March is over and I can’t say that I’m sorry to see it go. It’s been a stressful month for me at work as the woman I’ve been working with and sharing an office with for the last six years retired last week and the company directors decided to take the opportunity to restructure our department. This means that I’ve spent the whole month not knowing if my job would be changing, who I would be working with and even where I would be working. Things are settling down now and while I’m not exactly thrilled about the changes, at least I know what’s happening now and I’m hoping April is going to be a better month for me.
In terms of reading, March got off to a great start with Ross Poldark, the first of Winston Graham’s Poldark series which I really enjoyed and finished just in time for the start of the BBC’s new adaptation. I also finished two long novels that I had begun in February. One of these was George Eliot’s classic novel set in Renaissance Italy, Romola, a detailed and demanding read but one that I loved; the second was Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh, the first in a trilogy set during the Opium Wars. Sea of Poppies ended on a cliffhanger but luckily I had a copy of the sequel, River of Smoke, so I could start that one straight away!
I managed to read two books for Jess’s Forgotten Histories challenge. One was Temeraire by Naomi Novik, an alternate history in which dragons play a part in the Napoleonic Wars. The other was City of God by Cecelia Holland, a novel set in Borgia-ruled Rome. I’m interested in reading more by both of these authors, particularly Naomi Novik – I have the second Temeraire novel, Throne of Jade, and also a review copy of her new novel Uprooted waiting to be read.
I also read two Tudor novels this month – Dark Fire, the second book in CJ Sansom’s Shardlake series, and The Tapestry, the third and final volume of Nancy Bilyeau’s Joanna Stafford trilogy. I read some non-fiction too – An Accidental Tragedy by Roderick Graham, a biography of Mary, Queen of Scots, and Rebellion, the latest book in Peter Ackroyd’s History of England series. And I continued working through Baroness Orczy’s Scarlet Pimpernel books; The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel is a collection of short stories and although they were fun to read I’m disappointed that none of the Pimpernel sequels I’ve tried so far are as good as the original novel.
There were also two books that I started reading towards the end of the month but didn’t finish. I read the first three chapters of The Marigold Chain by Stella Riley, which I was interested in reading because I’d heard that it was similar to Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles; I wasn’t prepared for just how similar it was, to the point where it made me feel uncomfortable and I had to stop reading. I gave up on The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro as well. It was a very intriguing book with some fascinating concepts and ideas, but somewhere in the middle I accepted that I wasn’t engaging with either the story or the characters and couldn’t go any further. I’ll probably write more about that book soon as I did read more than half of it before abandoning it.
In April I’m hoping to read The Eustace Diamonds for Karen’s Anthony Trollope Bicentennial Celebration. Lory is also hosting an Elizabeth Goudge Reading Week and I would like to read something for that too. And of course, there’s Easter to look forward to this weekend!
What did you read in March? Do you have any plans for April?