This was not my best reading month. There was a lot of mediocre this month. It started off great, I enjoyed the first 3 books, especially The Dictionary of Lost Words. The two book we chose for our drive to Maine were fun reads. The last 2 book are ones that I cannot recommend, although they have great ratings on Audible.
What book recommendations do you have for us this month?
Got the Look by James Grippando - it would be OK if you had nothing else to read
Just Another Missing Person
By Jillian McAllister, Read by a cast
Julia is a detective investigating the one day disappearance of a missing 22 year old. Olivia was last seen on CCTV entering a dead-end alley but she was never seen coming out. As she's going to the crime scene she's confronted by the perpetrator who knows her deepest secret. She either does what he says or she puts her own daughter in jeopardy. She has to frame someone else for the crime.
Very suspenseful, fast paced and makes you wonder what you would do in a similar situation.
The Mitford Murders
By Jessica Fellowes, Read by Rachel Atkins
This is the first book in a 6 book series set in the Golden Age of London. Think of it as Murder at Downton Abbey. That's not a coincidence as the author is the niece to Julian Fellowes and wrote the companion books to the series.
The series takes place at the Asthall Manor, the home of the Mitford family. Louisa Cannon is trying to escape her life of poverty in London and the opportunity to be a nursery maid is too good to pass up. She forms a friendship with the oldest daughter, Nancy.
When a nurse, Florence Nightingale Shaw is murdered on a train, Nancy leads Louisa into some amateur sleuthing. The book is actually based on the unsolved murder of the real Florence Nightingale Shaw. You can read the real story here. The book stays relatively true to the story, as much as it can.
It was a good, entertaining read. It's not edge-of-your-seat suspenseful and it's not quite cosy. It's a book for the day you just want to be entertained and don't want to work too hard to keep up with too many characters and crazy sub-plots.
The Dictionary of Lost Words
By Pip Williams, Read By Pippa Bennett-Warner
Among people who track such things (not me), it's famously known that the one word accidently left out of the first draft of the Oxford English Dictionary is "bondmaid". That is the fact that this story is based on.
Esme's mother died before she knew her so she spent her life with her father. Much of that time was in the Scriptorium where her father worked as a lexicographer editing words for the OED. She grew up there and developed a habit of collecting the slips of paper with rejected words. The first was "bondmaid".
Esme's life is in the middle of the Suffrage movement and WWI so she also collects words from the "common" people of those times. Most of the words are "women's words" and spoken words from tradespeople and illiterates. Her story unfolds with the words that she finds.
This book was recommended to me by 2 people last month and it happened to be available at my library so I jumped on it. It's one of those books that you read and feel like it was perfectly crafted. Great characters, prose, history and dialogue; it's all there.
An Honest Man
By Michael Koryta, Read By Robert Petkoff
This was the book we picked for our ride up to Maine and it was perfect. It's fast paced and kept us interested for the whole drive.
Israel Pike discovers 7 men murdered on a floating yacht. He's one of the primary suspects by his detective uncle because Israel is an ex-con.
Lyman Rankin is a 12 year old boy who has to frequently escape from his violent father. He has a secret place where he hides but when he goes there he's confronted by a hatchet-wielding woman.
It's all connected and there's no one to trust.
The Night Agent
By Matthew Quirk, Read By Chris Andrew Ciulla
FBI Agent Peter Sutherland is assigned to work the night desk in the White House Situation Room. It's boring until one night when one young woman calls in and says "Osprey was right, it's happening..." That sets off the unfolding of a years long conspiracy where a foreign government has access at the highest levels of the US Government.
It's a very fast paced spy novel but also very forgettable. The premise is unbelievable and the characters are unbelievable. But if you love chase scenes, this is the book for you.
By Nick Petrie, Read By Stephen Mendel
I've actually read this book before but we needed a good book for the drive home from vacation and this was perfect. This is the second book in the Peter Ash series and it's one of my favorite mystery series.
It's action stuff kind of like Dewey Andreas and Jason Bourne. Ash is a war veteran with severe PTSD. He's very claustrophobic and has spent much of his time in the California redwood forest . One day he becomes of too much interest to a Grizzly and, in looking for an escape, finds a rope and starts climbing. He ends up on a platform in the redwoods and finds a woman there who is trying to escape from dangerous men chasing her. He decides to help.
The 8th book in the series is set to come out in February.
The Women of Chateau Lafayette
By Stephanie Dray, Read by a cast
This is a historical fiction novel set around Chateau Lafayette, birthplace of the American independence hero, Marquis de Lafayette. It takes place during 3 wars. The first is Adrienne Lafayette during the American Revolution and French Revolution. The second is Beatrice Chanler, socialite Wife of William Astor Chanler, during the first and second World Wars. The third is a fictional girl named Marthe Simone, who was one of the young orphans raised at Chateau Lafayette and focuses on her work in the Resistance during WWII.
I have read 5 books authored or co-authored by Stephanie Dray and, honestly, the best ones are the ones she co-authored with Laura Kamoie: America's First Daughter and My Dear Hamilton. With all 3 solo books I've had trouble really connecting with the main characters. They are shallow, not well developed and there are too many frivolous scenes with the characters agonizing over decisions rather than actual action. I can't count the number of times that Beatrice worried about her hat....in the middle of a war! The novel moves back and forth between the eras but, because there's no real connection between the characters, it's just comes across as disorganized. It's a 24 hour book and, honestly, way too long. It took me a long time to finish it because I was often avoiding listening to it. But, I did hold out and finish it.
By Geraldine Brooks, Read by a cast
I did not like this book. It is supposed to be the story of one of the most famous racing horses of all time: Lexington. He's most knows as being the most successful sire of all time. The book is supposed to be historical fiction but the only history is the horse. All the rest is pure fiction and is a story about slavery and racism, and not a very good one at that.
I usually don't quote anyone else but I found this review on Audible that I felt best summed up this book perfectly. Credit to Heather who posted this on 08/25/2022
"A little bit of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a touch of Black Beauty, a swing at Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, and as if that wasn’t enough, we top it off with Black Lives Matter! I just rolled my eyes all the way through this predictable book. The only thing that kept my interest was that I’d never heard of Lexington."
Just a book full of flat characters, weak storylines and a lot of cliches. I have read 4 of Brooks' books and the only one that I really loved was Years of Wonder about Eyam England during the plague.
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I'm Vicki Welsh and I've been making things as long as I can remember. I used to be a garment maker but transitioned to quilts about 20 years ago. Currently I'm into fabric dyeing, quilting, Zentangle, fabric postcards, fused glass and mosaic. I document my adventures here.