulled my battered old copy from my cookbook collection to make the beef stew recipe. The Tasha Tudor Cookbook is a wonderful collection of some of the Tudor Family's favorite recipes, with drawings by Tasha Tudor herself. This means more corgis! Yes, I have a bit of a corgi obsession, but that is another story for another day. 

Growing up, my sister, brother and I each had our own author. My mother decided that on each birthday/Christmas/Easter, we'd receive a book by "our" author. I had Beatrix Potter, my sister had Tasha Tudor, and my brother had Tomie dePaola. Now, as an adult, I have the entire collection of stories of Peter Rabbit and his friends. Likewise, my sister has an amazing collection of Tasha Tudor books, many of which are now out of print. 

I bought a copy of the cookbook for myself one day, since it brings back happy childhood memories. Last weekend, I made the beef stew recipe for dinner, and it was as wonderful as I had remembered it to be. 

Have you read Gone Girl yet? Everyone has been talking about it recently, so I wanted to see what the fuss was. I requested it from the library, and was no. 247 in the queue. I waited and waited, and finally got an email that it was waiting for me, but I was out of town, and didn't pick it up in time, and it was released! Ugh! I re-requested it, and was then no. 329 in the queue. Who says DC doesn't read?! Finally, it was there for me again, and I wasted no time in running over to the DC Public Library to pick it up. Now, I am about a third of the way into it, and so far, so good. 

What are you reading right now? Anything I should look for?

1 comment:

Shoshanah said...

I haven't read anything by Kate Morton, although I've heard good things about so, so she's definitely one I'd like to read eventually.

And I have read Gone Girl. It's definitely one that leaves an impression, and one I'd advise people to read sooner rather than later to avoid it being spoiled.