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A Little Book Round-up

Such a long time since I’ve written a post. Therefore, I thought it would be a good time to talk about what I’ve been reading over the past few months and my book recommendations.

The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins

I loved this book! It’s a British period drama with a black woman at the core. The book is set in early 19th-century London with the plot following Collins’ heroine, Frannie, a slave-turned-servant who travels with her owner from a Jamaican plantation to 1800s London, where she finds herself accused of the brutal murder of her master and mistress.

Frannie is an extremely well-written character with shades of Jane Eyre. Armed with a clever turn of phrase, she is an intelligent woman who can read and write, but is looked upon as a heathen because of her skin colour. She is admirable and I found myself rooting for her as I read.

I love a good gothic novel and this is gothic to the core. The Confessions of Frannie Langton is a rich and detailed historical novel and I look to reading more of Sara Collins work in the future.

Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason

Sorrow and Bliss is told in the first person by Martha, a woman with a (for most of the book) undiagnosed mental health disorder and is broadly a story of her messy life, structured around the breakdown of her second marriage. The plot flips between her current struggle and diagnosis and her development of a mental illness in her teenage years.

This is an intriguing book, but I actually found Martha quite hard to like. Even though she is obviously deeply unhappy, she sees this as an excuse to treat everyone around her badly. She seems to have things handed to her with little work or appreciation- her jobs, a loving family and her husband. But she still lashes out at those around her, despite being surrounded by privilege.

I wanted to enjoy this book and at some points, I did get immersed in it. As someone who has had a history of mental illness, it was refreshing to see the general feeling of ‘brokenness’ that I’ve encountered be explored in the novel. I’m glad I read this book, even though I was not sad to finish it!

The House of Fortune by Jessie Burton

Jessie Burton’s first novel The Miniaturist caused me to fall in love with Amsterdam and fuelled my desire to visit it. It is one of my favourite books, so I had high hopes for its sequel.

Set in Amsterdam in 1705, Thea Brandt is celebrating her 18th birthday and is ready to experience all that adulthood has to offer. The constant bickering between her father Otto and Aunt Nella over the financial troubles that are plaguing the family give Thea the reason she needs for escape. Aunt Nella hopes to find a husband for Thea and all of their financial worries will be over but Thea has other ideas about her future.

This is an entertaining book, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I enjoyed the predecessor. That said, the storytelling was top-notch, and I got pulled into the character’s lives. The author captures the era well, especially in detailing the way that women at that time were expected to live up to social expectations.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?

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