The Tulip Eaters
By: Antoinette van Heugten
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase
It’s the stuff of nightmares: Nora de Jong returns home from work one ordinary day to find her mother has been murdered. Her infant daughter is missing. And the only clue is the body of an unknown man on the living-room floor, clutching a Luger in his cold, dead hand.
Frantic to find Rose, Nora puts aside her grief and frustration to start her own search. But the contents of a locked metal box she finds in her parents’ attic leave her with as many questions as answers—and suggest the killer was not a stranger. Saving her daughter means delving deeper into her family’s darkest history, leading Nora half a world away to Amsterdam, where her own unsettled past and memories of painful heartbreak rush back to haunt her.
As Nora feverishly pieces together the truth from an old family diary, she’s drawn back to a city under Nazi occupation, where her mother’s alliances may have long ago sealed her own–and Rose’s—fate.
This book has been on the want-to-read list for a very long time, followed by a not-as-lengthy stint on my to-read pile. November was a pretty busy month and I was in the mood for a thriller to read in the meantime, keep my mind sane xD Contains spoilers to some plot points ahead!
The Winter’s Tale
By: William Shakespeare
Format/Source: eBook; my copy
The jealous King of Sicily becomes convinced that his wife is carrying the child of his best friend. Imprisoned and put on trial, the Queen collapses when the King refuses to accept the divine confirmation of her innocence. The child is abandoned to die on the coast of Bohemia. But when she is found and raised by a shepherd, it seems redemption may be possible.
And here I am, at the last title that I’ve listed to read for this year’s William Shakespeare Reading Challenge 2014 that I am participating in. The title seemed fitting as we enter the winter season soon enough 😉
By: Anne Bronte
‘The name of governess, I soon found, was a mere mockery … my pupils had no more notion of obedience than a wild, unbroken colt’
When her family becomes impoverished after a disastrous financial speculation, Agnes Grey determines to find work as a governess in order to contribute to their meagre income and assert her independence. But Agnes’s enthusiasm is swiftly extinguished as she struggles first with the unmanageable Bloomfield children and then with the painful disdain of the haughty Murray family; the only kindness she receives comes from Mr Weston, the sober young curate. Drawing on her own experience, Anne Brontë’s first novel offers a compelling personal perspective on the desperate position of unmarried, educated women for whom becoming a governess was the only respectable career open in Victorian society.
Anne Bronte is the only Bronte sister whose works I had not read to date. There is of course her most famous work, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, but I opted to go with Agnes Grey as my first book from her because I’m not emotionally prepared for the former title 😛 I’m not sure what prompted me to read it when I did, but here we are anyway.
By: Georgette Heyer
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase
When they learned that Sir Waldo Hawkridge was coming, the village gentry were thrown into a flurry. The famed sportsman himself! Heir to an uncounted fortune, and a leader of London society! The local youths idolized “the Nonesuch”; the fathers disapproved; and the mothers and daughters saw him as the most eligible–and elusive–man in the kingdom.
But one person remained calm. When she became a governess, Ancilla Trent had put away romance, and at first she could only be amused at the fuss over Sir Waldo. But when he ignored the well-born beauties of the district, a shocking question began to form: could the celebrated gentleman be courting her?
I went on a bit of a Georgette Heyer spree recently and bought a few titles for my eReader. It’s been a while! The premise of this novel sounded interesting and the perfect sort of read to cap off the remainder of my break 🙂
By: Andromeda Romano-Lax
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase
Ernst Vogler is twenty-six years old in 1938 when he is sent to Rome by his employer—the Third Reich’s Sonderprojekte, which is collecting the great art of Europe and bringing it to Germany for the Führer. Vogler is to collect a famous Classical Roman marble statue, The Discus Thrower, and get it to the German border, where it will be turned over to Gestapo custody. It is a simple, three-day job.
Things start to go wrong almost immediately. The Italian twin brothers who have been hired to escort Vogler to the border seem to have priorities besides the task at hand—wild romances, perhaps even criminal jobs on the side—and Vogler quickly loses control of the assignment. The twins set off on a dangerous detour and Vogler realizes he will be lucky to escape this venture with his life, let alone his job. With nothing left to lose, the young German gives himself up to the Italian adventure, to the surprising love and inevitable losses along the way.
The Detour is a bittersweet novel about artistic obsession, misplaced idealism, detours, and second chances, set along the beautiful back-roads of northern Italy on the eve of war.
Funny little aside, I thought the author was Spanish and was going to put this under Everything Espana Reading Challenge 2014 that I am participating in. I guess I mixed up my authors or whatnot because she’s not a Spanish author, her debut novel, The Spanish Bow (review), was just set in Spain 😉 Nonetheless, I’m excited to be reading her second novel, it has all of the elements of a historical fiction that I enjoy reading about: art, Italy, set during the Second War World. Contains some spoilers ahead!