Books Read In October

I'm cheating because I started this in September!

Five Empresses by Anisimov

This was heavy at times, but the author has a very disarming and descriptive way of writing so it's worth persevering! He intertwines personal opinions or anecdotes in a very Russian way. He writes that Catherine the Great was a 'graphomaniac', for example, and how wonderful and exciting it is to feel that creative flow when one can't stop writing!

The stories of the empresses are interesting and I liked reading about the magnificence of life at court. I didn't realise that Peter the Great chose a simple peasant girl to become his empress. Her Cinderella life was even more of a fairy tale than our Princess Mary's!

Christmas Lessons by Janine Boissard

This was a delicately written book about the strength of a French family which has to deal with the consequences of a nasty incident on the Paris Metro and a young daughter's pregnancy and several other events. Pauline, the heroine, becomes more self-aware and self-possessed as she copes with unrequited love.

I didn't like this one as much as A Matter of Feeling, the first one in this series about the four daughters of a French family, which has been compared with Little Women. I did think that even though it was written in the seventies it was very modern because it dealt with issues such as disaffected youth and homelessness. I intend to read all of the novels in the series.

The Silent Pool by Patricia Wentworth

My husband thought that this began badly and that it wasn't well-written. He wouldn't even read it! It did have an odd beginning because the actress who came to request Miss Silver's help pretended to be someone else. I couldn't see much reason for this. However, it was light holiday reading with a detective a little bit like Miss Marple, a love story and a few complicated murders.

Bad Faith by Jane Smiley

This won awards but I found Smiley's style rather abrupt so I probably wouldn't have read it if I hadn't been on holidays. I liked the hero, Joey, a 'green' real estate agent who gets involved with a fast-talking developer and a married woman.

Gold speculation, selling off loans, and an excess of money are some of the subjects in this book which was set in the 1980's. That's right - THE 1980's. Some of us have been down this road before!

It was rather technical so I don't know if I'll read more of Smiley's books.


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