It has been almost a week since my mini-holiday, and the nice relaxing time I experienced has worn off. Reality is just a pain sometime 😦
I feel myself slipping in to my former habit of neglecting my blog so before I allow that to happen I thought I would let you know what I thought of the books I read during my time off:
The House of Special Purpose by John Boyne is set mostly in Imperial Russia, with alternating chapters of the later story of the main character, Georgy, and his wife Zoya. After a heroic gesture that was also personally tragic, Georgy is taken from his small village as a teenager to be a companion to the young Tsarevitch Alexei, the son and heir to Tsar Nicholas. It is there that Georgy falls in love and witnesses the incredible turmoil in his country. I enjoyed the story for the most part, especially the parts set in Imperial Russia. What bothered me, however, was the secret that to me wasn’t a secret. Perhaps I am interpreting it incorrectly but the way a certain situation was talked around and revealed suddenly at the end led me to believe that it should have been a surprise/shock but I figured it out early in the novel, so every time the author mysteriously hinted at what was to come I just sighed to myself.
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein is set in France and Britain during World War II. It is difficult to explain this book without giving a lot away but it involves two girls – one English and one Scottish – from very different backgrounds becoming fast friends as they work together during the war. Considering how much I enjoy novels set in this period I was expecting to like this book more. I didn’t hate it, but there were several times my mind wandered and I had to re-read the same passage a few times to grasp what was happening. I think I found the second half more readable than the first.
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Steadman is what my book club will be discussing on Monday and I cannot wait because it will make for a great conversation. Set in remote Western Australia in the 1920s, it is the story of a young couple isolated on an island where the husband is the lighthouse keeper. After Isabel experiences several miscarriages and immediately after she delivers a stillborn son, a boat washes ashore on the island with a dead man and an infant girl. Tom, the lighthouse keeper, wants to follow his regulations to the letter and report this immediately; but at the request of Isabel, his heartbroken wife, he agrees to wait for one day, then another, and then the delay causes their lives and those of others to spin out of control. I found the beginning of this book to be a bit slow, but once the action picked up I could hardly put the book down. There were so many twists and I never could decide how the story would end. I personally thought that it was the right ending; I will be interested to hear what the others in my book group think.
I’ve only just started the last book on my holiday list, Life After Life by Jill McCorkle, so I guess it doesn’t count as a holiday read anymore, but once I have finished I will be sure to let you know what I thought. The first chapter, though, was AMAZING.