The Reading List #36

The speed at which I’m getting through books has reached new levels with my daily commute. A 35 minute tube journey at each end of the day is a decent amount of time for me to get completely absorbed in a book, and as a fast reader anyway I‘m speeding through titles. Here’s my latest round-up:-

The Children’s Book, A. S. Byatt

Olive writes a private book bound in different colours for each of her five children. Each family in the story has its secrets, and the sons start to rebel as daughters dream of their independence in this Edwardian setting. The writing was stunning, as I’ve come to expect from Byatt, and it was a well-written family saga with stories and fairytales woven in. There were so many layers, and the whole book is just gorgeous.

The Somnambulist, Essie Fox 

Mr Samuels offers 17 year-old Phoebe the role of companion to his reclusive wife, and sobbing noises in the night lead her to discover she was not chosen by chance. This is a story of lost love, murder, and madness, within the confines of Victorian family life. There were some beautiful moments and links between characters, and it was a nice read, although I wasn’t overly wowed.

Daphne, Justine Picardie

This is a fictional account of du Maurier, dwelling on the inspiration for Rebecca taken from her own life. She becomes fascinated with Branwell Bronte and begins a biography of his life, which leads to correspondence with scholar Alex Symington. In present day London, a young woman is writing her PhD thesis, and gets caught up in a literary mystery shrouding du Maurier and the Brontes. This is a great book for avid readers, as there’s some beautiful intertextuality at play. It flits between the third person and first person letters, which worked well. It was well-constructed, and I enjoyed reading it.

The Disappearance of Emily Marr, Louise Candlish

Tabby arrives in France heartbroken and penniless, overhears an access code and enters a stranger’s house. She walks into the world of Emmie, a friend with a past, which Tabby begins to investigate. This was surprisingly good! I don’t know what I expected, but there were some great twists and turns, and an overall gripping storyline. A nice, light read.

What do I need to add to my reading list next?


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