Wednesday, January 03, 2007

December's Books

The whole month of December slipped by without a single post here, not because I haven’t been reading (I have still been escaping into the pages of alternate reality most evenings) but because the flurry of preparations for Christmas left me without a spare brain cell to evaluate, summarise and review anything coherently. Here is a brief selection of the books I have been devouring uncritically recently.

Jodi Picoult Vanishing Acts

A rescue worker and mother finds that her whole life she has lived a fictional identity, after her father is arrested for abducting her from her mother at the age of four. Jodi Picoult’s excellent handling of character, plot development, moral dilemmas and legal procedure kept me immersed till the end.

Vanishing Acts from Vanishing Acts from

Erica James Love and Devotion

Not one for the over imaginative parent. Harriet is left with the upbringing of her sister’s two children after their parents are killed in a car crash. The story of how she and the rest of their family rebuild their lives and she has to adjust from being a fast track career woman to an instant mother replacement, is well written and enjoyable.

Love and Devotion from Love and Devotion from

Anne Perry The One Thing More

Set in the troubled and desperate times of the French Revolution, a conspiracy to rescue the King from his imminent execution at the guillotine is threatened when the main mind orchestrating it is murdered. Anne Perry is great at bringing to life the lives of ordinary people in the midst of history unfolding, the domestic details, the food shortages and suspicion, households divided but still a sense of hope shining out from the fog.

The One Thing More from The One Thing More from

Elisabeth Luard Family Life

An autobiographical account of her life bringing up her four children between London and Andalusia in the Sixties and Seventies. Passionate about food she weaves family and local recipes into her stories. This is my third or fourth time of reading – I love her pragmatic approach and resourcefulness, acquiring a donkey transport when they can’t afford a car in Spain, deciding to spend a year in France so the children will be trilingual before returning to English schools and finishing with the poignant story of one daughter’s early death in her twenties. I admire her both as a food writer and indomitable mother.

Family Life from Family Life from