I never know how to begin writing these monthly posts, so without further ado I’ll just go straight into my summary of September’s reading.
I started the month with the new Philippa Gregory book, The Kingmaker’s Daughter, fourth in her Cousins’ War series, telling the story of the Wars of the Roses through the eyes of some of the important female figures from the period. This one is narrated by Anne Neville, daughter of the Earl of Warwick and wife of Richard III. Not my favourite book in the series, but still one that I enjoyed reading.
I was already familiar with Anne Neville’s story before reading The Kingmaker’s Daughter, but I also read two books in September that introduced me to some historical figures I knew little or nothing about. In The Conductor by Sarah Quigley I met the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich and learned about the circumstances that surrounded the composition of his Leningrad Symphony. And in Melanie Benjamin’s The Autobiography of Mrs Tom Thumb I found out what life was like for Mercy Lavinia Warren Bump, who measured only two feet eight inches tall.
I also read three books for R.I.P. VII. The first was The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. I haven’t had time to write about the other two yet: The Quarry by Johan Theorin and The Seance by John Harwood. The Seance, which felt like a Victorian sensation novel, was a book I had expected to enjoy and I did, though I didn’t like it quite as much as John Harwood’s other book, The Ghost Writer. The Quarry is the third in a planned quartet of crime novels set on the Swedish island of Oland, but although I loved the first two in the series, this one was a slight disappointment – I’ll explain why when I post my review.
Back to historical fiction, and another book I still need to post my thoughts on is Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. I started reading it in August as part of a readalong, but fell behind with the schedule after the first couple of weeks. I did still manage to finish it before the end of September and was very impressed. I can see exactly why it has been so successful. Finally, anyone who has been following my blog for a while will know that I’m currently working my way through Dorothy Dunnett’s House of Niccolo series. Yesterday I finished the fourth in the series, Scales of Gold, and although I did enjoy the previous three, this one was the best so far for many reasons, not least the wonderful Timbuktu setting and the shocking cliffhanger ending!
Newly acquired books
The Unicorn Hunt by Dorothy Dunnett
The English Monster by Lloyd Shepherd
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
The Queen’s Promise by Lyn Andrews
Apart from the top one, which I bought myself so I can continue with the House of Niccolo, the other three are review copies.
Clarissa Group Read
I haven’t posted any updates on my progress with the group read of Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa since March, but I am still reading it and am finally beginning to catch up after coming close to abandoning it earlier in the year. I’m reading the Kindle version which is in nine volumes and have just started volume seven, so I think I will probably be able to finish it before the end of December as scheduled.
I hope you all had a good September and enjoy your reading in October!