Recent Reading

I haven’t been very good at doing book reports on what I’m reading! Eight books from last year and four so far this year. You can check the Books Read tab if your interested in seeing what I read and didn’t post about last year. One worth mentioning is…

The Homestead by Rosina Lippi
Each life has its place, and every variation ripples the surface of the tiny alpine village called Rosenau. Be it a mysteriously misaddressed love letter or a girl’s careless delivery of two helpless relatives into Nazi hands, the town’s balance is ever tested, and ever tender. Here is a novel spanning eighty years — years that bring factories and wars, store-bought cheese and city-trained teachers — weaving the fates of the wives, mothers, and daughters in this remote corner of Austria. To quote Rosellen Brown, “the women in this haunting book are deeply and uniquely of their place, yet they speak (often wordlessly) of women’s longings and satisfactions everywhere.”

I really liked this one. It was quite different. Written in individual chapters for each woman with each linked to their village life and each other. From 1909-1977 in Austria. Through WWI and WWII. Pretty much read this in one sitting because it was hard to put down.

I started on the Elly Griffiths Ruth Galloway series last year too. Got the first two books read. I enjoyed those and will continue the series.

So far this year I’ve read these…

The Other Side of the Bay by Sean Dietrich is my favorite so far…

Small towns have a way of burying things, and small-town people have a way of keeping things that way.

With reminiscence and narration, a local sheriff must comb through his own humid world to unravel the truth behind the death of a local boy. But it’s not as easy as it seems, because no one is talking.

The Other Side of the Bay is a remarkable portrait of the unique people in the Panhandle of Florida. The story weaves itself into the tall longleaf forests, and along the crests of the uneasy bay, telling a tale of the human spirit. This is a novel of how things aren’t always as black and white as they ought to be, and how right and wrong aren’t always easy to tell apart.

It’s an evocative tale that delivers its reader to the apricot sun rises and sepulchral storm clouds of their own bittersweet memories.

I adore Sean Dietrich‘s oral storytelling and follow his blog, Facebook and Instagram. He does a radio show/podcast similar to Prairie Home Companion only his is Sean of the South, set in the south. I posted about it earlier. I got three of his books. This one is a bit of a mystery. I couldn’t put it down. Reading it was like him sitting across the room telling me a tale. Check him out, I think you’ll like him.

The Footsteps at the Lock by Ronald Knox written in 1928, was one I never in a million years thought I would find! I put it on my wishlist on paperbackswap knowing it would never turn up on there and low and behold it did and I grabbed it up! Ronald Knox was a Catholic Priest and the brother of Winifred Peck. He is well known in the Golden Age of Detective Fiction. My book is a 1983 Dover Book.

Urbane mystery, set in the pastoral reaches of the upper Thames, concerns the disappearance of young heir to a fortune. Insurance company investigator Miles Bredon takes on the case. Delightfully tongue-in-cheek tone, baffling clues, challenging mystery counterpointed by poetic evocation of the river and countryside. Fine novel by author of 10 celebrated “commandments” for writing detective fiction.

Slow starting and hard for me to get interested in. It is plot driven vs character, not my favorite. The plot was fairly complex and Knox’s writing was more ‘formal’ than I’m use too. I stuck with it though and ended up enjoying it. Lovely descriptions of the countryside along the Thames and witty banter between characters.

The Devil By the Sea by Nina Bawden a Virago Modern Classics #433.

“The first time the children saw the Devil, he was sitting next to them in the second row of deck chairs in the bandstand. He was biting his nails.” So begins the horrifying story of a madman loose in a small seaside town—his prey the very young and the very old. Seen through the eyes of Hilary, a precocious, highly imaginative, and lonely child, it is a chilling story about the perceptiveness of children, the blindness of parents, and the allure of strangers. As the adults carry on with their own grown-up antics, Hilary is led further and further into the twilight world of one man’s terrifyingly distorted view of normal life. But will she have the sense to resist it?

This was a chilling story! Not one likable character, but Ms. Bawden wrote them magnificently! The suspense kept me turning the pages. A very good read! Can’t wait to read more by her. Have you read any? Which would you recommend?

I’m 3/4 of the way through The Crow Trap by Ann Cleeves now. The first in the Vera Stanhope Series. Cleeves is a guaranteed good read! I have to say that I much prefer the Vera of the TV series to the one of the book though. Brenda Blethyn makes her a much more likable character. I’m working my way through all 9 series on Acorn and Britbox!

10 thoughts on “Recent Reading

  1. I agree, Peggy, Ann Cleeves is a guaranteed good read. I have loved the Vera books that I have read (three of them) but I have had a hard time describing what I like about them when I am done.


  2. The Homestead sounds like my sort of thing so will check that out. I’m wondering about The Devil By the Sea too… sounds interesting. Ruth Galloway is one of my favourite series, you have some bookish treats to come.


  3. Sounds like you’ve had some good reading, Peggy. And don’t worry about not writing your ‘reports’. I’ve decided that this year I won’t necessarily write about each and every book. Glad you are enjoying the Ruth Galloway books. I love that series. And Ann Cleeves – I read all the Vera books last year – all that are available. Loved them, but Vera is definitely a character. I have not watched all the TV episodes yet. In fact, I think I’ve only watched two of them. One day. I have watched 3 seasons of the Shetland TV adaptation. But, I haven’t read the books. Ah well. One day I’ll get them all done. Ann Cleeves says she has completed the Shetland books. Not sure about the Vera series – maybe more? Hope so. Have a good weekend!


    • Shetland TV series is one of my favorites, Kay! I’m reading those books too. The books are a little different than the shows so that’s a good thing. I haven’t heard anything about the Vera series, if she will write more or not. I have a couple other books of hers that she wrote before Vera and all the fame from that. Their good too!


  4. It’s nice to read your reviews. I thought you had given up reading! I love the Ruth Galloway series, too. I haven’t gotten into the Ann Cleeves books. I think I have read one, maybe two.


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