What I read in March 2020

What a long and strange month March was. And yet, I can’t say I read more books than usual. I’ve been working from home for two weeks now, and as I still work the same hours, I’ve only really gained ‘extra’ time when I would have normally been commuting (and I spend that time in the morning sleeping in!) or at the gym in my lunch break.

I am making an effort to up my reviewing game, though - I want to help authors whose books aren’t getting as much attention as they would due to cancelled publicity/getting drowned out by constant bad news. Also, with all the libraries shut, I have more capacity for Netgalley and blog tour books!

The Starless Sea, The Address Book, Mortmain Hall, The Mercies, Expo 58

The Starless Sea, by Erin Morgenstern - you know when you’re pleasantly drunk, but then you keep drinking and everything feels a bit too much, you don’t know what’s going on, and it’s not fun any more? This book was like that. 3* for a wonderful first 150 pages or so.

The Address Book, by Deirdre Mask - amazing. 5*

Mortmain Hall, by Martin Edwards - 4*

The Mercies, by Kiran Millwood Hargrave - fantastic story, and that cover! 5*

Expo 58, by Jonathan Coe - 4*

Casting Off, A Single Thread, Ghostcatcher, Retriever of Souls, A Very English Murder

Casting Off, by Elizabeth Jane Howard - a real comfort read during these turbulent times. 5*

A Single Thread, by Tracy Chevalier - high on social history, low on plot. 3.5*

Ghostcatcher, by Sophie Green - 4.5*

Retriever of Souls, by Lorraine Mace - 4*

A Very English Murder, by Verity Bright - 4*

Time's Legacy, The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim, Into Darkness

Time’s Legacy, by Barbara Erskine - very middle-class woman suffers a trauma, hides out somewhere picturesque, starts seeing ghosts and gets heavily involved in their story instead of taking precautions against someone who’s out to get her. Are Barbara Erskine’s novels formulaic? Yes. Do they bring the ancient past vividly to life and make great comfort reads? Also yes. 4*

The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim, by Jonathan Coe - 4*

Into Darkness, by T. J. Brearton - 4*

Looking ahead…

All Change, This Lovely City, Children in Chains, The Cat and the City, The Lost Future of Pepperharrow

This coming month’s reads should be a mixture of established and new favourites. I’ll be reaching the conclusion of Elizabeth Jane Howard’s Cazalet Chronicles (and rushing to the internet to buy more of her books!), continuing with Lorraine Mace’s Paolo Sterling series having really enjoyed Rage and Retribution, and returning to some of the characters from The Watchmaker of Filigree Street with Natasha Pulley’s new novel, The Lost Future of Pepperharrow.

I bought This Lovely City by Louise Hare because my reservation didn’t come through before the libraries shut, and I’ve loved books set in the Windrush era ever since I took a post-colonial module for my A Levels. The Cat and the City by Nick Bradley stood out to me on Netgalley because, well, cats, but I’m also looking forward to being transported to Tokyo!

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About Alice Violett

Reader of books, editor of web content, haver of PhD

Colchester, UK https://www.draliceviolett.com