March Book Reviews

The Forgotten Seamstress by Liz Trenow. The story told in multiple time lines about a woman who was a seamstress for Buckingham palace and locked up in a mental hospital when she got pregnant from an affair with The Prince of Wales. Quilt tells her story. Clever author uses various point-of-views through taped interviews and melds them together in a beautiful arc. Loved this one. Rate: 4.7

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante. I had this on a note and thought it was a recommend. But I found out it wasn’t…apparently the later books are better? Anyway, I couldn’t finish listening to it. Tedious. Read like a memoir to me, and we know I don’t love those! No stars, didn’t finish listening.

Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen. A funny little genre mystery by a very productive author….scads and scads of books, mostly series, this is the first in this one…set in the 1930’s Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie is thirty-fourth in line for the thrown…we learn how the lesser half of the upper half lives. Light read, humor, I have reserved Bowen’s novels and the next in this series. Rate: 3.0

A Royal Pain by Rhys Bowen. The second in the Royal Spyness series…another fun little genre for those reading sessions which require no concentration. I suspect I won’t continue to binge read these, but I will look for some copies to take on my RV road trips…when I need to just relax. Rate: 3.0

Mountain Time by Ivan Doig. My mother didn’t recommend this book. She said “I read a book about the area in Montana Liz loves, but it wasn’t very good.” Of course, I had to try it. My daughter goes on a cattle drive up in Sweetgrass and raves about the area. I made it to page 40 and I gave up. Doig has won awards and has quite a few books under his belt. But the whole thing was too…I don’t even know the word for it. Like someone trying too hard to be clever and funny with all the keen references to everything. I couldn’t get past the sentences like “skaters shot out of the tunnel in platoons” and “he felt obscure genealogical guilt.” One or two of these phrases scattered throughout would have been entertaining, but just about every other sentence? Not my cup of tea. No rating because I couldn’t read it. I will add that in the reviews on-line folks said that his other books were great but this one was disappointing. Maybe I’ll try one of the others, one of the five star books.

Murphy’s Law by Rhys Bowen. So I decided to try another of her series. I liked this one too. It was actually a bit more intense and I’ll be reading the next one. This one is about a young Irish murderess who escapes to New York. Of course she becomes a crime solver! Lots of interesting historical information about Ellis Island and the big city corruption. Rate: 3.5

Key for my personal rating system:

5.0 – A book I will never forget, will quote, will tell everyone I know they MUST read it.

4.0 – An excellent book, but doesn’t quite make the best books of all time list.

3.0 – A recommendation, good read, decently written

2.0 – Some redeeming qualities, I finished it, but I’m not likely to seek out more by the author.

1.0 – Don’t wast your time.