The first book I read was Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James.
I am not usually a mystery reader, or a P.D. James fan, but my mom is and I had bought this book for her a few years ago. After she read it she brought it up for me and I finally got around to it this month. Classics readers will recognize Pemberley as Mr. Darcy's estate from Pride and Prejudice. P.D. James adopts Jane Austen's style of writing as she picks up the story following Elizabeth Bennet's marriage to Mr. Darcy and their life at Pemberley. Although I have not read P and P for a few years, I did recall most of the characters and the allusions to the original plot. In this novel there is a mysterious death that must be solved. I really enjoyed this book, more than I thought I would.
The other full book I finished this week was The Good People by Hannah Kent.
I read her other novel, Burial Rites, a couple of years ago. This was a really good book and had me turning the pages. I don't like giving too much away about the plot but I will say this: it takes place in Western Ireland in the 1800s and the characters in the book are very superstitious about the fairies (or "the Good People") that they think live among them. A lot of this is tied to their Catholic religion, although the local priest thinks it is blasphemy. They do things like lay a hot poker from the fire across a baby basket if they have to step outside and leave the baby alone for minute, the hot poker will protect the baby from being "swept" by the fairies. They believe that illness and death can be caused by offending the fairies and they seek out cures.
Although I live in modern times and don't believe those superstitions, I did find myself wondering why certain things had happened and if they really were caused by the fairies. When the characters are trying out these folk cures, I really thought they would work. I guess my belief was due to the excellent writing in this book. A great read, and something different than usual for me.
I also picked up a book of short stories and re-read a few like The Lottery by Shirley Jackson and The Garden Party by Katherine Mansfield. Does anyone else remember those? I think we ready The Lottery in high school.