Saturday, August 7, 2021

Six Degrees of Separation – Postcards from the Edge to The Marsh King’s Daughter

It’s time for #6degrees, inspired by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. We all start at the same place, add six books, and see where we end up. This month’s starting point is Postcards from the Edge by Carrie Fisher (1987). Drugs and Hollywood are not my thing so I never read this bestselling, semi-autobiographical novel, although the heroine’s coping with her drug addiction is supposed to be funny.

First Degree
I did read Silent City (2015) by another Carrie, a debut mystery by Carrie Smith about an NYC detective who has recovered from cancer and is trying to prove to her colleagues that she is still capable of doing the job. My review.

Second Degree
Thinking about books with “city” in the title reminded me of The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller (2016), who lives near me. It begins in my hometown of Boston with a cook whose flambéed dessert accidentally enflames the whole building. She retreats to Vermont to restore her career and self-confidence. My review.
Third Degree
There are a surprising number of books called The Baker’s Daughter (I guess because of the game Happy Families which I have read about but never encountered - the UK title seems to have been Miss Bun the Baker's Daughter) but the one that came to mind is by old favorite D.E. Stevenson (1938). It’s not one of her best because it is poignant rather than full of her usual humor. Heroine Sue Pringle, the unsophisticated daughter of the local baker, gets a job as housekeeper for a self-absorbed, married artist, initially to escape her harsh and domineering father but soon she is enthralled by her employer.

Fourth Degree
Another daughter with a difficult father is the heroine of Daughters of Erietown by Connie Schultz (2020). This is a story about working-class families in 20th century Ohio and their resilience. My review.

Fifth Degree
Clearly, I read a lot of books about daughters and this one was particularly good - a variation on the arranged marriage trope. The King’s Daughter by Suzanne Martel (1974) is a vivid historical novel set in 17th century Quebec about an adventurous orphan sent from France to the New World. Instead of the handsome stranger she dreams of marrying, Jeanne has to take on a dour trapper with children but she learns to embrace her new life. My review.

Sixth Degree
My final daughter is The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne (2017). This was a gripping read for people who liked Where the Crawdads Sing, full of gritty outdoorsiness. Helena was raised off the grid after her father abducted her mother. Eventually, she chose a more conventional life but when her father escapes from prison she believes she is the only person who can find him.  There is a movie coming soon.

So this month I traveled from Hollywood to New York and New England to Scotland to Ohio to Quebec and wound up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, a place I would like to visit (for the hockey and the scenery) - lots of desperation at both ends. It’s really rare for this Anglophile to have just one book from the UK – I almost feel like replacing my third link but that would be cheating!

Have you read any of these? Did you play #6Degrees this month? You should!

Next month (September 4, 2021), Kate says we’ll start with 2021 Booker Prize nominee, Second Place by Rachel Cusk.


Helen said...

When I saw your post title I thought The Marsh King's Daughter was going to be the Elizabeth Chadwick book, which I have on my TBR! I haven't read any of the books in your chain but The King's Daughter sounds good.

CLM said...

You would definitely like The King's Daughter, Helen, because it is well researched historical fiction with humor and realism. I had forgotten until I looked it up that it was translated from French. I thought about that Elizabeth Chadwick when I first read the book with the same title. Oddly, although I have 10-11 of her books, that is not one of them and I can't remember if I have read it or not. I should read some of the ones on my TBR because I do admire her work.

Lex @ Lexlingua said...

Do you have any favorites from Stevenson's work? I want to start off with her books, but want to avoid series-based books. I'm afraid I'm not up for much reading these days! And I really feel sorry for the heroine in City Baker’s Guide to Country Living -- an inadvertent accident snowballing into something terrible? Sheesh, I can see why she would need a confidence break, I hope the book delivers on that!

Elza Reads said...

I love how your theme links up with the Daughter theme. Nicely done!

I was sorting out books a couple of weeks ago and discovered a whole pile of my aunt's DE Stevenson's books. I haven't read any of them, but will take a look at them when we unpack the books again. They must obviously be good for my aunt to have kept so many of them.

Thanks so much for visiting our blog earlier on, I hope you will have a good week ahead!

Elza Reads

Melinda Tognini said...

I have not read any of the books in your chain, but I think I'll check out a few of your reviews about them. Some of them sound very interesting!