My House in Umbria

906270by William Trevor

Mrs. Emily Delahunty–a mysterious and not entirely trustworthy former madam–quietly runs a pensione in the Italian countryside and writes romance novels while she muses on her checkered past. Then one day her world is changed forever as th train she is riding in is blown up by terrorists. Taken to a local hospital to recuperate, she befriends the other survivors–an elderly English general, an American child, and a German boy–and takes them all to convalesce at her villa, with unforeseen results.

I am never disappointed with a William Trevor novel. This is a lovely story. My copy is the HBO movie version so there is a picture on the front cover of Maggie Smith as Mrs. Delahunty. I would have preferred to not have that vision in my mind as I read. I’d have liked to visualize her from the words, but having said that, I did watch the movie on Youtube yesterday and Maggie Smith did a wonderful job of portraying her! On the other hand, Quinty was such an unlovely character in the book and Timothy Spall’s portrayal in the movie was so much nicer than the visual I got from reading. They changed a few thing up in the movie to be able to get the storyline in in a set period of time I believe and they changed the end completely. But it was very good. You can watch it by clicking the link above. I’d read the book first then the movie.

Back to the novel… I really liked Mrs. Delahunty. Would have loved to go to her house in Umbria and visited with her. She had an interesting life. Such a caring heart she had even though life had been hard to her. I enjoyed watching the relationships and healing taking place between the victims of the terrorist attack on her train. And surprised and saddened by the revelation at the end. A good book and a good movie!

Felicia’s Journey

277207by William Trevor

Felicia is unmarried, pregnant, and penniless. She steals away from a small Irish town and drifts through the industrial English Midlands, searching for the boyfriend who left her. Instead she meets up with Mr. Hilditch, who is looking for a new friend to join the five other girls in his Memory Lane. But strange, sad, terrifying tricks of chance unravel both his and Felicia’s delusions in a story that will magnetize fans of Alfred Hitchcock and Ruth Rendell even as it resonates with William Trevor’s own “impeccable strength and piercing profundity”

WOW! This is a mix, full of suspense, dread, fear. This story is really about the lies we tell ourselves. The delusions we need to make us feel comfortable. Kept me turning the pages for sure. But it is so sad. The last book I read by him was sad too. I like his writing and he keeps me very engaged, I just wish they weren’t so sad. But on the other hand, life doesn’t always turn out peachy keen so his writing is very realistic and I like that. I will definitely read more by William Trevor!

On to an Elizabeth Bowen book!

#begorrathon19  Reading Ireland Month @746 Books


A Couple Good Books

I haven’t had much reading time lately and only got two books read in the last month. But they were good ones!

The House on Tradd Street by Karen White

Practical-minded Realtor Melanie Middleton hates to admit – even to herself – that she can see ghosts. But she’s going to have to accept it, because an old man she met just days ago has died, leaving Melanie his historic Tradd Street home, complete with a housekeeper, a dog, and a family of ghosts anxious to tell her something…

Enter Jack Trenholm, a gorgeous writer obsessed with unsolved mysteries. He has reason to believe that some diamonds that went missing from the Confederate treasury a century ago are hidden in Melanie’s home. So he decides to charm the new tenant, only to discover that suddenly he is the smitten one.

But it turns out that Jack’s search has caught the attention of a possibly malevolent ghostly presence. Now Jack and Melanie need to unravel a mystery of passion, heartbreak, and even murder. And they must hurry…for an evil force – either dead or alive – lies in wait.

I don’t usually read ghost stories but the mystery aspect of this one interested me. I liked the setting too, Charleston SC. Both of my sons were born there! Ghost stories set in the south are usually pretty good, I have to admit. This one was really good, I hated for it to end and thought about it after I was finished. It looks like its a series so I think I’ll look for more of these. I did notice I have another Karen White on the shelf when I was rearranging to fit the new books in! Not with this character though.  You have a wonderful mysterious unsolved disappearance, years old, history, missing diamonds, romance and ghosts, not to mention a really cute dog named General Lee. Worth the read!

The Story of Lucy Gault by William Trevor

The Gault family leads a life of privilege in early 1920’s Ireland, but the threat of arson leads the parents of nine-year-old Lucy to abandon their country house. Lucy cannot bear the thought of leaving Lahardane, with its beautiful land and nearby beach, and a dog she has befriended. On the day before they are due to leave, she runs away, hoping to convince her parents to stay. Instead, she sets off a series of tragic misunderstandings that affects everyone at Lahardane and one of the perpetrators of the failed arson attack for the rest of their lives.

In this brilliant, subtle and moving story of love, guilt and forgiveness, William Trevor has written a novel that stands among the best in the English language.

Reading about William Trevor over at Cathy’s 746 Books I’ve wanted to read one of his desperately. I got this one through Paperbackswap. I LOVED it! It is so very sad though. A insightful look at how our actions and choices affect everyone around us and the healing power of forgiveness. I don’t want to tell you too much about it because I want the story to unfold for you as you read it and I highly recommend you read it! Thanks, Cathy, for bringing this author to my attention! I’ll be reading more.