MARgINAlia

A plume with a hue

My reading week: 23/52

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Currently Reading

My current novel is Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller and I’m listening to Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-Joo.

My classic read/listen is The Seagull by Anton Chekhov, in preparation for an upcoming theatre trip, and my ongoing non-fiction book is Words in Pain by Olga Jacoby.

Recently Completed

I finished two books this week, the first being Sister by Rosamund Lupton, which has been chosen for my June book club.

When Beatrice gets a frantic call in the middle of Sunday lunch to say that her younger sister, Tess, is missing, she boards the first flight home to London. But as she learns about the circumstances surrounding Tess’s disappearance, she is stunned to discover how little she actually knows of her sister’s life – and unprepared for the terrifying truths she must now face.

The police, Beatrice’s fiancé and even her mother accept they have lost Tess, but Beatrice refuses to give up on her. So she embarks on a dangerous journey to discover the truth, no matter the cost.

I first read this shortly after it was published in 2010 and preferred it the first time round. I remember being gripped by the storyline and shocked by the twist, although this time I couldn’t recall for the life of me what that twist was! I still found the plot intriguing and was keen to reach the end to find out what happened so it was an easy read. The author does leave hints as to the ending and I think if I read it again now I would appreciate these clues. I also thought it offered some interesting insights into the grieving process. However, I found it a little far-fetched this time around and felt that the ending, which had pleased me so much previously, was a bit of a cop-out.

When it was first published, there weren’t so many psychological thrillers on the market so this one stood out as being different; now bookshops are awash with them and they’re losing their appeal for me.

Some of the events take place in Hyde Park/Kensington Gardens and ironically I was reading the novel whilst staying in this part of London, before heading off to Bath where my second read was partly set: the classic Persuasion by Jane Austen. It’s fun reading novels whilst you’re on location!

At twenty-seven, Anne Elliot is no longer young and has few romantic prospects.

Eight years earlier, persuaded by her friend Lady Russell, she broke off her engagement to Frederick Wentworth, a handsome naval captain with neither fortune nor rank. Now older and wiser, the decision has haunted her along with the memory of the man she loved.

When fate throws the two together again, in very different circumstances, Anne will learn how deeply the past can still wound and what can be endured for love. As she finds herself again torn between the demands of family and social convention she must learn to find her own judgement in a sea of influence.

I chose this novel for my Reading the Classics challenge because I’d seen it dramatised on stage earlier this year. Amazingly for me, with my aversion to pre-20th century literature, I absolutely adored it. I did a deep-dive into it, listening to a series of lectures given by Benjamin McEvoy of the Hardcore Literature Book Club, and this certainly created an extremely enjoyable and rewarding experience. I very much liked the quiet, unassuming heroine, Anne, and the slow manner in which the story unfolded. The penultimate chapter was a satisfying joy and I have to give this novel one of my rare five star awards.

Reading Next

I have no idea! I need to finish Unsettled Ground by Tuesday so I can return it to the library and I also want to finish The Seagull next week. I’m going on holiday soon and have a few books lined up for this break (although the final selection hasn’t been completely decided) so I will need something I’m confident I can complete before I go. I have an alarming number of books on my TBR shelf to choose from.

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