We have been on holiday! Ten days of sun, swimming, eating… and reading. I had good intentions of writing a pre holiday post with my reading plans but things all got a bit hectic. Note to self – be more organised! So I’m going to do a post holiday summary instead.
These are the books I read, some good choices, some not so good…
Lovers and Newcomers – Rosie Thomas
I really like Rosie Thomas and have read quite a few of her books. Along with Rosamund Pilcher she writes my favourite type of comfort stories with characters I care about. Recently her books have been set in different places as Rosie Thomas herself has been travelling and exploring. I especially love Celebration and Iris and Ruby. Occasionally one of her stories doesn’t quite hit the mark with me, I will like it but not love it and Lovers and Newcombers was one of those. The story is based around a group of characters, old friends from years ago who come together later in life with the intention of living together in their old age. It has Rosie Thomas’s lovely usual touch but I think it was the age of the characters and their situation that I struggled to relate to. There are younger characters as well but on the whole I found it a bit depressing. I also thought their ages (late fifties to late sixties) were a bit young for the overall theme of the story. My parents fall into that age bracket though so maybe I felt uncomfortable with it because of that.
Eat,Pray,Love – Elizabeth Gilbert
I thought this would be a great book to read on holiday so had been saving it especially. I loved it. I know a lot of people have read it and some have found it a bit contrived. It is the true story of a soul searching year in the life of the author where she travels to Italy in search of pleasure, India to mediate on an ashram and to Bali in Indonesia in search of balance. It didn’t worry me that she was already a published author and had an advance to write the book before she left. I still found it to be truthful, warts and all, and inspiring. Unlike my first read, this is a story I could really relate to – the idea of travelling the world for a year seems very indulgent but also very appealing!
The Key to Rebecca – Ken Follett
Last year I read Ken Follett’s excellent WWII thriller, The Eye of the Needle and thought it was brilliant. The Key to Rebecca is also set during WWII, this time in Eygypt during the North African campaign. It follows a similar storyline, that of a German spy and the attempts of the British to track him down. The spy in this story, Alex Wolff, is of German/Arab descent and this ability to pass for either is a weapon he makes full use of. Aided by two women, an Egyptian exotic dancer forced into helping the spy, and an equally alluring woman recruited by the British to allure and trap him. ‘Rebecca’ refers to Daphne du Maurier’s book which Wolff carries everywhere with him and which forms the basis of the code he uses to transmit information back to Berlin. The story is action packed and a real page turner – a really good read. Especially as I later learned that Alex Wolff was based on an actual German spy, the same spy that Michael Ondaatje based part of the English Patient’s plot on. Reviewers at Amazon would disagree with me but I didn’t think it was as good as The Eye of the Needle.
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest
The final in the Millenium series and it didn’t disappoint. This is another book I have been saving for holiday as I knew I would love it. It’s hard to write much about the plot without including spoilers so all I will say is that it as full of detail and action as the previous two books and ties all three together.