Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, January 07, 2019

My first Library Haul and Book Buy of 2019

As this was the first weekend of the new year, I decided to celebrate by making my first library visit of 2019.

There were books that needed to be returned(as well as a couple that were renewed) and yes, I have plenty to read at the moment but it never hurts to take a look around to see what's new , or new to me at least, on the shelves.

My destiny was sealed as the first and second mystery novels in a brand new series were available. The Mitford Murders is the fictional debut of author Jessica Fellowes, best known for several behind the scenes books about Downton Abbey.

The story is set in 1920, as young Louisa Cannon seeks a better life away from London,along with a means of escape from her corrupt uncle Stephen, by taking a position as a nanny to the countryside Mitford family. While fleeing from the criminal scheme that her uncle was forcing her upon, Louisa happened to be on the train the same day as the vicious murder of Florence Nightingale Shore took place further down the line.

Eldest daughter Nancy is keenly interested in Florence's death and manages to drag a reluctant Louisa into an investigation, one that comes close to being a real threat to both their lives. As much as she wishes to avoid any connection to her past, Louisa can't be but hope to run into Guy, the friendly railway policeman who helped her out that fateful day. Will he be able to lend his assistance to solving this case before things get truly out of hand?

The follow-up to this is Bright Young Dead, where Nancy and Louisa team up again with Guy in London of 1925 so that they can track down a ring of female criminals known as the Forty Thieves.

Louisa is able to make contact with a former member of the gang, a maid named Dulcie but the price of that acquaintanceship proves to be rather high and deadly for one unfortunate soul.

I've already started reading The Mitford Murders and the writing is lively and crisp, with a good blend of Upstairs,Downstairs characterization combined with the heartfelt drama of a good Downton Abbey episode.

 Fellowes gives the reader a great deal of invested interest in Louisa and Guy as they go forth on their separate but soon to be mutual paths that are enhanced by such real life figures as the Mitford sisters(yes, that Nancy!) and with revived interest in Downton Abbey,thanks to the upcoming film later this year, I suspect that I was blessed by the good book fairy to find this delightful pair indeed:

Apparently, the good book fairy found me worthy of a double tap from her tasseled bookmark(what else would such an enchanted entity use as a magic wand, after all?) as the two books that I had ordered from an after-holiday sale online arrived in the mail that day.

Josie Silver's One Day in December follows the long term romantic pursuit of  Laurie and Jack, two London strangers that happened to catch each other's eye during a bus ride yet fail to connect right away.

Through various means, Laurie hopes to find him but tends to just miss that special moment to meet Jack, with one of her best friends happening to find him first and have her own relationship with him. Over time, it seems that these two are never going to be a couple yet fate may have something to say about that......

This book sounds like a great Nora Ephron movie set in England, which would be nice to curl up with and on top of that, it's a Reese Witherspoon book club pick(I'm really enjoying her taste in books there).  A sweet bookish sundae like this ought to be a tasty read even in the cold weather days to come:

Speaking of England, The Gown by Jennifer Robson is subtitled "a novel of the Royal Wedding", the wedding in this case being of future queen Elizabeth II to  future Prince Phillip.

The narrative of the story is centered on the women who worked hard to make that fabled wedding dress ready, as modern day Heather seeks to find out where her recently deceased grandmother Ann got a set of pearl encrusted embroidered flowers from to leave as her legacy.

Turns out that Ann was one of the many seamstresses at Hartnell House, the top fashion designer in the country who specialized in dresses fit for royalty and the upper class. Ann befriends one of her fellow workers, Miriam,a refugee from the terrors of occupied Paris, and they even become roommates as well.

While able to find love on their own, Ann and Miriam must join forces to prevent industrial spies from learning of the intended design of the regal wedding dress to prevent any knock off versions from spoiling the big day, which is a much needed moral boost for the post-WWII nation still in recovery and knee deep in rations.

Granted, I'm not a major Royal Family watcher but the time period is interesting and perhaps this book can get me to finish watching the second season of The Crown,particularly before the new one without Claire Foy begins. Of course, such a novel will have plenty of it's own merits to enjoy and looking at such a historical occasion from a mostly unseen viewpoint promises to be memorably page turning:

So far, this year has gotten off to a good reading start and my Winter's Respite readathon is going along smoothly as well. One of the best things about this time of year, I hate to say, is being able to focus more on books that I want for me, myself and I.

 As much as I do like buying books for others, it was distracting to see so many wonderful books that I desired for my own pleasure. Perhaps the good book fairy will bless me with patience and literary concern toward those readers in my life that are in need of engaging reads in order to reward me with more opportunities to find great bookish delights for myself in the months to come-we shall see!:

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