Wednesday 4 May 2022

What I've been reading in April

 opened book on table

photo credit: Unsplash

Usually I would start the month with my online book club choice but I chose not to read the designated book this month; the book chosen was The Diamond Eye which is set in Kiev in World War 2.  Like so many other people are finding, the news from Ukraine is just too heartbreaking and at times overwhelming so in search of something easier to read and more lighthearted I downloaded The Break by Marian Keyes.

Following the loss of his father and a close friend, Amy's husband Hugh announces to her that he needs a break.  Therapy sessions and medication have not helped him, he has decided that he needs six months on his own travelling in South East Asia.  He isn't leaving her, he just needs to get away. He promises he will come back. Six months is a long time, will he be the same when he returns?  How will Amy be feeling after that much time alone?  Amy's first husband left her and she honestly believed that life with Hugh would be very different so she is in total shock by his announcement.

I haven't read anything by Marian Keyes for years but I had a feeling that this book would be just the kind of reading that I needed.  I found myself reading this with an Irish accent in my mind because I've heard Marian being interviewed so know what her voice sounds like!  

I enjoyed this book, I wasn't sure how things were going to turn out when/if Hugh returned from his six month break; I wasn't convinced it would be a 'happy ever after' ending as the book progressed.  I also went from feeling cross with Hugh for leaving to sympathising with him and not being surprised that he felt he needed to go and put some space between him and Amy.  In amongst the various threads of the book the author moves between the amusingly surprise internet vlog sensation that Amy's mother unwittingly becomes to the serious issue of the problems encountered by Irish girls who find themselves carrying an unwanted baby.  Marian Keyes seems to have a knack for mixing humour and seriousness into her books and I enjoyed dipping back into her work.


By now it was the middle of the month and I needed another book to read so I have continued with the next in the Inspector Gamache series, The Cruellest Month.  (The fact that I was reading it in April took me straight back to A level English Literature when we studied TS Eliot's The Wasteland where he states 'April is the cruellest month ...') 

Honestly, Three Pines is a very dangerous place to live because, wouldn't you know it, there is another crime to solve there!  Is it possible to literally be scared to death? A seance in a deserted house has tragic consequences and Inspector Gamache is called to return to solve the mystery.

These books can be read as standalone novels but I am finding it interesting to read them in sequence, with each book revealing a little more about a past event in Gamache's career and also the people who have been sent to investigate and solve the case alongside him.  This part of Gamache's story takes up a lot of the last few chapters of the book and ties up many loose ends.  While I enjoyed the easy reading style of this book, I don't think I enjoyed the story line quite as much as the last ones.  It won't however put me off reading the next in the series!

So that one was finished on the very last day of the month and I have now downloaded May's book club choice which is a non fiction novel this time and it sounds like it is going to be very interesting and thought provoking.  Come back in four weeks to find out what it was!


Patio Postcards said...

As always appreciate book recommendations & reviews. I will say that there are some books in the whole collection of Inspector Gamache that are not favourites. In The Cruellest Month, I did find the concept of "near enemies" interesting to read about further.

Ruth said...

I've added Marian Keyes to my TBR list ... I also read her while imagining an Irish accent.

Jennifer said...

Both books sound very interesting....ones I would enjoy! Thanks for the reviews. Hope you are having a great week!!

Gail Is This Mutton? said...

I thought I'd read all of Marian Keyes' books but this one doesn't ring a bell! If I haven't read it, I'm joyful because I can save it to my holiday reading folder!
I liked the sound of Gamache in your last review but still haven't got round to reading one. I like to do a series in the right order.....

Deb's World said...

I've also enjoyed a Marina Keyes recently and have started on the Louise Penny series(in order) - it is a very dangerous place to live there in Three Pines!