Hurricanes consumed my reading mood since late August, first it was worrying for friends in Houston, then for my mother and extended family in Puerto Rico as first Irma and then Maria walloped the island. Instead of reading the fantastic ARCs that kept arriving in my inbox, my time was spent trying to find accurate and reliable news about PR especially about the small towns that I care about the most and looking for flights to get my mother out. Instead of reading when I had some downtime I played SimCity Buildit. As my island's buildings and roads were destroyed, I build housing and infrastructure in my virtual city. The game gave me a little escape from what was one devastating news day after another. It has nearly been a month since Maria hit. My mom is living with us and my father made it in and out of PR safely. Some days I still want to cry about how difficult and exhausting things still are for my family on the island but there is more hope today than there was yesterday. My mom and I have both written posts on our family blogs about the experiences, if you missed reading about it up to now.
In the last month I've managed to read 4 books. To put that in perspective, I usually read more than books in one week. These are the first two, both which I listened to on audiobook when I couldn't keep listening to the news on my daily commute.
A Conspiracy in Belgravia by Sherry Thomas (Lady Sherlock #2): I continue to love this series. This was a book about what makes a marriage, and who one trusts with dearest truths and secrets in one life. In this book Charlotte finds herself mistrustfully assisting Lady Ingram, the estranged wife of her dearest friend Lord Ingram at the same time as she entertains a marriage proposal from his brother spy-master Lord Bancroft.
The mysteries were engaging and engrossing and the secondary characters continue to shine with life and complexity. I continue to want to sit with Charlotte and enjoy scrumptious and decadent desserts with her and chat with Mrs. Watson, Miss Redgrave and Olivia.
The audiobook fantastically narrated and I am sure I will be listening to it again soon, when I need something comfortingly familiar.
I followed up A Conspiracy in Belgravia with one of my "in case of emergency" books. I have been stocking up on Susanna Kearsley's backlist for the last two years. Whenever one of her books goes on sale I snap it up and save it for when I am having trouble getting into books.
As it happened The Shadowy Horses went on sale early last month.
I have read several other books tangentially connected to this one and I had many people recommend it to me when I finished reading The Firebird. One of the heroes of the Firebird is a supporting character in The Shadowy Horses.
Like all of Kearesley's other novels, this novel is a beautifully written blend of romance, women's fiction, mystery and gothic tropes. Verity Grey is an archaeologist who is excited to join a dig looking for the final resting place a lost roman legion in Scotland. She is dismayed however to learn that there is startling little evidence that the Legion was there. Instead she uncovers evidence that of forged surveys by her ex-lover, an aging archaeologist basing everything on the seven year old ppsychic boy's proclamations. There is a conspiracy, many family secrets and a ghost.
While I loved Verity, David Fortune, the handsome and brood-worthy hero, and little Robby, the charming psychic boy I wanted to smack a lot of the other supporting characters around for being such terrible human beings. This is not my favorite of Kearsley's novels but I was engaged and comforted reading it. The audiobook was very nicely narrated.
I'll try to review books 3 & 4, Heart of Darkness by Lauren Dane and Heaven and Hell by Kristen Ashley later on this week, as I try to find my reading and writing rhythm.