I’ve been reading quite a bit, as of late! That’s partially due to me feeling sick and not motivated to do anything, and partially motivated to sit out and read in the nice weather. My library card is also helping, several of these are audiobooks that I borrowed through the Overdrive App. I’ve noticed I definitely read certain types of books at certain times of the year- English biographies and cozies seem to be my spring. So, what have I been reading in April?
Serving Victoria: Life in the Royal Household, Kate Hubbard
I don’t know why I keep reading about Queen Victoria, she was a bit of a cow who was unpleasant to most everyone around her. However, I keep picking up these books! I found that the thesis was not what was actually discussed in the book- it was much more about Victoria, rather than her servants. I expected more of a breakdown as to what Victoria’s servants experienced and lived, but it was really an examination of how she dictated their lives. It also lacked a depth of examination into primary sources, just random chunks of letters and the occasional diary entry. 3/5
This was a dry and boring book, there wasn’t too much else to say. How to Ruin a Queen had the opposite problem to above- Beckman continually dumps primary sources into the book. The historian’s role is to edit and analyse- not to simply compile. It should have been an exciting mystery and it was a dragging bore. Unfortunately, I’ve already forgotten most details about it. 2/5
I listened to these three audiobooks in the past two weeks. It takes a few moments to get used to the Scottish narrator, but they are entertaining! Hamish is a grumpy young man with a cat AND A WESTIE. YEP, A WESTIE. Clearly I was sold at that point! There is a good balance between developing characters and giving hints and keeping the mystery- I didn’t find it overly easy to guess any of the three culprits. There is a touch of romance but nothing overwhelming. Lochdubh is a charming setting, and I am excited to spend more time in the town! All 5/5.
Highland Fling, Katie Fforde
I finally cracked into Katie Fforde’s books- she is a chick lit author that I was back and forth on for years. Sometimes her books looked fantastic, sometimes they were looked a little mediocre. However, I love chick lit based in England and Scotland, and went for it when I saw Highland Fling! The main character, Jenny, is nice and interesting enough, but the family she is helping have little to no redeeming qualities… Overall, I wouldn’t go out of your way to read it, but if you are looking for an easy to read book one day, this isn’t the worst book in world. 3/5!
The Sisters of Versailles, Sally Christie
I read this in a few hours while recovering from my root canal. I don’t know why, but I have been irritated by the majority of characters in the books I’ve been reading lately. The King of France takes four out of five of the Nesle sisters as mistresses, and they are all largely flawed individuals. It really begs the question- how were they the best option? 2/5
The New Countess, Fay Wheldon
Finishing up the train of meh books is the final book in Fay Wheldon’s trilogy. The first book in the trilogy was interesting and very Downton-esque, but the second was mediocre- I should have stopped there. There is nothing unique to say about this book. 1/5
Crazy Rich Asians, Kevin Kwan
After my recent run of books, I didn’t have high hopes for Crazy Rich Asians. However, it is easy and light and entertaining and Kwan is really able to get you to connect with the characters. It is a little confusing with all of the characters have similar names, but to be honest, it doesn’t detract from the book. As a historian, I appreciate that Nick is young history prof, and it blows my mind that his family thinks that a history prof who earned his PhD from Oxford is disappointing and lost! But hey, my family aren’t multi-millionaires in the upper echelons of Singaporean society. Certainly, a great summer read! 4/5
Have you ever had a solid run of mediocre and uninspiring books?? How did you snap out of it? Do you have any favourite books to recommend to me??