I’m not sure how I have never read a Hercule Poirot mystery until now. (I have read Giant’s Bread written under Agatha Christie’s Mary Westmacott pen-name.) After watching the 2017 version of Murder on the Orient Express, I decided I was missing out. I was right. Agatha Christie weaves a well-written story of intrigue with nearly every character as a possible suspect. Even with all the clues on the page, Poirot doesn’t “play his hand” until the end when the solution to the crime is revealed. I am excited to read another…and another.
My favorite part about The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is the exquisite poetic cadence of the prose. This nuance does make for a slower read. But, this book is one to fully understand, so reading carefully is crucial. In genre, it reminds me of Fahrenheit 451. There is a similar prophetic quality in some of the mores–current issues in our society that could only be predicted or assumed at the time of the book’s original publication–that set up the dystopian model for Atwood’s world. Perhaps that is why there has been a resurgence in readership along with increased publicity from the popularity of the current TV drama. Whatever the reason, I believe it to be a modern classic that will be used as a literary example for future readers and writers.
Run away to the circus. It is not an unheard of means of escaping reality. But, what if running away to the circus means hiding under the cover of the Big Top while WWII bombs burst overhead? The circus becomes a family for cast-offs through various circumstances, and none more so in Jenoff’s death-defying novel.
Here is a story nestled in a secluded moor where reality pays a visit but rarely stays for long. It’s a century’s trove of secrets and memories decaying and reborn. Just like Evelyn Talbot, you will never want to leave Tall Chimneys.
I loved the historical perspective about the Dutch art world in The Girls with the Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier. The first-person narrative was especially effective in conveying the possible story behind Vermeer’s painting. Highly recommended!