Joanna here with a round up of the great reads that got us through a blustery cold February.
My own wonderful read was Deborah Harkness' A Discovery of Witches, Book One in the All Soul's Trilogy. The elements of this story — withces and vampires living among us, ancient manuscripts, conspiracies, ancient secrets — are familiar. They seem almost hackneyed. What lifts this book above the ordinary is Harkness' beautiful writing.
And … well … the first book of the trilogy is set mostly in Oxford. I'm a sucker for Oxford.
I've already acquired Book Two in the trilogy, Shadow of Night, and look forward to settling down in a comfy chair with it. Maybe when we get this next wave of snow that's coming in.
I’m very interested in the Edwardian era, so when I read the great reviews for The Heir Apparent, Jane Ridley’s new biography of “Bertie,” King Edward VII, I immediately grabbed it.
It’s an absolutely fascinating read. Ridley had access to extensive Royal archives and private family correspondence—and the picture painted of Queen Victoria, Albert and their extensive brood and relatives is . . .well, I’m not quite sure of the adjective to use. Chilling might be one of them. Talk about a dysfunctional family! It’s a wonder poor Bertie wasn’t committed to Bedlam. He actually comes off as a very sympathetic character, far brighter and more interested in the welfare of his country than he is given credit for.
On the other hand, the Queen and her consort come across as cold, manipulative people who had absolutely no emotional interest in their children. It also gives a wonderful look at the social whirl of the Victorian age, with descriptions of the house parties, the foreign travel, the royalty of Europe. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in the time period.