In book club we’ve completed our first Jane Austen novel – Persuasion and have moved on to Pride and Prejudice (or P&P as we’re referring to it – we’re such cool kids). Before you very helpfully point out that perhaps we should have begun with the first novel rather than the last, there is a reason for our madness – but it’s a long story and seriously you probably don’t need to know. In any case, we’ve started with Persuasion which happens to be one of my favourites. Lucky.
If you haven’t read it, Persuasion is one of those novels whose beauty is in its quietness. It doesn’t have the liveliness of a P&P, but that reflects both the age and character of the lead character – Anne Elliot. It is, however, a clever book – and one in which Austen’s wit is the star of the show. As we found with our journey through Bronte-land, Austen in 1817 had a lot to say that is still relevant today. And that’s why this was my favourite read of the month.
Anyways, we’ve now moved on to P&P – but not before we complete our end of book bake later this morning. Because Persuasion is set largely in Somerset, but partly in Dorset, we’ll be baking a Dorset Apple Cake. The recipe is here.
What I’ve been reading – April
The Summer That Changed Us, by Cathy Bramley
At first I thought this read was about friendship. Then I realised that each of the three protagonists has something in their life that they’re grieving and each are doing so in their own way. Emotional, uplifting, delightful and all the adjectives one looks for in a read at times like these.
Should I Tell You? by Jill Mansell
Note to self – don’t stay up until after midnight to finish a book when the alarm is set to go off at 4.30am. Loved it love it loved it.
The Clanlands Almanac, by Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish
I listened to this on Audible (mostly because I can listen to the two of them speak forever – Heughan could read an election ad and I’d be entranced) and often found myself laughing out loud as I walked. A great combo of travelogue, history, memoir and even whisky. Loved it so much that I bought the hardback so I can re-read some of the clan and battle segments. A must for fans of all things Scotland.
The Jane Austen Remedy, by Ruth Wilson
You’ll be seeing plenty of Jane Austen themed reads over the next months #youhavebeenwarned – and this was the first of them. A delightful memoir written by a fascinating woman. I enjoyed it and wanted so much to love it…but not quite. I do, however, suspect that was more about me and my mood at the time.
Eavesdropping on Jane Austen’s England, by Roy and Lesley Adkins
One of the things I most love about book club (other than my stunning book club buddies, of course) is the rabbit holes we all go down to find out more – about the book, the author, the times they lived and wrote in. Following our curiosity in the way we do truly brings the book alive.
A Curious Guide To London, by Simon Leyland
Yes, it has been an eclectic collection of books this month. I chose this one because we’re in the process of planning our visit to London in October and I’m researching a new pub crawl self-guided self-created walking tour. (You might recall that when we were there in December 2019 we did a 12 pubs of Christmas monopoly board themed walk. Part 1 is here and part 2 here.) And, aside from pubs, every walking tour and visited pub must be accompanied with a fun fact to Amaze and Astound – oh how I love a fun fact – and there are fun facts aplenty in this little gem.
The Heron’s Cry, by Ann Cleeves
A long-time fan of her Shetland and Vera series, I’m really enjoying getting to know DI Matthew Venn and his team – and exploring the coast of Devon.
Cookbook of the Month
This month’s featured cookbook was Around The Kitchen Table, by Sophie Hansen and Annie Herron. You can read the full review (and find the recipe for the Milo cake) here.
Deb, Donna, Sue and I would love you to share what you’ve been reading. If you have a favourite classic, I’d love to hear about that too. The linky is below – and it’s open until Monday evening (AEST).