Just had a lovely week away doing all the usual holiday stuff of sight seeing, walking, relaxing in the warm sun, but above all, guilt-free reading. As there are no chores, no ‘I ought to be doings ‘ no distractions etc. I can read more slowly, savouring whole swathes of time immersed in a book. I read six in total, but two were ‘flight reads’ i.e.. compulsive but light books to take my mind off the thin, metal tube, improbably miles high in the air, conveying me to my destination.
The following three were the ones I enjoyed the most, especially when accompanied by the glorious sunsets.
The Miniaturist By Jessie Burton.
This was a very different read full of unexpected twist and turns. The basic plot concerning a miniature replica of a Dutch merchant’s house in 1686, is based on a real ‘doll’s’ house displayed in the Rijksmuseum. I found the historical Amsterdam background a well-researched and convincing peg on which to hang a magical, compelling story full of complex characters, intrigue and mystery. I only wish I had read it in book form, not on my Kindle so I could have referred more easily to the glossary and been able to flick back to follow the compressed timeline .
The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor
This story of a Titanic survivor is based on the true stories of a real group of Irish passengers. It is clearly well-researched and an intriguing interweaving of many different accounts, those of different classes of passengers, those who reluctantly waved them off and those who waited for their arrival. Although I have read several other Titanic-based books, I still learned a lot from this especially about the immediate aftermath of the disaster, the reaction to the news in America and the subsequent treatment of the steerage survivors. A moving and absorbing story.
This Boy by Alan Johnson
As if my withers hadn’t been wrung enough by the Titanic story, I then embarked on this heartbreaking account of Alan’s early impoverished childhood and the two amazing women in his life, Lily his worn -out, hard-working mother, and Linda, his enterprising, battling sister. An un-putdownable and thought-provoking read.
The best one of the holiday, in spite of its tough subject matter .