Saturday, July 2, 2022

Six Degrees of Separation – from Wintering to Love in a Cold Climate

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 Wintering by Katherine May, a memoir about surviving dark times and winter itself.  It's almost worth reading just for the cover!
First Degree

Winter has begun in the Southern Hemisphere where Kate is but it is summer in London where I spent the month of June and there have been several days in the 90s. Today I am heading for Cornwall with friends and I do not anticipate it will be extremely hot. However, it can be fun to contemplate cold weather on a hot day. 
Accordingly, my first link is In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming (2002), the first in one of my favorite mystery series. Clare Fergusson is the new Episcopalian minister in a small town in upstate New York. It is a cold, snowy December day when she finds an abandoned baby on the church steps and gets drawn into a murder investigation. If you haven’t tried this series, what are you waiting for? Back in 2006 when I was studying for the bar exam at night and trying to focus, I told my Barnes & Noble buyers not to tempt me with the galleys for any forthcoming books. The mystery buyer leaned out of his cubicle as I walked by, “Interested in the new Spencer-Fleming?” he teased and I snatched it from him.

Second Degree
Julia Spencer-Fleming’s books show how bonds are created in isolated settings and my second link is a historical novel set during WWI which describes how a sensitive young medical student and a dedicated nun work together in a field hospital they create in an isolated part of Eastern Europe. The Winter Soldier by Daniel Mason (2018) received enthusiastic reviews from the NYT and Washington Post.  I will admit I found it good but somewhat depressing.

Third Degree
Fans of Rosamunde Pilcher will enjoy books by Marcia Willett, and A Week in Winter (2001) was her first book set in Cornwall, a tearjerker about a family selling a beloved farmhouse.

Fourth Degree
Another bad thing about winter is getting snowbound with your former fiancé!  In Snowspelled by Stephanie Burgis (2017), Cassandra must attend a house party in the depths of winter where the danger is both from her ex and from ill-wishers in the falling snow.  My review.

Fifth Degree
Even when the snow stops it can still be very cold!  My next link is An Old, Cold Grave by Iona Whishaw (2017).  In the third book in the Lane Winslow series, it’s early spring in 1947 but as Lane is helping her neighbors sort through the jars of food that had been put up for the winter they find a body.

Sixth Degree
Love in a Cold Climate (1949) is the second of Nancy Mitford’s romantic comedies and may not be as well-known as The Pursuit of Love. The title refers to Polly Hampton who made her debut in India but has now returned to London where she hopes that the “cold climate” will result in less speculation about everyone’s love affairs – she is wrong! Somehow I missed the new miniseries based on these books and will have to find it somewhere to stream in August when I finish my degree and presumably have more time.

According to The Guardian, the royal family traditionally likes to play parlor games and Nancy Mitford's biographers Selina Hastings and Laura Thompson, tell a story about charades in 1949/50 in which Queen Mary "'kissed the King [George VI] & shivered & everybody guessed at once!!' The answer was, of course, Love in a Cold Climate, which started enchanting readers, royal and not, in 1949 and has never stopped."

Have you read any of these? Did you play #6Degrees this month? Next month, we’ll start on August 6, 2022, with The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Oseki.


Cathy Johnson said...

Oh dear, I LOVED The Winter Soldier although I admit it was harrowing in places.

Helen said...

I hope you enjoy visiting Cornwall. That's an interesting chain as usual, although I haven't read any of those books. The Winter Soldier sounds appealing, despite being depressing!

Davida Chazan (The Chocolate Lady) said...

That's a chilly chain! I don't know these books, but you did a lovely job here.

Mallika@ LiteraryPotpourri said...

Enjoyed your chain. The only one I've read is the Mitford which I enjoyed. Must look up the Spencer-Fleming books.

How nice that you've read law too (as have I, but in India)!

Cath said...

I've read two of these, In the Bleak Midwinter and the Marcia Willett is I think the one book I read by her.

Mary @ Notes in the Margin said...

And In the Bleak Midwinter has a great opening line (quoting from memory here, but it's something like "It was a hell of a night to throw away a baby.")

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I loved Wintering by Katherine May; it was just what I needed over the winter and a few difficult months.

CLM said...

Books set in winter are delightful to read in the summer when one is warm or perhaps in the winter when one is warm inside and have nowhere urgent to go.

The Winter Soldier was one of those books that consumes you while you are reading it. I felt bad because I interviewed a young man for Harvard right after I'd finished it and because he was Russian-American and premed, I did mention it. In his thank you note, he said he had ordered it and I suspect he thought that would get him admitted!