I love curling up on the lounge on the patio or under a beach or pool umbrella with a good book. This summer I’ve put a large dent in the books I downloaded to my Kindle and/or the audiobooks I downloaded to my iPod. One of my first blog posts was on my beach reading list. Now, several flights and weekends later, I’ve more to add to my summer reading recommendations.
On a side note, someone asked me about my reviews, each book I write about I’ve read (or, if it’s an audiobook, listened to) and enjoyed enough to share with you!
As a child I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the next Nancy Drew, Cherry Ames, Dana Girls, Vicki Barr, or Hardy Boys book. There is just something about the next adventure, the next chapter in the life’s of a favorite character that I can’t wait to enjoy. In library speak, these books are referred to as series books. The modern equivalent is the Harry Potter series – yet another I devoured – this time as an adult!
Recently, I discovered two new series that I love. Both are mystery series with an intrepid female lead playing the part of detective. Shades of Nancy? I’ll have to consider further the impact Carolyn Keene has had on my lifetime reading habits. But I digress, the two new favorite series are Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs and Rhys Bowen’s Royal Spyness. Both also have a historical fiction element in common as both are set in the period between WWI and WWII.
The Maisie Dobbs series is a bit bleaker in that it tackles the hard truths associated with WWI. The initial book in the series is the story of Marie’s childhood, including her time as a nurse in France and the horrors of the battlefield. Later titles tackle the associated horrors of war in a post war environment. The most recent title is set in the lead up to WWII. They are delightful books that hold your attention and yet have an educational side. Also deftly folded into the story is the story of the women’s movement in England and the corresponding societial changes prodded along by the First World War.
Rhys Bowen’s Her Royal Spyness series is simply a delight. I love them. They are like chocolate covered Oreos. One is simply not sufficient. Let’s be simple, this series is just FUN! The lead character, Georgianna Rannoch, is Queen Victoria’s great granddaughter and thirty-fourth in line to the English throne. Just to make things interesting, she is on the poor relations side of the royal family and is constantly seeking a solution to her money challenges. While she is financially challenged, she has a warm relationship with Queen Mary and her children and grandchildren that include a very young Elizabeth. Georgie is also charmed by a delicious and dashing noble, heir to an Irish title – Darcy O’Mara, also monetarily challenged, Catholic, and whose occupation is something of a secret agent man kind of thing. But, oh my, is he delish!
Georgie constantly finds herself on an adventure and in the middle of a murder investigation in varying parts of the British Empire (Scotland, Ireland, Balmoral), Europe (think Transylvania and the south of France), and even California. Along the way she encounters historical figures like Wallace Simpson and Coco Chanel! Light, and completely entertaining, the books also offer a commentary on the changes in society post WWI and the obstacles for the modern woman in the 1930s. The series is a must read!
Post script – both series are available as audiobooks from audible and are well done.