12 June 2017

Book Reviews #1

I've been reading up a storm lately, a combination of lots of rainy weekends and the privilege of a local library. I've definitely taken a turn away from my usual crime books and I've been dipping my toes into fiction around the war and family dynamics. Always with a bit of mystery of course.

The Distant Hours
Kate Morton

A long lost letter arrives in the post and Edie Burchill finds herself on a journey to Milderhurst Castle, a great but moldering old house, where the Blythe spinsters live and where her mother was billeted 50 years before as a 13 year old child during WWII. The elder Blythe sisters are twins and have spent most of their lives looking after the third and youngest sister, Juniper, who hasn’t been the same since her fiance jilted her in 1941. 

Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother’s past. But there are other secrets hidden in the stones of Milderhurst, and Edie is about to learn more than she expected. The truth of what happened in ‘the distant hours’ of the past has been waiting a long time for someone to find it. 

Morton once again enthralls readers with an atmospheric story featuring unforgettable characters beset by love and circumstance and haunted by memory, that reminds us of the rich power of storytelling.

Chosen on a whim in the library because lately I have been drawn to novels set in the war. This charming book is full of personality and I couldn't wait to pick it up each evening. Set over 50 years, it dips in and out of present day and when the sisters were young. The castle is enchanting and a little creepy, the perfect backdrop for this novel which is packed with joy, sadness and mystery. Definitely the best book I have read so far this year!


The Lake of Dreams
Kim Edwards

Lucy Jarrett is at a crossroads in her life, still haunted by her father's unresolved death a decade earlier. She returns to her hometown in Upstate New York, The Lake of Dreams, and, late one night, she cracks the lock of a window seat and discovers a collection of objects. They appear to be idle curiosities, but soon Lucy realizes that she has stumbled across a dark secret from her family's past, one that will radically change her—and the future of her family—forever.

Another mystery which was not altogether unexpected but another book I devoured in a matter of days. I could really relate to Lucy's displacement with her family and sometimes feeling like an outsider, especially as the rest of her family stayed in the same place whilst she moved away. It was an interesting novel full of family dynamics, the need to move on but being tied to the past in a way that can't quite be explained. Whilst I did find the book to be a quick read I just couldn't get invested in most of the characters and did find Lucy a little self indulgent at times.


Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, and Everything in Between
Lauren Graham

In this collection of personal essays, the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood reveals stories about life, love, and working as a woman in Hollywood—along with behind-the-scenes dispatches from the set of the new Gilmore Girls, where she plays the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore once again.

In Talking as Fast as I Can, Lauren Graham hits pause for a moment and looks back on her life, sharing laugh-out-loud stories about growing up, starting out as an actress, and, years later, sitting in her trailer on the Parenthood set and asking herself, “Did you, um, make it?” She opens up about the challenges of being single in Hollywood (“Strangers were worried about me; that’s how long I was single!”), the time she was asked to audition her butt for a role, and her experience being a judge on Project Runway (“It’s like I had a fashion-induced blackout”).

In “What It Was Like, Part One,” Graham sits down for an epic Gilmore Girls marathon and reflects on being cast as the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore. The essay “What It Was Like, Part Two” reveals how it felt to pick up the role again nine years later, and what doing so has meant to her.

Some more things you will learn about Lauren: She once tried to go vegan just to bond with Ellen DeGeneres, she’s aware that meeting guys at awards shows has its pitfalls (“If you’re meeting someone for the first time after three hours of hair, makeup, and styling, you’ve already set the bar too high”), and she’s a card-carrying REI shopper (“My bungee cords now earn points!”).

Including photos and excerpts from the diary Graham kept during the filming of the recent Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, this book is like a cozy night in, catching up with your best friend, laughing and swapping stories, and—of course—talking as fast as you can.

Written by my favourite Gilmore, this book was a gem! Whilst I didn't really enjoy the 4 new episodes, I was really interested in how they came to be and the process that Lauren and the team went through each season. Filled with anecdotes and hilarity, Lauren writes how she speaks and it's like listening to a friend. Such a wonderful way to wile away the weekend, it feels like chicken soup! 


What have you been reading recently? Do share in the comments below or on Twitter, I'm always looking to add to my TBR pile!


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