Another month starting means another quick round up of the books that I read the month before (?!)
So, the first was “Caleb’s Crossing” by Geraldine Brooks.
I’ve read a couple of other books by this author which I have really enjoyed (“People of the Book” and “A Year of Wonders” both of which I would recommend) but I found this one a little disappointing.
Amazon says: Bethia Mayfield is a restless and curious young woman growing up in Martha’s vineyard in the 1660s amid a small band of pioneering English Puritans. At age twelve, she meets Caleb, the young son of a chieftain, and the two forge a secret bond that draws each into the alien world of the other. Bethia’s father is a Calvinist minister who seeks to convert the native Wampanoag, and Caleb becomes a prize in the contest between old ways and new, eventually becoming the first Native American graduate of Harvard College. Inspired by a true story and narrated by the irresistible Bethia, Caleb’s Crossing brilliantly captures the triumphs and turmoil of two brave, openhearted spirits who risk everything in a search for knowledge at a time of superstition and ignorance.
My notes read: “Historically interesting, with lots of detail. Started well but I felt the story petered out, and the end felt badly paced. Based on fact, there couldn’t really have been another ending, but I was a bit disappointed. Liked the narrator’s character.”
I’m not sure I’d recommend it as heartily as the other two books I’ve read by this author, but it wasn’t terrible! Maybe a *** book.
Next I read “Her Last Breath” by Linda Castillo
From the Amazon site: An extraordinarily beautiful Amish woman, a dangerous femme fatale, is the central figure in a story that reveals a dark side of Painters Mill and its seemingly perfect Amish world
What at first seems like a tragic, but routine car accident suddenly takes on a more sinister cast as evidence emerges that nothing about the crash is accidental. But who would want to kill an Amish deacon and two of his children? He leaves behind a grieving widow and a young boy who clings to life in the intensive care wing of a hospital, unable to communicate. He may be the only one who knows what happened that night. Desperate to find out who killed her best friend’s husband and why, Kate begins to suspect she is not looking for a reckless drunk, but instead is on the trail of a cold blooded killer amid the residents of Painter’s Mill. It is a search that takes her on a chilling journey into the darkest reaches of the human heart and makes her question everything she has ever believed about the Amish culture into which she was born.
This makes it all sound more dramatic thanh it actually was, but, as my notes testify, it was certainly gripping enough: “interesting, well-paced. Kept me reading & interested. Good.” I didn’t guess the killer or the motive until just before the big reveal, which is always a bonus!
I would certainly be happy to try another book in the same series (This is N°5, I believe). Probably a **** rating.
The third book, which I devoured, was “The Girl You Left Behind” by Jojo Moyes. It is set partly during the German occupation of France in 1916/17 – an occupation I hardly knew had occurred.
From Amazon: In 1916 French artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his wife Sophie to fight at the Front. When her town falls into German hands, his portrait of Sophie stirs the heart of the local Kommandant and causes her to risk everything – her family, reputation and life – in the hope of seeing her true love one last time.
Nearly a century later and Sophie’s portrait is given to Liv by her young husband shortly before his sudden death. Its beauty speaks of their short life together, but when the painting’s dark and passion-torn history is revealed, Liv discovers that the first spark of love she has felt since she lost him is threatened…
In The Girl You Left Behind two young women, separated by a century, are united in their determination to fight for the thing they love most – whatever the cost.
Both threads of the story are interesting, but it is the WW1 parts that I found most convincing. I really couldn’t put this down, and read it in about three days. Okay, it’s not classic fiction, but it was a good story, well told. I think it’s the first Jojo Moyes book I’ve read, but I may well be looking for some more.
For me this is a ****+ 1/2 stars. I’m not sure why I won’t give it 5 stars, but I think that I will be saving that for really really good books!
I started reading a Phillippa Gregory in May, but I’ve not finished that yet, so will review it in June.
PS What do you think of the (slightly) new look? I’m not sure but I fancied a change!