I check out almost all of my reading books from the library, so I send in a lot of requests for holds (the library emails me when my books come in and I just go pick them up!). Usually, I try to have three or four books show up at a time, but if I want to read something more current and in demand, I will sometimes have to be put on a waiting list, and that can add a sort of randomness to how many books are waiting for me. At my most recent library trip, I collected a larger than usual stack of books to read, but I am so excited about all of them that I don’t mind looking at the large stack by my bed. It provides so much anticipation.
I have now read three of the books from this stack, and am well into my fourth. I read Adriana Trigiani’s “The Shoemaker’s Wife,” Elizabeth C. Bunce’s “A Curse as Dark as Gold,” Laurie Viera Rigler’s “Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict,” and am currently reading Sadie Jones’ “The Uninvited Guests.”
Trigiani’s latest novel is a sweeping epic of two families from northern Italy, and their life stories encompassing a childhood in an orphanage, emigration to America, working at the Metropolitan opera, and establishing a shoemaking career in a Minnesota mining town, among many other stories. It is somewhat based on a family story and that is where the charm lies–in looking at the individual life and how the love of country, beauty and family sustains our characters through all their trials and challenges and gives meaning not only to their own lives, but lays the foundation for the lives that will follow.
Bunce’s fairy tale-like story “A Curse as Dark as Gold” is dark and spooky and perfect for Halloween time. It is somewhat based on the “Rumpelstiltskin” story, and the darkness of that tale permeates every corner of this story of a miller’s family trying to succeed during the Industrial Revolution, despite an enduring curse and the death of their father. If you want a ghost story for older children, this might fit the bill.
A friend gifted me a copy of Rigler’s “Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict,” which I read and enjoyed last month. After realizing that it was a sequel, I decided to check out the first book, “Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict.” I think this book, where a 21st century single girl wakes up in the body of a Regency-era girl (but retains her modern memories), is not nearly as successful as the second book, where the reverse happens: it tells the story of the Regency-era girl in the body of her 21st century counterpart. I found the Austen girl in the modern world a more enjoyable concept, and the freshness reflected in the writing, the attitude and the ways things played out. The modern girl gone back in time seemed a little more tired and not as strong, although it still had its enjoyable moments.
I’m anxious to finish the rest of my stack. Watch for my reviews on goodreads.com.