Monday, 28 April 2014

This Month I Read ...

I have found a lovely Linky, started by Muttering Mummy, which simply involves sharing the books you have read in the past month. I am reading a lot at the moment, although looking at my April list I realise that Wolf Hall took up most of my reading time!! Any way, I am linking up to the project and if you fancy joining in, then that would be fab! I think its a great way to find new books to read...

The first book for my April list is Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall

I read this because I had seen Hilary Mantel on Sky Portrait Artist of the Year, where she was having her portrait painted. She seemed a fascinating woman and I was intrigued enough to buy Wolf Hall, the first in her trilogy of Booker Award winning novels.

This book follows the rise of Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII's advisor, a man who has the look of a murderer and the mind of a Borgia. We first meet Cromwell as a boy, son of a blacksmith, living in squalor in London and beaten by his alcoholic father.Through his own innate intelligence and determination he rises to become one of the most powerful men in Henry's court.

This was a very hard book to get into. At 30% on my kindle I was losing the will to live, but I persevered because, despite the feeling of walking through fog, I could see glimpses of wonderful writing, wonderful story-telling. The book is extremely hard to follow in places with Mantel flashing back and forth and making it very hard to know who is speaking, who she is describing.

However, by 50% I was hooked and couldn't put it down. I found myself googling Holbein's portrait of Cromwell just to see the physical form of the man in the novel.

I found the portrayal of Henry, Anne Boleyn and the Royal Court fascinating and will definitely be reading the next two books. I would say though that it is very frustrating initially and I can understand why many people give up the ghost!


My next read was ... Kiss Me First by Lottie Moggach

This was a book I read for my Book Group. It follows the story of a gullible, lonely young woman who is inveigled into assuming the identity of another woman online so that the second woman can kill herself and disappear without any of her family or friends realising.

It was an easy read, but somewhat ridiculous and I have to say that I warmed to none of the characters involved. It was one of those books which drives me nuts at the end.... where the author appears to think "Right... I've reached my word  total, I can stop now" and simply ties everything up as quickly as possible.
Not my favourite read.


I have just finished reading ... The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng

This is the story of  Yun Ling as told by her as an old woman. It is set in Malaya where Ling was imprisoned by the Japanese. Although traumatised by her experiences the book follows her time after the war when she becomes apprentice to Aritomo, former gardener to the Emperor of Japan.

The book is multi-layered, a thing of beauty, with stunning prose and wonderful imagery. Reading it is like taking part in a ritual that leaves one calm and fulfilled. I recommend this book, having loved every minute reading it. 


I would love to hear your views on the books I have reviewed and if you would like to link up then do click on the link below where you will find other contributors. Do leave a comment please if you have time!!!


Tracy said...

These all sound interesting...had a look at the last one on Amazon and it's got good reviews. Might have to put it on my to read list. x

sarah at secret housewife said...

Hi Tracy! Glad you like the sound of them. The last one is definitely worth reading ... loved it.

Alex Seaford said...

I absolutely adored 'Garden of the evening mists; and sat up late into the night reading it. I then bought it for my mother along with his other book 'the gift of rain' ; also set in Malaya, and also a wonderful read.

I too found 'Wolf Hall' hard going to begin with, but like you I persevered, and really got into it. Have you read the C.J Sansom books? If you enjoyed Wolf Hall you may well enjoy those too.

I recently read 'The Shock of the fall' by Nathan Filer; which is just brilliant :) happy reading :))x

sarah at secret housewife said...

Hi Alex!
I am definitely going to read The Gift of Rain and have just started The Shock of the Fall. I haven't read any CJ Sansom, but I will go and Google them now. Thanks!!
I enjoyed tweeting to you last night too!

Older Mum said...

I read one page of Wolf Hall and put it down... the prose seemed so dense it really put me off. The last book sounds wonderful...

sarah at secret housewife said...

Wolf Hall is worth persevering with - it gets better!! x