Wednesday, August 10, 2022

My July 2022 Reads

My favorite July book was the audio of a book I had read when it first came out, The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher.  It was expertly narrated by Hayley Atwell and entertained me on my way back and forth to work for several weeks.

Historical Fiction

A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting by Sophie Irwin (2022).  Fans of regency fiction will enjoy this novel about the eldest of five determined to secure a rich husband so she can provide for her sisters.  It’s not Georgette Heyer or Jane Aiken Hodge but I found it entertaining although was bothered by the fact that Kitty manages to buy a lavish wardrobe for herself and a sister on £10!


Omens (2013), Visions (2014), and Deceptions (2015) by Kelley Armstrong.  When Olivia Taylor Jones finds out that her birth parents were serial killers, she loses her home, fiancĂ©, and peace of mind.  Worst of all, she starts having paranormal experiences as she tries to learn more about her parents and their motives for killing.  I bought the second book in London, so had to go back to the beginning of the series . . . I really don't care for paranormal novels but I did want to know what happened.  When I realized there were more than three books, I decided to take a break.

The Hunter by Tom Wood (2010).  Victor is a paid assassin who learns his employers want him dead, although he does not know why.  He has to use all his skill to escape his pursuers, and while it was entertaining, the author killed off the character who had the potential to prevent Victor from simply being a killing machine.  Thanks to Peter Russell for this recommendation.

The Madness of Crowds by Louise Penny (2021).  In this 17th Gamache book, the plot begins with a controversial academic proposal presented at a university near Three Pines (who knew there was one), then followed by murder.  I had been saving this for a special occasion but it was not one of Penny’s strongest books although I agree with her that the power of ignorant groups is a problem. 


Summer at Shell Cottage by Lucy Diamond (2015).  When Olivia’s husband dies suddenly, she finds he was hiding a second family so has to cope not only with loss but betrayal.  This is one of the books I bought in London for 20 pence.

The Cornish House by Liz Fenwick (2012) (reread).  When Maddie inherits a house in Cornwall shortly after the death of her husband, she hopes it will mean a fresh start for her and her angry stepdaughter, but is not expecting to learn the secrets of her birth.  Spoiler: I was disturbed by the bizarre request of Maddie’s dying husband.

The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher (1987) (audio/reread).  I had not reread this since it came out but I knew it was a multigenerational saga about an artist’s daughter who grew up in London and Cornwall.  I remembered disliking her children, all very selfish and smug, but the book was even better than I recalled!  I went on to read every book she wrote in the late 80s and 90s.  My review.

Christmas Under the Stars by Karen Swan (2017) – Set in the Canadian Rockies, this is another book that would have benefitted from a North American editor to remove the Britishisms.  While Meg is recovering from loss, she connects to an astronaut using a ham radio and this friendship helps her heal.  This is another of the books I bought for 20 pence.  It sounds and felt like a Hallmark movie but was an undemanding airplane book.  Ever since my disastrous flight with The Deptford Trilogy with Robertson Davies (magical realism, if I recall correctly), I have tried to have multiple options to read in case I hate or finish the first one.

City of Friends by Joanna Trollope (2017).  Stacey, Beth, Melissa, and Gaby may have been best friends from university through many crises of their adult working lives but I found their midlife crises tedious and their partners annoying.   A pity because I usually like her books.


When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller (2021).  In this Newbery Award-winning book, Lily and her older sister Sam move to Washington with their mother to care for their Korean grandmother who is very ill.  My review.


Debating Darcy by Sayantani DasGupta (2022).  This is a YA retelling of Pride and Prejudice with a New Jersey debate competition setting; I can see the challenge of making the Elizabeth character feisty without making her obnoxious or annoying but, overall, I liked this.

Flambards (1967) and The Edge of the Cloud (1969) by K.M. Peyton.  Orphaned Christina Parsons is sent to live with her uncle and his two sons at Flambards where the horses are treated better than the people.  This was a reread for the Greater NY Betsy-Tacy Group.  My review.


From Spare Oom to War Drobe: Travels in Narnia with My Nine-Year-Old Self by Katherine Langrish (2021.  The author’s examination of the seven Narnia books includes recaps as well as her analysis of Lewis’ literary allusions.  My review.


Buried In Print said...

What a varied reading month, something for every mood! I listened to The Shell Seekers (and read from the original paperback, when I wasn't in a situation which required listening) last year and really enjoyed it. More substance there than I had expected and the dislikeable characters felt fully realised.

Lark said...

Looks like you read a lot of really good books in July!

TracyK said...

You always read so many books each month, and so much variety.

The only book here I am especially interested in is The Shell Seekers. And then of course someday The Madness of Crowds by Penny, but I have a few others in the series to read first.

Funny that you mentioned The Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies because I am just now reading the first book in the trilogy, Fifth Business, and loving it. I am about halfway into it and haven't met any magical realism yet, but I did go read some reviews for the entire trilogy, and see that there are elements of that mentioned. However, I don't like to know about the story so did not read much. I had only planned to read the first book but it sounds like I will need to read all three and that will put a spanner in my reading plans.

CLM said...

I don't remember specifically why I disliked The Deptford Trilogy so much (it was about 30 years ago) so maybe it wasn't magical realism. But it must have made a huge impression because I never to this day travel with only one book! Too dangerous. Of course, these days I always have my iPad or laptop with me which was not an option on that plane trip.

Claire (The Captive Reader) said...

A Lady's Guide to Fortune Hunting was one of my July highlights. I never expect much from modern Regencies so was delighted to find it so well done - great characters without being over the top, reasonable understanding of the period and recognition of when behaviour was unconventional, and well plotted to cap it all off. Looking forward to seeing what Irwin does next!

Cath said...

I had no idea Peter had even read that book. LOL I liked Christmas Under the Stars but when I found that 'Christmas' was only in the last few pages I realised the ruses publishers use to make us buy their books. Not that I paid full price as it was a cheap charity shop buy. For some reason I just don't seem to be able to get on with Kelley Armstrong's books. I've tried, oh how I've tried.

Hope all is well with you. Peter's now doing much better, just lacking in stamina still.

LyzzyBee said...

What a lovely selection! I do well with mid-century novels or a bit of light travel writing when flying.

CLM said...

Cath, Peter recommended it when I told him how much I had enjoyed Orphan X. I suspect if he is reading ebooks you are less likely to know what he is reading because you don't see the books lying around.

Liz, the trick is not to pick anything too short on transatlantic flights. That is the best argument for ebooks.