I have to admit to being kinda vexed by this book. I’d normally shy away from a book set in the mid 1800s… not being a fan of historical fiction ‘n’ all. But something about the book must have appealed for me to have requested it and the blurb does set the scene for a creepy but intriguing tale.
I’d had this book for a while before I read it as I’m participating in a blog tour for this latest release by Natasha Lester, The French Photographer. It means I’ve seen a few reviews around, including a negative one in mainstream media which Lester shared just after the book’s publication.
I was surprised by that as this is possibly my favourite book by Lester; although it might be a toss-up between this and A Kiss From Mr Fitzgerald, and I think that is because the subject matter is ‘meatier’ than her two more recent novels. (If that makes sense!)
I’d assumed this book would have gothic or fairytale (are they not the same thing? Different sides of the same coin perhaps?) undertones, but it sits a little more firmly in the mystery genre and what WAS to be a short pre-dinner read, turned into several hours, until I’d finished the book.
I wasn’t sure about this book as it’s a bit outside of my usual reading genre. I don’t read a lot of women’s fiction and stay far far away from historical fiction.
I do however, often read books that alternate between the past and present (a la Natasha Lester, Kate Morton etc), which this book does and I was thankfully engaged in this story and drawn to the characters from the get-go.
I enjoyed Kelly Rimmer’s Before I Let You Go, released last year. At the time I described it as genre-less. In a good way.
The blurb for her latest mentions World War II and the 1940s which had me worried as I’m not a fan of historical fiction. I do however, read books that flick between timeframes, as per Kate Morton and Natasha Lester, which is exactly what The Things We Cannot Say does.
When this book arrived I noted it was by Tania Blanchard, the author of The Girl From Munich – a book I’d heard of (of course as it was very popular), but not read. And it wasn’t until I started reading I discovered it listed in Goodreads as The Girl From Munich #2.
Last year I reviewed The Mitford Murders by Jessica Fellowes…. which I described as ‘faction’…. a fictional account of a murder set around real life characters and events.
I’d not heard of the Mitford sisters at the time and was somewhat intrigued.
More interesting though was that the main character wasn’t one of the sisters, but rather their nursery maid or companion, Louisa. And in my review I commented that the Mitford sisters, particularly the elder, Nancy seemed to play a bigger role on the mystery-solving front along with an ambitious young police officer, Guy Sullivan. (And – at the time, as it was billed as #1 – I wondered who might feature in the next book in the series….)
I don’t tend to read historical fiction unless it’s intermingled with the present, so this book didn’t jump out at me when it arrived (despite the Australian edition’s beautiful cover). However, I decided I’d give it a go as there was something about the blurb that made me think about Agatha Christie’s A Caribbean Mystery, Evil Under the Sun or The Mystery of the Blue Train.
Fatal Inheritance by Tammy Cohen (writing as Rachel Rhys) wasn’t really a hardcore whodunit requiring a Belgian detective or woolly but whip-smart spinster however. Instead it’s an intriguing story with delightful characters and I was surprised how much I enjoyed it.
I’ve struggled lately with my blogging. Not the actually writing, but more the content. I’ve got a folder full of half-written posts that all seem ridiculously pointless when I revisit them to tweak for publishing.
One of those posts is about the TV series, The Alienist. Well sort of. It’s about things that meandered around my little mind as I watched The Alienist and that’s partially to do with the subject matter – namely the way in which we treated clients of mental health services. It’s a long time since my undergraduate psychology degree, but… I currently work in a health service so my colleagues deliver mental health services and I’m vaguely connected to some planning around a new inpatient mental health facility.
Which is why books like Kathryn Hughes’ The Key – about archaic medical practices – are of more interest than they may otherwise have been. (Plus, and as an aside, I’ve remained a little perturbed about that stuff since seeing An Angel At My Table, about the life of NZ author Janet Frame, a few decades ago!)