Monday, 18 April 2011

Kathy Reichs - Mortal Remains

I have been a big fan of Kathy Reichs over the years. I like her faced paced style , the level of science she includes and the story arc of her family and relationships. ( See Christopher Fowler you taught me a new term!)

However although I enjoyed this new book and speedily read it over a weekend, I get the feeling it is rather thin. It a bit like Donna Leon, their books are getting smaller. I used to rush to buy them in hardback but now I am not convinced they are value for money, thank goodness for the library!

But all said and done, I would still recommend this as a read, I just love the clever twists.

I also love the TV series Bones but they bear absolutely no relation to the books. Tempe is a completely different person!

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Daisy Goodwin - My Last Duchess

Here is another novel partially based in Dorset. This book was selected for The TV Book Club 2011. I have to say having watched the programme they were rather sniffy over this book, but my advice is ignore this media snobbery and indulge in this book. I loved it! This book is a rights of passage novel for women. It is 1894 and young wealthy American Cora Cash comes to England to marry a title, shoved by her ambitious mother. There she enters a world of duplicity and rules that she does not understand. Yes, it is fundamentally a romance but there is so much more in this. It would make an interesting book group title, the contrast between the two worlds, the aristocrats of the US have money in the UK they have breeding. Cora's maid is black. In the Us she has restrictions imposed on her, in England there is no prejudice and she can openly have a relationship with a white manservant. She has a freedom within the constraints of her class that she could only dream about in the US. This would also make an excellent holiday read, ( four days off at Easter!) easy to read and carries you along at a great pace.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Natasha Solomons - Mr Rosenblum's List

65 people attended a wonderful evening of cakes and refreshments with Natasha Solomons at Westbourne Library. It was a fascinating insight into her writing and world. How she researches her novels and how she draws upon her own family history and of course her love of Dorset. We were mesmerised for over an hour and a lively question and answer session ensued. We were also treated to an advanced reading from her new book out in May.
This is a fabulous book, it hits the spot on so many levels. it is wonderful to read a book full of humour and yet so multi-layered. Mr Rosenblum, a German Jew arrives in England with his wife in 1937. He is given a tract by the Jewish Refugee Association on how to get on in his new homeland. He takes this list and adds to it determined to become the perfect English gentleman. He flourishes through hard work and a successful carpet company in the East End. The only thing that eludes him is membership of a Golf Club. Remember this is the 50s and no club will have him. So he packs up and moves to Dorset buying enough land to set up his own golf course what follows is just brilliant and I will not spoil it, other than to say when you are in Dorset do look out for the woolly pig!

Her second novel, The Novel In the Viola is out on 12th may a review will follow!

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Deborah Harkness - A Discovery of witches

This is a great book. It is witches and vampires etc for grown ups. It is well written, well researched, adult, esoterically clever and I liked especially the science angle. The best thing for a librarian is that the book starts in the Bodleian Library and we have lots of action there. Our heroine is an American history professor based at Oxford University. She is descended from a long line of witches but has turned her back on this. She is an expert on the science of Alchemy. However, her heritage catches up with her when she manages to access a long hidden alchemical work in the Bodleian. Through doing so she attracts all sorts of interest from the supernaturals living around us, witches, daemons and of course vampires. She meets and falls in love with Matthew Clairmont a charismatic vampire old in years, ( he was at the crusades!) with a keen intellect, a love of yoga, and of course absolutely gorgeous. He is a professor of genetics and hopes to unlock the gene that creates the supernaturals. Togther they begin to attempt to decode the treatise she has found and Diane discovers that supernaturals do not mix and certainly do not fall in love.......... Loved the book, cannot wait for the sequel!