The act of reading ... begins on a flat surface, counter or page, and then gets stirred and chopped and blended until what we make, in the end, is a dish, or story, all our own.
— Adam Gopnik
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November 25, 2014

A New York Christmas and Miss Buncle Married

I know I might seem like a store that turns on its holiday music in October, but then again, I know you understand about palate cleansers or comfort reading or the simple pleasure of a pleasant and untaxing book at the end of a long day.  It's been (up until today, when I knew things would calm down} an extremely busy and complicated six weeks at work, and my Kindle and the 20 minutes on the bus twice a day have been an important (and effective) part of my coping strategy. :)

As you may have noticed, I'm very fond of Anne Perry's two historical mystery series, the one about William and Hester Monk and the one with Thomas and Charlotte Pitt. More recently {though I was surprised to see that this is the eleventh!) she has also been writing shorter holiday novels, borrowing characters from the latter. In this one, the Pitts' daughter, Jemima, who is now 21, is invited by a wealthy English industrialist to accompany his daughter Delphinia (Phinnie) to New York for her wedding to Brent Albright, the son of his business partner.  They seem to be marrying for love, although the marriage means that Brent will eventually control the families' business interests. In Gilded Age New York, and the society wedding of the year, there almost has to be a family secret waiting to be exposed, and in this one, it's Phinnie's mother Maria, who abandoned her husband and child many years ago and is Not Talked About. But there's a rumor that she has come to New York to see her daughter, and Brent's imperious older brother persuades Jemima that they should find her and persuade her to stay away, with terrible consequences for Jemima.

Except that this is the kind of book where you know what's going to happen, long, long before it does. :)  I did enjoy this, but as light reading {which has its place}. There just isn't the same suspense, or deeply drawn characters, or even setting and atmosphere, that Anne Perry does so well. If this premise had been developed in one of her longer books, I think it would have been outstanding! 

Thank you to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for the very welcome chance to read this.
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My other very lovely bit of comfort reading was Miss Buncle Married, the second book in the series by D.E. Stevenson.  {I'm sure it's because of my love of series mysteries that I am so drawn to other writers who bring their characters back just when we feeling sorry to see them go.}  In this one, Miss Buncle has married her publisher, Mr. Abbott, and they find themselves desperate to move to a new place, in part because of Miss Buncle's fictional exposing of village life and in part because, unknown to each other, they both hate their endless round of dinner parties and bridge games. They are also coping with Mr. Abbott's nephew Sam, a young man about town who is not settling down. It doesn't really surprise me that this book just didn't have the same sparkle as the first one, but then again, I loved reading it, and I'm already looking forward to The Two Mrs. Abbotts. {I think that's  a spoiler ... sorry!}

If I'm not here again or visiting you before Thursday, I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Fleur Fisher said...

I must try Anne Perry one day, and I have the Buncle books lined up. My undemanding book at the end of a busy day is Patricia Wentworth, on Lisa's recommendation. I'm not sure if you've read her, but I think you'd like her too.

I wish you a lovely Thanksgiving.

Audrey said...

Hi, Jane,
I don't think I have, though I've certainly heard of her. If she comes recommended by you and Lisa, I'm can't wait to!

Lisa said...

I'm a true believer in comfort books, and I'm always interested in other people's. I'm also interested in your comment that the Anne Perry novella would have made a good full-length story. And I agree with you so much about the appeal of series - meeting old friends again. And I can definitely recommend Patricia Wentworth's Miss Silver :)

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you have a lovely long weekend.

Cosy Books said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Audrey!

Vintage Reading said...

Oh I agree, books are part of my coping strategy, too, particularly from work stress!

Thank you for visiting!

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