It’s been a while since I’ve done a post like this, and mainly because while I want to read as much as I can it all comes down to time, and the amount available. And there hasn’t been much of that lately. But a slow week away in Italy last week provided some of that much needed time, and in that time I clocked up four books which is quite a few, even for me.
I’m the sort that once I get into a book it becomes all consuming and I’ll need to finish it and quite often I’m happy to forgo the routine of daily life, such as sleeping to make that happen, which is something else to be wary of in everyday life, or else I’m likely to re-enact the photo below at my desk.
What I like about books, as well as the stories and adventure without moving, is the emotions they evoke, and one of the books in this post had tears rolling down my cheeks…
1 The Sapphire Widow, Dinah Jefferies
I’m a fan of Dinah Jefferies’ writing so it’s no surprise that this was the book I started on. I’d read, and loved, The Tea Planter’s Wife previously, and I was hoping for something equally as gripping, and I wasn’t disappointed - I’m not sure I ever will be with one of Dinah’s books if I’m honest. The story is once again set in Ceylon, but 1935 for this book. It’s a story of love and betrayal, but don’t worry I’m not about to share if there’s a happy ending, or not.
Louisa, the central character is the daughter of a successful jewel trader, and that’s the sapphire connection. The story starts to gather pace and (even more) grip-ability when her husband dies unexpectedly. As with all the best stories, there’s a tricky path to navigate, but I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with this one, whether you’re a Dinah Jefferies fan already or not.
2 The Mersey Daughter, Annie Groves
My other go to genre for reading is females in a war time setting, and this book has plenty of that. There’s Kitty who joins the WRENS and leaving Liverpool to do so, there’s Rita who’s sent her children to a farm outside of Liverpool. Rita’s also a nurse and her husband has gone AWOL with his latest fancy woman. There’s her mother-in-law too who has a secret daughter, and there’s the warmth of an extended Liverpool family, and the bombs that rain down on the city.
This is the first Annie Groves book I’ve read, and I’d certainly read more, as there’s definitely the emotional pull in these stories, but this wasn’t the book that had tears rolling down my cheeks as I read, but it came close.
3 The Plus One, Sophia Money-Coutts
It was obvious from the start of this book that it was yet another genre, and one that would easily fit into the chick-lit category. I’ve seen one review online which describes it as jolly, and that’s fair I think. I enjoy a good, upbeat, happy story and this one was more likely to have me in tears of laughter, so this wasn’t the one that made me cry either, but it was a quick and energetic read.
Polly, the main character works for the society magazine Posh! as a trainee journalist, and there’s a feel of Bridget Jones-ness to this book, so if that’s not your thing, this isn’t likely to be either. It is mine, and the writing evokes vivid pictures which I’m sure I’d replicate if I was in the same situations in real life, and I’m thinking the country visits rather than the adult entertainment, before you ask.
4 A Moment of Grace, Patrick Dillon
So if none of the other three on this list made me cry, it must be this one. And it was. This book is beautifully written, and full of the emotion I mentioned before, there’s love, much love in fact, but also raw emotion as it tells the story of Nicola’s last thirteen months; the day of diagnosis when their life changed forever, though to the decision Patrick and their children made to let her go. It’s a story with fight and realism, and tears, mostly mine. There’s also hope, and particularly how Patrick wanted the house to be right for when Nicola returned, truth of an everyday and ordinary life, and how quickly that can change.
Patrick Dillon is an award-winning architect and writer, his wife of 28 years Nicola Thorold was Executive Producer at London’s Roundhouse and awarded an OBE for services to the arts. It’s a compelling read, and more so I think because these are real people and real lives.
And that’s not all, I’ve started a fifth book which unbelievably could be my first Marian Keyes book. I’m hoping that I’ll have some time this week to finish this one, and who knows maybe there’ll be more - I hope so, reading is definitely good for the soul.