I had sewing and cleaning to do this week, so I have more audiobooks than printed ones, and it’s quite a variety of genres! This collection has a little of everything: Historical fiction, action/adventure, Amish romance, a fun mystery and a classic detective story from Agatha Christie! Which is your favorite genre? Let me know in the comments.
“Against the Tide” is the first Elizabeth Camden book I have read. It’s set in Boston at the turn of the 20th century. This novel is creative at every step – the heroine is a Turkish orphan, the hero was raised by the villain, she works as a translator for the military and he fights the opium trade. It depicts the financial insecurity of middle-class workers (especially women)in that era, drug addiction in children and adults, and significant religious differences between the two main characters. Wow. I immediately picked up another of her novels and will review that one later.
2. N or M? paperback, by Agatha Christie
RETRO READ! This is the third of Agatha Christie’s Tommy and Tuppence detective novels. The first, “The Secret Adversary”, was set immediately after WWI, and this one is during WWII. They are delightful characters, consistent with their younger selves in the previous book. The setting is pure Agatha Christie – a small small seaside town with a ring of Fifth Columnist spies. Their interactions with their young adult children will appeal to sympathetic middle-aged readers. Fun book, but read “The Secret Adversary” first.
This was a fun read, with parallels to “The Taming of the Shrew.” I liked the second half of the book best; it was good to see how quickly the heroine matured under hardship. She and the hero seemed very natural in that part of the story, with realistic emotional responses to the situation. The hero’s character, in particular, was well-developed: he was a little resentful and angry at times, which led him to be stubborn, and embarrassed by his parents but completely committed to fulfilling his responsibilities to them. Because I am familiar with The Taming of the Shrew, I anticipated the ending of the story, and I wasn’t disappointed.
This book is based on “Romeo and Juliet.” (Fortunately, this one has a happier ending than the original.) It is a more substantial book than “Courting Cate”. The author addresses some heavier issues than are usually seen in Amish fiction; on the surface, the parents appear to be unreasonable and demanding, but the author’s portrayal of the mother’s psychological/emotional problems is sensitive, creating a character who is quite complex. The father is also a surprisingly sympathetic character, as he struggles to be loyal to a difficult wife and worries about his son’s alcoholism. In my opinion, the love affair is less interesting than the relationships and situations of the other characters.
All of Cussler’s books are great fun, but The Oregon Files is my favorite series. This one is very much the same as the others, except that more information about the good guys is revealed to the bad guys, perhaps changing the dynamic of the series from now on. One of the things I enjoy most about Cussler is the way he takes extravagant “artistic liberties” with world history but goes into great detail about the history of ships, cars and engines. You can trust him to be 100% accurate with the existing ones and be theoretically sound about the ones he makes up.
I like Elizabeth Peters’s novels. They are not great fiction; the characters – even the heroines – are not always likable, but I enjoy her books. Jacqueline Kirby is not a likable heroine. She’s a bit tedious, with her stereotypical feminist attitude and condescension, but that makes her a great “straight guy” for setting off fantastic situations and odd people. In this one, she is surrounded by members of a fanatical Richardian society in full historical regalia, determined to vindicate their revered and maligned Richard the III. Jacqueline jumps into the role-playing and dashes around fixing all the crises. It’s silly. It’s fun. Now my interest is piqued, and it’s time to reread Josephine Tey’s “Daughter of Time.”
So which one do you think you would like best? Let me know!