Books Read In April 2020.

It is the last day of April and I have read seven books in one month, a record for me! Four are from my library pile, two I downloaded onto my Kindle and one I borrowed from my other half. Have you read any of these?

A still from the film.

Brooklyn – Colm Toibin ( 2009). Young twenty something Eilis Lacey lives in 1950s Ireland, where employment opportunities are few. When her older sister persuades an Irish/American priest to sponsor her in Brooklyn, Eilis embarks for a new life across the Ocean. As an immigrant on her own in a strange country, Eilis eventually settles and encounters love, but a tragedy at home threatens to overturn her new life. A quietly told yet very human tale that stayed with me after reading. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Mr Scarletti’s Ghost – Linda Stratmann ( 2015). The protagonist in this Victorian seaside mystery is quite unconventional. Mina Scarletti has scoliosis. Her twisted frame provokes pity and even distaste in some, yet also gives her freedom from the expectation of marriage and the restrictions that could bring. Brighton has become a fashionable resort for unscrupulous mediums and Mina is concerned when a certain Miss Eustace becomes aquainted with her recently widowed mother. Quite a slow paced book, but with a satisfying conclusion. I will look out for more Mina Scarletti mysteries. ⭐⭐⭐

Nights At The Circus ~ Angela Carter (1984). Fevvers is a six foot two cockney trapeze artist rumored to be half swan, those giant wings of hers have always helped make her fortune. And here she is performing dates in London, St Petersburg & Siberia with Colonel Kearney’s traveling circus. When handsome reporter Jack Walser decides to pursue Fevvers to write her story, he finds himself joining the eccentric troupe. A bawdy magical delight. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Through His Eyes – Emma Dibdin ( 2018). Billed as a thriller set in Hollywood, I kept waiting for something sinister or exciting to happen, but nothing did. The characters are shallow and unlikeable. My imagination had me convinced that something was going on in the background that wasn’t. All in all quite a disappointing read ,the story follows a young reporters quest for her big break in LA and her obsession with a movie star. ⭐⭐

Prudence ~ Jilly Cooper( 1978). If ever there was a guilty pleasure author, it would be Jilly Cooper. After suddenly remembering how much I loved Jilly Cooper books in the nineties, I quickly uploaded one of her oldies onto my Kindle. And now I remember what a witty writer she is. Her heroine here is very much a seventies Bridget Jones type called Pru. She meets a handsome young lawyer called Pendle ( apparently named after a mountain near his childhood home, Pendle is not a mountain and is in fact a hill very near me in Lancashire, I forgive you Jilly) and he takes her away for the wknd to his ancestral pile, a crumbling old mansion in the Lake District. Prudence soon realises that Pendle’s family are a dotty cast of characters ,who are all completely in love with the wrong people. Jolly and witty. Made me smile. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Face It ~ Debbie Harry ( 2019). The iconic lead singer of Blondie has at last written her memoir. Interlaced with various fan art and photographs that she has kept through the years, this autobiography though fascinating, is curiously detached when it comes to personal and even traumatic events in the stars life. What does translate is a vivid picture of a seedy sixties & seventies New York, I think readers would have preferred more emotion and personal detail. I liked the photographs and fan art, the fact that Debbie has kept fans drawings and paintings, conveys a warmth she doesn’t share that much in her writing. ⭐⭐⭐

The Secret Garden ~ Frances Hodgson Burnett ( 1911). I am not sure how I missed reading this as a youngster, the enchanting tale set in Yorkshire. Little Mary Lennox ( a disagreeable child) is sent to live in her Uncles sprawling mansion on the Moors after her parents die in India. Used to a lethargic life( and always getting her own way) Mary’s attitude changes for the better after discovering a secret garden in the grounds. Lonely at first ( her Uncle is never at home) , she finds friendship in an old crotchety gardener, a boy who charms animals and a sweet musical robin. And there’s mystery too, whose is the voice that Mary hears sobbing in the night? I love how the story heartily recommends fresh air , growing things and being in nature, very relevent right now. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I suspect the lockdown has given me more time and inclination to read. Though I know for some people , it has been the other way. Are you reading more or less at the moment?

xx

43 thoughts on “Books Read In April 2020.”

  1. The Secret Garden is one of my childhood favourites, must dig out my old copy to read. I’ve not had much time to read since the wee one arrived, but managed to read a couple of Mitch Albom’s books and a children’s horror story this month because they’re all fairly short! ☺️ X

    1. Nothing wrong with short. I can’t believe I never read The Secret Garden before. Such a magical book. I believe there is a new film coming out this year too. X

  2. I love The Secret Garden. Finally read it for the first time last year. I’ve just finished A Little Princess by the same author (inspired by Charlotte Brontë’s unfinished novel Emma), and I think it’s even better 😁 x

    1. Definitely! On one of my local walks there is a little door to a walled garden, which is to high for me to look over. Very curious to see behind it. But it’s private. Reminds me of the secret garden. X

  3. I’m currently reading the follow-up to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry which I really enjoyed. I’ve never read The Secret Garden but I might be tempted to get it now. The synopsis reminds me very much of Tom’s Midnight Garden which I enjoyed so much – I wonder if that’s where the author got her idea from 🙂

  4. I loved the Secret Garden when I read it as a child and was really looking forward to seeing the cinema adaptation because it looked so beautiful… I think I’ve read Prudence too, though all those books tend to blend into one, don’t they? Always a richer, older guy with a troubled past/background and a young heroine. (And that’s not criticising them because my sisters and I loved them when we were younger too.)

    1. Yes I was hoping to see the new film, I still might eventually. But that is kind of why I finally got round to reading the book, so glad I did. Reading Jilly cooper definitely a nostalgia thing. A bit of silly escapism too. 🙂

  5. I will have to read some of her others. I believe she wrote alot for adults too. There is actually a pub in Manchester called Lass O Lowrie named after one of her books, about a pit girl in a Lancashire town.

  6. You have been busy, puts me to shame.
    The Secret Garden was a favourite of mine way back when and I think my love of gardens, particularly stately ones where you expect to find a secret door, may partly stem from it.
    The only other one I’ve read is that strange Angela Carter one, a fantastical story full of symbols and images.
    I wonder whether ‘The Room’ by Emma Donoghue would be a good choice for reading during our isolation. A psychological novel, narrated by the boy, which delves into a child/mother relationship in strange circumstances highlighting their ultimate resilience. Have you read it?

    1. Hi no I haven’t but I have seen the film, which was really good. I remember the book being recommended to me, then the film came out anyway. I’m not sure what to read next, I have a few library books still to choose from.

      1. Haha, yes me too sometimes. I would still like to see the new secret garden film though, it’s coming out sometime this year. .

  7. I love The Secret Garden! I’m not reading as much as I thought I would but its mainly because I’ve taken the opportunity to spend some time on hobbies I never normally make time for – like painting!

  8. I’ve seen the film of Brooklyn but not read the book. The Secret Garden is one of my favourites from childhood. I’m re-reading a couple of my favourite books and definitely reading more at the moment:)

  9. I read 7 books last month too – bit of a record for me as I average 3. Loved The Secret Garden as a child! If you fancy another recommendation – read this a while ago – Night Circus by Erin Morgenstein – think it might be your type of style

      1. I’ve been waiting to hear if Erin Morgenstein brings out any other book – just googled her and see there was a release in Nov 2019 – have you read it?

      2. I used to check and as time passed thought the book was so good the author hadn’t been able to write again! I’m going to order it and see if it meet expectations!

  10. I’m still loving lockdown life and am actually dreading any announcements regarding easing it, haha! I am absolultey loving all this time at home and having been furloughed, I have so much time to read! I don’t feel I’ve actually spent a lot of time reading in April – I’ve spent far more time faffing in the garden or doing other things but I’ve still managed to read ten whole books! It feels very good to finally be easing the weight load on the ‘to be read’ shelves, haha!

    The only book here I’ve read is The Secret Garden, which I love! I’ve just started a new book called Every Day Nature and am half way through The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo. Next up is an old book that I was recommended to me as an interesting read – it’s a 1930s book by Marie Stopes about Contraception!! An unusual choice perhaps but I thought from a social/history kind of perspective it would be interesting!

    1. Ten whole books is amazing! But I know you usually read even more. 🙂 That garden will look fabulous once you have finished. I know what you mean, I am definitely loving not going to work ( haha) though still wanting to travel and go on holiday. Can’t have it all!
      Interesting selection of books there Louise. X

      1. I just popped back after seeing your comment about the orange cake – it was good! It was a super easy recipe I found on youtube…

  11. I haven’t read any books during lock down – but that isn’t more or less. I’ve not been in a reading place and lock down hasn’t pulled me into one. Thank goodness I’m in charge of our book group or I’d probably have been thrown out by now 😉 I have however read one on your list. No prize for guess it’s The Secret Garden 🙂

  12. Like just about everybody else I read The Secret Garden as a child. I’ve also seen at least two screen adaptations of it. The only other one I’ve read is Brooklyn which my book group did a while back. We all found the heroine’s behaviour when she returned to Ireland hard to fathom.

  13. I have been reading more too, its great isn’t it to have the time! I love The Secret Garden, I read it to my children at the end of last year, they loved it too. You would love her other books they are all good.

  14. Perhaps not surprisingly, I’m still reading ‘War and Peace’. Somewhat over 900 pages in and thoroughly engrossed.

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