Alrighty, so here it is, the very first instalment of What’s On Your Bookshelf? I’m joining my friends Sue, Deb and Donna with “What’s On Your Bookshelf?” a monthly feast of all things book related. We truly hope you’ll join us – guidelines are at the bottom of this post.
Okay, without any more faffing about, here’s what was on my bookshelf in July.
As a spoiler alert, it was a big month for reading but in my defence:
- I did have a few days away on holiday – and a couple of flights with nothing to do but read
- I had a few days where we were locked down
- One book – Jane Eyre – I’ve been reading with my book club for a couple of months and finished it during July.
- I didn’t do nearly as much writing as I should have done.
Okay, without any more palaver, let’s get into it…
An Auctioneer’s Lot, by Philip Serrell
This is the third Philip Serrell I’ve read in the past couple of months (see last month’s book post).
I’ve been watching Philip Serrell for years on Bargain Hunt and, more recently, Antiques Roadtrip. He’s usually seen with a massive scarf around his neck and is partial to some of the more off-beat pieces. He’s also incredibly knowledgeable. This was the third instalment in his memoirs, and I picked it up as part of my research into the lead character for my upcoming Philomena Barker cosy mystery series.
It might have been research, but it was an easy read and I found myself giggling often.
Other Women, by Cathy Kelly
It’s fair to say I found this one slow to get into, but once I did, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Jane Eyre, by Charotte Bronte
How had I not read this before now? I thought I had. In fact, if you’d asked me 6 months ago if I’d read Jane Eyre I would have answered in the affirmative. I think, though, I’d seen it – and there is a difference. Bronte’s words – and Jane – were like a sucker punch right into my soul. There are scenes that still play behind my eyes like a movie. To say I loved it would be underselling it.
Reading this book in book club (with Sue, Donna and Deb), a block of chapters at a time, only enhanced the experience. Sometimes I wonder whether we turn too many people away from the classics by force-feeding them in high school English. If that was you, give it another go, I say. You might be surprised what the perspective of years brings to the Bronte experience.
The Nancy’s and Nancy Business by RW McDonald
I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed reading these books.
Set in a small country town just outside of Dunedin, the star of this particular show is 11-year-old Tippy Chan. Tippy is enchanting, but it’s the quirky cast of characters that makes this book so fabulous. I almost forgot there was a mystery involved.
I was fortunate enough to win a copy of the sequel, Nancy Business (thanks Debbish) and read it immediately after finishing The Nancy’s – and enjoyed it just as much. This time, though, the mystery was front and centre.
I can’t wait for The Nancy’s next outing.
Both books were in my top reads of the month.
Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys
As you can probably tell from the photo, I read this in the GP’s surgery while I was waiting for my covid vaccination. Then I kept reading it while I was waiting the 20 minutes or so after the vaccination to go home, and I kept reading it once I’d got home and was feeling a tad on the blah side (although I had no other side effects as such).
It was a quick read, a powerful read, and beautifully written. While I appreciated it – and am so glad I read it – I can’t honestly say I enjoyed it.
But what’s it about?
Okay, well, remember how in Jane Eyre, Rochester had a mad wife locked away in the tower room of his mansion? Her name was Bertha and this is her story and, more importantly, the story of how she came to be locked away in that tower room. Spoiler alert, she wasn’t always mad.
Sunshine and Sweet Peas In Nightingale Square, by Heidi Swain
Heidi Swain is one of those authors I turn to when the world is getting a little too real and practical for me.
It is exactly what it says it is on the cover.
The Secret Path, by Karen Swan
Swan’s protagonists are always damaged in some way and her romances are never straightforward – and that’s exactly what keeps me coming back. In fact, even though the romance is the central part of the storyline, I have problems classifying her books as contemporary romances.
This one, set mostly in Costa Rica, is no different.
While I had a few issues with the resolution and a few other structural problems, it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the read.
The One We Fell In Love With, by Paige Toon
I can’t believe this is the first Paige Toon title I’ve read – but I can say with some certainty, it won’t be my last.
A strong contender for my read of the month…which was… (insert drumroll)…
Spring Clean For The Peach Queen, by Sasha Wasley
An Aussie author, and a great story about second chances and starting over – and the shallowness of “popularity” – this one drew me in by the cover and the title, and didn’t let me go until I’d finished.
In a month where I read some fabulous books, this was my pick.
Okay, over to you…what’s on your bookshelf?
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