As most of you know, in between bouts of painting, I read voraciously. It's been awhile since I've shared some of my favorite reading material, so here goes:
Sleep, Pale Sister
by Joanne Harris
I have always been a huge fan of Joanne Harris' magical writing and was thrilled when Chocolat was made into a beautiful movie (watching Johnny Depp didn't hurt, either) so I was a little nervous to read this novel as it was written previous to her others but re-published. It was a haunting story of love and betrayal and loss...and, of course, magic. A perfect combination. This story is set in nineteenth-century London and follows the life of artist Henry Chester and his delicate model Effie who becomes his child-bride. Henry lives a tortured and tortuous life, which ends in tragic circumstances for all involved. I thought it was an intriguing story which was beautifully written.
by Mary Lawson
Another author whose books I absolutely adore. Because they are set in northern Ontario, which is somewhat reminiscent of my life growing up in northern Manitoba, I find that I can envision the landscape she describes perfectly. This story revolves around the Cartwright family who seem quite normal but are rather dysfunctional. Though there are several adults in the household, they are each so enmeshed in their own lives and challenges that they cannot see beyond themselves to care for the youngest members of the family. As they all begin to spiral downward, facing their own disappointments, they learn to see the possibility of hope in their own way. Though sad, like her other novels, it was a pleasure to read.
by Eleanor Catton
Oh my goodness...I received this book as a gift from my family and had planned on saving it for my vacation but ended up reading it in a week long before holidays began. Although this is the author's first novel, it was so well written and such an intriguing story. It takes place in a mining town in New Zealand in 1866 with a missing man, a prostitute who attempts suicide, and an enormous fortune found in a drunk's cabin. Twelve men who are connected indirectly to these circumstances meet in secret to solve the mysteries. There is astrology involved (I will be re-reading this with a good astrology book at my side) with the phases of the moon playing a large part in the character and story development and a great mystery to solve. I'm looking forward to reading the author's previously published novel, The Rehearsal.
Written in My Own Heart's Blood
by Diana Gabaldon
I have waited for this eighth novel in The Outlander series for years and was so excited when it arrived at the library. Jamie Fraser has been resurrected from the dead (thank goodness) has found out that his best friend has married his wife and he is then pulled into the fight for Philadelphia with George Washington as the British army withdraws. I always enjoy the adventure and the inclusion of historical events, and of course the romance. It was so good to read more about Jamie and Claire once again and now I'm looking forward to the television series...hopefully it does the novels justice.
by David McFarlane
This book felt a little slower for me, which was fine since I read most of it during hot summer's days at the beach. It focuses on Bay Newling and his experience in the wilderness as a child and his need to share that experience with his son who he has rarely seen since his divorce. It is a poignant story of memories, desire, dreams, and loss.
The Invention of Wings
by Sue Monk Kidd
Another author whose writing I absolutely love...and this was no exception. The story travels over 35 years and moves between Sarah Grimke and her slave Hetty 'Handful' Grimke. Sarah believes that because she is a woman in early nineteenth century Charleston that her life is a challenging as that of a slave. My favorite part of the novel was written at the end, though I loved it all, where I learned that Sarah Grimke was in fact a historical character. I always love learning about truth in fiction.