Overall I liked A Summer for Scandal by Lydia San Andres. I think it’s underrated, but still a library book for me rather than a reread. I especially love the setting and the heroine and her sister. If your library has a copy, check it out.
DNF Four funerals and maybe a wedding by Rhys Bowen. I just couldn’t handle the bright young things who have no money and don’t work but still need servants, so their rich friends provide. There was just this sense of entitlement I couldn’t handle. Like of *course* someone vaguely related to royalty shouldn’t have to get a typist/reporter/sales job like all the other bright young things beggared by the inheritance tax (or unhappily living with a rich soon-to-be-murder victim relative) in the books actually written between WWI and WWII do.
DNF The love that split the world by Emily Henry. Boring and pretentious. I’m glad her later books had her loosening up and going for humor instead of “beauty.”
DNF People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry. It had obnoxiously twee characters — after finding it irritating, I looked on goodreads and found that it got worse AND has some of my least favorite tropes (why didn’t they just have a conversation/denying they should have a relationship for no good reason after deciding they love each other/etc.) I did read the last chapter and found it dumb and the epilogue and found it both boring and annoying. So… yeah, let me tell you how I really feel. I think Emily Henry is just going to be hit or miss for me. (DC2 also tried some of her JV fiction and found it very hit or miss– some of it was great and some of it was 100% stupid teenage angst with supernatural elements, IIRC.)
SPOILERS: Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan was ok, but I was never really sold on the hero and the “boy loses girl” is incredibly stupid (I think starts at 40% as one goodreads comment noted) and lasts months and then as soon as the misunderstanding is cleared up, they get engaged. So I think they met and dated like a month and then were apart because they didn’t know each other well enough for the hero to say, “hey is this thing I was told actually true?” and then suddenly after months apart they’re married. It might have been a better book without the hero in it at all? And it would have been a much much better book if they’d spent more time together, gotten to know each other’s families etc. etc. etc. instead of the lengthy stupid separation. But hey, it’s a best seller, so what do I know?
The Banishment by M. C. Beaton was ok. I tried some other M. C. Beaton romances, one of the finishing school ones, I think, and the key plot point was about the heroine scaring off multiple suiters by claiming not to be a virgin even though she actually was and ::vomiting emoji::
I tried reading The Duke’s Gambit by Tracy Grant. It dragged. A lot. And there’s tons of couples where it seems like the woman first slept with the son and then married the father or vice versa in previous books in the series. And now everyone is having new babies. Lots of half-siblings in this book. Like, I do want to know why Giselle left her husband and infant to go off to London with a British spy and why the other British spy was framed for the murder of the prostitute… but it takes a long long time to get to either one of those.
More mediocre Emily Hendrickson novels.
At this point I decided I needed to remember that excellent books do exist and reread The Gentle Art of Fortune Hunting by KJ Charles. I love her so much. I hope her latest comes out soon. There keep being tantalizing hints on her twitter, but no announcements, not even for pre-order.
If you like feminist memoirs about toxic misogyny and fat-shaming, you will probably like Shrill by Lindy West.
I’ve been really loving the Miss Silver Mysteries by Patricia Wentworth. As of this writing I have read the first 11. They are remarkably neither racist nor anti-Semitic. So far I’ve come across two definitely Jewish people (if you include people with Jewish first/last names, there are more, but their religion/ethnicity is not mentioned). One of them was a jeweler, but like, not an evil jeweler or anything, just a random jeweler and it’s not clear why his Judiasm was mentioned. The other was a very sweet and brilliant scientist who fled the Nazis and was beloved by everyone (sadly he was working on an important government project to defeat the Nazis and was killed). One unnecessary mention of a person getting so much soot/dust on her face that she looked like a [old fashioned word for Black person that ends in o]. But nothing like what you see in any random Agatha Christie. (Not as forward thinking as the previous century’s Conan Doyle, who actually addresses racial stereotypes and comes out against them, though.) Also, even though they’re set in the UK, they are nowhere near as classist as Christies are, and death duties are treated more as a matter-of-fact and it isn’t a huge tragedy that someone has to sell a giant mostly-unused manor house supporting relatives who could work but choose not to. People are happier in smaller homes. There’s no shame on servants being unavailable because they have better jobs now, or for women of a certain class taking jobs. Much more pragmatic. And the servants are fully realized people and not just accessories/plot points/etc, particularly as the series goes on. (Whereas in Christie’s the servants go from unnoticed and silent except when questioned to “you can’t find good help these days” stupid as time goes on.)
I think the Miss Silvers are more like Hercule Poirots than they are like Miss Marples, even though the comparison is usually made with Miss Marple because Miss Silver is an older lady who knits. Wentworth does a much better job of characterization of the people in the stories, especially as she matures as an author. These are also less dark than a lot of Agatha Christies, though #10 has some unexpected (to me!) darkness (I didn’t like #10 as much as the others I’ve read).
The Wedding Crasher by Mia Sosa was a good library read. Not perfect, particularly in the characterization, but very readable.
I liked Constance Verity Destroys the Universe by A. Lee Martinez. If you liked the first two books in the trilogy, this is very much the same (I don’t think you need to read the first two to read the third).
A Tangle of Serpents by Andrea Penrose was fine.
What have you been reading lately?