My April theme was Lawyers and Books, books about lawyers/law, and those written by lawyers, even if not around legal themes. I ended up reading seven books in April (one spillover into May) which fit the theme, one fit into the category by pure coincidence, and I didn’t get to one which I planned because of time issues. I am already a little late with this post so won’t go into too much detail of the books, but give a quick overview. I will link my reviews (on this page and on goodreads- I have reviewed all on either one or both pages).
My reads this month took me into courts of course, from a criminal trial in Tudor (more specifically Henry VIII’s) England, to one in 1930s America, then America in more modern times, and also into an adoption hearing in England in 1960s England. One of the first books I finished in April, Bookworm was the book that fell into this category by coincidence since the author Lucy Mangan happens to be a qualified solicitor. The book itself is her memoirs of her childhood reading and took me back to some of my old favourites besides adding plenty to my shopping list. Her Enid Blyton chapter was a tad disappointing for me though. My review: https://potpourri2015.wordpress.com/2018/04/02/review-bookworm/
Dark Fire, the second of the Matthew Shardlake books by C.J. Sansom is of course set in Tudor England, where Shardlake must not only clear his client, wrongly accused of murder, but undertake a dangerous assignment for Thomas Cromwell, discovering the secret of the mythical Greek Fire. Two exciting (and complicated) murder mysteries, likeable characters, and the atmosphere of Tudor England which Sansom really brings alive made this an excellent read. The criminal trial parts of it were interesting since I hadn’t known that there was no representation allowed for the accused or that they could be subjected to the ‘press’ if they didn’t plead (irrespective of whether a man or woman). My review is here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2306600903?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1
I had also planned to read Revelation, also from the Shardlake series but ran out of time. Plus I finally bought the two books that I didn’t have from the series and so am switching to reading these chronologically, now that I have them all.
Then it was off to 1930s America with Perry Mason who must clear a client who is initially dealing with a blackmailer and before long finds herself accused of his murder. The Case of the Curious Bride was exciting and fast-paced, and it was great seeing Mason in action, many steps ahead of others as always. My review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2347880680?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1
Criminal trials in modern America were the subject of two reads, both by John Grisham and both very different from the usual genres I’ve read by him. Theodore Boone, a thirteen-year-old schoolboy with lawyer parents finds himself playing an important role in the first murder trial in many years in his little town. This was a YA read but had a charm to it with an ‘old-time’ feeling of the kind of childhood portrayed which I really liked. My review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2034624480?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1. The other book by Grisham was his non-fiction The Innocent Man, about Ron Williamson, a baseball player who career didn’t really take off despite high expectations and who ended up having to not only face a murder charge for a murder he didn’t commit but being convicted and spending years on death row before his name was cleared. This was also my Non-Fiction Read of the Month. My review: https://potpourri2015.wordpress.com/2018/05/03/april-non-fiction-read-the-innocent-man/
Henry Cecil’s Fathers in Law, on the other hand was about a couple, the Woodthorpes who adopted a little baby Hugh, whose mother has claimed the father is unaware of him and given him up for adoption since she can’t bring himself up on her own. The father however very much loved and wanted his son but couldn’t be with him since he was wrongly convicted in a serious crime. But when his name is cleared and he returns to claim his son, both sides who love the child equally are in a predicament. This is written with Cecil’s usual humour but more serious in tone than his usual stories. My review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2368034462?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1
Finally, I read Dornford Yates (Cecil William Mercer)’s Perishable Goods which is a thriller and the second in his Chandos series of books which also features characters from his Berry books, which I love. This one was an ok read for me, not as fast paced as I’d expected from a thriller, and disappointing in spoiling that light-hearted view I have of the Berry books and people in them. It wasn’t however a bad read. My review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1932158742?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1
So April turned out a fairly good reading month, and I’m quite excited about May as well for which I’ve picked Kings and Queens. In my TBR pile The Letter for the King, Band of Soldiers (translated), The Once and Future King, Ruler of the World, Prithvi Vallabh (translated), and The Six Wives of Henry VIII. I’m already someway into the Letter for the King by Tonke Dragt, which I got through NetGalley and which I should be reviewing by next week.
What are your reading plans for May? Do share! Happy Reading Month 🙂