I don’t think I’ve ever consumed an entire series as quickly as I did this one: The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place. (The Chronicles of Narnia are a very close second, because I inhaled those as well, though in light of a recent rereading, I would have to put the Incorrigibles at the top.*) To be perfectly honest, I only learned of it and picked it up because they’re illustrated by none other than Jon Klassen, but I’m so glad I did!
The series is a delightfully written mystery that will keep you making connections between all the little details Wood drops left and right at every turn, whether it be the mysterious howling on Ashton grounds or the oddly coincidental wolf theme popping up at the bequest of a certain…. A.? Wood keeps you guessing with every book at how things are connected: was it really just a chance ad in the papers that got Penelope Lumley working for the Ashtons? Were the Incorrigibles actually raised by wolves? And what’s with Old Timothy? Just whence does Penelope Lumley’s seemingly infinite pluck come?
I won’t go too much into detail because I don’t want to spoil it for you, but Wood definitely keeps you on your toes and grabbing for the next installment. I personally quite enjoyed the asides, along with the fast pace and wit, but where I think Wood really excels is where this series has something to appeal to a variety of age groups. (The last book in the series, The Long-Lost Home, is set for release next June, and we’ve placed it on order, so beat the lines and put yourself on the waiting list now!)
Reservoir 13 is the latest mystery novel by the British author Jon McGregor. As a Guardian Notable Book of 2017, Reservoir 13 tells the story of many lives haunted by one family’s loss. Praised by many, unfortunately I didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped to. It is a story narrated from a third person perspective, which is very interesting and I have never read anything like this before. However, I did not connect with many of the characters and did not develop with them. Every time a character’s name is mentioned, I need a second to think “who is this again”. The story line is also a bit dry and slow for me. This novel promises to blend the grace of beautiful nature surroundings with human lives and the aftershock of the tragedy. However, I find myself skipping some of the nature descriptions from time to times just so I can keep up with the story and the characters.
This is a unique book. It is worth reading if you would like to try something different. It’s not for everyone but you might just enjoy it 🙂
Have you ever read a book, put it down, think you’ve moved on, only to find you can’t shake it? That’s me with The Secret History by Donna Tartt. If you’ve read it, chances are you loved it or you loathed it—there doesn’t seem to be much in between. If, like me, you are the former, you’ve probably tried to find something similar for a follow up read, with varying levels of success. I’ve been there. In fact, I’m still there. Every book touted as being “for fans of Donna Tartt” has found its way into my hands at some point. I’m on an epic, Don Quixote-like search for the perfect Secret History read-alike*. Some would call this a fool’s errand, but I’m determined that one day I will find it (and I know I’m not alone!). But until that happens, there are some perfectly respectable efforts on offer, all reminiscent in some way of Tartt’s 1992 classic. So, how to determine which ones are worth the read? A good Secret History read-alike will be composed of some very specific ingredients.