Blind Love by Wilkie Collins and Sir Walter Besant
Wilkie Collins died during the writing of this novel but left instructions on how it was to be finished, the details of which Walter Besant was faithful to follow. The novel is set in the late 1880s and follows the story of Iris Henley, who is disinherited by her father when she marries bad boy Lord Harry Norland. I love the language of that age, but I'm finding many of the the stories I read quite similar in plot line. Unfortunately, I was reading Henry James' The Portrait of a Lady at the same time and I found myself getting the characters mixed up, what with both leading ladies marrying the wrong man and slowly coming to their senses later. It didn't help that one was Isabel and one was Iris but I probably shouldn't have been reading them at the same time anyway. I liked The Woman in White better than this one, but still, it wasn't bad.
The Fairacre Festival by Miss Read
This is the seventh in the Fairacre books, which I've been kind of hoarding so I won't get to the end of them. I think I'm done doing that. If I wait too long I end up forgetting the details of the previous book and I hate that.
In this book a dramatic wind storm hits Fairacre village and blows over the top of the church that has been standing there for hundreds of years and which has long been the center of village life. The estimate for repairs is well beyond what is available or can be raised by a thrift sale or concert, so plans are made to hold a week long festival in the summer. They plan entertainments and sales of all kinds and the entire village will take part, as long as the weather and other circumstances go their way.
I love everything about these books: the village, the people, the way they all annoy one another but have each other's backs when it counts. And it's in rural England - how can you not love that? This is comfort reading at it's very best.