Well. Perhaps you've been dying to know what books were bugging me last week. Maybe not! In either case, here they are:
1939: The Last Season
I was expecting something different, I think, in this book by Anne De Courcy. I thought it would be about British 'Society', debutante balls, the last hurrah before WW2 intervened. It was sometimes about those things. I enjoyed chapters about what the process was to be presented at court, health and medical care at the time, the lives of servants and the upkeep of those enormous country estates. I did not so much enjoy chapters about particular parties, and who attended, and what they wore and what was served for dinner, all told in a dry journalistic tone. I suppose that is what bothered me about this book - it was very dry and almost too 'stick to the facts' in form. I wanted personal stories and anecdotes; that is what brings history to life, I think, and it was not really achieved here in my opinion. Certainly I learned some things, but reading this became a chore.
Adam and Eve and Pinch Me
It surprises even me that Ruth Rendell wrote a book that was at times yawn inducing. This is the story of several women whose boyfriends and husband have died or disappeared and how they are all connected. Then there are a series of murders (we know the culprit) that affect all of these women, and we peer over the shoulders of police as they discover who-done-it. This book feels like Rendell and if you've read her, you know what that means. It's suspenseful and mysterious, people are a little bit...off. At first the reader is in the dark and is let in on the secret a few chapters in. Then we wait for things to come to a head. They do. Then I wondered what on earth is going to happen in the second half of this book. This is actually a good book and a decent read, it's just not up there with the other Rendell/Vine books I've read. It's much, much more psychological novel than it is a straight mystery/suspense/detective story. Published in 2001, I think it might be the most current Rendell/Vine book I've read and it's worth reading - it's just not her best or most typical book.