Monday, 1 February 2010

Thank goodness January is over, it seems to have been too long and miserable. Not helped by a fall on the icy pavements which left me with an aching wrist and knee, although nothing broken, swiftly followed by a nasty cold which has only just about gone. Anyway, today I noticed a small clump of snowdrops in the front garden and some daffodils poking up through the grass in the front lawn, so spring is quietly springing underneath the chilly earth.

Reading a variety of books has helped pass the gloomy days. Kate Morton has published two novels (so far) and as it happened each was chosen for the two reading groups to which I belong. Last Friday's group discussed The Forgotten Garden, a story set in Australia and England, the main themes being identity and discovering the past.The discussion found that some of the events in the book were a bit too convenient, but most enjoyed it in a good holiday read sort of way. I found it fairly absorbing, a good page-turner in that I cared enough about the main characters enough to want to know what happened to them, although some of the more minor characters were a bit two-dimensional. The theme of finding secret after secret within one family was also quite intriguing, even if at times the plot creaked a bit.
The House at Riverton, Kate Morton's earlier work was also quite a good read, in a similar vein to The Forgotten Garden. This story is set in England, starting just before the First World War and is told by Grace who has just started work as a housemaid in Riverton, an Edwardian country house. Grace's story is told in a series of flasbacks, as she reminiscenses from her extreme old age, helped in her recall by a filmmaker who is making a film about the family who lived at Riverton. Again there are some very convenient plot twists and turns, and although Grace and one or two other major characters are well rounded, some others are merely sketches. However I feel that had I not chosen to read these for reading group discussions, I may not have picked them up at all.

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