The Reading List #10

I’m really not doing well at getting these up as regularly as I want! Christmas has confused every schedule, but I can now start getting back on track. These reading list posts include 4 books at once, and I’m so behind that I’m rediscovering things I read and wrote up weeks ago! Oh well, here is the latest list:

Sacred Hearts, Sarah Dunant

In the 1570s, Serafina is sent to an Italian monastery to ‘save’ her from a restricted love affair. The novel is about Serafina and the other sisters of the monastery. The main focus seemed to be Sister Zuana, who watches over Serafina, and also takes charge of the apothecary. I liked Zuana’s character a lot, but never really felt very connected to Serafina, despite the fact she is supposedly the centre of the tale.

There were lots of great things about this novel. The details about monastery life, about worship and about life outside the walls were interesting, and the hysterias and cures made fascinating reading. In terms of the storyline, I felt more could have been done with it, and I didn’t connect with Serafina. However, the redeeming qualities of the book outweigh those, and it’s well worth a read if you like historical fiction.

Whatever You Love, Louise Doughty

Laura’s nine year-old daughter Betty is killed in a hit-and-run accident, and this book covers the before and after of this event. It triggers memories of her divorce and other painful things from her past, at the same time as experiencing her grief.

This novel delivered blow after blow, and although powerful was quite a hard read.  It wasn’t a ‘curl up and get cosy and relax’ novel, but the characters were well crafted, and some of the passages on loss and grief were excellent.

The Ghost, Robert Harris

The protagonist of this novel becomes the new ghost writer for the former Prime Minister’s memoirs, after the first writer is found dead. This is a great thriller, all about who knows what and who knew too much.

I hadn’t made the connection until I started reading that I’ve seen the film adaptation of this, but I couldn’t remember the ending, so it was still a surprise! The film is well worth a watch, too, if you’ve already enjoyed the book. It’s just a brilliant political thriller, and Harris is a writer who knows what he’s doing. I enjoyed this one.

The Summer House, Santa Montefiore

Antoinette’s husband has passed away, and at the funeral is Phaedra, a stranger to the family who also loved George. This is a book of twists, turns and family revelations. My mum bought it as a bit of a trashy read for her holiday last summer, and it fits that brief. The characters are all slightly stereotypical, but a good family dynamic is set up, and you do get swept along with the tale.

Yes, this book is a little trashy, but it’s written by someone who knows their craft, and it’s woven together well.

What are you reading at the moment?

Sophie x


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