Thursday, 11 October 2012

Queen Victoria's retreat and recent reads

Osborne House, Queen Victoria's holiday home on the Isle of Wight is well worth a visit.  A charming 'family palace' with a relatively cosy atmosphere and attractive gardens. More lovely pics on the English Heritage website.

Michaelmas daisies in my garden - they grow more or less wild.
 Not quite as tidy as Queen Victoria's garden, I admit.

Quick book list

I much enjoyed Ghastly Business by Louise Levine. However, be warned, the brilliantly funny black humour, including graphically described post mortems, might not appeal to everyone. 
1929. A girl is strangled in a London alley, the mangled corpse of a peeping Tom is found in a railway tunnel and the juicy details of the latest trunk murder are updated hourly in fresh editions of the evening papers. Into this insalubrious world steps Dora Strang, a doctor's daughter with an unmaidenly passion for anatomy. Denied her own medical career, she moves into lodgings and begins life as filing clerk to the country's pre-eminent pathologist, Alfred Kemble. Dora is thrilled by the grisly post-mortems and the headline-grabbing court cases and more fascinated still by the pathologist himself: an enigmatic war hero with bottle-green eyes and an air of sardonic glamour - the embodiment of all her girlish fantasies. But Dora's job holds more than a few surprises.’
The writer has a witty turn of phrase, but it’s quite a bleak novel in many parts - a scene with green blotting paper made me wince more than the autopsies, and the frivolous attitude to the death of another character jarred.  But I do recommend the novel, if you are not of a delicate turn of mind.

Missing Persons by Nicci Gerrard.
When Jonny went missing everything changed. His mother's heart is full of terror and sadness instead of joy. His father's study overflows with newspaper cuttings and profiles on missing people instead of the academic texts that were there before.
His sister, once carefree, now carries the weight of the world on her shoulders.
His bedroom at home remains untouched and ready for his return. A place is set for him at the table on Christmas day each year. His birthday is always celebrated; unopened gifts for him gather dust. The hands on the clock continue to move forwards and yet Jonny hasn't returned. Where is he?
A good read, more character based than the Nicci French thrillers that the author writes with her husband.  Felt annoyed with the entire family in the end.

The Love of my Life by Louise Douglas.  One couldn’t entirely sympathise with the femme fatale heroine, but this proved to be a good read too (well written, not as depressing as it sounds and a bargain on the Kindle at 89p)
Olivia and Luca Felicone had known each other nearly all their lives, but when they fell in love as teenagers and eloped to London, they broke the hearts of those closest to them.  When Luca is killed in a car accident Olivia abandons her job and returns North to where Luca has been buried in Watersford, just to be close to him – even though she knows she will not be welcomed by his family. Luca’s married twin brother, Marc, is experiencing a loss as painful as Olivia’s. Their desolation draws them into a dangerous affair.


Jean Bull said...

I'd love to go to Osborne House one day. There was a good programme about it a few weeks ago. It's on my list!

Anonymous said...

It is a lovely place to visit Suzie, lovely views of the Solent. Also, the one in Norfolk, Sandringham is nice as well. Great post, and will check out that book.