December by Elizabeth H Winthrop was well written, good gentle descriptions of daily life, with occasional insights, but very little happened. The characters didn't seem quite strong enough to compensate for the minimal plot, as far as I was concerned. Am surprised it was an R&J choice, as I'd have thought it would have more appeal in America. (By the way, some reviewers compared this book to an Anne Tyler, but, imo, AT has humour, more action, plus wonderful characterisation.)
The Harmony Silk Factory, by Tash Aw, set in Malaya before WW2, started off in a most promising manner. I much enjoyed the first narrator, Jasper, a Chinese-Malaysian, who tells us how wicked his ambitious double-dealing father was, but then we hear a different view narrated by his fey upper-class Chinese mother who tells us about a long drawn-out and unlikely journey, and then a similarly fey Englishman takes up the theme. Interesting at first but somehow I became rather sleepy towards the end which isn't a good sign.
Don't read this para if you are likely to receive a Christmas present from me. Thing is, I feel rather guilty having ordered a massive hardback of The Girl who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, so guilty that I haven't opened it yet. Perhaps I ought to give it to somebody for Xmas.
I've cheated and posted pix from this time last year. Very similar view today - if it hadn't been raining - except there are a few blue secondary flowers on the ceanothus and more leaves on the large beech tree still. The pink nerines are just gorgeous again.