It’s been such a long time since I last posted an end-of-month reading summary! I didn’t bother with them last year or the year before, but now I’ve decided that I miss having a place to reflect on what I’ve read, am reading and am about to read.
January has been a good month for me in terms of number of books read, as the cold weather and dark nights mean more time spent inside reading. At a quick glance, my month has been dominated by historical fiction (I’ve made a great start to the Historical Fiction challenge) but the books I’ve read within that genre have been quite diverse. Two of them were for my Reading the Walter Scott Prize project, coincidentally both by Andrews. Andrew Greig’s Fair Helen was a beautifully written novel set in Scotland and based on a Border Ballad, while Andrew Miller’s Pure was the story of the destruction of a Parisian cemetery in the 18th century.
I also read The King’s Curse by Philippa Gregory which I found to be one of the best of her Cousins’ War series. It’s actually more of a Tudor novel than a ‘cousins’ war’ one, but that’s fine as it got me into the mood for the BBC’s excellent new adaptation of Wolf Hall. Has anyone else been watching it? What do you think?
Going back to the early days of the cousins’ war, or Wars of the Roses as we more commonly call it these days, I read Red Rose, White Rose by Joanna Hickson. I’d been hesitant about reading it as I wasn’t particularly impressed by her earlier novel, The Agincourt Bride, but I was pleasantly surprised by how good this one was.
I was pleased to finally read two books I’ve been meaning to read for years: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber. I loved the latter but was slightly disappointed with the former – the story was great but I didn’t like the writing style.
I read two books from my Classics Club list in January as well. The first was Bellarion by Rafael Sabatini, which I enjoyed – not surprisingly, as Sabatini is quickly becoming a favourite author. The other was one of the Charles Dickens novels on my list, David Copperfield. I’ve just finished, so my thoughts will be coming soon.
After reading Kate Atkinson’s Case Histories just before the New Year, I couldn’t wait to read the next in the series, so went straight on to One Good Turn. I loved it and am looking forward to reading the rest of the Jackson Brodie series. I also read The Glassblower of Murano by Marina Fiorato, a dual timeline novel set in Venice. And I reviewed Mercedes Rochelle’s Shakespeare-inspired Heir to a Prophecy for Issue 4 of Shiny New Books.
I’ve been making an effort to write about every book I read within a few days of finishing, but I haven’t quite managed it. As well as David Copperfield, there are a few others that I finished towards the end of the month and haven’t had time to review yet. First there was Mary of Carisbrooke, a novel set on the Isle of Wight during the English Civil War, the first book I’ve read by Margaret Campbell Barnes. Then I read Georgette Heyer’s The Quiet Gentleman, which I think might be one of my favourite Heyer novels so far. And finally, I read one of Sarah Dunant’s Italian Renaissance novels, The Birth of Venus, and a historical mystery by Andrew Taylor called The Silent Boy. I’ll be posting my thoughts on all of these books as soon as I can!
Also in January, I brought back my Remember These series, with a selection of books beginning with F and G and I added two new pages to My Journey Through Time – The Plantagenets and The English Civil War.
As February begins I am reading The Vanishing Witch by Karen Maitland and M.M. Kaye’s Death in Kashmir. I don’t have any plans for the rest of the month as I’m enjoying just reading whatever I want to read!
What about you? Did you have a good start to the year?