Saturday 29 November 2014

Book Reviews

I have struggled for the longest time to get back into reading properly. The Kindle really helped but, of late, I have not been using it so much. So, when I bought two books during my trip to London last month, I was insistent that they must be read quickly and definitely not put on the bookcase and forgotten about.

(This thought may have been inspired by the removal of my bookcase, with its five shelves two rows deep in books, from the living room to the top of the stairs, and the accompanying feeling of dismay as I found book after book I had purchased and never even opened. It is testament to my desire to shop that I actually acted on this feeling by....buying more books. I know. I am a lost cause.)

Anyway - GOOD NEWS! I have finished them both. I have been a bit more strict with myself about going to bed at a reasonable hour, thus allowing for reading time.

The first was Antonia Hodgson's The Devil in the Marshalsea. I picked it up because it is set in an 18th century debtors' prison and I thought it would have some useful background information for our GCSE course. Geek. It does, though. I mostly enjoyed this book. It is my favourite genre - a historical murder mystery. It reminded me a bit of Shardlake, but the main character is rakish and a bit vapid, so not really like Shardlake. It was quite thrilling and I wasn't able to guess the ending, which is always a plus. It painted a good picture of 18th century London,

The second was Tiffany Murray's Sugar Hall. This is a ghost story set in 1950s Gloucestershire, about a single mother and her children moving to a haunted mansion, and the subsequent spooky goings on. The back of the book wasn't very detailed but it seemed to be a Woman in Black type story, and I quite liked the Woman in Black. I also, since the BBC's "Frights at Christmas" season last year...oh, and going to see Woman in Black in Bath last December...associate this sort of story with Christmas now, so I thought it would be a good Christmas holiday read, but I couldn't resist starting it and I finished it in just a few days. It was really very good. I wasn't sure, to start with, but the author really captures a good sense of that era and I spooked myself reading it at night, which is a clear win. Also, now I have looked it up on Amazon for the link, I see it is based on actual rumours of a little ghost slave boy in the Forest of Dean. This sounds like it might make a good day trip.

The only annoying thing about this one was that someone skimped on the editing process because there are some punctuation errors in it, especially towards the end. I know there are many people who think this doesn't really matter, but it matters to me. The placement of a comma can really change the rhythm of a sentence.

So, if you're short of things to read, I can recommend these.

No comments: