March 29, 2014

The Year in Books - March - Belle Cora

Several reasons for this post, which follows on so rapidly after the garden update.

Firstly, I'm so glad that I discovered Circle of Pine Trees - the year in books blog link up.  Laura started this in January, so I'm pleased thatI have found it reasonably early in 2014.
The two books I've read in March are - Stay Alive by Simon Kernick and Belle Cora by Phillip Marguilies and two more different books both written by male authors would be difficult to find.

I'm sure I've read Simon Kernick before and he has a reputation as a good thriller.  So despite trying to swerve away a little from mystery thriller types, Stay Alive did sound like an interesting read.  However (to this reader anyway) it was a disappointment.  Claiming to be a fast page turner, it was just that.  I couldn't wait to finish it and get it over and done!  With clumsy writing, an unbelievable plot with bodies dropping left right and centre. (I couldn't escape the mental imagery of the movie 'Home Alone' with the boy outwitting the baddies constantly). The ending seemed a bit rushed as the author tries to tie (the many) loose ends together. All in all I would consider it a holiday read - airport or beach!  

However, the book which really engrossed me was Belle Cora - oh my goodness, what an enjoyable read! This is riches to rags story of a daughter of a New York merchant who went on to become a millworker, a prostitute, a notorious madam, a murderess and eventually one of San Francisco's richest and most revered dowagers.

It's beautifully written - a spellbinding story of a single woman ahead of her time - the tale of an epic life.  She managed to rise above many difficult situations to make something of her life when it seemed there was no hope.  The book is tastefully written by Phillip Marguilies (can't believe a male wrote this particular book) and manages to celebrate a particularly strong woman. 

Have a look over at Circle of Pine Trees for all the details of this wonderful virtual book club!

cheers for now


Kim said...

Will have to check out the virtual book club! I have always wanted to be in a book club but would find it difficult to get away from the farm...maybe a virtual one is just what I need.
The books sound great. Nothing more relaxing than reading a book!

Coal Valley View said...

Belle Cora sounds like my kind of book! I've just realised that the last 3 books I've read are written by Men and all show amazing insight into the female psyche ..interesting isn't it?!! Have a great week Wendy! Mel xxx

duchess_declutter said...

Hi Kim - yes why not! Next month I may even read one on her list which is probably the idea really!

Laura said...

So glad that you are joining in! x

Christina said...

I am slowly catching up with Laura's linkups. I am very intrigued by Phillip Marguilies Belle Cora, just the kind of book I might enjoy. It isn't released as a paper back yet but I'll add it to my wish list. I do like a good thriller but some I have come across recently are just variations on a theme. I have started listening to Laurie R Kings "Touchstone", which is a crime novel set shortly after WW1 in England. So far, I am enjoying the story.