Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, March 11, 2019

A little literary haul that makes my TBR larger than before

I mentioned the other week that I was struggling with a late winter cold and am pleased to report that brief illness was,indeed, brief. Part of my motivation for getting better was being well enough to make a library run(I had at least three books to return!) and that paid off quite nicely.

My plans for seeking a new library read were pretty open ended but I was curious to see if a certain mystery series that I had just heard about was on their shelves.

Author Ellie Alexander( she writes the Bakeshop Mysteries,among other cozy mystery series) has a YouTube channel that I check out regularly and in her latest " 5 Things Friday" video, she talked about what was on her To Be Read pile. One of those books was part of the Kate Shackleton series by Frances Brody(aka Frances McNeil) and as it happens, A Death in the Dales was right there as if it was waiting for me.

Kate Shackleton is a detective in post WWI England and in this tale, she is taking her niece Harriet to a country house in Yorkshire as part of the young girl's recovery from a recent bout of illness. The house belongs to Lucien Simonson, a doctor who grew up in those parts and who happens to be Kate's suitor.

Lucien inherited the place from his late aunt and during their visit, Kate finds herself being consulted by one of the locals regarding a mystery that his Aunt Freda was involved in many years ago. She witnessed a murder from her window and swore that the man convicted of the crime was innocent but to no avail. That's not the only situation that Kate gets involved in, with a new friend of Harriet's disappearing and a few other secrets and lies cropping up among her new acquaintances.

As I'm a fan of Rhys Bowen's Her Royal Spyness books, this felt like a similar cup of tea that I would enjoy and so far, that has proven to be the case. This title is number seven in the series but it's not too hard to get into the swing of it and I might look for a couple of the earlier entries in the near future. Much thanks to Ellie Alexander for making this delightful introduction to a brand new author(for me at any rate!):

I paired that with Meg Wolitzer's The Female Persuasion, which seemed like a good change of pace read. I've tried to read her before(The Interestings) and while her writing style is great, my momentum for the work faded too fast.

However, sometimes it's just a matter of finding the right book and perhaps this one may be the key to unlocking her words for me. The leading lady of the novel is Greer, a young college student who's looking for guidance at a school that wasn't her first choice in higher education.

When dynamic feminist speaker Faith Frank arrives to make a speech, Greer finds herself speaking up during the Q and A portion, revealing a disturbing frat house party incident that the college gave a less than helpful response to her about. That encounter with Faith leads Greer to work for her new mentor in her post graduate years,feeling as if she's on the right path to where she wants to be in life.

However, things may not be that clear cut as time goes by and Greer winds up having to reconsider her goals, both personal and professional. This story has a very finger-on-the-pulse vibe to our current state of affairs that should be worth exploring and I hope, leads me to reading more of her books(not to mention trying The Interestings again):

In addition to that bookish trip, I received a couple of review copies of upcoming novels in the mail. The first one was The Binding by Bridget Collins, set in a Victorian era type of realm. Emmet , a farmer's son, has suffered from a recent illness that makes him no longer fit for working the land but strangely suited to a mysterious calling.

He is apprenticed to Seredith, a bookbinder whose volumes do not contain works written by any sort of mortal being. What her trade consists of is erasing painful memories from people willing to pay for such a privilege and placing those unwanted remembrances in specially made books.

When Seredith's collection becomes the property of an unscrupulous relative,willing to use these potentially dangerous books for his own selfish ends, Emmet has to make a choice that could affect both his past and his future. This April release does sound intriguing, a Dickensian version of The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind with a dash of Harry Potter tossed in for fabulous fictional flavor:

The other title that appeared on my doorstep also has a blend of genres within it's fictional stew. The Confessions of Frannie Langston by Sara Collins is a debut historical fiction with elements of gothic story telling in the manner of the sisters Bronte.

The novel takes place in London of 1826, where Frannie is accused of murdering her current master George Benham and his wife Marguerite, having been "gifted" to them by former West Jamaican plantation owner John Langton.

She was born into slavery and used by John as a sexual servant and scribe of his twisted racial experiments upon those bound to his estate. George shares a similar interest in this so-called "science", which furthers Frannie's despair at her lot in life.

However, she forms a bond with Marguerite, who covers her own misery with daily does of laudanum. Is Frannie truly a killer or just an easy choice for prosecution? Can she save her own life by telling the full story of her experiences or will her tale of woe be fatally underappreciated? I am most curious to find out and so should many other of my fellow readers when this engaging novel appears everywhere this May:

Truly my literary cup is overflowing and so is my TBR, which has several sets of piles(I am so not kidding about that) and while I do manage to whittle down some space via local thrift shop donations,the books just keep on showing up.

Granted, I do some of this to myself by buying books the way some folks buy shoes or clothes but it's a hard habit to break as the song says! My library visits do offset this a bit yet I should be careful or my TBR will become a serious toppling threat to my literary safety, I suspect:

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