The London Review Cake Shop inside is the perfect meeting place, serving super strong cups of Monmouth coffee at its big wooden table. But even under the influence of caffeine, I managed to leave without any new books.
Which is just as well, since I already have plenty to read, including several titles in the The Bloomsbury Group series. After starting the series back in 2009, I somehow lost my momentum. But not too long ago, I picked up where I'd left off, with Love's Shadow by Ada Leverson, the first in her Little Ottleys trilogy:
The plot is complex, involving a slew of romantic entanglements enacted by a host of characters, all deftly drawn, especially the ridiculously pompous Bruce Ottley and willfully unconventional Anne.
Ada Leverson was a close friend of Oscar Wilde, and the writing is very Wilde-like, the quips flying thick and fast. While the barrage of witticisms seemed overwhelming at first, I soon settled into the rhythm and was completely engaged from then on.
Henrietta Sees It Through by Joyce Dennys is the sequel to Henrietta's War, an earlier read in The Bloomsbury Group:
Henrietta, a Devonshire doctor's wife, continues to document daily life on the Homefront in letters to her childhood friend Robert. As the war enters its third year, the residents of the village push on in their various projects, contributing to the war effort in sincere but often muddled ways.
Laugh-out-loud funny, I was in stitches from page one, though there are serious and sad moments, too. The perfect combination of sublime humor and quiet sentiment, the pages just flew by. Definitely rates among my favorite books of this year, or indeed of any year!
Looking back, I can't fathom how I gave such an unflattering review to the first book. Guess I'll just have to reread Henrietta's War to see.