The Guardian loved My Soul to Take by Yrsa Sigurdardottir; the reviewer says that Thora Gudmundsdottir is her favourite female slueth. Maybe the first book in this series was better; that is sometimes the case with second books, and the reviewer was still basking in that early warmth, because I couldn't take to Thora; as a person I found her underwhelming and super-irritating. The setting is a newly opened health resort on the Icelandic coastline, but I found it hard to imagine the setting clearly. Eurocrime reviewed this as...superbly plotted, Agatha Christie-style...Yes to the Christie structure because it is hard to create that archetypal plotline where 'everyone is under suspicion', but nil pois for the plotting, Yrsa. The architect of the resort’s renovations, Birna, is found dead on the nearby beach and meanwhile, the new owner is crying out that 'this house is haunted'. That sat uncomfortably with me. Why would Thora not even consider his protestations might be a poorly thought through defence from the man who is under suspicion for murder? Thora is an attorney by trade, but I could not believe her unprofessionalism. She uses the bunch of keys she is returning to their owner to get into Birna's room, searches and removes the murder victim's diary and does not tell the police she has this vital piece of evidence. I’d never let Sabbie Dare to that! (Well, not for too long, anyway…)As the clumpy clues built up, I lost patience entirely and threw the book down, so I never got to where her investigations...uncover some very disturbing occurrences at the frm decades earlier - things that never before have seen the light of day... Perhaps when I'm very bored, I'll finish this book but don't hold your breath; I found Thora extremely annoying.
A Perfectly Good Man, the second book I've read by Patrick Gale, is engrossing. The story examins events from various character viewpoints, moving around in time seemingly randomly to create a rich canvas. The characters are finely drawn, and the theme is deeply mined. I'm steadily becoming a fan of Patrick Gale's work and their fairly constant themes of Cornwall) dysfunctional families,and his continual theme of religion and Man's struggle within the confines of its boundaries of morality. The perfectly good man of the title is destined to fail - not precisely become a bad man, but indeed a flawed one. He did this in gloriously with horrendous consequences for him, his family and the wider community.
These two books, Imossible Saints and Fair Exchange, but the author of Daughter's of the House, Michelle Roberts I have just read back-to-back. They're very different to each other, but both demonstrate Rogers love of France and of the 19th century. The first looks at the lives of female saints, a subject that will sujest both suffering and rapture. Her theme is that ordinary women might deserve sainthood for seizing the sensory and spiritual world. She begin Fair an Author’s Note explaining that she had the idea of writing a novel about Mary Wollstonecraft and William Wordsworth’s love affair at the beginning of the French Revolution, with Annette Vallon. What she does, however, is introduce a fictional friends of Wordsworth’s; William Saygood and Jemima Boote. So from the start the reader knows that some of the events, places and people are fictional. Both are beautifully crafted books with lyrical descriptions, sometimes of mundane things. The twist end, keeps you reading.
18. A book that disappointed you
I'm pretty easy-to-please when it comes to fiction about The Trojan War. An author really has to get it wrong to piss me off (looking at you, David Gemmell, with your cheap and lazy iconoclasm) or make me want to DNF it out of sheer boredom.
Congratulations, Miss Miller.
With Gemmell, I adjusted expectations when I realized that his trilogy was ridiculous historical fantasy (despite being labeled as historical fiction). Miller's seemed more "as advertised" and it was some of the most excruciating Blah I've ever read. The ratings and raves? They lie.
If I wanted to read schmoopy vanilla slash told in elementary prose, I can get it by the buttload on the internet for free.
A somewhat strong start, I'll admit, but maudlin, stale dreck for the rest of it. I finished it - barely - with a feeling of being severely underwhelmed.
I asked for books in my stocking this year. And I recieved Mark Haddon's latest book, which I'll be starting soon and a pile of crime thrillers, which made me jump up and down.
I'm going to review them one by one as I read them, but for now, I'll be spending time reviewing all the books I read in 2014; which are a pretty disparate lot.
I'm still in love with female American writers, including Barabara Kingsolver, Sue Grafon, LIonel Shriver, and Madeline Miller. But I'm going to stretch me reading this year; it's my new year resolution.