Sunday, January 30, 2022

Two by Constance Savery

I have been reading a lot of Constance Savery for a project and her prolific body of work includes a wide variety of juvenile fiction, including a family story and historical novel featured here. While her work was informed by a strict moral code, as I observe below, sometimes her naughty characters are more fun before they are reformed!

Redhead at School (1951)
Charity loved her haphazard life in a Yorkshire rectory, doing lessons with the young men her father tutors.

Friday, January 28, 2022

"New" D.E. Stevensons from Furrowed Middlebrow

Scott at Furrowed Middlebrow published eleven “new” D. E. Stevenson books this month, some of which I had read from the library but a few I had never read at all, including the two below, which is very exciting. Each of these reprints includes an autobiographical essay from 1950 by Stevenson, originally created as promotional material for her novel Music in the Hills (which was also reprinted recently and is one of my favorites).

The Musgraves (1960)

The Musgraves are another DES family consisting of an attractive widow and three daughters, who have enough money for a servant or two but still need to be careful of expenses.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

WWW Wednesday – January 26, 2022

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
I just started The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe (2021). This is a young adult novel recommended by uber-high school librarian, Barb Fecteau, in which the daughter of a con artist is taken hostage in a bank heist.

Monday, January 24, 2022

Five Things

Why is it that when I am reading a book while using the weight machines at the gym I get dirty looks yet other people often stare at their phones much longer without moving?

Saturday, January 22, 2022

All Her Little Secrets, debut suspense by Wanda M. Morris

Title: All Her Little Secrets
Author: Wanda M. Morris
Publication: William Morrow, trade paperback, 2021
Genre: Suspense
Setting: Present-day Atlanta
Description: Ellie Littlejohn is one of the few black employees at Houghton Transportation and takes pride in her work as a corporate attorney. Yes, she is having an affair with her white, married boss but no one knows, do they?

Thursday, January 20, 2022

The Gilded Girl by Alyssa Colman, an alternate version of A Little Princess - with magic

Title: The Gilded Girl
Author: Alyssa Colman
Publication: Farrar Straus Giroux, hardcover, 2021
Genre: Middle-Grade Historical Fantasy
Setting: New York, 1905
Description: Emma Harris is brought to New York by her affluent architect father to attend an exclusive boarding school, Miss Posterity’s Academy for Practical Magic, which teaches well-born twelve-year-olds how to “kindle” or start channeling their magic skills as quasi-adults.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

On a Night Like This, a modern Cinderella story by Lindsey Kelk

Title: On a Night Like This
Author: Lindsey Kelk
Publication: Harper Collins, paperback, 2022 (published in 2021 in UK)
Genre: Fiction/Chick Lit
Setting: England and Italy
Description: Francesca Cooper is a temp without a current gig and has a fiancé who has lost interest in her. They have an arrangement that she won’t take out-of-town gigs lest he be tempted to cheat on her – ugh! Let's help her find someone better!

Sunday, January 16, 2022

China Trade, a mystery by Edgar-winner S.J. Rozan

Title: China Trade
Author: S. J. Rozan
Publication: St. Martin’s, hardcover, 1994
Genre: Mystery
Setting: New York
Description: Asian-American private investigator Lydia Chin knows Chinatown because she lives there. Despite her no-nonsense demeanor, she still lives at home with her mother, respecting tradition.

Friday, January 14, 2022

December 2021 Reads

This is a little late - I got distracted by choosing my end-of-year favorites.  The first two below were the books I liked best this month. December unexpectedly yielded lots of books about sisters, some missing, some suspenseful, and some just amusing.

The Fair Miss Fortune by D.E. Stevenson – This is one of Stevenson’s lesser-known titles, happily brought back into print in January 2022! It’s about Jane, who moves to a small town with her old nurse, planning to operate a tea shop, and all the adventures that happen to her instead.  Review to come.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

WWW Wednesday – January 12, 2022

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
I just began The Path to Power by Robert Caro, the first of his five (planned) volumes about Lyndon Johnson. Last week, my former-law-clerks book group discussed a New Yorker article by Caro about LBJ with our judge, which motivated me to begin Volume 1, purchased about ten years ago, at the recommendation of my father.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Her Secret War by Pam Lecky, historical fiction set in the Spitfire factory

Title: Her Secret War
Author: Pam Lecky
Publication: Avon, paperback, January 2022 (2021 in UK)
Genre: Historical Fiction
Setting: WWII Ireland and England
Description: After a painful scene breaking up with her boyfriend over his decision to go fly bombers for the RAF, Sarah returns home and that night her Dublin home is bombed by the Germans.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict & Victoria Christopher Murray

Title: The Personal Librarian
Author: Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray
Publication: Berkley, hardcover, 2021
Genre: Historical Fiction
Setting: Early 20th Century NYC and Europe
Description: In this historical novel based on a real person, Belle da Costa Greene, a young librarian at Princeton, is offered a job working for financier J.P. Morgan to curate the collection of the Pierpont Morgan Library.  She knows it is a dream come true, yet it is also a nightmare – because to get and keep the job, Belle must continue the pretense that she is a white woman, to protect not only herself but also her mother and siblings, all “passing” in Manhattan.

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Two from Essie

As the end of the year approached, I felt like some comfort reading and turned to Essie Summers (1912–1998) whose light fiction can easily transport her readers from wintery New England to exotic New Zealand settings far away. Summers’ 56 novels were translated into 25 languages and sold 19 million copies, but because she wrote for Mills & Boon/Harlequin she never achieved critical acclaim.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

The Appeal by Janice Hallett

Title: The Appeal
Author: Janice Hallett
Publication: Viper, paperback, 2021
Genre: Mystery
Setting: Present-day Britain
Description: Two law clerks, Femi and Charlotte, are working for a British appellate lawyer. His client has been arrested for murder and he gives these young women all the documents from the case, hoping that without any preconceptions they will help him find the evidence of a different killer in time for the appeal.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Six Degrees of Separation – from Civility to Murder

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 Rules of Civility by Amor Towles, published in 2011, exactly one hundred years after last month’s choice, Ethan Frome.  
I enjoyed this book when it first came out.  The author grew up nearby and our mothers were college classmates, although I have never met him.  An obvious comparison is The Great Gatsby so I will go in a less predictable direction.