Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Top Ten Books of 2014

I have had a great year of reading this year and I hope you have enjoyed reading my thoughts on the books that I have read. I always like to take this retrospective look at the end of the year and remind myself just how many great books that there are out there and that I have had the privilege of reading.

In fact, I had 13 books that I thought were worthy of making it into this list but I made myself confine it to 10.

So, in no particular order, here are my 10 favourtie books of 2014.

Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope
The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan
Disobedience by Naomi Alderman
In Pale Battalions by Robert Goddard
Blessings by Anna Quindlen
Stoner by John Williams
What Was Promised by Tobias Hill
The Boy That Never Was by Karen Perry
Prayers for the Stolen by Jennifer Clement
The Crooked Maid by Dan Vyleta

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Merry Christmas

Christmas Eve has arrived and I wanted to take this opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas and to say thank you for reading my blog this past year. I love being able to share my reading with you all and am looking forward to doing so again in this coming year.

I will be back next week with my Top Ten Books for 2014.

I hope you all find that you made it onto Santa's good list and that you find lots of lovely reading material in your stocking tomorrow.

Have fun and happy Christmas to you all.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope

Alice Vavasor  is young, of independent means and marriageable. In turns she becomes engaged to her cousin, George, who is ambitious and reckless; and John Grey, handsome and gentlamenly. However, Alice is struggling with the idea of tying herself down to either man.

Her cousin, Glencora, has been coerced into marrying the wealthy Plantageant  Palliser. Alice is determined that she will not be pushed into marriage simply because society dictates.

However, Alice struggles to forgive herself for vacillitating between the two men. How will Alice find happiness if she is so determined to go against the moral code of the day? Has she really been fair to either of these men? Questions that she asks herself and that Anthony Trollope asks the reader.

The best thing about reading this book is the knowledge that this is the first of five books in the Palliser series as I really loved it and am excited to get reading the second in the series, Phineas Finn. What I particularly like about this book is the way that Trollope speaks directly to the reader; posing questions and therefore, making the reader stop and think along the way. This is not a passive novel but one that the author encourages the reader to be a part of.

The characters in the book are wonderful and Trollope has drawn this cast in a way that makes all the characters completely believable. The wealthy widow, Mrs Greenhow, is an amusing character with whom the author clearly had fun with as he created her on the page. Glencora Palliser, who is excitable and in love with a man not her husband and Alice Vavosaur who is her own worst critic.

Mr Trollope also tackles some interesting themes of the period drawing on the fact that societal norms dictated that women would be married and mothers and roles outside of this sphere went against the moral code of the day.

This is a long novel and even though I was itching to get back to it at every possible opportunity it has still taken me a couple of weeks to get through. However, I think that it’s length is what enabled me to become so engrossed in the plot and engaged with the characters.

If you have not already read this book then I highly recommend it. It makes lovely entertaining reading and I am looking forward to continuing with this series in the New Year.

ISBN:   9780140430868

Publisher: Penguin Classics

About the Author: 

Anthony Trollope became one of the most successful, prolific and respected English novelists of the Victorian era. Some of Trollope's best-loved works, known as the Chronicles of Barsetshire, revolve around the imaginary county of Barsetshire; he also wrote penetrating novels on political, social, and gender issues and conflicts of his day.

Trollope has always been a popular novelist. Noted fans have included Sir Alec Guinness (who never travelled without a Trollope novel), former British Prime Ministers Harold Macmillan and Sir John Major, economist John Kenneth Galbraith, American novelists Sue Grafton and Dominick Dunne and soap opera writer Harding Lemay. Trollope's literary reputation dipped somewhat during the last years of his life, but he regained the esteem of critics by the mid-twentieth century. (author information from