Tuesday, 17 August 2010

More summer reads

The Legacy by Katherine Webb, another TV bookclub Summer Read. To 'save' myself about 50p I picked this up in Sainsbury's while looking for a book to go with To Kill A Mockingbird, having lost my copy of the latter.  Just shows what a boon the supermarkets are to the writers they stock.  Anyway, The Legacy was indeed a good summer read.  The young author (see Newbury Times) posted her opening chapters on youwriteon.com and was taken up by Orion- see also the Bookseller
       This is a 'two sisters inherit large country house and uncover family secrets' novel - one secret in the early 1900s and one secret from the 1980s.  Both stories are good, especially the one about rich girl Caroline who marries at 18, moves from New York to be a farmer's wife in Oklahoma and cannot cope.  She does something dreadful and her unhappiness is passed down the generations. The modern-day narrator Erica is worried about her sister's depression and tries to find the cause.
      It's quite difficult to talk about this novel without spoiling the story, so I'll leave you to look up the blurbs, about the book and the writer.  I am sure Katherine Webb will go far.  She's only 33 - and writes in the evening and at weekends as she works full time as housekeeper for another family.  I thought the first page or two was somewhat overwritten but don't let that put you off.  Her writing is fine after that.  I see the book is in the bestseller charts now.

Just finished The Peacock Spring by Rumer Godden (1907-1998) who is becoming one of my favourite writers.  I don't remember reading her books much when young. This one is set in India and is a story of teenage love, reminiscent of her more famous novel The Greengage Summer.  She is a wonderfully evocative writer and I love the descriptions of Indian life, colours, sounds and smells - you feel you are there amongst it all.  Her characterisation of the Sahibs, princely Indians and servants, is brilliant too. Please do read it.
It's not clear when the novel is set, perhaps the 60s.  Una the heroine seems a mixture of naivety and sophistication - probably that's what happens to young girls in the heat. I believe this has been a set book for teenagers (brave idea) but maybe the nuances can be better appreciated by adults.
I blogged about Rumer Godden's autobiography where there are more links.  Thanks to Vintage Reads for inspiring me to buy some more of these pretty new paperbacks.


Talli Roland said...

I haven't heard of either of these writers - perhaps I need to get out now! Thanks, Susie. Happy Wednesday!

LindyLouMac said...

Maybe I should find time to re-read some Rumer Godden. Reading time seems so short sometimes at the moment. Thanks for reminding me how good her books are.

Debs said...

I have to admit that I've never read anything by Rumer Godden.

I love the sound of The Legacy and was contemplating buying this recently.

sablonneuse said...

The only book I've read of Rumer Godden's was Kizzy - a story for children. I read it with my class and we all enjoyed it.

Lane said...

There seems to be a spate of books about sisters this summer. I have The Legacy ready to read but I hadn't heard of Rumer Godden. I shall look out for her.

Susie Vereker said...

Thank you for your comments. Perhaps Rumer Godden isn't as well known as I thought, but she is a very good writer, imo. Her books don't seem to have dated much. I have always loved books set in India, though have only been there once. (I've now included her birth and death dates in the blog.)

Vintage Reading said...

Oh I'm so glad you enjoyed this. I think Godden writes so well. Never liked Una much, though! The rest of my Godden project is on hold because I can't get hold of her other titles in this series - out of print, I think.

I'm quite fond of picking up books in Sainsbury's too. I spotted a new Anne Tyler and a new edition of Curtis Sittenfeld's Prep the other day with a good discount. Very nice to put a paperback in your basket with your shopping!