Both my libraries have been closed for four days over the bank holiday weekend and I was beginning to get withdrwal symptoms.
But I popped in after work today and borrowed three books, so I’m back on an even keel now!
Here they are
Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falones
“14th-century Spain, the medieval city of Barcelona is enjoying a golden age of prosperity. Its humblest inhabitants are building, stone by stone, a magnificent church to overlook their harbour. This is the Cathedral of the Sea: a church to be built for the people by the people. In its shadow, Arnau, a young serf on the run from his feudal lord, struggles to earn his freedom. After famine, plague and thwarted love, Arnau’s fortunes begin to turn when King Pedro makes him a baron as a reward for his courage in battle. But he is also forced to marry Eleonor, a ward of the King whom he does not love. His newfound status excites jealousy from his friends who plot his downfall with devastating consequences. Arnau’s journey from slave to nobleman is the story of a struggle between good and evil that will turn Church against State and brother against brother… “
I really don’t have the time for another big book but I couldn’t leave this one behind. I’ve looked at it in bookshops and it looks like it could be wonderful but it could be hard work. So I’m going to give it a try and of I like it I’ll probably get a copy of my own and if I don’t it’ll be going back to the library pretty quickly.
Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
“Welcome to Bascomb, North Carolina, where it seems that where it seems everyone has a story to tell about the Waverley women. The old house that’s been in the family for generations, the walled garden that mysteriously blooms year round, the rumors and innuendoes of dangerous loves and tragic passions. Eccentric, reclusive, or renegade, there’s not a
one that wasn’t somehow touched by magic. As the town’s successful caterer, Claire has always clung closely to the Waverleys’ roots in their enchanted soil, tending the family garden from which she makes her much sought-after delicacies. She has everything she thinks she needs – until one day she finds a vine of ivy creeping into her garden and knows that everything is about to change. Then her prodigal sister Sydney arrives with her five-year-old daughter and a dark secret she hopes to keep well hidden. And suddenly Claire’s carefully tended life is about to run gloriously out of control.”
I’ve read lots of positive reports about this book so when it turned up on the shelves I decided to give it a try.
Curtain Call: 101 Portraits In Verse edited by Hugo Williams
“In this collection, poets provide portraits of their fellow performers on the human stage, in homage and in satire. Personalities featured include Elvis Presley, Oscar Wilde and the Duke of Buckingham, as well as the less famous, including Butch Weldy and Waring.”
I saw this out of the corner of my eye and I was intrigued with the idea of a collection of portraits in verse form. And when I opened the book at the page with this poem I really couldn’t resist.
“And now the house-dog stretched once more
His limbs upon the glowing floor;
The children half resume their play,
Though from the warm hearth scared away;
The good-wife left her spinning-wheel
And spread with smiles the evening meal;
The shepherd placed a seat and pressed
To their poor fare the unknown guest,
And he unclasped his mantle now,
And raised the covering from his brow,
Said, voyagers by land and sea
Were seldom feasted daintily,
And cheered his host by adding stern
He’d no refinement to unlearn.
A silence settled on the room,
The cheerful welcome sank to gloom;
But not those words, though cold or high,
So froze their hospitable joy.
No–there was something in his face,
Some nameless thing which hid not grace,
And something in his voice’s tone
Which turned their blood as chill as stone.
The ringlets of his long black hair
Fell o’er a cheek most ghastly fair.
Youthful he seemed–but worn as they
Who spend too soon their youthful day.
When his glance dropped, ’twas hard to quell
Unbidden feelings’ hidden swell;
And Pity scarce her tears could hide,
So sweet that brow with all its pride.
But when upraised his eye would dart
An icy shudder through the heart,
Compassion changed to horror then,
And fear to meet that gaze again.
It was not hatred’s tiger-glare,
Nor the wild anguish of despair;
It was not either misery
Which quickens friendship’s sympathy;
No–lightning all unearthly shone
Deep in that dark eye’s circling zone,
Such withering lightning as we deem
None but a spirit’s look may beam;
And glad were all when he turned away
And wrapt him in his mantle grey,
And hid his head upon his arm,
And veiled from view his basilisk charm.”
(And Now The House-dog Stretched Once More by Emily Bronte)
What did you find in the library this week?
See more Library Loot here.