White Horses by Alice Hoffman. Set within a blue collar worker's family in '50's California/New Mexico.
Violence, incest, drugs, sex-mad waitresses (why do waitresses have such a bad reputation in US books?) plus a little light gardening. Is this the pale underbelly of American life?
Edith Pargeter/Ellis Peters by Margaret Peters is proving rather dry.
EP from a very 'ordinary' background always wrote, living at home and working in a shop during the day to earn her keep. Joined the Royal Navy during WWII. Later learned Czech after visits to that country and went on to translate many of their literary works while writing her own stories.
I've just treated myself to a heavy tome The Pursuit of Glory. Europe 1648-1815 by Tim Blanning. Part of the new Penguin history series which came well-recommended.
I managed 5 pages before I fell asleep last night, so it should keep me going for several months/years.