Saturday, September 30, 2023

The Good Ones by Polly Stewart, and the ways in which it annoyed me

Title: The Good Ones
Author: Polly Stewart
Publication: HarperCollins, hardcover, 2023
Genre: Suspense
Setting: Rural Virginia
Description: Lauren Ballard disappeared nearly 20 years ago, leaving a husband and six-month-old baby, after spending a carefree afternoon with Nicola Bennett. She was never found. Everyone who knew her was questioned and those close to her were traumatized by her loss. Now, Nicola’s mother has died and she returns to Tyndall County to go through her mother’s possessions and ask Lauren’s realtor husband Warren to sell the house she grew up in. Yet once Nicola is back in her hometown, she is so strongly reminded of her friend that she decides to stay and investigate her disappearance. Taking a temporary position at the high school both attended, Nicola begins to ask questions about Lauren, not realizing her obsessive curiosity could be very dangerous or that everyone in Tyndall kept secrets she never knew.

My Impression: The most surprising part of the book was when Warren’s grandmother (a Radcliffe alumna) leaves Nicola some children’s books in her will:
Mrs. Ballard had left me a bunch of old children’s books I’d never heard of: Betsy-Tacy, Elsie Dinsmore, plus a few Brontës and some paperback mysteries by Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers. The Betsy-Tacy books were all right, but Elsie Dinsmore was god-awful. I read ten pages and shoved the whole box in my closet.
The bequest had nothing to do with the plot but (a) maybe a little more time with Betsy-Tacy would have improved Nicola's personality and (b) I doubt Warren and Sean Ballard’s mother wanted her son to date her mother-in-law’s cleaning lady’s daughter, even if she was a reader!

There were so many things that bothered me about this book, beginning with the unlikable protagonist. The author says it “is not a story about a murder. It’s not the story of what happened to Lauren Ballard in the early-morning hours of August 10, 2001,” so I suppose you could say it is a story about a woman who had a love-hate relationship with a charismatic older girl whose disappearance left her with unresolved guilt.  Admittedly, I read until the end; I wanted to know how it would end.  What annoyed me was that there were so many inconsistencies, unanswered questions, and just plain illogical aspects of the plot, some of which I have outlined below:

Many Spoilers:

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Appointment with Death #ReadChristie23

Title: Appointment with Death
Author: Agatha Christie
Publication: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, hardcover, 1965 (originally published in 1937 or 1938)
Genre: Mystery
Setting: Petra (modern day Jordan)
Description: It all begins with the great Poirot closing a hotel window as he hears:
“You do see, don’t you, that she’s got to be killed?”

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Five Things

There are five things I want to share with you today:

A fun Georgette Heyer quiz was provided by Regency historical writer Anne Gracie. I was annoyed to get one wrong! Can you do better?

Georgette Heyer

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Codename Charming by Lucy Parker

Title: Codename Charming
Author: Lucy Parker
Publication: Avon Books, paperback, 2023
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Setting: Present-day London
Description: Battle Royal was the first book in Parker’s much anticipated Palace Insiders series in which Sylvie Fairchild and Dominic De Vere are rival pastry chefs competing to make the wedding cake for Britain’s Princess Rose. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

WWW Wednesday - September 20

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

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Monday, September 18, 2023

Tom Lake by Ann Patchett

Title: Tom Lake
Author: Ann Patchett
Publication: HarperCollins, hardcover, 2023
Genre: Fiction
Setting: Michigan
Description: During the pandemic, Lara’s adult children came home, as many did, and as her daughters help out with the family business, they ask her to tell them about her long-ago relationship with famous actor Peter Duke.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

Title: Number the Stars
Author: Lois Lowry
Publication: Houghton Mifflin paperback, originally published in 1989
Genre: Juvenile Historical Fiction
Setting: WWII Denmark

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

My August 2023 Reads

August was an excellent reading month, especially for historical fiction where I awarded five stars to The Marriage Portrait and Mrs. Porter Calling and greatly enjoyed two romances, A Lady’s Guide to Scandal and Romantic Comedy. I also revisited an eventing series – what’s eventing, you may well ask (see below). And the house diagonally behind me got hit by lightning Saturday, which caused a fire and apparently destroyed the internet and cable wiring for both streets. I am grateful we did not lose our power as happened elsewhere in the area but I hope Comcast will restore service soon!

Saturday, September 9, 2023

Silence in Court by Patricia Wentworth

Title: Silence in Court
Author: Patricia Wentworth
Publication: Hodder & Stoughton, hardcover, originally published in 1945
Genre: Mystery
Setting: WWII London
Description: For three years during the war, Carey Silence worked as a secretary for a Member of Parliament, until a train they were on was machine-gunned by enemy aircraft.

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Mrs. Porter Calling by A.J. Pearce - more about Emmy!

Title: Mrs. Porter Calling
Author: A.J. Pearce
Publication: Scribner, hardcover, 2023
Genre: Historical Fiction
Setting: WWII London
Description: Rejoice, the third book about Emmy Lake has arrived and while the dark days of WWII are still with us, there is an indomitable spirit at the Women's Friend magazine and at the house in Pimlico where she lives with her best friend.

Saturday, September 2, 2023

Six Degrees of Separation – from Wifedom to The Inn at Lake Devine

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 Wifedom: Mrs. Orwell’s Invisible Life by Anna Funder, which sounds interesting and was just published in the US last week:
Using newly discovered letters from Eileen to her best friend, Funder re-creates the Orwells' marriage, through the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War. Eileen O’Shaughnessy’s literary brilliance shaped Orwell’s work and her practical nous saved his life.