It is sunny here today, but cold. It is time for an update. Recently I finished Mary Sharratt’s The Vanishing Point. Although not a new book, written in 2006, Mary Sharratt is a relatively new author for me. I read The Daughters of Witching Hill first and I am working my way back through her other novels. This book begins in England in 1687. It follows two girls, May and her younger sister Hannah as they travel to colonial Maryland. They both have a relationship with a man Gabriel, who is no angel. Will Hannah ever find out what happened to May? Is Gabriel telling the truth? Who can she believe? How can she escape when she is isolated out in the country? I have read Mary Sharratt’s The Daughters of Witching Hill and Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard von Bingen, but I have to say that I liked the The Vanishing Point the best. I was surprised to read in the afterword that she had trouble getting this book published. I think that it is easy to read and it flows well back and forth in time. The story parallels the life of the two girls. You read about both of them simultaneously. I like that the story is not predictable and that there are several twists and turns as Hannah finds out the truth. I think that this story would appeal to many people. I especially liked the ending, but I am not going to give it away. Readers interested in historical fiction, colonial America, sister relationships and murder-mysteries all may enjoy this book.
I finished the Tigerlily’s Orchids last night. This book was also set in England. It revolves around Litchfield House and its inhabitants and neighbors. There is Olwen a professional drunk, Stuart who is having an affair with Claudia who is married to Freddy, Molly who is in love with Stuart, Rose and Marius who fall in love, Wally who is a pedophile, Duncan the people watcher, Tigerlily, the object of Stuart’s lust and don’t forget Carl, Molly’s physically abusive boyfriend. It sounds like a soap opera. This was a crime novel. It takes awhile to get off the ground. Not a lot of action until two-thirds of the way in. There was some British jargon or humor that was lost on me in a couple of spots. The big questions was who killed Stuart? It was not Freddy who was the most likely suspect. I think that the moral of this story is that things are not always as they appear. I felt that this was a very usual story with a really diverse set of characters. Overall a good book. I give it 3 stars. An interesting note about the author, Ruth Rendell she has won many awards for mystery and crime writing in England and is also a member of the House of Lords.
These two books are left in my to read pile. I will need to replenish my pile soon before I run out! Reading Crisis!!! I am starting a Russian theme this week. I’m going to start with The Little Russian which is about World War I and follow it up with The Secret History of Vladimir Nabokov (written in 2013) which will follow up about Russia in World War II. This should turn out to be interesting. Stay tuned.