What We’re Reading in June

The Word Wenches have been reading the most lovely books.

Mary Jo's recommendations for this month include one of my own old favorites.

Mary Jo:

WwTheIvyTreeI've read some new books this last month, but the only stories that really grabbed me were two oldies.  The first was Mary Stewart's The Ivy TreeWe've discussed Mary Stewart here before–the Wenches are major fans and she shaped the writing for several of us, me included.

The Ivy Tree was the first Mary Stewart I ever read, in a condensed version in my mother's Ladies Home Journal.  I was riveted, and the big story twist was like being clubbed. (I'm harder to surprise now, but it's still one heck of a twist. <G>) 

Stewart is marvelous in her descriptions of story settings, and she makes a Northumberland summer come alive with sensual warmth.  Good suspense and romance, too.  (A lot of smoking goes on, as in most of Stewart's books, a sign of the changing times.)  It's still a wonderful story. 

My other favorite book is Sarah-Kate Lynch's The Wedding Bees, which I learned WwWedding Beesabout on an earlier WWR.  I think it was recommended by Anne Gracie and Pat Rice.  I was a little wary, not being over fond of stinging insects, but within a couple of chapters, I was hooked.  It's kind of magical realism with the heroine, Sugar Wallace, exiled from her beloved Southern home and each year moving herself and her bees to a new city chosen by her queen bee, one of a succession of Elizabeths.  (The current queen is Elizabeth the 6th.)

This time she's led to New York City in an apartment with a great views, a terrace for her bees, and a half dozen other units in the building occupied by miserable people.  Sugar is a healer with both her honey and her warmth, and by the end of the book, everyone in the building is happy, and they and her bees have healed her into happiness and love. A delightful story.


Susan brings us a most interesting mystery series and a rather famous book about writing itself.

WwdyingfallSusan:  This round, I read something new to me and something much-read (I won't mention the stack of to-be-reads, half-reads, meant-to-finishes, and forgot-I-hads that I didn't get through!). I'm leisurely making my way through Elly Griffiths' Ruth Galloway mystery series, picking one up now and then, and Dying Fall was a very good point in the series, about halfway through so far. Archaeologist and forensic bone specialist Dr. Ruth Galloway–single mom to a toddler she shares with Nelson, a local detective chief inspector–is drawn into a major archaeological discovery by an old friend who is soon murdered.

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What We’re Reading in February

Hi Folks. 

Joanna here with a round up of the great reads that got us through a blustery cold February.

Wenches discovery witchesMy 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. 

Cara/Andrea saying:Wenches heir apparent

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.


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