Yes, I know I’m a little late with this. My excuse is that given it was snowing on Friday I found it a little hard to believe that we were really going into May Bank Holiday weekend.
Recipe For Love by Katie Fforde
I had read this this fun and frothy Katie Fforde novel in the past, but was tempted to re-read it because I had been binge-watching the early series of Great British Bake Off, and this seemed a suitable accompaniment. The main protagonist is a contestant on a TV cookery competition and she falls in love with one of the judges. Fforde was inspired to write it after becoming addicted to Bake Off herself, and it seemed highly appropriate for matching my reading to my viewing. Does anyone else do that?
Death on the Riviera by John Bude
This book is part of the British Library re-prints of Golden Age classic crime novels. It was a birthday present from Anna back in February, but I saved it until April because I knew we were going on holiday to the South of France then, and so it seemed appropriate. I think John Bude’s novels are probably by favourite of the British Library series so far, and this one didn’t disappoint. It was well-written, excellent at creating the atmosphere of the French Riviera in the 1950s, and had a very clever solution. Good present choice, Anna!
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
This was another birthday present, from my parents this time, which I also saved for our holiday in France. The week before my birthday I’d coincidentally chosen this novel as a present for a friend, so I was very keen to read it and see if I’d made a good choice!
While I was reading it I couldn’t decide if I liked it or not, and I’m still not entirely sure. It was an interesting and though-provoking read, quite different from my habitual literary diet of chick lit and detective fiction. The characters were intriguing and sensitively drawn, and the concept – of a man running a ‘literary pharmacy’, able to prescribe books to cure all human emotional ills except his own – really appealed to me, not least because this is often how I tend to treat books myself.
The downside for me was that I found the language and some of the scenarios just a little too far-fetched and verging on self-indulgent. Perhaps some of the language issues are related to translation as this novel was originally written in French. I always worry about translated works as, inevitably, the translator has as much influence on the finished text as the author, and that gives me an uncomfortable feeling of uncertainty as to who actually intended what. However, not much to be done about it as there is no way that my nearly two decade old A-level French is up to this!
I don’t think this is something I will re-read as I didn’t absolutely love it, but I am very glad to have come across it.
Murder at Ashgrove House and Murder at Dareswick Hall by Margaret Addison
I felt a little bit low last week for some reason, and Sophia was teething and having a horrible time of it, so I was tired, had even less time than usual to read, and when I did get a chance I wanted something interesting but undemanding and comforting.
This modern series of detective fiction set in the 1930s which I discovered on my Kindle turned out to be absolutely perfect.The sleuth is a London shop girl, Rose Simpson, who gets almost accidentally mixed up in aristocratic circles with a very high suspicious death rate. The books are an open pastiche, or perhaps tribute, to Agatha Christies’s country house classics, with a strong element of Downton Abbey thrown in.
They follow all the conventions of classic detective fiction, are cleverly plotted and fun to read. You definitely have to be a big Golden Age detective fiction fan to enjoy them, but I am, so that’s alright.