Friday, March 31, 2023

On the Cusp of April: Another Reading Roundup

Spring has been slow in coming to Colorado. Cold temps and more snow kept me inside reading instead of cleaning up the garden and getting ready to plant. But a long weekend trip to NYC brightened things up--it rained on Saturday, but Sunday was gorgeous, with trees in flower. The photo above is the boat house in Central Park--I really thought the blue hulls of the boats made for a nice picture--and the one below is just a beautiful scene on one of our many walks around the city.

Here is what I've been reading.

Foster, by Claire Keegan - JoAnn at Gulfside Musing recommended this novella set in Ireland, and I loved it. Here's the GoodReads synopsis that I cannot improve upon:

A small girl is sent to live with foster parents on a farm in rural Ireland, without knowing when she will return home. In the strangers’ house, she finds a warmth and affection she has not known before and slowly begins to blossom in their care. And then a secret is revealed and suddenly, she realizes how fragile her idyll is.

The writing is lovely and poignant and the characterization is rich and deep. We never learn the girl's name, nor that of the woman who cares for her while her mother is having yet another baby. You also never learn the relationship of the girl to the couple, although both the husband and wife know her mother well and don't have much respect for her father. I got the feeling that the husband might have had a relationship with the girl's mother at some point, maybe even be her real father, and that the woman knew and was okay with it, but that was never spelled out. I thought of Fanny Price, heroine of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, often while reading this. 

The Devil's Cave, by Martin Walker - I enjoyed my previous sojourn with Bruno in the Dordogne in France so much that I indulged in #5 in the mystery series. It was great--a bit of black magic, a bit of cave exploring, and a lot of wining and dining. 

The Crow Trap, by Ann Cleeves - this is the first in the author's Vera Stanhope mystery series and was terrific. Interesting mystery in a great setting. Vera didn't come on the scene until about halfway through the book, but I know I am going to get along fine with her. I checked the TV series and learned that this particular story features in season 1, but not until episode 3, so not sure when I will be able to start watching as I am a read the book first kind of person.

March Violets, by Philip Kerr - book 1 in his Berlin Noir trilogy featuring detective Bernard Gunther, the story is set in 1936 Berlin during the Olympics. It is a pretty rough story in which the Nazi villains are truly monsters, but I wanted to get a feel for Berlin on the eve of WWII. I am wondering how a British author came to know so much about life in Berlin at the time. Will have to read up on his credentials. It was a good book but chilling.

Hopefully it will be warm enough this weekend to go birding and work in the garden. Happy April everyone! And, as always, happy reading.


  1. Birding and work in the garden, how lovely. Spring finally here!

  2. Glad you got to escape for a fun weekend getaway. It's snowing again here in Utah. So much for spring break; it's more like winter break the sequel. I haven't read any of Ann Cleaves's mysteries yet, but she's on my list. And Foster sounds realy good! :D

  3. Hi Jane, How I miss NYC! But I have been to Colorado and it is beautiful. I would like to live there as well. An interesting list of books. Very atmospheric. Particularly interested in Anne Cleves because she sets her novels I believe in the very North of England near the Scottish border.

  4. There's nothing like NYC in spring! We were there for a long weekend in April last year (first time since the pandemic) and it made me realize how much I've missed springtime since moving to FL. Your photos bring back fond memories.

    I'm so glad you loved Foster, too. I listened to Small Things Like These and didn't care for it as much, and wonder if it might have been the audio. I plan to reread it sometime this year.

    Glad to know you enjoyed The Crow Trap... I've been thinking of trying that series.

  5. Nice you got to Central Park for a stroll. Perfect that some trees are already out blooming. Happy reading.

  6. I keep hearing great things about Claire Keegan, I'll look for this one. I hope you're having a lovely spring!