Wednesday, August 3, 2011
New in paperback fiction: travel to Engand and Nigeria without leaving home!
Summer is a great time to get caught up on your reading, and there are two books recently out in paperback that I raved about when they were first published. Each one is perfect for summer vacation reading, because even if you're not getting away someplace, these books will transport you.
The Distant Hours by Kate Morton. This lush novel interweaves three separate stories that span the 20th century. All of the factors for a great English mood novel are present: a castle, a family whose creative streak is matched only by its madness, three spinster sisters, a quaint village, mysterious disappearances, ancient secrets, and a young publisher trying to sort fact from fiction in the local lore. The stories meander at a deliberate pace, all converging in the last chapter in a most satisfying way. This book is perfect for those readers who want to really sink their teeth into an atmospheric novel that will make them want to curl up for hours with a pot o' tea.
The Secret Lives of the Four Wives by Lola Shoneyin. You'd think that a book set in Nigeria about a polygamist and his four wives would feel exotic and exude a sense of "otherness," but this first novel feels so familiar that the characters might be people you know. When Baba Segi takes on his fourth wife, a well-educated young woman trying to escape her past, his first three (jealous) wives spare no act of deceit or vindictiveness to rid the compound of the new interloper. But will their efforts to keep a dark secret hidden result in tragedy for them all? A terrific first novel!