Wednesday 2 September 2020

Books read in August

Happy September, how lovely that it's here and autumn is on the horizon. Being kept busy in the garden at the moment, tomatoes and raspberries are particulary prolific. It means I'm not able to spend as much time online blogging and visiting blogs, hopefully that will ease off a bit soon. It'll have to, the freezer's full!

So, August was quite a good reading month for me, I'm just not sure where the month went! (Or the first eight months of the year come to that.) Nine books read and these are they:

54. Atlantic - Simon Winchester

55. An Air that Kills - Andrew Taylor

56. A Watery Grave - Joan Bluett

57. The Moonstone - Wilkie Collins

58. Gallow's Court - Martin Edwards

59. Virgin River Robyn Carr

60. Coastlines - Patrick Barkham. The National Trust currently owns 742 miles of the coastline of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The author of this book sets out to walk and explore just some of these sites, including The Undercliffs at Lyme Regis, The Goodwin Sands, Orford Ness, Lundy and more. Well written, informative, interesting.

61. The Somerset Tsunami - Emma Carroll

It's 1616 and thirteen year old Fortune Sharpe lives in a village at the foot of the Mendips in Somerset. Her village is inhabited by women apart from Fortune's brother, Jem. It's the time of the witch trials and greedy local landowners are casting covetous eyes on the land owned by the women, if they accuse them of being witches this land could be theirs. Badly frightened, Fortune's mother sends her away into service, dressed as a boy. She ends up at Berrow Hall looking after two children of a similar age to herself, and a toddler, and quickly strikes up a friendship with them all. The only problem is, their father is a witch hunter. I should say that this young adult novel is aimed at children of about 10 to 14. I think they would love it as it's full of adventure and quite scary in places with the witch finders and then the tsunami, which I gather did actually happen in 1607, 2,000 people died. I had no idea about that. Emma Carroll is apparently a very popular writer of children's historical novels and I can see why, if I come across any more of her books I will grab them as this was very enjoyable.

62. Miraculous Mysteries edited by Martin Edwards. An excellent anthology of 'impossible' murder mysteries by authors such as G.K. Chesterton, Sax Rohmer, Sapper, Dorothy L. Sayers (The Haunted Policeman, one of favourites of her short stories), Michael Innes, Ednund Crispin. My favourite story was The Villa Marie Celeste by Margery Allingham, an absolutely ingenious little Albert Campion story... it's high time I read some of her full-length novels about him.

So, a favourite book of August? Well, it would probably be this:

I was genuinely surprised at how much I loved The Moonstone. Just could not put it down, pretty much from the beginning. But there were several other splendid books last month too, Atlantic by Simon Winchester, A Watery Grave by Joan Bluett, Virgin River by Robyn Carr etc. To be honest it was a very good reading month all told.



DesLily said...

Oh my... I've only read one of those books! And of course it's Wilkie Collins, Moonstone. Unfortunately I haven't read at all for a week now...could be nerves but the stomach has felt sick .. I'll get back eventually!!

Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

You mention the National Trust coastline in relation to one of your books read in August - Have you been watching the 'George Clarke's National Trust Unlocked' series? I am enjoying seeing the gardens and properties empty of crowds, as you get a different perspective on the spaces, however they are getting to be a bit like a NT commercial!

I am still a bit in two minds about the Andrew Taylor book, especially as you only awarded it 3 stars, although I know I shouldn't let that influence my decision too much.

Martin Edwards is an author whose work I follow and as 'Gallow's Court' is the first in a new series, I really shall have to give this one a try.

Once again you had a great mix of books, thanks for sharing and happy September reading :)

Yvonne xx

Lark said...

I'm like you, I don't know where August went either, or how it's already September. I think part of me is still back in March when the world shut down. At least you got a lot of good books read last month. I really liked The Moonstone, too. Although The Woman in White is still my favorite Wilkie Collins. :)

Judith said...

Hi Cath,
The Somerset Tsunami set in the 1600s sounds like it is perfectly made for me. I will try to get it, and I'd love to explore the author more as well. So glad you reported on this one!
And I must read The Moonstone. I keep adding it to my ever-expanding list. I'm into lots of nature reads now, not to mention all of the comfort reads that are so soothing for the present time, but probably not nutritious in the long haul. At this point, I'm past caring. Whatever will soothe, there willeth I go.
Considering how busy you've been with your garden, I think you've done tremendously well for August. Mmm...raspberries and tomatoes. Wish I lived 'round the corner!

Margaret @ BooksPlease said...

I loved The Moonstone too. It was the first of his books that I read and I was surprised at how easy it was to read. I knew the story as I remembered watching a TV adaptation years ago and the images of the Indians, the jewel, the shifting sands and Sergeant Cuff had remained in my mind ever since.

The Somerset Tsunami sounds tempting and Coastlines too.

Cath said...

Pat: You take care, I hope your procedure goes ok today.

Yvonne: Yes, I've been watching the George Clarke NT doc. series and really enjoying it. He was in Dunster in this week's episode which is close to where we used to live in Minehead.

The Andrew Taylor book was very well written but it just didn't do it for me, it might be different for you.

Thanks! Enjoy your September reading too.

Lark: I think part of me is still back in March too. We put petrol in our car today, for the first time since then. Unbelievable. I thank goodness for books, I really do. Planning to read more Wilkie Collins soon!

Judith: My daughter lent me The Somerset Tsunami. She and another teacher's assistant at their school have been reading Emma Carroll's output so that they can rec them to the children. Both of them have been very impressed with her books.

Nature books have a way of soothing and I see nothing wrong with that at any time let alone now. They seem to be popular these days and a lot of new authors have come along recently. I wish you lived around the corner too, not only would you get tomatoes and raspberries, you'd get 'books'!

Margaret: That was what surprised me about The Moonstone... how easy it was to read. Yes, I remember that TV adaptation but I don't think I saw the whole thing, I do remember the Indians and the jewel though.

TracyK said...

Cath, two of these books appeal the most... The Moonstone and Gallows Court. Moonstone will have to wait a while but I hope to get to Gallows Court soon. Coastlines sounds good also but I have the book about the river in Canada to get to first. Can't remember the title and can't look it up right now.

TracyK said...

I found it: Lost Lands, Forgotten Stories : A Woman's Journey to the Heart of Labrador.

Cath said...

Tracy: Yes, The Moonstone and Gallow's Court were both good, looking forward to reading the sequel, Mortmain Hall.

Yes, 'Lost Lands, Forgotten Voices', I can never remember the title either and have to keep looking it up. Before I put it onto Goodreads under 'Canada' I had a heck of a search through my previous book diaries to find the title and author. I have another book about Labrador by the way, Through Trackless Labrador by G.M. Gathorne-Hardy about an explorer, Hesketh Hesketh-Pritchard. One of those ancient downloads on Amazon, no date on the book but he died in 1922 so I'm guessing the trip was in the late 1800s.

Rosemary said...

Hi Cath - well done on reading all those books while doing all that gardening/preserving!

Like many others, the only one I've read is The Moonstone, which I liked. I noticed you mentioned a book called Mortmain Hall - I have just been doing my first Six Degrees of Separation, and one of my books was I Capture the Castle, which got me wondering as to whether there was any significance in Dodie Smith's use of that name. I looked it up but couldn't see any relation between its meaning and the story - maybe I'm missing something though.

And I'm interested in your mention of Labrador. We lived for a winter in Newfoundland, which is part of one province with Labrador (though no-one really knows why). A friend we knew there who had worked in Labrador described the snowstorms they had - they had to tie ropes between their houses as otherwise they would literally get lost just going round to the neighbours (and it's not good to be outside for long in that weather without the right protection) - and this was in the 1980s not the 1880s!


Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

We had to trek up to Dunster last weekend, as we have a Treasure Trail around the town and someone had reported a problem with it. We generally end up by visiting at least once a year and would usually tie it in with a visit to the Minehead and Watchet trails. However we arrived in Dunster at the crack of dawn after a two hour drive and by mid morning it was getting crazily busy, so we did what was needed there and then headed straight home. That's the problem with Somerset being such a large sprawling county, with Frome being right in one corner on the Wiltshire border! :)

Cath said...

Rosemary: Preserving is going well, 15lbs of apple and tomato chutney made on Sunday, masses of ratatouille made for the freezer yesterday. Having a break today!

Well Mortmain is a slightly unusual name I would have thought so I just wonder if Martin Edwards is a fan of I Capture the Castle? I haven't read Mortmain Hall yet, when I do I might find some other connection and will let you know. Interesting.

I am beside myself with envy that you lived in Newfoundland for a winter. Seriously... and I know some people would think that was a bit odd. I would 'love' to go. The closest I've managed is when we flew over it in 2006 and it was so clear I could look down and see the landscape, I was in seventh heaven. And what a wonderful story about Labrador!

Yvonne: You wouldn't believe, would you, that it could take two hours to get from one end of Somerset to the other. But I know it does, especially as the roads up to that part of Somerset, are none of them very good unless you're just out for pretty drive. We take the valley road from Tiverton to Minehead and it never takes less than 50 mins. The Taunton to Minehaed road's a bit better, 40 mins, but we avoided the Bridgewater to Minehead road like the plague when coming back from somewhere as it is 'endless'. We find it much more convenient living in Tiverton, not as scenic perhaps, but we can be on the motorway and away in 10 mins and we like that.