Tuesday, 27 March 2012
Otto plays croquet (plus reviews)
Just finished another book by Katharine McMahon, The Season of Light. Set in Paris and southern England during the time of the French Revolution, it's about a serious-minded young English girl in love with a French revolutionary lawyer. Unwisely she travels back
to Paris and puts herself in great danger. I feared from the first chapters that it was going to be a bodice ripper, but the opposite is true, it's a long, well-researched and informative novel about the period.
Elizabeth Buchan's Daughters proved a thought-provoking read. Like Joanna Trollope she examines modern family structures in an interesting way, but perhaps EB is gentler with the foibles of her characters. The three daughters were particularly well portrayed. As for the kindly mother/stepmother, JT would probably have told her to brace up. 'It is a truth universally acknowledged that all mothers want to see their daughters happily settled. But for Lara, mother to Maudie and stepmother to Jasmine and Eve, realising this ambition has not been easy. With an ex-husband lost to a mid-life crisis, and late blooming developments in her own love life to contend with, Lara has enough to worry about.... But when she begins to fear that Eve is marrying a man who will only make her unhappy, Lara faces the ultimate dilemma.'
(EB is amusing about the elaborate preparations for a modern formal wedding - read them and shudder just a little.)
The Somnambulist by Esse Fox is a Victorian Gothic novel, atmospheric, original and well researched. 'Some secrets are better left buried... When seventeen-year-old Phoebe Turner visits Wilton's Music Hall to watch her Aunt Cissy performing on stage, she risks the wrath of her mother Maud who marches with the Hallelujah Army, campaigning for all London theatres to close. While there, Phoebe is drawn to a stranger, the enigmatic Nathaniel Samuels, who heralds dramatic changes in the lives of all three women. When offered the position of companion to Nathaniel's reclusive wife, Phoebe leaves her life in London's East End for Dinwood Court in Herefordshire - a house that may well be haunted and which holds the darkest of truths... '
A TV Book Club choice. Click to hear Esse talking about her book.