Just finished:Circling the Sun,
, Paula McLain. Fictional biography of Beryl Markham, about whom I wrote my Yuletide story
last year. I put off reading this then because I didn't want it to get in the way, and ended up reading it on a recent plane trip instead (obviously I started reading the opening shortly after take-off and then remembered how many plane crashes were likely to be canonically involved in the text...).
It starts very near the same place I did - 1936, although it starts with Beryl's transatlantic flight, which I think was September, and I put my story in July (ish). Then, however, it goes back to Beryl's childhood, and works forward to end with the flight arriving in the US. Nothing after is included. I can see why McLain's done this, but it did leave me feeling a little shortchanged. If I hadn't known some of the rest of Beryl's life? Probably yes, although I would have lacked the detail. I'd have no idea Markham wrote herself, for example, because picking that section of her life cuts out the appearance of her highly acclaimed memoir, West with the Night
(and means McClain doesn't have to deal with any of the controversy over whether or not she did actually write it. It also means that the shape of the narrative becomes Out of Africa
with occasional horses and planes, being much more about the tangle of relationships, licit and otherwise, among the white landed settlers in Kenya, than about Beryl herself.
It's not a bad book but it lacks any sort of edge or uncomfortableness to it, qualities which I feel the real Markham had no shortage of.
JL Merrow, Relief Valve
and Heat Trap
, volumes 2&3 in the Plumber's Mate series. Psychic plumber solves crime and works on his relationship with a PI who bullied him as a child. I find these soothing, entertaining and very British. I also read the first of her Shamwell Tales series, Caught!
and liked it but something is putting me off about the blurb for the next one.
KJ Charles, Rag and Bone
. Magpie Lord universe but different leads, and I've just realised on checking the author's webpage that the interesting decision to start *after* they've begun their relationship is because I missed the short story prequel. Oops. Taking place at the same time as Jackdaw
, which I have in progress, and I will probably comment on both more when I finish. Excellent. Also has a black British lead, which is vanishingly rare in historical romance.In progress:
KJ Charles, Jackdaw
, as above.Up next:
The read, renew or return unread decision. I have an Anne Perry (one of the Monk books, yes I know, but I get them from the library), Georgette Heyer's An Infamous Army
and Sarah Waters' The Paying Guests
on the books from the library shelf, all due back in the next 5 days. Hmm.Weekly picture book concern:
The bit in Pip and Posy: The Scary Monster
by Axel Scheffler (more well known as the Gruffalo artist) where Posy makes cupcakes, putting them into the hot oven very carefully with lots of textual warnings. Then Pip comes over and they go outside to play in the garden until tea time. They then eat the cakes which are a) not burnt to crisps and b) iced. No one else appears to live in the house. I keep wanting to add a bit where the oven's on a timer or where an obliging but invisible relation handles things.