It's been a while since I've had the chance to do a fair amount of reading. When I'm at home, there always seems to be something else I *should* be doing, so I often let it slide. However, when I was in France recently, I had a lot of time to spare (on trains, buses, the metro, waiting in lines, etc) and little else to do, so I managed to work my way through a decent number of books. Here's a round up of some of the things I've read lately:
- The Hunting Party: I really enjoyed this. Set up like an old-school murder mystery, your typical group of friends are on holiday in a remote cabin in the middle of the Scottish Highlands for New Year's celebrations. They've known each other for years, so naturally there are plenty of secrets just waiting to come out and ruin the dynamics. When one of the party is found dead, surely there has to be something more sinister out there...? This kept me guessing until very close to the end, with plenty of twists and I really liked how the flashbacks to university life etc eked out little details about the friends.
- Eve of Man: I've heard so much about this book over the past few months that it was top of my list of things to read. The world as we know it has changed, as one day all babies born are boys. Things stay this way for more than fifty years and the world is in a panic. One girl, born into these crazy conditions is protected high up in a towered complex, surrounded by sky. Her only interaction is with a virtual reality assistant, or the group of nuns who are tasked with looking after her. But the world is relying on Eve - the human race relies on her and they need to find a suitor. But there is also a group of people who are determined to see Eve freed from her tower. I really enjoyed the fast pace and feeling as though I was part of the dystopian world. Can't wait for the next part of the series.
- I Invited Her In: It's been years since you last spoke to your best friend from university days. You'd been so close at the time, but life moves on and you both lose touch. Suddenly, an email out of the blue asking if she could stay for a couple of days. What would you do? Mel extends an invite to her old friend Abi and welcomes her into her family home. But what can she really know about who Mel is these days? Billed as a dark and unsettling thriller, I have to say I had high hopes for this, but thought it fell a little flat. Shocking twists which turned out to be fairly predictable, I wanted to enjoy this more than I did.
- Baxter's Requiem: This was charming. A tale about a man, living our his twilight years in a care home. Upon getting some news about his ailing health, he decides that now is the time to go on a final adventure. He enlists the help of the hapless Greg, plodding but conscientious care home assistant, to carry his bags. Baxter, clearly used to the finer things in life, is an eccentric character whose secrets are revealed over the course of his trip. I liked the snappy dialogue in this, as well as the way in which things resolved themselves at the end.
- The Distance: Have you ever met someone online who just "got" you? The great thing about the internet is that it can connect you with those people you have common interests with. The bad thing, is that you can sometimes fall in love with them, even across the other side of the world. Cecilie is hopelessly in love with Hector. The only trouble is she's in Norway, and he's about to get married to someone else. In Mexico.Flicking between their homes and also back and forth through their friendship's timeline, I found that Ceci's pining for her unrequited love really resonated with me and the way in which she wasn't quite sure where she fit into the world anymore, was one of the most apt descriptions of this kind of love. Another strand to the story, we meet housewife Kate, stuck in Suffolk and possibly entirely unrelated, until eventually things become clear. A story about loves, lost and found, and one which will keep you hoping for a certain outcome right until the last page.
- The Wives: Written by the author who created the now famous Devil Wears Prada, I had high expectations of The Wives and it didn't disappoint me on any front. We're thrown right in as one of our protagonists is arrested for a suspected DUI with confusingly fuzzy details. Has she been set up? Her friends Miriam and Emily will surely help her get to the bottom of this. An interesting, fast-paced insight into the lives of the wives of the suburbs. "Everyone's had their vagina done, darling." And a cameo role from Ms. Priestley, herself. Definitely worth a read!
Have you read any of these? Or anything else which you'd recommend, lately?