It has been far, far too long since I have shared an ‘On My Shelf’ post with you all.
There have been many books in the intervening months. Perhaps not as many as I would like, but I am a slower reader. I prefer to linger on the page and really soak in the story, the characters, and even just the words themselves before moving onto the next chapter.
The highlights for me over the past few months have been:
Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth
Rapunzel reimagined with all the classic ingredients combined into a fresh new take on an old tale. I was so captivated by this fairy adaptation that one morning after a run I sat in a kitchen chair, unmoving, and finished it. When I looked up three hours had passed! Kate Forsyth weaves this story through Renaissance Italy and Revolutionary France, and despite the fantastical elements you are able to believe in the story and its place in history. Highly recommended.
Labyrinth by Kate Mosse
Oh Kate Mosse, can I be you when I grow up? Far better than the supermodel, this Kate Mosse is a bestselling author, playwright, co-founder of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, teaches, and is a wife and mother too! Labyrinth is the first in her three part ‘Languedoc’ series. All of the books feature a timeline that weaves between modern day and the Languedoc region in the past. This first one features Dr Alice Tanner, who discovers two skeletons whilst on an archaeological dig in France. This discovery triggers a chain of events that has deep dark ties to the past, and dire consequences for the future. Kate Mosse writes a good old fashioned adventure story laced with history and a sprinkling of romance.
White Jacket Required: A Culinary Coming of Age Story by Jenna Weber
I am a huge fan of Jenna’s blog: Eat, Live, Run, and so I couldn’t believe that it took me so long to read her book. As a young woman still searching for the real purpose of my life (ah yes, mid-twenties quarter life crisis in full effect) I empathised with Jenna’s journey to culinary school and the amazing adventures that awaited her outside the kitchen doors. White Jack Required is an intimate look into the life of one of my favourite bloggers, and she doesn’t hold much back at all. Keep the tissues handy for this one readers.
The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
‘It’s dark,’ my little sister said when I loaned her this one to read ‘dark and delicious.’ In summary The Shining Girls sounds like science fiction, but it is more of a psychological thriller. This novel about a time-travelling Depression-era serial killer and the girl who got away and grew up waiting for her chance to hunt him down. Tightly written and told through the viewpoint of several different characters The Shining Girls will have you gripping the pages until you turn the very last one.
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
This book has been on my ‘to read’ list since I attended a panel featuring the beautiful Eowyn Ivey at the Brisbane Writer’s Festival last year. I am so happy that I finally picked it up. I devoured it over a weekend, and it only left me hungry for more from this author. The Snow Child tells the story of a married couple who have moved to Alaska to begin their life over again. Unable to have a child of their own they are just searching for something more in their life to fill the hole in their hearts. One wintry Alaskan night in the middle of a snow storm a little girl appears. She comes inside and so starts a new, wild, hope, disaster, and miracle filled journey for the characters. With the central themes of family, wishes, and the miracles of life, The Snow Child would be a perfect holiday season read.
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
Another story about second chances. Only this time the protagonist, Ursula Todd, is given more than a second chance. Ursula is given the gift or curse of starting her life over and over again from the very beginning until she gets it right. Ursula is born just before the First World War and has come of age when the Second comes around. Every choice she makes, every road she takes has consequences that she must live with, until her next second chance comes around. I have been wrapped up tightly in this story for the past couple of nights, and it has me thinking about how we never know what big waves the small ripples our lives will cause.
So, dear readers, what have books have you been keeping company with lately? What’s next on your list? I am jumping back into some Kate Forsyth with ‘Wild Girl’ – a tale about the woman who inspired The Brothers Grimm, and maybe even wrote some of the stories…