"A Dangerous Mourning"

A Dangerous Mourning by Anne Perry

I'm so glad I found Ann Perry. (Thanks to all you bloggers who recommended her!) Her novels are the perfect antidote to stress, insomnia, boredom and any number of other unpleasant conditions. You don't have to think too much or analyze anything, just open the book and lose yourself in someone else's life for awhile. It's very satisfying to know there's a pool of books available to dive into whenever I need an escape read and know it will be something I'll like. I won't be blindsided with a string of curse words or graphic sex scenes. I can count on there being noble characters, an interesting story and even decent writing. They may not be great literature but they sure are fine escapism.

A Dangerous Mourning is about a high society family that falls apart when one of them is murdered. When Inspector William Monk (the subject of series of A.P. books) determines that the crime was perpetrated by someone within the household, bonds are tested and trust is strained. The unraveling of family relationships provide a framework for the details of the story, all the secrets and melodrama that come with Victorian mysteries. 

Monk is assisted in his hunt for the truth by a young nurse, Hester Latterly, a strong, opinionated woman hired to nurse the lady of the manor when she becomes ill from the stress. Hester is able to pass on to Monk the stories, opinions and gossip she hears as a member of the household and together they piece together the story of what actually happened. There is a tension between them that adds another dimension to the story.

If you're a fan of mysteries or if you're just looking for something to lose yourself in for awhile, I think you'll like this book. I'm looking forward to reading a lot more of these.

"The Song Of The Lark"

The Song Of The Lark by Willa Cather

I'm having trouble deciding what I want to say about this book. When I don't like books I want to forget about them and move on as quickly as possible. I fell in love with Willa Cather's writing when I read My Antonia last year but this one didn't charm me in the same way. The writing is good, but it's missing.....I don't know, something. Maybe it's just a lack of likable characters.

The main character is Thea Kronberg, a girl growing up in Moonstone, Colorado. She takes music lessons, looks after her little brother and spends time with her friend Dr.Archie, whose office she visits frequently to borrow and read books. She has several different music teachers as she grows up, then leaves her hometown to make a career on the stage.

Thea becomes more of a diva and less likable as she ages. She's smart and interesting as a child, but she becomes haughty and self absorbed as she gains notoriety and it's hard to understand why the two men in her life are so utterly taken with her. She still has moments of vulnerability, but they are too few to admire her as a character. She turns her back on her family, all but forgetting them, showing very little gratitude for all they've done for her. She could use a serious dose of humility.

I was disappointed in Song Of The Lark but not enough to write off this authour.  I still look forward to reading One Of Ours, Death Comes For The Archbishop, The Professor's House and several others. I do recommend Willa Cather but not so much this particular novel.

Update on Mum: She is still in hospital (ten weeks now) having good days and bad. It's more like good hours and bad really. It's been hard to get a full 24 hours without a crisis situation. She's suffered too long with nausea, weakness and difficulty breathing and is becoming depressed. She feels better for a few hours then it starts all over again. It's terrible for her and hard for us to watch. We try to encourage her and make plans for when she gets home so she'll have something positive to think about, but she's just so tired of feeling miserable. Her heart isn't pumping strong enough to get rid of the fluid so her legs are swollen and congestive heart failure is an ongoing problem. She sleeps with both her head and legs raised so as you can imagine the nights are long and uncomfortable. Most nights now she has to be on oxygen to make breathing more comfortable.

I'm not getting much reading done right now but I am getting caught up on posts for books I've finished. I've started several novels but couldn't concentrate on them so I'm reading an Anne Perry book now that doesn't require too much thinking on my part. Hope to have better news soon.