by Christine Wells
Now that summer holidays are fast becoming a distant memory, I reflected today that I've been through rather a purple patch recently with reading matter. I thought I'd share some of these with you in case they hadn't come your way.
The Slightest Provocation by Pam Rosenthal
This is a novel I deliberately didn't read when it came out because I was writing a book on a similar subject. I'm so glad it finally found its way to the top of my TBR pile. Coincidentally, The Slightest Provocation is now being released in mass market paperback for the first time with this new cover, so please rush to the bookstore to buy your copy! It's always a comfort to find that a writer I like and admire as a person also writes wonderful books. This is a sexy, beautifully crafted novel, unlike anything I've read, devoid of cliches, yet it was such a satisfying romance, I cheered at the end.
The Mitford Girls by Mary S. Lovell
I became an Anglophile at an early age watching Love in a Cold Climate, the BBC dramatization of Nancy Mitford's witty fictionalization of her own life as one of English peer Lord Redesdale's six daughters. But in the Mitfords' case, reality was far more remarkable than fiction! Nancy wrote widely acclaimed novels and biographies and had a long-standing affair with Charles de Gaulle's right hand man while living in Paris; sister Debo married the man who became the Duke of Devonshire and is partly responsible for turning the grand estate of Chatsworth into the highly profitable business it has become; sister Unity was a fanatical fascist who became an intimate of Hitler and shot herself in the head when war broke out between Germany and Britain.
Another sister, Decca, was a Communist. She ran away to fight the fascists in Spain and eventually worked for the Communist Party in the United States, dodging the CIA. Diana married the head of the British fascist party, Sir Oswald Mosley and spent some of the war in prison because of her politics.
Their bewildered mother said of the Mitford girls that whenever she saw a newspaper headline that began "Peer's Daughter" she knew one of them had been up to something. On another occasion, she despaired that all her daughters must fall in love with dictators. This is a lively, witty biography that is well worth a read.
The C.S. Harris St. Cyr Mysteries
Anna Campbell first recommended this series to me and I heartily endorse her opinion. Nobleman, former soldier and unwilling sleuth, Sebastian St. Cyr is a complex blend of flawed human, aristocrat and superhero. Harris brings Regency London to life in all its seamy and glittering glory in this tightly plotted murder mystery series.
For Regency historical lovers, this series is a must. The romantic threads took a spellbinding twist in the latest instalment, What Remains of Heaven. I cannot wait to see how the characters deal with the tough choices ahead of them!
What books have you read lately that you highly recommend?