What do we do, my friends, when, much earlier than we could possibly have hoped, the sun shines warm on our faces, we can walk with our light jackets tied around our waists, and the snow mounds in the fields seem to be shrivelling before our eyes?

I’ll tell you what we do. Or what I do anyway. On my walk, I revel in the feel of early spring: the warmth of the sun, the sound of the water trickling under the ice in the roadside ditches, the squish of mud under my feet. I return the cheery greetings of other walkers I meet who also have their jackets tied around their waists. And then I hustle home to make a cup of tea to enjoy on the deck out of the wind with my book. That’s what.

What better way is there to enjoy spring than a lovely brisk walk followed by tea and a book? Sunny spring days and books go together like, well, like snowy winter days and books. Or cold rainy fall days and books. I mean, I ask you, is there a bad day to read a good book? I don’t think so.

The snow is receding in these fields.

Life has slowed down for Hubby and me in the past couple of weeks. We’ve been in a bit of a lull: walking and reading, reading and walking. Hubby has been out on his bike a few times. He misses skiing like crazy and walking doesn’t do it for him like it does for me. Then we discuss what’s for dinner, make dinner, savour dinner, watch an episode of Escape to the Country on TV, and pull out our books again. I’ve had lunch with a friend, dinner with another friend, and met a third friend for coffee. But mostly it’s just been Hubby and me. And I’ve enjoyed the solitude. Such a quiet life isn’t what I imagined retirement would be like, but I find myself quite content.

One lone patch of snow left in this field.

So what have I been reading in my early spring lull? I thought you’d never ask.

First, I finally, finally read Helen Humphreys’ wonderful novel The Evening Chorus. It’s a beautifully written book. Humphreys’ style has always appealed to me. Her book The Lost Garden has long been one of my favourite novels. Like The Lost Garden, The Evening Chorus takes place during World War II. Both books are about love and war, and the, perhaps, unconventional or unexpected paths love can take.

Humphreys sets part of The Evening Chorus in a prisoner of war camp in Germany where, in order to keep himself occupied and sane during his confinement, James Hunter begins to study the birds who live on the other side of the wire. The rest of the novel is set in rural Somerset where James’ wife Rose and his sister Enid confront their own wartime struggles. Humphreys deals with the ideas of friendship and love, all kinds of love, as well as cruelty, loss, and redemption. But she does so in such a restrained way that the fear and pain and grief which the novel relates are easier to read about, and at the same time more compelling, than they might be if they were rendered with more emotion and violence.

Like all of Humphreys’ novels The Evening Chorus will stay with me for a long time. And when I’m ready for another quiet and haunting novel, I now have Humphrey’s latest book, Followed By the Lark, a fictional tale of the life of Henry David Thoreau, waiting for me.

As I usually do, I offset a contemplative literary book with more plot-oriented fare. Nothing like a great mystery to change up the pace.

So this week, I sampled the first book in a mystery series written by Swedish writer Maria Adolfsson. Adolfsson is a new writer for me, one recommended by Dottoressa in a previous book post. I purchased and read Fatal Isles, the first in Adolfsson’s Doggerland series. Doggerland is a fictional group of islands in the North Sea, a short ferry ride from England, and with cultural links to Denmark and Sweden. I said that I “sampled” the book when I should say I devoured it. Then I devoured the other two in the series: Wild Shores and Cruel Tides.

I loved all three books. Adolfsson knows how to create a wonderfully atmospheric setting: the beautiful and harsh islands of Doggerland to which main character Detective Inspector Karen Eiken Hornby has returned after life in London. Adolfsson hints at the tragedy Eiken Hornby experienced which sent her back home, but we don’t learn the full extent of the story until the second book.

In Doggerland, life for Karen is gritty, lonely, and sometimes harsh, and yet filled at times with good food and warm friendship. Karen Eiken Hornby is suitably good at her job as a police detective; she is bright and kind, but she’s also tough, conflicted, and haunted by her past. Her fight against the misogyny of conservative Doggerland, especially within the Police Authority, is totally on point for the current political climate, the demise of Roe v Wade in the States, and the rise of the “trad wife” culture on social media. Don’t get me started on that, please.

I highly recommend all three books. I won’t say they are perfect books. Adolfsson tends to rely on similar plot devices to bring each of her stories to its climax. But that might just be me being picky. I will say that I couldn’t put any of them down. I was halfway through the third book on Wednesday when I had to cease and desist in order to get ready for dinner out with a friend. But by eleven o’clock I was back home, propped up in bed with a cup of tea and my book. In fact, around 2:00 a.m. I arose quietly to make more herbal tea and cinnamon raisin toast to sustain me through the last few chapters. Hubby swears he heard me sigh with contentment as I arranged my tea and toast around my reading chair and picked up my book for the final onslaught.

You might find it interesting that while the towns and people of Doggerland as imagined by Maria Adolfsson are fictional, there is a real Doggerland. Or was a real Doggerland. A prehistoric land which existed thousands of years ago before it was subsumed by the North Sea. You can read some of its story in this article.

Geese circle the field where last summer’s corn stalks still stand.

I haven’t only been reading books. To keep me moving on my solitary walks, I’ve also been listening to some wonderful books.

First Lisa Jewell’s thriller None of This is True had me captivated. I loved the plot device Jewell used of alternating straightforward narrative with interviews for the main character’s podcast. And listening to the book seemed so appropriate for this. The plot is told through the eyes of a rather gullible “content creator” and the very unreliable subject she bases her podcast series upon. The story is proof that we can’t trust what we’re told and sometimes even what we see, or think we see, in others.

I also listened to a couple of books by Emma Dakin. These books made me smile… a lot. I love Dakin’s idea of a single woman in her forties who, having come into an unexpected inheritance, quits her job, buys a cottage in an English country village, gets a dog, and sets up a literary tour company. Clair Barclay has never owned her own home, never had a dog, never run her own business. But she does know how to be a tour guide, and her specialist subject is mysteries. So her fledgling business guides her clients around places and landmarks that feature in mystery novels.

Each book has Claire and her clients find a dead body and get wrapped up in a murder investigation. That might be my dream life, people. If I hadn’t met Hubby, that is. Ha. It’s like Escape to the Country with mystery novels, quirky locals, and a mystery to solve. I’m sure I looked like a prize idiot listening to Emma Dakin’s books and smiling broadly to myself as I marched briskly up the highway on my walk. So far I’ve listened to Hazards in Hampshire and Crime in Cornwall.

I’m not sure how these books deserved the bad rap they received on Good Reads. Perhaps the readers/reviewers were expecting more literary fare. Dakin’s novels are pure fluff, albeit fluff that I loved. They are not literature. And they are best enjoyed by mystery lovers. In Hazzards in Hampshire, I particularly liked the part of the plot that dealt with the very real mystery of where Agatha Christie got to when she disappeared for eleven days back in 1926. Most devoted mystery readers are familiar with that episode in Christie’s life, and the fact that the world still doesn’t know the full story. A couple of reviewers thought that part of the novel was “boring” and “unnecessary.” Uh, okay. We’re all entitled to our opinion. But I did think that was a bit harsh.

The last book I want to tell you about is one that I’m listening to right now. The Hunter is the long awaited (by me anyway) sequel to Tana French’s 2020 novel The Searcher. This new series is a departure from French’s Dublin Murder Squad series. The main character is an American ex-police detective who retires to rural Ireland, and who experiences an Ireland that he is not quite ready for. It’s not the peaceful bucolic land populated by kindly locals that he expected. Not quite anyway.

As you may know, Tana French is one of my favourite writers. Her books never disappoint. Her characters, setting description, and writing style never fail me. But because I’ve been writing about reading and writing all day, my own words are beginning to fail me. So I’ll let you read what someone else has to say about French and this newest work. This New York Times review calls it “moody and mesmerizing.” That sounds about right to me. And this Irish Independent review says that French’s latest offering evokes “wild west tensions” even though the novel is set in Ireland.

So, I’ll leave you in Ireland, my friends. Or at least reading about a book set in Ireland.

Spring and books, what could be better eh? Maybe spring warmth and good books? The books are definitely good, but the spring warmth has disappeared today. It’s cold and rainy and even sleet-y at times. Still, rainy cold weather, with a wood fire, roast chicken, a glass of cold white wine… and a good book… that works for me too.

As I write this I can smell the roasting chicken that Hubby put in the oven a couple of hours ago. Yum. The white wine is chilling and, he tells me, the potatoes will be ready for mashing soon. So, since I am the mashed potato queen in our house, I really must go. After dinner we’ll have another episode of Escape to the Country (we are addicted) and finally, with a second glass of wine, we’ll have some quality time in front of the fire with our books.

Sigh. Life may be quiet these days, maybe a bit too quiet at times, but it’s still pretty darned good. Now, if I can find some hot cross buns to have with my tea this week, I’ll be perfectly happy.

P.S. I have an affiliate relationship with Amazon, and the book links in this post are affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase after clicking my link I will earn a small commission which helps to pay for the blog.

P.S. I apologize for providing links to reviews which have a paywall, or even a wall that requires readers to “register for free.” I always try to find reviews that are easy to access, but several of my favourite sources haven’t reviewed Tana French’s The Hunter yet.

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51 thoughts on “Two Weeks in Spring and Books”

  1. Hello Sue
    First time poster here. Now that I am retired I have the time to comment. I too am reading The Hunter and totally enthralled. Will now have to go find her other books to read. I always look forward to what you recommend. Next up is The Killing Field by Kate Ellis. I too love ETTC. I would also recommend Love It or List It UK

    1. Congratulations on your retirement, Paula. I’m glad you joined the conversation. I’m listening to The Hunter, and I’m so engrossed in the book I fear I may be doing a ton of walking. Ha.

  2. What a lovely post to read on a delightful, Sunday, summer afternoon. Finally, there’s some crispness in the morning air and the days, while hot (30C today) are not oppressive.
    I’ve led a pretty quiet life during and since the pandemic but the pace appears to be quickening. I’ve bought tickets for several sessions at the Sydney Writers’ Festival in late May. The highlight will be seeing Ann Patchett, and I’m beyond excited about that. Also, for the first time, my daughter will join me for two sessions and my husband for one event featuring Michael Connelly. We have a play and a concert coming up before then, as well as our 35th wedding anniversary.
    I’ve just finished reading Jennette McCurdy’s memoir “I’m Glad My Mom Died”. I too was glad her abusive mother died. Jennette was a child star on Nickelodeon some years ago in the teen sitcom iCarly. That she’s alive today is a testament to her determination and spirit. While McCurdy’s tone is rational and calm, she presents an unflinching view of her grotesque mother, dysfunctional family, and the dark side of the world of entertainment. Noel Coward was right to advise Mrs Worthington not to put her daughter on the stage.
    Thanks, as always, for the wonderful book recommendations. I’m definitely in need of some lighter fare.

    1. Your writer’s festival sounds like it has some stellar authors. I’d one day love to go to the Hay Writer’s Festival in England. I’ve read about it and it sounds like a country fête. Certainly it doesn’t resemble our writers festival which takes place over several evenings.

  3. The smell of a roasting chicken tells me that all is well with the world. Such a simple dish to cook, so many rewards, people are always delighted when that is on the table. The tail-end of winter here is marked by days of grey skies and, this morning, rain. The dull sort that falls constantly. I have just decided to catch up on a series of books, written decades ago and probably for adventurous boys, but which are full of derring-do and excitement. There are many yet to read but today is not a day for bothering to go out.

  4. Very soggy spring here . Still raining , gloomy & muddy underfoot . Perfect reading weather . I finished my run of Denzil Mayrick books which I really enjoyed . Part of the fun was spotting the real places in the Kintyre area of Scotland , which he disguised with different names . Next was a biography of Rudyard Kipling by Charles Allen . He’s very fair in his assessment of the man & his times but the racism of The Raj is blatantly evident . I’m back in the murder world now with the first in a series by Tim Sullivan . Called The Dentist , the main detective is DS Cross who has Aspergers . He’s a wonderful character & from the little experience I have of Aspergers , seems pretty authentic . He’s meticulous , bright & obsessive . His colleagues find him pretty annoying but he’s like a dogged little terrier & won’t be distracted from his quarry . I hope the ending doesn’t fizzle out but I’m half way through & loving it . Not too gory & not too fluffy .
    I agree , A Place in the Country is good comfort TV but aren’t the people picky ! Some of those houses seem irresistible to me . Our comfort watch is Monty Don visiting the worlds gardens . The latest series is in Spain but we watch his old 80 Gardens of the World Series too . Fabulous gardens & the gorgeous Monty with his lovely voice . He usually manages to find some equally gorgeous dogs around too . Perfection .
    Thanks for the book recommendations , I’ll check them out . Hope you enjoy Diane Athill .

    1. I also love Monty Don and his garden trips. His book The Road to Le Thononet: A French Garden Journey is also a comfort read.

    2. Thank you Wendy for Tim Sullivan-I was just overlooking the recommendations in my feed for months(I don’t like to read about dentists-The Marathon Man etc…and than there were two novels with teeth pulling recently,as well :)- …..but have to say that I like dentists in real life,just in case!)-I’m sure I will enjoy the books (if there are no teeth pulling ;))
      I’ve forgot to mention in my comment that I’ve read the new S. J. Bennett’s book A Death in Diamonds. How clever!-now we start with HM the Queen as a young Queen with her first Mystery Assistant! Excellent!
      D.

      1. Stephanie , thanks for recommending that book . I shall add it to my list .
        & Dottoressa , I’m sure DS Cross will make you smile & , don’t worry , no teeth pulling so far 🤞

      2. K, my favourite dentist ever (whom I lost with our move, sob!) peered into my mouth at my first appointment with him and in his best Nazi dentist accent, intoned, “Is it Safe?!
        I mean, that could have gone either way, but I thought it was hilarious, and decided I could use a dentist with a sense of humour. . . (but that was a terrifying scene in the film!!!)

      3. I discovered S J Bennett’s marvellously entertaining books last year at my local library and devoured them. Thank you for letting me know that another one has been released.

    3. I just ordered the first Tim Sullivan on my Kindle. Looking forward to starting it. Stu and I are so caught up in ETTC that if we’ve even begun to suggest prices for rustic homes we see on our travels. I agree, some of the buyers are very picky. It seems they really only want what they had in the city transplanted to the country. I must see of any of our available channels carry Monty Don. Doesn’t he seem like a lovely man?

  5. Chère Sue , Savez-vous que je relis votre texte plusieurs fois ?Vous parlez de tant de choses qui me touchent …
    Le printemps en Provence est en avance ,les bourgeons sont gonflés de sève .Certains érables précoces ont déjà une couronne de feuilles minuscules vert tendre.
    J’attends le retour des oiseaux dans mon vieux tilleul …Il est encore en sommeil .
    Je viens d’un pays du nord de l’Europe ,j’aime la neige et le froid,le feu dans la cheminée…
    Ici ‘on remarque l’hiver par l’absence de végétation,mais l’herbe est toujours verte …
    J’aime quand le mistral souffle fort,il ramène des parfums d’ailleurs…
    Mais je passe l’hiver aussi avec mes livres …Je vis ma vie par procuration avec délice, avec gourmandise .
    Les auteurs ne sont pas les mêmes , mais les thèmes sont identiques,la vie ,l’amour ,la mort .
    Je lis de plus en plus de livres policiers ,en particulier ceux écrits par des auteurs scandinaves tels que Vivien Stern ou Camilla Lockberg qui sont des écrivains suédois .Il y a un renouveau incroyable dans la littérature islandaise aussi ..
    Ils ont le don de créer une atmosphère particulière faite de petits riens de la vie de tous les jours ,avec des préoccupations anodines qui parlent au coeur de chacun.Et l’inattendu s’invite alors dans leur vie.
    Vous parlez de la solitude a deux … La vie n’est supportable que si l’on est deux ,dans les tracas ,les joies ,et surtout dans le partage …
    Je bénis le ciel de posséder cette infinie richesse , un compagnon de route pour la dernière partie de mon voyage.
    Nous sommes en train , à plus de soixante et dix ans ,d’aménager et de rénover ma vieille maison de famille…Un travail de Titan ,mais qui nous réjouit …
    Nous créons un lieu a notre image ,plus épuré et lumineux,avec nos vieux meubles en noyer ciré,des murs blancs et d’immenses baies vitrées .
    Ma madeleine de Proust,c’est la pénombre créée par les volets fermés sur la fournaise de l’été , les chants des cigales ….Et un livre …
    Merci ,chère Sue ,de partager vos pensées avec nous …J’attends le dimanche avec impatience et gourmandise …

    1. Merci, chère Celia. I love the thought of your renovating your old home. Will it have shutters? I remember loving the many shutters on the home in Provence when we were there in 2015.

      1. Il y a des volets en bois avec une fermeture à l’espagnolette .Et des fenêtres à la paysanne ….
        Mais c’est mon jardin qui vaut le détour.
        Il est très vaste ,étalé sur des restanques ,c’est à dire en paliers creusés à flanc de colline. Le premier palier supporte la piscine puis différents jardins touffus avec des arbustes chinés au cours des années.
        Autour de la maison ,j’essaye de faire pousser un gazon méditerranéen !! Il devient très laid en été mais si beau au printemps et en automne.
        Et je suis une amoureuse passionnée de roses …et d’arbres …
        Bon week-end end à vous

  6. I love a quiet life. As far as books I enjoy Lisa Jewell’s books. They are palate cleansers for me. Easy to read and entertaining. I’m also looking forward to reading Tana French’s new book as well. Since COVID and the political unrest in the US I find serious literary fiction is harder for me to read and prefer lighter fare. The genres I reach for these days, ( I really attempt to alternative genres) are fantasy, sci-fi, and thrillers. I always find Barbara Kingsolver books to be something I feel I need to read. I live at the foot of the southern Appalachian mountains so her themes hit very close to home.

  7. Even though I do not have a great deal of time for reading right now, it is very relaxing to read about reading! I loved the image of you sneaking to renew your herbal tea and toast at 2 a.m. That is exactly something I would do. I haven’t yet hit mystery reading. Perhaps when I am retired I will meet that genre.

    Roast chicken always makes me think of a leadership course I was sent to years ago. A deputy Minister spoke and referred to the “roast chicken people” in our orbit, i.e. people who are distracted by the roast chicken in the oven (aka other things going on in their lives). I think the point was that we have to understand people as they are and in their contexts. It seemed an odd moment to speak about roast chickens, but it clearly stayed with me. I suppose like the idea of Sunday dinner. It also makes me think about how my Italian partner marvels at how much chicken we eat in Canada, which makes me smile but is probably true…We were once driving home from Quebec City and while stopped at a gas station in Ste Hyacinthe a guy who was hanging out at the station struck up a conversation with G, telling him about how he worked in the local chicken plant. It seemed he was lonely enough that he hung out at the gas station to strike up conversations with willing and curious strangers on a detour from the highway. When G got back in the car he said, “If you are ever feeling disappointed in your life, imagine the life of that guy, processing chickens every day.” Touché.

    That was a complete tangent, but perhaps consistent with the quiet, dreamy mood of this post. Have a nice week.

  8. Your description of the Dakin series reminds me of MC Beaton’s Agatha Raisin…middle aged, retired from her own very successful PR business in London, now living in a thatched roof cottage in a village in the Cotswolds. She’s also surrounded by dead bodies and murder mysteries to be solved. I get these audiobooks from the OPL. Better than melatonin, they regularly nod me off the sleep at night. Hamish MacBeth, in the top of Scotland, lives by the same formula. Violent places, these villages, full of characters, love lives and intrigue.
    Speaking of raisin bread, my sweet brother just delivered coffee and a very fresh Cobbs hot cross bun with cheese to my guest room. Tomorrow, off to Europe.

    1. I love to listen to the MC Beaton books. Especially the Hamish Macbeth. I remember we used to watch the Hamish Macbeth television series on TVO back in the day. Have a great trip to Europe, Grace. I’m off to seek hot cross buns this morning. Ha.

  9. Mary in Ireland

    Enjoyed your post Sue. As I always do.
    If you like Irish authors I can recommend a series of books by a new author from the North of Ireland,Shauna Lawless.
    THE CHILDREN OF GODS AND FIGHTING MEN is a new historical fantasy series. It intertwines real history with Irish mythology and is superbly written and very engaging.
    I didn’t think it would be my cup of tea as I love mystery series and thought provoking novels but I absolutely loved this.

    THE WINTER GUEST by WC Ryan is an atmospheric crime novel set during the Irish Civil War in 1921.

  10. Wonderful Post!
    We drove from St. Petersburg Friday morning and found ourselves ending our journey last night in the pitch-black Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, so I am waking up to a very different, still-winter but snowless sunrise. We are staying in a cottage with 2 fireplaces, so reading seems like the perfect activities. But I’ve chosen one of your mysteries, Fatal Isles, as the book to listen to on our travels around here and back home again at the end of the week.
    I too like the quiet life, spiced with people and volunteering as a deacon on my mornings. Then I can retire at lunch time to read a few chapters of my current book.
    Thanks again!
    Eva

    1. You are speaking my language, Eva. A cabin with a fireplace, good books, conversation, followed by more good books. We spent a week in a cabin down your way back in 2017 and did lots of walking…followed by reading. No fireplace though.

  11. Thank you Sue for mentioning me. I’m so glad that you’ve liked Doggerland. I agree with you and think that the series is well written and I’ve enjoyed it ,so far,very much.As it seems,there are still 4 books,they are not translated in English yet,sooo,yay, looking forward to it!
    I’ve downloaded Hazards in Hampshire (to start with) from your link as an audiobook-I listen rarely to audio books,but I had to listen to Dervla McTiernan’s The Good Turn and The Sisters,because I love her books and it was the only way to get to them (couldn’t buy kindle -or paper- books)
    And I have a mystery of my own: I never,NEVER,ever,ever write a book in my diary if I’m not over at least a half of it,and in 98% only after I’ve finished reading (and I might forget to write it even than :))- I’ve found recently that:
    1. I have McTiernan’s book The Murder Rule in my digital library
    2. It is written as “read” (both in my digital library and my reading diary-even chez Frances in Books Read in March 2023-so,my apologies to all of you,it must be something else,another of Mc Tiernan books,I was completelly wrong because:

    3. I didn’t read it at all,it was waiting a year and I’m reading it now…
    Am I crazy or what?
    This spring is so,so early here,with only a little bit of rain
    Every weather is a book weather in my world and I prefer quiet life now,with a book,coffee, talking ( not a lot!) with my  friend or with my Mom,cherishing the Now….
    Dottoressa

    1. The new way that Kindle organizes our “library” of purchased books has confused us. I have a newly purchased Jane Casey, bought a few weeks ago, that both Stu and I totally forgot about. Still, it’s nice to find a good book that we haven’t read yet in our collection. 🙂

      1. Yes! I hate the way Kindle has changed the order and way books are filed to some weird algorithm that makes books you own hard to find. It’s like having a stranger come into your kitchen and rearrange it, putting things you use most in the most inaccessible cupboards and the cutlery in another room entirely.

  12. I love your book recommendations…I believe it was you who put me onto Martha Grimes and the Richard Jury series, searching out the books on the library sites and for a discount at Amazon. I’ve only four to go!

    1. I don’t think it can have been me who recommended Grimes. Perhaps it was suggested by someone in a comment. I haven’t read her in years. Not sure why. I’m glad you are enjoying them.

  13. I’ve been looking for a new (to me) mystery author. Emma Dakin’s books sound like exactly what I would love. I immediately logged in to my local library to put whatever titles they had on hold. The search results: “No search results found for “Emma Dakin”. Please try again.” WHAT?! 😱😵‍💫 Mama said there’d be days like this.

    1. Hi, Patty —
      I received the same result from my local library search here in Portland, and it claims to be the largest library system west of the Mississippi. Have you tried interlibrary loans? This may be different for your library, but on my library website, it is pull-down menu under “books & support” to the item “interlibrary loans”. There, you can fill out a request form to get a book from another library shipped to your library! I just completed one for Fatal Isle and one for Hazards in Hampshire. I have had good luck using this system. I recently read The Book of Eve, one of Sue’s recommendations, which I received from the Seattle Public Library via my local branch.
      Hope this is helpful!

  14. I am envious of your 2 a.m. reading. It’s been a long time since I was so engrossed in a book that I couldn’t put it down, and I miss that feeling! It’s not that I haven’t been reading good novels — I always have something on the go — but I suppose I have just not been the right frame of mind to become totally absorbed.

    That doesn’t mean I have nothing to recommend, and my favourite book so far this year is Abraham Verghese’s The Covenant of Water. It’s possible that it came to my attention through your blog, though I think it might have been Frances’. Anyway, it was excellent!

    1. Denise, Funny you should mention 2:00 am reading and Abraham Verghese. That’s about the time I finished reading Cutting For Stone by Verghese. Couldn’t put it down. I must read The Covenant of Water.

    2. The Covenant of Water was very good, wasn’t it?! Glad you enjoyed it as well. I still having read his earlier Like Cutting for Stone, but it’s definitely on the list!

      1. Cutting for Stone is on my “For Later” shelf at the library. I’m making myself wait for a little while as I believe there are just the two novels from this author at the moment.

  15. A lovely post, Sue, and I’m so glad you’ve got a taste of spring there (and that you’re wise enough to enjoy it to the utmost before winter sneaks back in! Sorry!)
    As for the books you described so enticingly, I’m afraid that despite those enticing descriptions, I was distracted from the moment I saw that You’re Reading the New Tana French?!!! And also : There’s a New Tana French?! I really liked The Searcher — and since our library has 146 holds for The Hunter, I might just have to buy myself an e-copy! And then get myself some tea and cinnamon toast and a cozy spot out of the wind 😉 Thank you for the inspiration!

    1. I’ve put Stu on the holds list here for The Hunter. I was too impatient, so I ordered it with my Audible credit. I love how wonderfully the narrator/reader switches back and forth from American accent to Irish.

  16. So many great comments and book recommendations! But The Women by Kristin Hannah is a must read for women of our generation! It is about young woman who volunteers as an army nurse in Viet Nam and her experiences there and at home on return from her service and her fight for recognition of women veterans.

  17. Weather here in Eastern Ontario, as you know has brought a Sunday of lead grey skies laden with snow. A good day to bake and read …dinner later with film buff & student son followed by ann evening of Oscars. I have just finished a very good book The Personal Librarian. An interesting read about a woman who worked for millionaire J.P. Morgan to establish his extensive library of art and rare books in the early part of the twentieth century. The book is interesting not just because it was unusual for a woman to be hired into such a role but that Belle da Costa Green was also a woman of colour albeit one who ‘passed’ as white but lived in fear of being found out. This is a true story based on the life of a woman who had an illustrious family history , her father was the first black man to graduate from Harvard and she and her sisters and brother were college educated. Belle’s family moved from Washington DC to New York where they lived as whites denying their own culture and background. It’s an interesting read that brings up so many questions about racial issues, women and equality and the soul sucking decision to hide who you are to satisfy a society based on discrimination and prejudice. It’s an inspiring and thought provoking read.
    I have also discovered Elizabeth Berg and read her luminescent The Pull of the Moon. A coming of middle age story about a woman who leaves husband, hearth and home to travel alone across the US. The characters she meets are at times funny, sad and inspiring with the hair salon tale worth the price of admission.
    I have a few other Berg books on loan and am looking forward to reading them. I’ll leave the mysteries to you.
    So glad I am not the only one reading in the wee hours. It’s a luxury when you are retired and know that the alarm isn’t going to go off next morning!

    1. I read one Elizabeth Berg book, a nonfiction on the art of writing and the creative process. But I’ve never read her fiction. I do love coming of age books, no matter the age, about women on their own.

  18. I finally had time to read this. Now I have to get reading! I always have a book going and am always looking for new recommendations. These all look really good. I never thought about listening to a book when I walk I might try that.

  19. Per usual, I want to watch and read everything that you wrote about. I’ve added the books to my TBR (or to be listened to, as the case may be) lists. I’m a bit fan of Tanya French, so I’ll be reading her soon. I will listen to The Searcher, which I already have in my library.

    We’ve had spring weather this week and it has been glorious. Long walks with sightings of crocuses and snow drops. Rainy weather is now here for a bit and the temperatures will be cooler next week. So goes spring in New England. No complaints. It’s obviously on its way.

    I’ve been listening to Jeff Carson’s David Wolfe series and cannot stop. I got a set of four on Audible and have been enjoying them. A Colorado detective series that I find very entertaining.

    I’ve been reading Octavia Butler’s Kindred, the story of a woman living in the 1970s who time travels back to the period of slavery in the Southern U.S. I’m not too far into it, and horrified by the idea, but it seems very well written.

    I hope that the sun comes out soon and your walks resume.

  20. I second the recommendation for The Women by Kristin Hannah. The Vietnam war, and the vets who came home to a very divided America, were very compelling to me.
    I recommended that book to both of my sisters.
    A book that I’m halfway through now is another big yes from me. The Frozen River by Ariel Lawhon. Of all things, a mystery that takes place in the Maine region in the 1780’s. The story revolves around a midwife (which is a prominent role for women in that time). She is a women in her 50’s with a great marriage, and a thriving family.
    I’ve already recommended it to my sisters, which is high praise from me.
    I’m a voracious reader, and find that only a few books a year really stand out. I read mostly fiction, and mostly for entertainment. I rarely buy books, having worked at my local library for 25+ years. I juggle a constant stream of books, downloads for my kindle, and audiobooks that I listen to while doing chores, or during drives.
    Now that I’m retired, I find that I miss having my hands on stacks of new books. Handling a book, seeing the cover, flipping it over to see if there are any reviews on the back, reading the inside cover…all such a pleasure!

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