Here are the books I read in December:
The Osiris Ritual by George Mann
The second book in the Newbury & Hobbes series; I’d read the first one last month, and enjoyed it so much that I thought I’d try this one, too. Second time around, the Victorian, steampunk setting wasn’t quite as fresh or as interesting, and the story itself didn’t feel as engrossing. I still enjoyed this mystery about an Egyptian mummy, but I got a bit frustrated with the pace, and Hobbes, the female half of the duo, didn’t nearly have enough involvement in the story. For me, the steam has run out. However, this could still be a really good Doctor Who story…
Days Without End by Sebastian Barry
A big sticker on the front cover declared this to be 2016 Costa Book of the Year, and it had glowing reviews from The Guardian and The Observer, so I had high expectations. Mostly set during the American Civil War, it tells the tale of two young men who meet as adolescents and subsequently secure jobs dancing on stage disguised as women, before signing up to fight as soldiers. They witness the horror and brutality of war, and, along the way, fall in love with each other, eventually getting married (Thomas once again disguises himself as a woman, so that a minister will marry them) and looking after a Sioux child, who has been torn away from her family. Without doubt, an interesting story, totally unlike anything else I had ever read
The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein
I didn’t know until after I’d finished it that this is actually a prequel to a book I’d read way back in October, Code Name Verity. This book details the herione’s previous adventure, trying to solve the mystery of her grandfather’s missing pearls, after the sale of his Scottish stately home in the 1930’s. This an enjoyable YA novel in its own right, you don’t need to have read or even be aware of Code Name Verity.
Early one morning by Robert Ryan
By far one of the best books I have read all year; find a copy and read it now if you haven’t done so already. Published in 2002, I picked up a used copy in the Little Free Library in my neighbourhood. The novel is based on a true story, about rival racing car drivers in the 1930’s who became friends, working together to help the French Resistance during WWII. Breathtaking.