Books Magazine

Two Short Reviews #BriFri

By Joyweesemoll @joyweesemoll

British Isles Friday logoWelcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British-themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!

Last week, I took us on a fantasy trip to London for Christmas!

I’m publishing my Friday post a day early so that I can get in two more book reviews before the end of the year. I want to get all of my 2015 books recorded, especially in Goodreads, so I know how many books I read for the year.

I’ve recently read two books set in England — both fun reads and good additions to the series they continue.

Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear
Second book in the Maisie Dobbs series

Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear is the second in the long-running Maisie Dobbs series. Isn’t it great when you find a new series to love? So many books that I can look forward to reading. According to Goodreads, book number 12 in the series is expected in 2016.

For those of you, like me, who are new to this series, Maisie Dobbs is a female private detective in the 1920s. She served as a nurse in World War I and learned her new career from a man who practiced techniques that are a blend of Eastern mysticism and before-its-time modern psychology. Her office is in London, but she also spends a fair amount of time in the countryside. A wealthy patron provides Maisie with housing and a car.

The stories are quite serious. The first two revolved around impacts on people of the horror of World War I. The little luxuries from the wealthy patron and the adventures into the country provide a welcome relief to some of the darkness that Maisie uncovers while solving mysteries.

The Escape by Mary Balogh
Third in The Survivors’ Club series

The Escape by Mary Balogh is the third story in The Survivors’ Club, a series of romance novels. This series also has a post- war setting, but it’s after the Napoleonic Wars. A group of wounded soldiers recovered together in a mansion in Cornwall, developing long-standing healing friendships.

In The Escape, our hero is Sir Benedict Harper who has permanent leg damage requiring the use of two canes to walk. Our heroine is the recently widowed Samantha McKay. Her marriage had barely begun when her husband came home injured from the war. As his primary caregiver for years, she carries her war damage on the inside. Can the two of them together find healing through love? And, a journey to Wales?

I enjoyed both of these books and their series. If you’re looking for something fun and fairly light to start the year, these series are both good selections. The first Maisie Dobbs book is called Maisie Dobbs (natch). The first book in The Survivors’ Club series is called The Proposal.

Adding these two books, I read 85 books in 2015. That’s short of my 2013 record of 91 books, but I read some chunksters this year, so I feel good about this achievement!

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