Early last week, I read The Restoration of Emily by Kim Moritsugu and blogged about it here. I just realised that this book is eligible for The Canadian Book Challenge so that’s one down, twelve to go!
I alsoI read The Irresistible Henry House by Lisa Grunwald which is a simply wonderful, magical book. It tells the coming of age story of Henry, a boy who starts off life as a “practice baby”, an orphan who is given over temporarily to a university Domestic Science department to be cared for by women studying to become, well, domestic scientists, or more likely, homemakers. Grunwald read about such babies in some archives at Cornell and her novel suggests what the impact might have been on such children who, rather than forming a primary attachment to one or two caregivers, has a stream of women caring for him. The novel follows Henry into adulthood and suggests that his special way with women is a direct result of this early life. While all is not wonderful in the tale, it interweaves popular culture in the sixties (when he works at Disney and in London on a Beatles movie) in a remarkable way. Highly recommended.
On the weekend, I read Split Image, the latest (and last) novel by the late Robert B. Parker. It’s from his Jesse Stone series, and while I’ve been a fan of his fast-paced novels for years, I found this to be choppy, with very short sentences and rather unrealistic dialogue. On the plus side, he brings Sunny Randall, another one of his protagonists, into this book which makes for an interesting side-plot.
Yesterday I started Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand which has been on my library hold list forever. It’s a first novel by Helen Simonson and, like the Grunwald book above, it’s one of those pleasures that you want to extend for as long as possible. I’m only a third of the way in, but it concerns a widowed Englishman, Major Pettigrew, and his burgeoning friendship with a local shopkeeper, Mrs. Ali, who is a very-well read woman of Pakistani origin.
Next up will be Tracy Chevalier’s Remarkable Creatures. Chevalier’s previous works really got me excited about historical novels, a genre that I had stayed away from in the past. So I’m looking forward to this novel set in 19th century England, about a pioneering fossil collector.
Oh, and I’m following Terry Fallis’ podcast version of The High Road, described in more detail here. I restarted it on the weekend so that Z could listen to it with me, so it now falls within The Canadian Book Challenge criteria as well!