04 December 2010

bloomsbury books, part two

Before Thanksgiving and the Holiday Season set in, Bee and I rendezvoused at the London Review Bookshop:

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.


  1. You've reminded me that I started Mrs Tim of the Regiment and abandoned her, can't remember why. I don't think I hated the book but it didn't engage me enough to bother finishing.

  2. You always have the best book recommendations! And the best shopping suggestions. You could almost convince me to move back to a city to live!

  3. I just knew there'd be some cake in there somewhere!! And as Dottycookie says, you always have such good suggestions and recommendations, too.

    D x

  4. They sound like just the kind of book I like to read. I'm reading Wolf Hall at the moment which is enjoyable but could never be described as "laugh-out-loud funny" unfortunately!

  5. This cafe looks very inviting, must track it down when I am next in London.
    The books look interesting too - haven't read any of these so might give them a go.

  6. The covers alone would convince me.

  7. Coffee/Tea and a good browse around a bookshop is my idea of heaven!

    You've convinced me to give Love's Shadow another try at some point. It just wasn't working for me first time around...right book, wrong mood perhaps.

  8. New books to add to my Goodreads list! Just in time for 2011...thank you!

    The London Review Bookshop sounds wonderful. I'd love to eat cake there...er...I mean browse the books.

  9. I remember that bright pink book cover from the first time we met, in the train station. It was how I spotted you! Do you order these books online, or do some of the bookstores carry them?

    I've got so many books to read, but as I read your reviews here I felt quite greedy for MORE.

  10. oh I don't know these books... I'll have to check them out!