Regular readers of my blog will know that I’m not a big fan of gentle books. I know a lot of you love them, so here are three for those who enjoy quieter books:
All Is Song by Samantha Harvey
Five words from the blurb: brother, alone, rootless, unite, questioning
I loved The Wilderness so was excited about Samantha Harvey’s new book. Unfortunately, although it could be argued that her writing quality has improved since her debut novel, she has done so at the expense of a compelling plot.
All Is Song follows two brothers who reunite after the death of their father. Very little happens. This book is a simple study of the relationship between two siblings and the way this affects the emotions of everyone around them.
If you enjoy character studies then I’m sure you’ll find a lot to intrigue you, but I’m afraid I found it all a bit dull and gave up after 90 pages.
Don’t be put off by me though – I’m sure this will end up on the Orange/Booker shortlist later this year.
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
Five words from the blurb: New York, coming-of-age, woman, society, change
The blurb of this book held no interest for me, but I was persuaded to read it by its inclusion on so may ‘best of 2011’ lists. I’m afraid that on this occasion my instincts were right – I do not enjoy charming coming-of-age stories set in New York high society.
From the very beginning I was aware of the very high writing quality in this book. New York came alive and the characters were very well developed. Unfortunately I seem to have a thing against rich characters and their relationship issues. Very little actually happens in this book and everything that does could be described as “charming”…… Arrghhh! *Runs away*
If you enjoy well written books about finding love in Jazz clubs and cocktail bars then this is for you, but I couldn’t finish it.
The Lady’s Slipper by Deborah Swift
Five words from the blurb: 1660, steals, orchid, exile, memories
I was drawn to this book because of its Lake District setting, but although I enjoyed reading some historical fiction set outside one of the big cities it didn’t contain enough specific local detail for me to be able to recommend it to fans of books set in Cumbria.
The Lady’s Slipper is set in the middle of the seventeenth century and focuses on a woman who discovers a rare orchid on her neighbour’s land. She steals the flower and attempts to propagate it, but the land owner is determined to get his flower back, leading to a battle of power.
The period atmosphere in this book is fantastic and it has clearly been very well researched, but I found the plot too slow and gentle for my liking. This book has over 400 pages, but the pace made it seem even longer. I know a lot of people love simply being immersed in another time period, but I prefer a bit more action.
Recommended to fans of gentle historical fiction.