Friday, July 30, 2021

Midsummer Roundup

It's that time again...snippets about books read that I haven't blogged about yet. Thank goodness I can refer to my GoodReads Read list!

The Rose Code, by Kate Quinn - excellent fictional companion to The Code Girls. The Code Girls (non-fiction) is about American WWII codebreakers and The Rose Code is about English ones, but the work and issues are similar. I loved the characters of The Rose Code, from socialite Osla who dated the future Duke of Edinburgh and who was based on the real-life Osla Benning to working girl Mab from London's East End to mousey Beth, and how they grew and developed and matured. The Bletchley Park setting was fascinating (now on my must-visit list) as was the process of code breaking. I loved reading about how the various departments contributed to the whole, mostly without the cogs in the machinery having an understanding of what role their cog played. Final note--the best part of the book is last third. Reads like a thriller!

Enigma, by Robert Harris - it feels like I'm doing a short course on WWII codebreaking, but midway through The Rose Code I decided to reread Enigma, guessed it, WWII codebreaking at Bletchley Park. I know I read Enigma once upon a time, but it must've been when the kids were babies because I remembered none of it. Again, interesting setting and work and interesting characters, although this time 99% of the characters were male, so it was a different kind of story than that of The Rose Code.

A Cast of Falcons, by Steve Burrows - book 3 in the author's Birder Murder series and a terrific mystery that takes our hero, Detective Chief Inspector Dominic Jejune, from his beloved Saltmarsh in Norfork to Scotland and back with plenty of birding along the way. Dom's mysterious brother is a central figure in this book and is a charming addition. Hope we see more of him in future stories.

Booked to Die, by John Dunning - another reread, but I did remember bits and pieces of this one! Set in Denver, Cliff Janeway is a police detective with an eye and love for rare books. In the course of the mystery, he takes the leap from disgruntled employee to entreprenuer, opening his own rare book store in Denver's Book Row neighborhood. It was great fun reading about Denver, Evergreen, and even Longmont in a book-centric book. This is the first in the Cliff Janeway series, and I'm planning on reading the rest in the series. Cliff Janeway is very, very similar to Lovejoy, the British antiques dealer who stumbles upon murder after murder.

Faithful, by Alice Hoffman - I read this with the GoodReads group, True Book Talk, and it was absolutely excellent. Hoffman is a prolific author, and I've only read one other by her, The Museum of Extraordinary Things, which was okay but Faithful is far the superior book. Early on, it reminded me of The Horse Whisperer in that a young girl survives an accident that leaves her friend dead and must dig her way out of the grief and guilt that nearly buries her alive. I absolutely loved the main character, Shelby, and the NYC setting for most of the book. As much as anything else, this is a coming of age story in which Shelby matures as she rebuilds her life and constructs a family out of the strays (canine and human) that she rescues and that rescue her. I'm still not altogether sure how the title fits the story, but it has been interesting thinking about the word faithful and all that it implies when analyzed.

And now it's on to the dog days of summer, headed up to the mountains for a little break, but packing a case full of books to read while I enjoy the flowers and fruits of the season.

Hope you all stay well and remember to read on!


  1. I think I saw a movie version of Enigma, and I think I liked it, but it's hard to remember. But I love John Dunning's Cliff Janeway series. Such good books! :D

  2. I would count all of these as reviews. Sometimes a small review is the best.

  3. I like mini reviews (short attention span here at times - LOL) Code Girls and Rose Code are on my TBR list. Glad you enjoyed them.

  4. A break in the mountains with a pile of books sounds like heaven! I read Enigma hot on the heels of Fatherland in the '90s. Sounds like it is a prefect companion to The Rose Code.

    I've also read the first two in the Cliff Janeway series. For a little while after, I became obsessed with checking for first editions and wondering about resale value. Alas, I am far too lazy to really try and re-sell anything.

    I've not read any Alice Hoffman. I've often thought, if I start, I would start with Practical Magic. I've not seen the movie either, so I have no idea what happens in it except that the sisters are witches.

  5. Bletchley Park is on my must-visit list for whenever we travel to Europe again. I thought The Rose Code and Code Girls were wonderful, too, and will add Enigma to my list.

  6. Oh thanks for your thoughts on The Rose Code and Faithful ... both of these sound like ones I'd like. I read The Alice Network and liked it but perhaps The Rose Code seems like it will be a bit stronger? I liked the Imitation Game movie so anything Bletchley is enticing to me. Faithful too ... seems compelling ... I have only read one Hoffman novel long ago called At Risk .... an AIDs story that was moving. Cheers.