Thursday, February 1, 2024

January (and December) Books

Continuing with my theme from last time, since our library's computer system is still down I'm not able to place any holds, so I went looking for some books on my list, but instead I ended up with other books by the same authors because that was all I could find on my home library's shelves. 

First up is The Maidens by Alex Michalides

This book starts with a murder of a young girl on campus at Cambridge University.  The main character's niece is friends with the victim so she travels from London to Cambridge to be with the niece.  The main character is recently widowed, and is a therapist who specializes in group sessions. She somehow embroils herself in the investigation. 
 The book synopsis claims it intertwines Greek mythology with true crime, and although there was an element of that, I didn't feel like it was a big enough part of the plot for it to be mentioned.
I found this book very entertaining to read even though there were many parts I felt just didn't work.  Like, I didn't understand why a completely unrelated person (the main character) thinks she has any right to start investigating the murder.  She also found herself in some strange encounters with several men characters and it didn't seem realistic. 
I am interested to read this author's first novel, the one I was seeking out in the first place, The Silent Patient.  This book could have been victim of the second novel syndrome.

The next book was The Lying Game by Ruth Ware.

Ruth Ware is always reliable, but I particularly liked this plot.  Four women return to the coastal English town where they attended a girls' boarding school when they were teenagers.  We know that a body has been found in the sand and that they all need to gather to deal with it.  There are so many questions in the book, a few of which aren't answered until the very end.  I didn't really have anything figured out and I liked that.  I also thought that the characters were well developed and three dimensional. Sometimes in a Ruth Ware book I get annoyed with how the character is behaving and although I had a bit of that here, it didn't bother me as much this time. 
Dave has even picked up this book to read now.  He had liked One By One by the same author.

And finally Letters Across the Sea by Genevieve Graham.

I read another book by this author last year, At the Mountain's Edge.  I liked it but had thought it was a little simple and felt like reading something from a high school curriculum.  This was another Canadian history book but I thought this one was better.  The story starts in 1930s Toronto during the Depression.  There is a young Irish woman and a young Jewish man.  They are neighbours and friends, but you can tell they are developing feelings for each other.  The first part of the book centres around the hostility between Jews and Protestants, culminating in the Christie Pitts Riots.  Then we turn to World War II and the little known story about the Canadians stationed in Hong Kong. They were not expected to do much but after Pearl Harbour, things changed drastically.  I knew about Christie Pitts but I did not know about our presence in Hong Kong.  
I loved the story but what was even better is that it took place in my city.  When they talked about taking the streetcar down Spadina Ave. past the garment factories, I knew what they meant.  Interestingly while reading the book, I had to drive down Spadina myself, taking the same route as the people in the book. 
Similar to other books I have read recently, I was also amazed at how people stayed alive in harrowing circumstances and finding enough food to eat. 
I am looking forward to reading other books by this author.

1 comment:

  1. I read the Silent Patient a few years ago and enjoyed it. I like Ruth Ware books, so I will add the Lying Game to my list.