What I Read in July

Wars of the Roses: Bloodline by Conn Iggulden (Putnam) This is my first book in this historical fiction series exploring the War of The Roses, and now I want to read all of them. Having just discovered and devoured the entire six seasons of A Game of Thrones, this was the perfect book to read in my sadness at its absence. Iggulden takes a few liberties with the characterizations and details, but he mainly adheres to the major battle and their aftermaths. Edward IV becomes the Duke of York and eventually becomes King of England with the help of Richard, the Kingmaker. Both Thrones and Bloodlines are set in a medieval world, and having spent two months catching up on Thrones, it was very easy to visualize the violence of that old world.

Invincible Summer by Alice Adams (Little, Brown and Company) Usually books like this one are right up my alley and I was really looking forward to this one, but it fell a bit flat for me. It follows the lives of four close college friends in the twenty years since graduation. Early on, most of the story focuses on Eva-her unrequited love for Lucien, how she builds a career for herself in finance and how she begins to experience life as other than Sylvie’s shadow. It eventually moves on to the other characters. Lucien gets rather short shrift, and as a result he and his drug problems make him pretty one dimensional. Sylvie and Benedict fare much better in getting some attention.

The Muse by Jessie Burton (Ecco) Reading Burton’s latest novel is like curling up with a little slice of perfection. I simultaneously wanted to know all the answers to the mysteries presented, but at the same time, I never wanted it to end.

The Possessions by Sara Flannery Murphy (Harper, January 2017) Murphy’s novel takes a thought-provoking look at consciousness, death and grief in this well considered story about a young woman living in an unnamed American city in modern times where a visit to a specialist with a pill called a “lotus” buys you a half an hour with the dearly departed. It’s a bit of a page turner in the sense that a mystery develops around the circumstances of the death of the wife of a new client she channels for and also develops a relationship with.

Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn (Liveright) While the cover might reflect Jamaica’s destination as a fun, lively, and popular tourist attraction, Dennis-Benn’s wonderful new novel delves into the decidedly darker experiences of 4 island women.

The Trap by Melanie Raabe (Grand Central Publishing) I love reading stories where authors bring writers into the mix, and so was intrigued by the premise of The Trap where a celebrated writer switches genres to write a mystery she is sure will lure her sister’s killer out to her. Totally engrossing, and with and ending that was difficult to pin down.

Harmony by Carolyn Parkhurst (Pamela Dorman/Viking) I’m always a little nervous when the marketing of a book clearly panders to elements which are present, but certainly not to the extent one might assume from reading the jacket copy. Harmony is a beautiful and engaging novel, but one whose strengths are in quiet storytelling and amazing characterization.

I Also Read

The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney (Ballantine)

The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close (Knopf)

Nelly Dean: A Return to Wuthering Heights by Alison Parker (Pegasus)

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson (Amistad)

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

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