I’m writing this post wrapped in a blanket on a Monday afternoon when I should be in class but tonsillitis has returned so I’m taking a breather day to feel better because tomorrow I have a hefty schedule of classes and then a meeting at night so I want to be in top-notch condition for that. I’m not a skipper I promise. This month’s reading was a bit more of a struggle than last month. I am trying really really hard to keep reading for pleasure but I am neck deep in Thucydides and his history of the Peloponnesian War so after tackling that, I just want to burn all my brain cells by binge-watching Gossip Girl.
I love university but it sometimes makes reading for pleasure a monotonous chore but now I’ve found my feet, I’ll hopefully be able to tackle a few more for October. Sitting on my bedside table waiting patiently for me to get started on is I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai and also on my list for October is All For Nothing by Walter Kempowski.
So what have I actually read this month? Five books and they are a big mix of genres. Since Swallows and Amazons was released into cinemas, I’ve been dying to read the book (I don’t know why I didn’t when I was younger) so I took this one with me to Spain and then I read a book I borrowed from Ali called The Shakespeare Secret which was a gripping read. I’ve read two books by Dinah Jeffries which weren’t “rave to your friends about books” but they were good enough that I’ve included them in this list, and well obviously because I read two of her books in succession so she must be doing something right. The final book I read this month was one I received for Christmas last year and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it!
The Tea Planter’s Wife by Dinah Jeffries
This is a book my Granny gave me and I wasn’t sure at first if it would be my type. It came alongside The Tinker’s Girl by Catherine Cookson which I moaned about last month so I oohed and aahed before starting it as I didn’t want another painful read. I however, was surprised by how much I did enjoy it. The main character, Gwen, was very likeable and you are on her side throughout the book. The setting is Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and takes place on a tea plantation, where the place is heaped in secrets. The household through of secrets reminded me of recent books I’ve read, The Lake House and The Miniaturist so if family mysteries are your thing, read this. It has a good cast of characters (Gwen’s husband who is the plantation owner, her sister-in-law, her husband’s ex-lover, the Sri Lankan house hold staff, the Scottish plantation manager, Gwen’s London cousin, the mysterious Sri Lankan painter) and they all add depth and mystery in their own way without it being too complicated, confusing or unbelievable. Recommended for: someone who wants to visit another country.
The Silk Merchant’s Daughter by Dinah Jeffries
Another gift from my Granny, this is the second book by Dinah Jeffries which I read this month. Similarly to The Tea Planter’s Wife, it is set in French colonial Vietnam and follows a half French/half Vietnamese woman named Nicole who is caught up between her loyalties to her French family and her compassion towards the Vietnamese people and desire to know who she is. It’s a really good story set in the midst of Vietnamese war but I didn’t enjoy it as much as the Tea Planter’s Wife. Some of the characters are quite annoying (Nicole’s sister Sylvie for one) and there is also a pesky love triangle around too. It was disappointing for me as Nicole ended up with the person who I wasn’t rooting for which was annoying but I’m sure not everyone would feel like that. Similarly to the Tea Planter’s Wife, it’s a good way to read about a now lost way of life so recommended for: someone who wants to visit another country.
Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome
Since I saw the trailer for the new movie based on this book when I went to see The Secret Life of Pets with my mum in July, I’ve been obsessed with it. I can’t believe I didn’t read it when I was younger as it’s exactly the kind of book I would have loved. I did an Amazon order a few weeks back as I needed some things for uni and I just decided to add this into my basket. I took it with me to Spain and finished it in a few days. It is such a smashing read and made me feel really nostalgic and happy throughout. The story line is great and the characters, especially the children, were fantastic to read about. The Blackett Sister’s would have been my goals if I’d read it when I was younger. Such a good nostaligic read. Recommended for: someone who needs to revert to being a child for a little while.
The Shakespeare Secret by J. L. Carrell
This a book I borrowed from Ali on holiday once I’d finished Swallows and Amazons. It sucked me in right away and reminded me of the Nicolas Cage National Treasure films which gave it a big plus plus from me as I’m a big fan of those bad boys. Although not so much Nicolas Cage. The storyline was gripping, intense and hella complicated (I had to read the ending twice as I wasn’t paying enough attention) and featured a lot of plot twists. They were good plot twists as well as you didn’t see them coming. The main character, Kate, is a cool gal and you really root for her throughout. Also the chemistry between her and Ben is pretty intense, *insert flame emoji 3x here*. I loved the Shakespeare element as it really pulled at my inner literature lover and I loved how it was a murder thriller as crime is probably my favourite genre. Everything with a good juicy murder keeps me entertained. The detail to Shakespeare was incredible though and I really don’t know what else to say without spoiling but I’ll just summarise real quick: a serial killer who kills his victims like the characters of Shakespeare’s plays die is hunting for a secret regarding Shakespeare. Recommended for: someone who wants to go on an adventure.
The Hourglass Factory by Lucy Ribchester
I got this book for Christmas from my mum last year and it has taken me ages to read it. I kept picking it up, reading the blurb, getting it out to read and then just never getting round to it. Something about it appealed to me, something else didn’t. It’s a suffragette plot/murder mystery set in 1912 I think and follows Frankie, a journalist who isn’t given opportunities because she’s a woman and Millie, a Lord’s runaway daughter who joined the circus. It follows an intricate plot linked to suffragettes, journalist, the government and the circus as the girls hunt to find a missing circus performer named Ebony. It is a good book and I enjoyed it more and more as it went on, the start was just a little slow. Recommended for: someone who wants an education about suffragettes.