More Brit lit! “Kiss Myself Goodbye” by Ferdinand Mount is a shocking true account of the author’s Aunt Betty. Betty Mount appeared to be a gracious, refined upper class woman with all the right social contacts. Little did the author know, Betty had constructed, and reconstructed her life through lies and omissions. Thorough research and photographs making this a fast and entertaining read.
For the mystery lover, try “The Invisible Girl” by Lisa Jewell set in contemporary London. Girls are being attacked, a girl goes missing and the odd young man on the street who lives with his aunt and was accused of sexual harassment at the school where he teaches is arrested. Case closed?
“The Liar’s Dictionary” by Eley Williams is a dual narrative story about attempts to prop up a dying dictionary firm in London. This appealed to me as a crossword/Scrabble/Daily Jumble aficionado. Bonus: I learned new words including “mountweazel.” I was rooting for lexicographer Peter Winceworth all the way!
“Snow” by John Banville is a murder mystery set in the Irish countryside in 1957. A priest is found dead at the bottom of the stairs in a country manor house. Some passages in this are brutal. If you are sensitive about the role of the Catholic Church in Ireland, you might take a pass, but brilliantly written by the Booker Prize winner.
“Murder in Old Bombay” by Nev March is an intricate look at British Colonial India in 1892. Based on a true story of two young women who fell to their death from a university clock tower, the book offers an exacting description of Indian social mores of the time as a retired British Captain plays Sherlock Holmes to find the story behind the headlines.
“Icebound” by Andrea Pitzer will be well received by fans of Ernest Shackleton. William Barents was a Dutch explorer seeking a faster route to Asia in 1595. He and his crew became trapped in the ice of Nova Zembla. This is the astonishing account – superbly detailed by Pitzer – of how they survived. You will never gaze at the stars unappreciative after learning of their navigational skills.
“The Mountains Sing” by Nguyen Phan Que Mai takes the reader to Vietnam from pre-VietNam War to Communist takeover and the reeducation camps. This is the saga of a family desperately trying to cling together and the political forces that tear them apart. Heartbreaking and inspiring by turns, it is a sobering but satisfying read.
“Memorial” by Bryan Washington is a highly acclaimed novel about two young gay men who are questioning their relationship. When Mike goes to Japan to see his dying father, his mother comes to stay at his apartment with Benson, his Black preschool teacher partner. All families are dysfunctional and becoming some version of “modern.” Speaking of dysfunctional – “Pickard County Atlas” by Chris Harding Thornton takes the reader to rural Nebraska and the Reddick family, full of trauma, grief, and dark menace. A Midwestern version of Southern gothic.
“Confessions of a Curious Bookseller” by Elizabeth Green is an epistolary novel of a woman in Philadelphia grappling with her failing bookstore. She is maddeningly obtuse but some of her eccentricities are awkwardly funny. I received this book free from Amazon. I am glad I did not pay for it.
For more information, visit beckysbookclub.com.