After a bumper reading month in September, when I read 12 books, it was back to normal in October with a total of 8 books read and 1 still in progress. It has been a mixed month, some books were disappointing for a variety of reasons, whilst others surprised me by how much I enjoyed them when I wasn’t sure I would.
The month began slowly and the first book,The Devil’s Promise by David Stuart Davies, a Sherlock Holmes sequel, was a bit disappointing as it began well but later became repetitive as the dead body disappeared and reappeared. It was a bit too predictable.
The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens was my next book – a Classics Club Spin choice and one off my to-be-read shelves. This was much better than I thought it would be and was very entertaining, full of fantastic characters and wonderful scenes.
Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton, didn’t quite match up to her earlier books for me. It was a combination of the use of the present tense and the way the plot descended into more of a farce by the end that meant it didn’t really appeal to me.
But the next book was a complete change and I loved House of Shadows by Nicola Cornick. It has three storylines set in three different time periods. There is so much I loved in this book – the history, all the storylines, the characters, and the settings against the backdrop of years from the 16th to the 21st centuries. It has mystery, elements of the supernatural as well as being a love story.
With Blue Mercy by Orna Ross I was back to being disappointed, despite its lovely setting in Ireland and California. It’s a book about family relationships, the plot being secondary to the characters and the various themes running through the book. I enjoyed some of it, thought some parts were OK and didn’t like other parts, but I didn’t find it compelling or enthralling reading.
And my disappointment continued with the next book I read –The Church of Dead Girls by Stephen Dobyns about the disappearance and murders of three young teenage girls. It’s far too detailed and drawn out. I had trouble with the narrator, wondering how he could possibly know all the detail of what other characters were thinking and doing.
The final two books were much more to my liking and I shall write separate posts about them. They are:
The Monocled Mutineer by John Fairley & William Allison, a revised edition of the 1978 book that was the basis of the TV series of the same name, broadcast in 1986, starring Paul McGann as Percy Topliss.
The Queen of the Tambourine by Jane Gardam, which I thoroughly enjoyed, narrated by Eliza Peabody writing letters to her neighbour, Joan who it seems has disappeared from her home. It’s an intriguing novel, at times funny and at others tragic.
My book of the month is House of Shadows by Nicola Cornick