I'd got this for a couple of quid when I bought True History of the Kelly Gang, by the same author. I wasn't altogether sure what to expect, the back cover of my copy gives nothing away about the plot.
Is the only indication on the back cover of what the story is about....but it is no over-sentimental, slushy, love story, it's more of an adventure, following Oscar and Lucinda's lives from life changing points early on, until the end of one of them. I had no trouble picturing Oscar who is a very quirky and strong character. Lucinda also stands out from the crowd in her mid Victorian world.
The novel won the Booker prize in 1988
The cover of my copy is very unimposing, and skillfully masked the gem within the covers.
Here are the rest of the books that I have read since June this year.
Forms of Water by Andrea Barrett. Another family story with a twist. Uncle Brendan is head of a fragmented family, his niece, Wiloma, member of a weird religious sect, wants to take him into her home to live his final days. Brendan wants none of this and asks his nephew, Henry, to take him to visit his childhood home. He gulls Henry into believing he has permission for the trip and to borrow the nursing home's transport. What ensues is what could be looked at as a crazy chase across some USA states,as Brendan urges Henry to their destination, Henry being unaware of the train of people following them, wonders from time to time about his uncle's urgency. The novel is well balanced and doesn't fall into the farce or the maudlin, as it could very easily have done. I enjoyed it.
The Adventures of Captain Alatriste by Arturo Perez-Reverte. Madrid in the 1620s. Captain Alatriste hires himself out as a swordsman. He is approached by two masked me to attack a pair of travellers. The job is no ordinary job, and Alatriste gets into to some sticky situations. Told by the son of a dead colleague, who is now acting as Alatriste's apprentice, the story is entertaining , with just the right amount of "hero worship" from Inigo Balboa. An entertaining read.
The Kingdom of the Golden Dragon by Isabel Allende. This is a "teen" novel, and I found out the second about Alex Cold and Nadia, and Alex's grandmother, Kate.
Not having read the previous book is no detriment.
A mysterious stranger, called "The Collector" is plotting to steal the Golden Dragon from an isolated hidden high land in the Himalayas. It has all the excitement of this type of novel, and is told in a way that makes it accessible to both teen and adult alike.
The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney. A man has been brutally murdered, and a woman sets out on a quest to find her son, who everyone thinks committed the murder, as he disappeared at the same time. She is convinced that he is following the murderer. In the course of clearing his name some uncomfortable truths come to light. A great read.
The Awakening by S.J.Bolton. Clara, a vet, finds herself called to the local hospital, when a man dies from what appears to be a snake bite. this is not a freak accident, but something far deeper is going on. The plot unfolds at a satisfactory pace, as did the plot in S.J.Bolton's first novel, The Sacrifice. A brilliant second novel, full of suspense and mystery. A brilliant read.
On Green Dolphin Street by Sebastian Faulks. This is the first Faulks book I have ever read, and was so absorbed I know I will be reading others by him.This novel is set in USA 1959, a little later than previous books. His characters were believable, although I did start to feel annoyance towards Charlie, the husband, but I think this was what Faulks expected of his readers. It's the first book I read after Blonde Bombshell so a little hazy now, but I remember enjoying it.
As for the other two books I mentioned previously being unable to "get into", one I gave away to someone I knew would enjoy it, and the other is being slowly read.
I haven't yet said anything about the other books I have read.
The Adventures of Captain Alatriste by Arturo Perez-Reverte.
Captain Alatriste is asked to take on a "simple" task...it is more involved than he firstly anticipates...maybe there are more books by the same author...it was different, engrossing and individual!
Forms of Water by Andrea Barrett.
A family story...old uncle wants to see site of his home...it has been flooded to make way for a reservoir...a heart catching story of loss and family disputes.
Kingdom of the Golden Dragon by Isabelle Allende.
Two teenagers embark on a journey into the Himalayas. As this is a teen book..there is adventure, etc...but it is a thoroughly good read.
The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney.
This novel is essentially a "quest" novel.....Beautifully written, and really has to be read to be appreciated. I loved it!
Awakening by S.J.Bolton.
For me the plot of this novel is stuff of nightmares....Poisonous snakes roaming freely in peoples homes..causing death...It seems at first to be random...but the heroine..Clara Benning, a vet, finds herself drawn deeper into the mystery.
A brilliant suspense/mystery book..well in keeping with S.J.Bolton's first foray into fiction.
On Green Dolphin Street by Sebastian Faulks.
A brilliant book....not as engrossing as some of the previous one's in this blog entry...but a really good read.
Since I last posted here I have read rather a lot of books.
I'll just list them and add a short comment on each.
Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller. A very absorbing read about the progress and immediate aftermath of an illicit affair. It is written by a confidant of one of the two in the affair.
Dark Fire by C J Sansom. The second book by Sansom about Matthew Shardlake, a solicitor in the time of Henry VIII. He is employed by Thomas Cromwell to discover where the "Dark Fire" Cromwell has been told he could have has gone to. At the same time Shardlake is trying to investigate why a young girl is being accused of murder. There are several historical facts explained as part of the story. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The Devil's Graveyard by Anonymous. Another book, the third, involving the Bourbon Kid, every bit as amusing as the last two, my only complaint is that I've finished it. A quote from the front of this particular book "This particular Anonymous has decided to take a fistful of drugs and gone on a literary genre-buster...A lot of fun" That is from Daily Sport, but don't let where the quote comes from put you off.
Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult. I make no excuses for liking Picoult's writing. She takes a moral dilemma and puts a "normal" American family in the midst of the dilemma, then she explores what reaction a family could have. This one particularly saddened me at the end, but I won't say why. The ending is VERY poignant.
Hunting Unicorns by Bella Pollen. This novel explores the clash between American thirst for facts about people, and sensationalising them, and the dying breed of the English Upper Class. The clash is quite alarming, and the American journalist is quite happy to film fading upper classes, until she finds out one the families she has filmed is the family of the man who has been arranging visits. An intriguing book.
Brother and Sister by Joanna Trollope. Trollope's novels all seem to deal with females who have got to a certain stage in their lives when they need to find out "who they" are. This particular one explores what happens when two adopted grown-ups decide to try and trace their birth mothers.
The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers. Another helping of Zamonian madness from Walter Moers. A young Zamonian, Optimus Yarnspinner, sets of to find the author of an unknown manuscript. The reader gets swept away into magical world where Optimus has a great adventure, and finds out that sometimes books can kill. I love Moers writing, and this one didn't disappoint.
I'll catch up with the others that I have read tomorrow.