April was a so-so reading month for me, since I let myself get distracted by other things though I had the time to read. So, I didn’t end up completing all of the books that I’d planned to pick up, but I did finish nine books, and a tenth from my list in early May.
The first book I completed this April was one I had started in March, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. This is a contemporary Young Adult story of twins Cath and Wren who are starting college where Wren has decided they must start their own lives separately. Wren is outgoing but Cath is an introvert, so much so that she won’t ask the way to the dining hall. She also writes fan fiction, on the Harry Potter-like Simon Snow, which is very popular online. This was a cute story where I could somewhat connect with Cath (since I am kind of reclusive) but still not one that entirely grabbed me. (Review here)
Not quite the order I read them in, but from my 1930s list, I read one British Library Crime Classic, Murder in Piccadilly by Charles Kingston as well as another 1930s mystery, Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie, both of which I reviewed on this page as part of a new feature hosted by Mackey at Macsbooks, #MurderousMondays . As I mentioned in those posts, I will be participating in this feature, all about sharing your latest murder read, from time to time. Murder in Piccadilly is the story of Bobby Cheldon, a spoiled twenty-three year old, who is relying only on his inheritance, more so now since he’s met the girl of his dreams. But his uncle has a good long life ahead of him and the girl in question, Nancy Curzon, a dancer, will accept only if he has money now! (review here). Death on the Nile sees Hercule Poirot solve a murder aboard a Nile cruise, where there is an obvious suspect, but she simply couldn’t have done it (review here).
From NetGalley this April, I read three titles. The Forest of Wool and Steel by Natsu Miyashita is the story of a young man, Tomura, who upon hearing the sounds created by a piano tuner at work in his school is so impacted that he chooses to train as one himself. The book, which conjures up a lot of vivid images, sounds, and smells, follows his journey as he starts out his career. (review here). Blue Door Venture by Pamela Brown is the fourth in her Blue Door series of books following a group of children, now young adults, as they try to realise their dream of having their own professional repertory company after training in drama. In this one, they are struggling to get their venture going when trouble strikes and they (or some of them) must turn detective (review here). Finally, from NetGalley was Arnica by Ervin Lázár, which is the translation of a Hungarian children’s story about a good-hearted princess who with her betrothed finds herself part of her curse where only one of them can be human at a time while the other must be a duck. On their journey to find the Seven-headed Fairy who alone can help them, they have various adventures and end up helping quite a few people. It also has some great illustrations (review here).
I also read this April, the Mitford Girls by Mary S. Lovell, which is a bio of the six Mitford sisters, Nancy, Pam, Diana, Unity, Decca, and Debo, but really of the whole family. They certainly led interesting and extraordinary lives, though not always happy ones. This excellent book takes us into their lives, work, writings, and the complex relationship the family shared with each other (review here).
This month I also finished Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens, my third (?) revisit of his last completed novel, which I had been reading in instalments with a group on Goodreads over March and April. Once again, a story that keeps one hooked, interesting characters, and a host of themes, money being a central one. (review here). (I now see the cover below highlights this focus very well).
And finally from the 1930s list, two more books, The Priory by Dorothy Whipple, which is set in Saunby Priory and tells the story of its inhabitants, the Marwood family, whose life changes quite drastically when Major Marwood decides to remarry. Each of the characters has a different view of life, love, marriage, and their expectations from this which doesn’t always match with the others which leads to unhappiness, and misunderstanding not all of which can always be resolved. Also, being written in 1939, the shadow of the impeding war loons large over their lives (review here). Then I read Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild, which rather like the Blue Door books, is the story of three very different sisters who find themselves at an Academy for dance, training for the stage (review here). This was my Children’s Book of the Month.
So those were the books I read this April (Ballet Shoes I technically finished in May). For May, my plans are to read books published in 2018 that I bought and haven’t picked up yet–Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman, Circe by Madeline Miller, Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson, and the Book Hunters of Katpadi by Pradeep Sebastian. I also have a couple of titles pending from NetGalley, the first volume of a Manga version of the Tale of Genji, and Mr Finchley Discovers his England by Victor Canning. I will also try and catch up on the few 1930s books from my list that I wasn’t able to last month. Let’s see how this goes.
How was your reading month this April? Which books did you love? What do you plan to read in May? Any of my April/May books that you’ve read or plan to? Do let me know what you thought of them!