Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, August 07, 2017

Winding down my summer reading with a book haul or two

After coming off such a wild literary ride as the High Summer Readathon the other week, the pace of my regular reading has slowed down a tad bit.

 Don't get me wrong, I'm not abstaining from my books yet my page turning activity is more focused on finishing one book(for my Series-ous Reading challenge, on which I will be updating later on this week) than my usual spreading the wealth approach via reading several books at once.

To keep those bookish juices flowing, I made a little trip to the library and picked up a couple of titles that were published years apart yet just feel right together. The most recent one is Mr. Rochester by Sarah Shoemaker and yes, it is about that Mr. Rochester, the dark,brooding leading man of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre.

The story follows Edward Rochester from his childhood days, coldly ignored by his father and older brother Rowland, to his journey to Jamaica to earn his fortune and eventually back to England with an emotionally altered wife in tow until he meets a certain governess. So far, the story is rather engaging and feels as if it could have been written as a stand alone novel inspired by Bronte instead of a companion piece to the original book.

Shoemaker does have the right tone for the time period and while I am still in the early chapters of the book, her words are painting quite the sensitive portrait of such a classically conflicted character that I truly want to stay on to see the completed painting revealed right to the end:

I paired that with Mistress of My Fate by Hallie Rubenhold, a novel set during the late 18th century in England with a rather crafty heroine.

 Her name is Henrietta Lightfoot, a young woman raised to be a companion to her more well-off cousin Catherine and destined to be a poor relation/servant for the rest of her life. Well, that won't do for our girl as she schemes and seduces her way into a far better and more advantageous position than her family ever dreamed of.

This is meant to be the first of a trilogy and if this turns out to be as entertaining as it seems, I may have to see if the other books are readily available. From what I have seen from a casual glimpse through these pages, this story feels like the kind of old school fare that Jane Austen might have read in secret and smirked with joy through every chapter:

I also received a couple of books in the mail, one of which will be arriving at bookstores this week. Lisa Beazley's Keep Me Posted follows the correspondence of two sisters, Cassie and Sid, who are leading very domestic lives in separate countries.

While they both do have internet access, Sid is reluctant to share her personal thoughts even in an e-mail, so Cassie agrees to the letter writing scheme in order to stay in touch. Over time,however, Cassie misses being a working woman and decides to liven up her at-home mom life by keeping a blog, it's contents made up of scanned letters to and from her sister.

The blog was supposed to be private but a wrong click makes it very public and puts a serious strain on this sisterly bond.  Sounds like a good heartfelt story of love and (hopefully) forgiveness that should make for a lovely late summer read to me.

Speaking of lovely, I was happy to get a hold of The Little French Bistro by Nina George, whose previous book, The Little Paris Bookshop, was such a charmer. Our leading lady is Marianne, a German woman in Paris who flees her lackluster marriage via a rather drastic ruse.

She makes her way to the coastal county of Brittany, finding sanctuary in the small town of Kerdruc where the kitchen of the local bistro welcomes her, along with it's love stricken head chef.

Taking the chance to refresh her outlook on life, Marianne finds pleasure in the simplest things such as the taste of newly caught seafood and  is able to consider what she truly wants for her future. A book like this feels like a real vacation, right down to the exquisite flavors of the food to the emotional awakenings that give each character much to savor in their souls:

Well, it does make sense to feel a little slowed down around this time of year as the last few weeks of summer do tend to make leisure time a much cherished item to cling to. All too soon, back to school shopping has already begun and a whole new batch of books and movies suited to the cooling days of fall will be upon us.

The magic of summer is somewhat dependent on taking that break from the everyday,which any good book can do all year long. Yet, like turning that last page, facing the regular grind of reality after a good recess can make you a bit off kilter there. Luckily, we always have a few good books on hand to help us ease back into things, although some may be harder to adjust from than others:

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