I’ll be blogging on my favourite fiction genres: historical fiction and mysteries, and you’ll find I prefer novels featuring strong female characters with family secrets to solve, preferably set in the British Isles and Canada. Here are my most recent reads from the NVCL collection:
The Other Daughter, by Lauren Willig
Finally I have got around to reading Lauren Willig and am I impressed! In 1928 England, Rachel has learned after her mother’s death that her family story is a lie. Seeking an explanation, and desperate to connect with family, she is determined to uncover the secrets that have kept her true identity from her. Thank you, Patricia, for steering me in Willig’s direction.
Dishing the dirt – An Agatha Raisin Mystery, by M.C. Beaton
This is number 26 in the delightful Agatha Raisin series (yes, I’ve read them all). A lightweight and often funny murder mystery, in which the grumpy but endearing Cotswold detective, Agatha, barely escapes a serial killer while coming to terms with middle-age and her many failed romances. I also love Beaton’s Hamish Macbeth series about a Scottish policeman in a tiny village that has more murders than Midsomer. If you like series mysteries, these will keep you going for a while.
Aren’t We Sisters? by Patricia Ferguson
In 1932 England, birth control was a taboo subject, although some nurses and midwives worked in secret to bring knowledge to their “sisters” who needed it. In Aren’t We Sisters, one of these nurses finds herself close to a serial killer. A gripping story, revealing the difficulties of women who faced pregnancy after pregnancy; lots of plain language concerning birth control and childbirth.
The Taming of the Queen, by Philippa Gregory
Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived… these were the fates of Henry VIII’s six wives. Henry’s sixth queen, Katherine or Kateryn Parr, was queen until his death. Kateryn’s safety was in question during her 3 years of marriage to a king who had sent many to their deaths, including two of his own wives, but she had the good fortune to survive him. An educated woman, she plays a key role in the development of King Henry’s new church. Philippa Gregory has written about all six of Henry’s queens and other British royals before and after the Tudors, and two of her novels have become movies or mini-series: The Other Boleyn Girl and The White Queen.
The Martian, by Andy Weir
I have not read much science fiction in recent years, but The Martian takes me back to the novels of Heinlein and Asimov, who wrote about both the technical challenges of going to other planets and the human responses to the utter isolation of space. In Weir’s first novel, one man must use all his ingenuity, training and resourcefulness to survive on the red planet. SF writers Larry Niven and Hugh Howey have also praised the book. The movie starring Matt Damon has just been released.
Now back to my book… presently enjoying Only a Promise, by Mary Balogh.