Thursday, May 27, 2010

Hey Kaethe, This One's For You! And Beth Too, Perhaps!

I've read a number of good books lately. One or two may be to your taste:

One of them was Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos. I picked it up at Daedalus but once I started reading it I couldn't put it down. Amazon's description (I'm tired...I'm going the easy way here) says "Cornelia and her husband, Teo, move to suburban Philadelphia, where she finds it difficult to fit into the sorority-like atmosphere. Despite a bevy of domestic dramas (planning a family among them), Cornelia's first-person chapters are the quietest of the three points of view. Seemingly shallow and vicious, neighbor Piper shows her kinder side as she struggles through her best friend's fight against cancer. Though the extreme of Piper's two-facedness isn't convincing, her moments of sincerity invite genuine empathy. Cornelia also yields narrative time to Dev, a precocious teenager whose father is missing and whose mother develops a friendship with Cornelia. Dev's connection to the story is initially unclear, though he does grow close to Clare, a troubled teenager with an unconventional connection to Cornelia, and a late-breaking development grounds his role more firmly."

Sort of chick-lit-ty but I really liked it.

Another one was Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson. I loved this one, about a retired British Army major, a widow, and the relationship he falls into with Mrs. Ali, the town's shopkeeper. Even while I was loving it, it also made me a little sad because my mom would have liked this book a lot. Like my mom, Major Pettigrew rues the passing of traditions, believes in good behaviour, but is still open to change and happiness.

I read A Murderous Procession by Ariana Franklin, too. Another good one. In this one, Adelia travels back to Sicily, though without her daughter, who is kept in England in order to insure that Adelia comes back.

Finally, I am in the middle of one that is shaping up to be another winner. Guy Gavriel Kay's Under Heaven is set in a fantasy world much like an early Chinese dynasty. Lots of court intrigue and machinations here.


Anonymous said...

Ah-ha! I was just trying to remember the name of 'Major Pettigrew's Last Stand' this morning! I really want to read that one, it sounds wonderful.

Kaethe said...

Well, the first two look like definite yeses; I'll take a look at the Franklin and the Kay since I haven't read anything by either yet. Thank you kindly!

Speaking of books: have you read The Mysterious Howling yet? It's blurbed by Adam Rex, and more than one reader has noted a resemblance to Joan Aiken. It was marvelous! My other recent fave was Wolf Hall, despite the confusing reliance on the pronoun "he"

Rooie said...

I've put it on my Wish List (I should call it my aide de memoir list)...looks good.

And did you see Adam Rex has a new one coming out?