Quick Lit: A Comforting Month

I’m linking up with Modern Mrs Darcy for short-and-sweet reviews of books I’ve finished so far in October.

Having just come through some surgery (feeling great and grateful for fixable problems) I have been reading even lighter than normal. So if you’re ill, or you just can’t take any more election drama or pandemic news, these books would be great for you as well.

The Enola Holmes series by Nancy Springer. I’ve read the first five books in the series – in the last four days! Enola Holmes is Sherlock’s much-younger sister. When her feminist mother disappears, and Mycroft tries to send her to boarding school, she escapes to London and sets herself up in competition with her more famous brothers. She consistently outwits them, solving mysteries in each book, with an overall story arc of finding her mother, her place in the world, and herself. That sounds weighty, but these books are actually really fluffy and short quick reads. The first book in the series was on the MMD ebook deals list recently, AND they were just made into a Netflix series!

The Four Graces by D.E. Stevenson. This midcentury (1946) novel about four sisters in an English village is pure comfort reading. Two of them find romance and they all find happiness, keeping it sweet-but-not-too-sweet. If you’ve never tried this author, I recommend Miss Buncle’s Book as well.

The Victorian Home and The Victorian City by Judith Flanders. Both books are full of fascinating detail about daily life in the Victorian era. Topics like toilet paper, sanitation, food, and entertainment are addressed on a chapter by chapter basis, and the tone is very readable. I am not normally a nonfiction reader, but I consumed both tomes quickly. (Hint: they are about 25% notes at the back). I also previously read The Making of Home by the same author, which has a broader historical scope and is more scholarly. Warning, you will want to pick up Victorian literature immediately after reading these books!

Remedial Rocket Science by Susannah Nix was my hospital read, consumed overnight while being interrupted by nurses and announcements and generally unable to sleep. I was able to enjoy the romance between a privileged boy and smart, self-made woman without rolling my eyes too much, and the character development in the male lead was believable. This was another MMD e-book deal recently.

Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas and Jane and the Waterloo Map, both by Stephanie Barron. With these two books, I’ve finished this remarkably consistent series about Jane Austen as a sleuth. Barron finished strong and it is definitely worth pushing through to the end – I know this one is on the radar for a lot of MMD readers.

Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin was my second-chance read. I’d picked it up before and set it aside. After I posted about my Jane Austen binge last month, some commenters urged me to try it again, and I’m so glad I did! I always love books with a strong sense of place, and this one made me (a midwestern Christian, if it matters) feel at home in a Canadian Muslim community. I completely fell for the “fundy”, shy, awkward romantic hero and respected the heroine. It was lots of fun seeing their lives come together.

And that’s it! Everything I finished in the first fifteen days of October. It’s been a good reading month, one in which I’ve been able to appreciate and enjoy the reading life a little extra. What have you finished lately?

Links are to author websites where available; otherwise, to bookshop.org.

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