I always seem to read a disproportionally high number of books by British authors, but I think this year there has been a record number. Now that it is so easy to order from a particular depository of books I seem to order one book here, one book there (there is no minimum order for shipping).
While I am on the topic of this depository I thought I'd share a few tips I've gleaned from shopping there. First, there are two websites you can order from: the dot com and the dot UK. The prices are slightly different so check both places. Second, the preorder prices are AMAZING especially at the dot com site for some reason. I bought Nigel Slater's new book on preorder for a song, and have bought paperbacks, retail price $13-14 for $5-7. So, if there is something coming out you know you've got to have; preorder it!
Now for a few things I've read:
The Mesmerist by Barbara Ewing
Well, we know I love a good Victorian romp, and that is just how this engaging and entertaining book begins, with two somewhat-aged actresses looking for a new profession. Cordelia becomes a Mesmerist, Rillie her assistant. This is all fun and successful, but these two 'ladies' have secrets. Oh, do they have secrets! Suddenly, almost unexpectedly, things become much more Dark and Sordid, but also much more interesting. Scandal and murder and a Victorian style court case round out this book. This is just the sort of comfort reading I love to fall into. A delight!
Shadows of the Workhouse by Jennifer Worth
Shifting to the 20th century, this is the second of Worth's trilogy of her life as a nurse in the East End. I adored the first in the series, The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times, and knew I had to have this. Worth is a master storyteller and one immediately becomes engaged in the tales she tells. Shadows of the Workhouse is made up of three stories, two real heart breakers that sandwich a lighter tale about a Nun Worth lived with.
Overall, Worth gives a fascinating peek into a world we rarely read about, that of the poor of the East End. This is a great book for lovers of social history, as well as medical history. I didn't find this book quite as engaging as the author's first, but still a worthwhile read.