My reviews have been rare recently, mainly due to lack of time. I hope to have more time soon, but in the meantime, here are a few mini reviews of books I have read recently.
Kate Hannigan's Girl by Catherine Cookson
One of my favourite authors when I was younger, but I have not read any of her books lately. When I read Cliff Goodwin's biography of her, To be a Lady: Story of Catherine Cookson, I was curious to read one again. I got hold of this book on a book fair. It is a continuation of the book Kate Hannigan, but you can easily read this one without first having read the previous. It is about Annie, illegitimate daughter of Kate, and her coming of age, falling in love, finding her way in life, and being harassed by evil Catherine. It is an easy enough read, and Cookson manages to balance the romance with the harsh realities of life at the time. You can feel with the characters. That is probably why she was so popular.
The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht
It was the text on the back cover that draw me to this novel. "A young doctor, Natalia, struggles to make sens of her grandfather's death in a Balkan country still scarred by war. From fragments of stories her grandfather told her as a child, Natalia realises he may have died searching for 'the deathless man', a vagabond who was said to be immortal."
The novel starts out very well (you can read book beginning and page 56 here), but then somehow I got lost. It is beautifully written, the stories are captivating, but seems to drag away from the main theme. I think it might have been better to collect the stories as short stories, rather than a novel. I read that Obreht wanted to show how different people relate to death, and with this aim she has been successful. I must say though, that the stories has stayed with me after finishing the book, which is always a good thing.
The Virgin's Lover by Philippa Gregory
I love Philippa Gregory's books, but it took me a little bit of time to get into this one. However, after a while I got totally hooked up on the story of Elizabeth I, Robert Dudley and his wife Amy. Dudley was Elizabeth's favourite and great love, although they could never marry. This is of course historical fiction (at its best), but I always want to know the facts, so I have to read a biography of the pair.
The book covers only the years 1558-60, the first reigns of Elizabeth. It gives an insight in the politics of the time, the court with its inevitable gossip and fights for power. There Dudley seems to have a natural talent. Philippa Gregory has made some interesting interpretations of the relationship between Elizabeth and Dudley and the death of Amy. Fascinating like most of her books. I absolutely love the cover.