This Week’s Reading

The Rules of Love and Grammar: Mary Simes
Beauty and the Werewolf: Mercedes Lackey
When We Were Sisters: Emilie Richards

Unexpected death in a book

I’ve been reading The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, by Dominic Smith, this week, and I have decided I can no longer bear books where a young child dies. The death of the child, while central to one of the story’s threads and to her mother’s behavior and emotions, is by no means central to the story.

And yet, I find myself unable to forget it. The death of a child used to be commonplace, and we can see in contemporaneous fiction that mothers took it with varying degrees of equanimity. Having almost lost my children (at different times and for different reasons), I find that the death of a child is not something I can contemplate with equanimity. It is taking over the book for me. I cannot tell if that is intentional on the author’s part — it may be, but at this point in the book (I have not yet finished it), that is still ambiguous.

It is hard to write accurate historical fiction without including the death of a child,as it was so common before the advent of modern medicine with its vaccines, antibiotics, and scientific knowledge. I am tempted to stick with inaccurate historical fiction, or at least that with only adult characters. On the other hand, that would not have kept me from beginning the book, as the book jacket is inaccurate as to why the painter began her important work that is at the heart of the story. In the book, she begins the painting in response to her daughter’s death. On the book jacket, she is merely haunted by the image of a young girl she saw. Rather a large difference.

This Week’s Reading

2 AM at The Cat’s Pajamas — Marie-Helene Bertino
The Applebeck Orchard — Susan Wittig Albert
Waifs and Strays — Charles De Lint
Sweet Liar — Jude Devereaux

This Week’s Reading

The Heiresses — Sara Shepard
The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street — Susan Jane Gilman
three story house — Courtney Miller Santo

This Week’s Reading

The Darling Dahlias and the Silver Dollar Bush — Susan Wittig Albert
The Long Mars — Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter
Otherwise Engaged — Amanda Quick
Frog Music — Emma Donoghue

This Week’s Reading

Eight Girls Taking Pictures — Whitney Otto
A Royal Pain — Megan Mulry
Foal Play — Kathryn O’Sullivan
A Different Sun — Elaine Neil Orr
The Lost Children of Wilder: The Epic Struggle to Change Foster Care (non-fiction) — Nina Bernstein

This Week’s Reading

Ashenden — Elizabeth Wilhide

The Lemon Orchard — Lonnie Rice

Trains and Lover — Alexander McCall Smith (from last week)

This Week’s Reading

Trail of Fire by Diana Gabaldon
Trains and Lovers by Alexander McCall Smith
Widow’s Tears by Susan Wittig Albert
Dying on the Vine by Aaron Elkins

This Week’s Reading

I think it possible we actually survived winter. It was above freezing two days in a row now. Makes the neighborhood (unplowed) roads hard to drive on, though. Onto my reading for this week.

The Hounds and the Fury — Rita Mae Brown
The Roots of the Olive Tree — Courtney Santo
Our Lady of Alice Bhatti — Mohammed Hanif
The Painted Boy — Charles de Lint
Waifs and Strays — Charles de Lint
The Gilly Salt Sisters — Tiffany Baker

This Week’s Reading

The Tale of Hawthorn House — Susan Wittig Albert
The Tale of Briar Bank — Susan Wittig Albert
The Baby Planner — Josie Brown
By Starlight — Dorothy Garlock
Little Girl Gone — Drusilla Campbell
The Hunt Ball — Rita Mae Brown
The Unfinished Garden — Barbara Claypole White

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