My recent library visit lead me to select a pair of novels that feature the love of reading and writing,which I was definitely in the mood for after completing Veronica Henry's How to Find Love in a Bookshop(which was truly a stay up all night book for me!).
First up was a new release; The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers(and their Muses) by Terri-Lynne DeFino. Set in the year 1999, the title establishment was created by a pair of infamous authors setting up a future place for themselves along with their literary contemporaries to live out the remainder of their days in comfort.
One of those writers, Alfonse Carducci, has now arrived to take up residence,due to ill health which doesn't trouble him as much as the case of writer's block that is currently plaguing him. In addition to meeting old friends and rivals such as the still fiery Olivia Peppernell and Raymond Switcher, Alfonse also strikes up a new relationship with one of the staff, a young woman with a scarred face and powerful love for his work.
Cecibel Bringer has been an orderly at the Bar Harbor Home for several years, taking comfort in her work yet unable to fully recover from the accident that left more than one mark on her life. Her growing bond with Alfonse may help to break Cecibel out of her self imposed shell but will this connection ultimately be good for the both of them?
I've already started reading this and so far, it's very good indeed. The writing is crisp and keen, like biting into a freshly picked fall apple. DeFino's depiction of this aging group of artists is quite charming without being cloying and I look forward to becoming better acquainted with them all:
A.J. is a widowed bookseller, whose loneliness leads to excessive drinking and the slow financial ruin of his business. That sad decline of his is fortunately interrupted by a bizarre exchange as a valuable manuscript disappears from the shop while a young girl is left by chance to Fikry's care.
Given a new chance at life(plus a possible new romance with a book rep), Fikry regains his sense of purpose and revives the spirits of those around him. This plot line does remind me of George Eliot's Silas Marner, a book that I did enjoy(and no, it wasn't a school assigned read) and seeing someone take a modern day approach to this classic work sounds good to me:
Picasso is staying at a house near the cafe that Ondine's family runs and she is charged with bringing the great artist his lunch on a daily basis. She's also sworn to secrecy about reveling his presence in their remote seaside town as he's avoiding both his angry wife and current mistress in Paris.
Ondine is getting over a heartbreak as well yet can not resist the persistent charms of Picasso, who wants her to cook for him more often and to have her as a model for a painting as well. Decades late, Ondine's granddaughter Celine learns of the painting from her much put upon mother and determined to free her parent from the control of a pair of step siblings, searches for that lost art in order to reclaim an inheritance more valuable than money.
The book has a slow and steady pace that lulls you into reading more and more but not too quickly. The word portraits that Aubray has painted on the pages are the type that bear close scrutiny , a true leisurely excursion of entertainment. By giving myself a reading extension here, my voyage with the rest of this simmering stew of a story should be a fulfilling one indeed.
Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding is the twelfth novel in author Rhys Bowen's Her Royal Spyness series that has a lively heroine with regal connections yet little fortune. Granted, I haven't read the earlier books but this seems to be the kind of story that allows you to catch up to the important details of the characters while enjoying the unraveling plot points.
Lady Georgianna Rannoch is the 35th in line for the British throne, a place she is happy to give up in order to marry her beloved Darcy O'Mara, an Irish man with a government position that often allows Georgie to use her detective skills to help save the day. Being offered the use of her godfather's estate for the wedding, she is delighted to accept, having pleasant memories of the place and staff.
Once Georgie arrives, however, it appears that the affection is not mutual. The new members of the staff are less than impressed with her and after a couple of near deadly incidents, it looks as if something sinister is afoot and that Georgie may have more to worry about than getting her bridal gown ready on time. This sounds like good old fashioned fun and I'm happy to see what trouble this delightfully spirited lady sleuth is going to get into:
A pile of books may not seem like much of a vacation but when you think about it, it's almost perfect. You don't have to worry about packing up your things, hitting the road on time or dealing with unexpected delays. A good book doesn't require you to buy a new bathing suit, sandals or even to get dressed for the occasion(you probably should get dressed,anyway, as a general rule).
With the excessive hot weather, not to mention excessive stress from the news just about every day, taking a mental break is vitally important. Yes, going out into the real world, if you can, is good as well but if your resources are limited, your reading doesn't have to be: