It’s a long time since I mentioned what books I had been reading. And this year I have read a lot! And I should point out that whilst I have discovered some of them for myself there are many for which I have to thank my friend Danielle (aka Literary Cat).
The latest was pure unadulterated fun romance – “The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts” by Annie Darling (Harper Collins 2016). Once upon a time in a crumbling London bookshop, Posy Morland spent her life lost in the pages of her favourite romantic novels. So when Bookend’s eccentric owner, Lavinia, dies and leaves the shop to Posy, she must put down her books and join the real world. Because Posy hasn’t just inherited an ailing business, but also the unwelcome attentions of Lavinia’s grandson, Sebastian, AKA The Rudest Man In London.
I loved it and I rarely read a good book without finding some quotable bits.
“…a goddess. An ethereal creature made entirely of sunbeams and spun sugar and fairy dust…”
“Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive,” Sam intoned sorrowfully. “That’s Shakespeare, you know.”
“It’s not Shakespeare. It’s from Sir Walter Scott’s poem Marmion, which you’d know if you ever paid attention in your English lessons.”
The shelves were stacked deep with books, each one waiting for someone to buy them so together they could go on an adventure. Fall deeply in love. Maybe the words printed on the pages might be the words that the reader had heard for so long deep inside their souls but had never been able to say out loud. Each book promised its reader that, no matter what trials and torments life might throw up, there were still happy ever afters to be had.
My previous read was Paula Hawkins “The Girl on the Train” (2015). A memory-loss psychological thriller the action teeters between the three main female protagonists – Rachel, Anna and Megan - and back and forth in time. I enjoyed this but found the switches of time more confusing than usual.
Another recent one was “The Watchmaker of Filigree Street” by Natasha Pulley (2015).
In 1883, Thaniel Steepleton returns to his tiny flat to find a gold pocket watch on his pillow. But he has worse fears than generous burglars; he is a telegraphist at the Home Office, which has just received a threat for what could be the largest-scale Fenian bombing in history. When the watch saves Thaniel's life in a blast that destroys Scotland Yard, he goes in search of its maker, Keita Mori – a kind, lonely immigrant who sweeps him into a new world of clockwork and music. Although Mori seems harmless at first, a chain of unexpected slips soon proves that he must be hiding something. Meanwhile, Grace Carrow is sneaking into an Oxford library dressed as a man. A theoretical physicist, she is desperate to prove the existence of the luminiferous ether before her mother can force her to marry.
I’m still not sure how I felt about that book. I enjoyed the writing style and the plot was good but somehow I felt dissatisfied at the end.
Some quotes –
He had a pathology of un-neatening overly neat things that matched his aversion to new houses and ironing his own shirts.
“I’m in disguise and running away from my husband’s best friend, who can remember the future,” she said, because her mind was too full to conjure lies. “I’m trying to beat him back to his house now, so that I might steal is clockwork octopus that runs on random gears.”
He stared at her… “Young ladies ought not to drink,” he said, coldly.
“I’m not allergic to chloroform. I’m not allergic to anything but yellow liquorice allsorts and those haven’t been invented yet.”
“…I’d be bloody delighted, I mean –“
“It’s all right. I’ve married a very nearly Yorkshire man, you’re not going to outswear him.”
And “The Watchmaker of Filigree Street” gave me a new word – ‘mephitic’, meaning foul-smelling or noxious, especially of a vapour or gas.
At some stage I must list the dozens of other books read so far this year.
P.S. I'm trying to work out why the background to the text has gone white all of sudden. I shall try to correct it for future posts.