As the deadline for Fahrenheit’s #Noirville competition draws ever closer – you’ve only got three days to go people, three days – I’ve been trying to clear the decks a bit so that I’m ready to read the entries. So I thought I’d mention a few books this Recommendsday that I’ve read recently but haven’t chatted about. It’s a bit eclectic, but that’s just how I roll and I know you won’t mind!
The Greedy Queen by Annie Gray
Ever wondered what Queen Victoria ate? Annie Gray has the answers. As well as looking at what Victoria ate across the course of her reign, it looks at how the kitchens worked, who worked there and who else they were feeding as well as the Queen. It jumps backwards and forwards in the timeline a little bit, but I came away feeling like I’d learned a lot about upper class dining in the nineteenth century. ITV’s TV series Victoria is back on screen at the moment – and although the Victoria in that is very much the young queen, this would still make a nice companion read for people who want to know a bit more about the Queen’s life and her household.
Wise Children by Angela Carter
Meet Nora and Dora Chance – former musical all stars, illegitimate twin daughters of a pillar of the theatrical establishment – on their 75th birthday, which by coincidence is also their father’s 100th birthday. Join them as Dora tells you the story of their lives before they head to the (televised) party. This is a whirling, magical realist journey through the world of the theatre – legitimate and otherwise – full of Shakespeare references and sets of twins galore. I found it enjoyably bonkers although it took a little while before I got my head around it all – there is a big old cast of characters here – and I’m still thinking about it a couple of weeks later.
True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop by Annie Darling
You may remember me raving about the Little Bookshope of Lonely Hearts last year – and now it has a sequel. The good news is that this is not the sort of sequel that breaks up the couple that you’ve invested so much in in the first book and then getting them back together. This sees one of the other girls who works in the bookshop get her happily ever after. I always find it slightly weird to read books where the main character has my name, but I liked Verity Love so much that I got over that quite quickly. This Verity is an Austen mad introvert, who invents a boyfriend to keep her friends off her back and then ends up with a real life fake boyfriend. I had a few issues with Johnny’s back story – and insufficient grovelling at the end – but was mostly swept away by this – I do love a relationship of convenience story.
Right, that’s your lot for now, but I hope there’s something in here that’s tickled your fancy and might help you fill a reading gap while I’m off reading all those Noirville entries.