April Flew ….

…. and I’m not entirely convinced that the time before we went on holiday, the week away and the days we’ve been back add up to a whole month, but the calendar is quite certain that it does.


It’s not been the best reading month – I’ve picked up and dropped too many books as I tried to find the right book for my reading mood – but I have read some very good books:

This month’s Trollope

I decided to brave and pick up Cousin Henry to read during the month of the great man’s bicentenary. I say brave because I didn’t get on with the book when I decided that it was the place to start my Trollope reading a few years ago. This time around I’m pleased to say that I found much to love, and  I think that proves the importance of reading the right book – and the right author – at the right time.

Since I pick this book down I’ve started on The Vicar of Bullhampton, which I think I’m going to love even more.

One book plucked from tips for the Bailey’s Prize longlist

Claire Fuller’s debut novel, Our Endless Numbered Days, was one of the books that caught my eye when it appeared in almost every post I read about books that might be or should be listed for the Baileys Prize. It didn’t make the list, but it is a very impressive and readable first novel that wouldn’t have been out of place there.

I’m delighted to see that Claire Fuller has been shortlisted for the Desmond Elliot Prize for new fiction.

One comfort read:

During a stressful week at the beginning of the week I needed a comfort read,  Katherine Wentworth by D E Stevenson was just the thing

Two stories of suspense:

 After The Storm by Jane Lythell and Who Are You? by Elizabeth Forbes. Two interesting second novels, each one quite different from the book that came before and yet each one defining the author’s particular strengths. I’ll write a little bit more about that in a day or two.

One lovely children’s book:

I bought quite a few books when we were on holiday, in the lovely bookshops of Totnes, but I was very, very restrained when we were at home. I just picked up two Puffin books from the 1960s, that would have sat very nicely alongside the others I had on my shelves when I was young.I l

 I didn’t know the title Marianne Dreams or the author Catherine Storr, I loved the sound of it.

“Ill and bored with having to stay in bed, Marianne picks up a pencil and starts doodling – a house, a garden, a boy at the window. That night she has an extraordinary dream. She is transported into her own picture, and as she explores further she soon realises she is not alone. The boy at the window is called Mark, and his every movement is guarded by the menacing stone watchers that surround the solitary house. Together, in their dreams, Marianne and Mark must save themselves.”

I loved it, and I wish I’d spotted a copy when I was a child because I think I might have loved it even more,

The other Puffin I bought was a lovely copy of The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge.

I had another book for Elizabeth Goudge Reading Week The Rosemary Tree – but I’m afraid the week will be over before I’m finished. She’s an author who rewards time and attention, this week has been rather busy, and it wouldn’t be right for me to rush.

One big history book:

I took The Plantagents: The Kings Who Made England by Dan Jones on holiday, and it was so readable and so full of great stories that I flew through it. It’s a book about the history more than a book about the people, but that was what I needed to fill the gaps in my knowledge.

 My non fiction book of the month:

The Dead Duke, His Secret Wife, and the Missing Corpse by Piu Marie Eatwell  tells a true story as remarkable as its title wonderfully well.

My fiction book of the month:

As Far As Jane’s Grandmother’s by Edith Olivier is a little gem, and as I wrote about it a couple of days ago I’ll leave it at that tonight.

And that was April!

I have a couple of books in progress, I have those books I picked up and dropped to reconsider, I have a few interesting review books, and I have my Classics Club Spin book.

That should see me well into next month, and then I’ll see which books call me.

Now, please tell me, how was your April? And what do you have planned for May?

18 responses

  1. It sounds like a pretty good month for reading, in spite of the stops and starts. I read and wrote about a LOT of Elizabeth Goudge books this month, which was wonderful, but it’s time to move on to something else! I’ve also been reading for the Once Upon a Time Challenge and loving every bit of it. I’ll be posting about those next month. My Classics Club list is sadly neglected and I must get back to it soon.

  2. I’m glad you enjoyed The Plantagenets. I remember being surprised by how readable and entertaining it was. I’m reading the Piu Marie Eatwell book now and finding it completely fascinating!

  3. A lovely variety of reading for April which has indeed flown by far too quickly. I read one from the Bailey list too – Aren’t We Sisters by Patricia Ferguson and really enjoyed it and am picking up The Dead Duke from the library today. 🙂 Good to know it’s worth reading.

  4. Sounds like a good reading month! Mine was made up of not reading enough on holiday, consumed by social media (and having a friend join us so lots of late-night chatting) and then reading all the easier books off my TBR while poorly. Not sure what May will bring! No Trolloping this month, either, so it will be a Trollope and Galsworthy month for sure …

  5. A lovely month of reading Jane – and isn’t Marianne Dreams good? There was a very chilling TV adaptation in the 1960s.

  6. I can’t quite believe it’s May! You did have quite a variety of reading, with lots of books new to me. I’m glad you’re enjoying the Vicar of Bulhampton, I thought it was such an interesting and fun book, and I’ve been waiting to discuss it, as no one else I know has read it.

  7. I’m looking forward to getting BACK to reading…have many wildly optimistic ‘hopes and dreams’ as my patient husband likes to call them. C.S. Lewis ‘Prelude to Paradise Lost’ tops the list as my current enthusiasm for anything Milton continues (blog post on that, I hope) and still getting through Margaret Kennedy’s Outlaws on Parnassus; fascinating but not the easiest read. Love your list! Impressed…inspired… as always. 🙂

  8. I agree with your other commenters; this sounds like a pretty good reading month despite a few false starts. I’m still playing catch-up with my reviews of books read in April – at the rate I’m going it’ll probably be the end of May before they’re all written up!

  9. Sounds like you had a great reading month. I particularly like the sound of The Plantagenet’s by Dan Jones. I read one historical fiction and one long history in April too but most of the month was taken up with comforting, fantasy reads. I wish you more happy reading in May 🙂

  10. April enabled me to indulge in more reading as off work. But as soon as I am back, that and the reviewing wane as all I can manage when I get in at night is to read the paper.

  11. A trip down memory lane (one that’s getting longer!) – I can still remember reading Marianne’s Dreams from the early 1970’s and then being surprised when it was shown on TV.

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