I obviously was too busy (or at least felt like it) to do a book post at the end of January. I will make up for that now and if I don’t write about books all that regularly – like at the end of a month – so be it. So here are a few thoughts on the books I’ve read this year so far.
#01 Monsoon Summer: A Novel ~ Julia Gregson, 2016
This story is set in the post WWII years and starts in England where nurse / midwife Kit Smallwood meets and falls in love with Anto, a young doctor from India, who is finishing his medical education. After their marriage they move to India, which had just recently gained independence from Great Britain and where Kit isn’t welcomed with open arms, neither from Anto’s family nor the midwives community.
I admit, I didn’t – and still don’t – know a lot about India neither while it was still under British rule nor after their independence. Reading about this foreign culture and country and to see it through Kit’s eyes was interesting and educational. I didn’t get overly attached to the main characters though, which is why their lives and fate didn’t move or touch me as other stories have.
#02: The Unexpected Everything ~ Morgan Matson, 2016
I didn’t expect to enjoy and love this one as much as I did! It’s a typical “Young Adult” novel, which didn’t stop me reading it though, because I try to ignore those kind of labels anyway. Main character Andie, had big plans for her summer, which completely fall apart, when her father, a senator is involved in a political scandal.
There are many stories about politics and scandals on TV and in books, but these stories are rarely told from the uninvolved bystander point-of-view, which made this one interesting. Another part of the story hit almost too close to home sometimes, because I could so well relate to Andie, who had lost a parent when she was a young teen and had a hard time talking about it to her friends or anyone, because the same thing happened to me and I reacted the same way. Sounds depressing, but the story really isn’t. There also was a handsome and surprisingly successful young writer and lots of cute dogs.
#3 After Hello ~ Mhairi McFarlane, 2017
A lovely short story sequel to “You Had Me At Hello”, which I very much enjoyed reading last year. And I enjoyed to visit Rachel and Ben again. It almost made me want to read the original book again.
#04 Love To Hate You ~ Anna Permoli, 2016
There is not much I can / want to say about that one. I liked the basic idea of two people who are fighting a lot at work and over work being forced to work together on a project and realizing they like each other. But so much of the plot and backstories and supporting characters felt too much of a cliché to me.
#05 The Summer Seaside Kitchen – Jenny Colgan, 2017
I’ve got so much love for this one. I enjoy(ed) most of Jenny’s books so far, some more than others, but this one is set on a Scottish island which made it all the more interesting to me. Because I love Scotland, the Highlands & Islands especially and Jenny captures the landscape and nature and solitude and people and atmosphere of this beautiful place on earth so perfectly. To me at least, who loves visiting the Highlands in general and has spent a few wonderful days on Lewis & Harris in 2015.
Flora has left Mure – the tiny Scottish island she grew up on – to work as a paralegal in London and she hasn’t been back since her mother’s funeral. She also has a crush on her boss Joel, who unfortunately for her is a heartless bastard lawyer shark. Or so it seems :-) When an American billionaire, who had bought property on Mure hires her law firm to prevent a wind farm close to the island, and this case demands her return to Mure she is thrown back into the fray of her family and of island life, with islanders who aren’t welcoming her back with open arms.
I don’t want to give too much away, but I loved how the story and various subplots about Flora’s brothers and about the billionaire and about a hunky outdoor-experience operators evolved. For over half the story I still hadn’t made up my mind which guy I wanted Flora to end up with and I like when a romance isn’t too predictable. The story about how Flora’s brother Fintan falls in love, blindsided me, but I enjoyed it very much.
Most surprising, but in a totally good way, probably was, how much I could relate to Flora as the only girl among three bothers, who have lost one parent. I’ve been there and it’s a special kind of dynamic, I think. All in all I think Jenny captured typical male and typical brothers towards single sister behaviour perfectly.
And the way Jenny writes about the island itself, the air, the sea, the beach, the landscape and about the weather and the general atmosphere of this place brought up so many lovely memories of my days on the Hebrides or in similar small and secluded places at the Scottish coast. There is a reason, why I return there for a vacation again and again…