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masgar14

What are you reading in August?

masgar14
2 months ago

"Kipling and Trix" by Mary Hamer

As young children, Rudyard Kipling and his sister Trix flourished in the brilliant warmth and colour of India. Their happiness ended abruptly when they were sent back to England to live with a strict and god-fearing foster family. Both became writers, although one lived in the shadow of the other s extraordinary success. The name Rudyard Kipling is known to millions, but what became of his talented younger sister? She was careful to hide her secret life even from those closest to her. Mary Hamer s fascinating novel brings both Kipling and Trix vividly to life. In this fictionalised account of their lives, she goes to the heart of the relationship between a difficult brother and his troubled sister. Hamer peels back the historical record to reveal the obsessions which fuelled Kipling and his sister. Was he really better equipped to deal with conflict, heartbreak and loss than his beloved Trix?

Comments (91)

  • annpanagain
    2 months ago

    What puzzles me is that an author who has a reading circle vetting her books before publication still manages to make mistakes! eg a dog who changes sex mid-story!

    I never read the book where a man re-grows an arm apparently but am told it exists!


    What do you say to that author who lent you this book about their mistakes? Is it a vanity publication?

  • sheri_z6
    2 months ago

    Yoyobon and Msmeow, thanks for your comments on The Hidden Palace. I think I will give it a miss. I liked the first book but honestly don't recall much about it, and having just been disappointed/underwhelmed by How to Talk to a Goddess (sequel to The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic) I don't care to risk a repeat. Thank you both!


    I just started A Study in Silks by Emma Jane Holloway, a steampunk, alternate universe tale set in Victorian England where Steam Barons rule London and magic exists, but is illegal. The story features Sherlock Holme's niece, Evalina Cooper, who has a disreputable background as well as some magical capability that must be kept secret. Thus far the world building has been interesting and the main character has been asked to help investigate the murder of a housemaid. I'm 75 pages in and finding it engaging. There are two other books in this series waiting for me in the TBR pile, so I'm glad this series has started in a promising manner.


    Vee, you have the BEST comments!

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  • woodnymph2_gw
    2 months ago

    I am almost finished with "Us" by David Nichols, who also wrote "One Day", which I liked a lot. I saw the series "Us" recently, and think the book outshines the film. Nichols has a gift for pacing and lively conversations. I find I can scarcely put it down. It is from a Brit point of view, although it features travels in Europe. I would be curious to hear from a Brit regarding its accuracy in terms of societal norms, etc.


    I had the opposite experience with "A Gentleman from Moscow". I sent it back (unfinished) to the library. I found the pacing slow and the plot predictable, with a tedious, dry style. This, despite my deep interest in Russia.

  • kathy_t
    2 months ago

    Woodnymph - What was it in the plot of A Gentleman in Moscow that you found predictable?

  • woodnymph2_gw
    2 months ago

    Once the girl had given him the master key, there was no question but that, in time, he would escape. Did I miss something?


  • msmeow
    2 months ago

    Well, I finished The Sanatorium. It had a lot of gruesome parts I had to skip over, and I didn’t understand the ending. Time for a more warm and fuzzy book!

    Donna

  • kathy_t
    2 months ago

    Woodnymph - Yes, I agree, on that one item, it was predictable. But did you guess where he'd go when he left the hotel? Or who he would meet there? And all the wonderful, imaginative things that went on in his life during those years in the hotel were certainly worth reading in my opinion.

  • Carolyn Newlen
    2 months ago

    I have just finished another Joanne Kilbourne book, The Winners' Circle, by Gail Bowen. I just love this series and am nearing the end with a new one due out next month. The characters have become like family, and I love their warm and functionable family life.

  • yoyobon_gw
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Is there a "can't put it down " good book out there that I can fall into ?

    (the last one I loved was The Rose Code )

    I am in a vast wasteland of uninteresting choices from my book pantry .....or maybe it's just me.

    Help !

    How about : The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict

    The Ghost Manuscript by Kris Frieswick

    Are either worth getting and cracking open ?

  • woodnymph2_gw
    2 months ago

    I found that once I got into it, I could not put down "Us" by David Nichols. Parts of it are serious, but at times I laughed out loud.

  • Winter
    2 months ago

    Another Quinn book...The Alice Network...is worth reading.

  • yoyobon_gw
    2 months ago

    And another Quinn book that is sooooo good is The Huntress. I've read three of her books and really enjoyed them all.

    I've watched " Us " the series on TV !

  • Winter
    2 months ago

    I'm currently invested in A Thousand Splendid Suns but The Huntress is at the top of my TBR list. I'm glad to see that you enjoyed it. She's a wonderful author.

  • friedag
    2 months ago

    Masgar, I want to let you know that you piqued my interest in Kipling & Trix, a novel by Mary Hamer. I ordered it.


    At the same time, because I realized I couldn't recall much about Kipling (besides his literary output) except that his style of patriotism is now decidedly out of favor and I didn't remember anything about Alice "Trix" Kipling at all. I also ordered Trix: Kipling's Forgotten Sister by Lorna Lee. I had to go by the title alone (hardbound published in 2003, paperback 2016) since there was not even a single review of this biography at Amazon/GoodReads or anywhere else that I could find.


    I had a bit of a dilemma: Should I read the nonfiction treatment first or the novel? With no clear choice, I flipped a coin. The biography won.


    I found Lee's research and analysis very interesting, although it is not hard to detect the biographer's agenda: Trix unfairly lived in her brother's shadow. That's not a shattering revelation -- it was par for the course in most British Victorian and Edwardian families (and in those of many U.S. American and other anglophone cultures -- before, during and after, as well -- and I suspect it was also true in diverse non-anglophone cultures).


    At any rate, I think the coin toss was fortuitous for me. as I think I can appreciate Hamer's imaginative story with this background foundation of the Kipling siblings' lives. It seems they were both traumatized by their early childhood severance from their parents and the only home (India) that they had ever known. It is something other writers with disrupted colonial upbringings have observed -- I am thinking of Orwell, in particular, and Penelope Lively, among others.


    Unfortunately, however, Trix Kipling remains largely forgotten. . . if Internet searches are good indicators.


    How did you happen to learn about Hamer's book, Masgar?

  • woodnymph2_gw
    2 months ago

    Yoyo, for whatever it's worth, the book "Us" is far, far better than the TV series. David Nichols is right up there, in my estimation, with other fave Brit authors, e.g. Ian McEwan (although the two are quite different).

  • kathy_t
    2 months ago

    I recently finished reading Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep. This is a non-fiction, incredibly interesting story about a very unusual murder trial that Harper Lee attended with the intention of writing a book about it. This was years after her excursion to Kansas to help her friend, Truman Capote, research his "nonfiction novel" In Cold Blood - and also years after her one successful novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. The working title of her intended book was The Reverend, but the book never materialized and barely any manuscript was found after she died, although there was a large case full of research papers and notes for the book.


    In my opinion, this very readable and intriguing book by Casey Cep has a very poor title, and also a very unattractive cover, both unfortunate factors in getting noticed and read in today's publishing world. Luckily, the book was chosen as my town's One Read book for 2021, or I never would have picked it up. Lucky me!

  • Carolyn Newlen
    2 months ago

    I'm reading another Merrily Watkins book by Phil Rickman, The Lamp of the Wicked. Merrily is an Anglican priest in a small village, quite a modern woman although devout, not enthusiastically accepted by everyone, widowed and with a teenage daughter. Every time I start one of them I wonder why I bother, and then they get quite interesting although I do wish the author didn't skip from character to character in the same chapter the way he does.

  • masgar14
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago
  • vee_new
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Just finished Maggie O'Farrell's Instructions for a Heat Wave, the first of her many books for me to try.

    Set in the 'hot Summer' of 1976 it is the story of an Irish family long settled in London. The three grown-up children arrive home to support their Mother when they find their quiet, unassuming father has 'disappeared'. Lots of backing and forwarding between the 'now' and 'then' of the children's lives especially that of the youngest daughter Aoife (pronounced Eve/Eva but I kept stumbling over it and thinking of her as Alfie) a girl with serious problems of dyslexia and a violent and passionate nature.

    Some of the conversations take me right back to the nuns from my school days when every situation could be resolved by "Is he/she a Catholic?" "Did you get married in a Catholic church?" "Did he/she go to confession after murdering that person?"

    I don't know if all O'Farrell's books have this Irish background . . . although I presume Hamnet doesn't.

    Sheri, I would be interested in what your reading group makes of it.

  • vee_new
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Carolyn, many years ago I read the first of Phil Rickman's novels about Merrily Watkins, on the strength of the recommendation of the late Diana/Dido who kept us . . and our grammar and punctuation . . . in order here for many years. I have kept meaning to move on to the second book but the copies, once in the library, seem to have disappeared. I do remember finding the first book rather over-long, but as it is set in 'my' area of the country (West of England) interesting for me.

  • msmeow
    2 months ago

    I finished One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid last night. I really loved it! The opening line is something like "I was at my Dad's birthday party with my fiance' when my husband called." It was a sweet, emotional story and I could hardly put it down. I highly recommend it!

    Donna

  • Carolyn Newlen
    2 months ago

    Vee, I remember Dido. I finished the Rickman book; it was more gruesome that others have been. It's a reach for me to have clergy breaking the seventh commandment. Couldn't he just marry her off?

  • kathy_t
    2 months ago

    I just finished A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny. I enjoyed it, but it was far from my favorite Gamache mystery. I know a mystery must wrap up in the end, but this one had several plot lines that were miraculously all resolved at once, just a little too conveniently for my taste.


    And while I'm being negative about a really good author, let me ask the Louise Penny fans if they remember the gist of this particular novel. (One of my gripes about her novels is that the titles have not-much-at-all to do with the particular story she's telling.) This one is number 12 in the Gamache series. Can anyone identify the story - just from the title, without looking it up?

  • msmeow
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Kathy, no I can't identify it from the title! Is it the most recent one, mostly set in Paris? Bon posted above that The Hidden Palace title really had nothing to do with the story.

    I started The Affair by Danielle Steele and quit before finishing the first chapter. After reading One True Loves, I found The Affair disjointed and just plain boring. Sorry, Ms. Steele.

    Donna

  • kathy_t
    2 months ago

    Donna - No, it's not the most recent. I'm not caught up with all the Louise Penny books. This is the one where Armand Gamache comes out of retirement to run the police academy and a professor is murdered under his watch.

  • woodnymph2_gw
    2 months ago

    As for Louise Penny, I used to be a fan. Then I read her last book, the one set in Paris. I did not like it at all. It was too long and seemed to lack coherence in the plot and characters. Quelle disappointment!

  • yoyobon_gw
    2 months ago

    I have also lost my interest in Penny. Her last book should have been her last book.

    She is becoming a bit too political for my taste.

    Enough is enough Louise.

  • Carolyn Newlen
    last month

    I have started another Liz Carlyle book, Breaking Cover, by Stella Rimington. I like these books. Ms. Rimington, as you may know, was once head of MI5, so her books are quite exciting.

  • sheri_z6
    last month

    I just finished Emma Jane Holloway's The Baskerville Affair trilogy (A Study in Silks, A Study in Darkness, A Study in Ashes) featuring Sherlock Holmes' niece, Evelina Cooper. If you like steampunk, alternate history England stories complete with airborne pirates, clockwork monsters, and a little magic, these do not disappoint. The characters were well-rounded, the plotting was tight and complex, and the world building was really well done. I'm so glad I finally got to them, they'd been sitting in the TBR pile for at least two years.


    I will start Hamnet very soon since it's only two weeks until book group, but I also have Kate Quinn's The Huntress and Elizabeth Hunter's The Bone Scroll sitting on my desk calling to me. I'll see if I can squeeze one if not both of them in before Hamnet.


    Anyone else trying to whittle down their TBR pile?

  • yoyobon_gw
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Just finished Somewhere In France by Jennifer Robson and enjoyed it. She has quite a talent for writing some deliciously steamy stuff :0)

    I felt like I needed to light up a cigarette ( and I have never smoked ! ) after the "deflowering" scenes !


    Now on to The Ghost Manuscript by Kris Frieswick which has some very good reviews.

  • vee_new
    last month

    A quick and nasty read The Pursuit by Joyce Carol Oates. In no way am I able to recommend this to anyone here as the story of marital abuse, a mad Army Vet husband, a weak wife and a frightened child is unlikely to be enjoyed by any RP readers. Surprisingly (to me) it had way so many stars at Amazon. Nor was I 'held in suspense' by it as I could tell something very unpleasant was going to happen from the first chapter.

  • friedag
    last month

    Vee, Joyce Carol Oates is an author I have sworn never to read again. I wouldn't recommend anything by her to anyone. She is so prolific and supposedly has legions of "fans". But, mercy! I have never understood why. It seems to me that she wants to depress her readers.


    Carolyn will probably remember what a downer We Were the Mulvaneys was when we briefly discussed it here at RP years ago.

  • woodnymph2_gw
    last month

    Chiming to say I have long thought J.C. Oates is over-rated. I have never liked a single one of her books. I fail to understand her popularity.

  • Carolyn Newlen
    last month

    Yes, I well remember WWTM. I've never read another Oates book since and don't ever plan to.

  • vee_new
    last month

    Many thanks for the feed-back. Good to know I'm not alone!

  • annpanagain
    last month

    I am in the mood for books about people rather than murders! I finished "Civil to Strangers" by Barbara Pym. The edition I was lent by a library includes some novellas and short stories. It made me look for similar stories and Irish writers are good at character driven tales. I am reading "Other Women" by Cathy Kelly but feel I need a key to sort out the families! Some writers can keep enough people in their heads to fill a village! I can't!


    What has happened to this thread? It is in chunks and I can't get to the last post easily.

  • vee_new
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Annpan, it seems to be working OK for me, although I sometimes find that posts turn up very late, maybe the next day; even allowing for the time-zone difference.

  • annpanagain
    last month

    I have to search for the last posts and they are in Newest order above each other so I have to wind downwards to read and reply! I used to be able to hit Page Down for the Newest then read back.

    This has only happened recently and I do not like it! I hope for the old setting to return in September.

    I think someone at Houzz has been meddling to give us a "better experience"! This is always a problem IMHO!

  • Carolyn Newlen
    last month

    Ann, I have to press End and then Page Up to the latest and always have.

  • kathy_t
    last month

    Me too. Same as Carolyn.

  • annpanagain
    last month

    It is strange that I have been getting a different format. I also get very small type as I reply but it reverts to normal size when posted. I think Vee has that too!

    I had one of my sleepless nights so finished my book at 5am! These wakeful nights are quite a new thing but very annoying as I can't find a cause. The usual cure is a light snack then read myself to sleep.

  • vee_new
    last month

    Annpan, I still get the small type when I reply.

    Re the strange order in which some posts appear.


    By chance I noticed at the top of the page and below 'Featured Answer' . . . totally unnecessary as I see one was from me (or maybe only because it is me reading it and it had nothing to do with the previous comment)

    So . . . to the right of Comments below Featured Answer you will/might see 'Sort by' where you can click on either Oldest/Newest

    Carolyn I don't see a sign for End.

  • woodnymph2_gw
    last month

    I also press Control + End. That takes me to bottom of the postings. Then I page up. I've always done this.

  • Carolyn Newlen
    last month

    The end and page down buttons on my laptop are what I use. I don't have anything at the top of the pages except RP and cannot start a new post on RP; they go to Houzz.

  • annpanagain
    last month

    Vee, I am getting that format too. Just pressing to the end brings up part of the thread and a note that there are more posts. Pressing Pg Up takes me to the beginning again! I now scroll up until I get the new posts.

    Although it is the first day of Spring here, the rains have returned. I am glad my Support Worker is coming with a car as I need to get to the library to return the Pym and pick up some new books. I can get there by bus but would have some wet walks at either end.

  • vee_new
    last month

    Ann the only thing I find useful about the improved Houzz site is that we are able to make corrections to posts, although I suppose if I wanted to show off my plants/new bathrooms/ collection of stray cats I might find the photo addition handy.

    We are going into September and the first day of Autumn under deep cloud which has been over us and much of England for several days with temps by day in the low 60's F. Scotland has had warmer weather than us!

  • Carolyn Newlen
    last month

    We had temps in the mid-90s for two wees until Monday and yesterday when we got some much needed rain from the tail end of Hurricane Ida. Today temp is +/- 80, sunny, and with a nice breeze. I have the doors and windows open and am sitting on the patio.

    I am so sorry for the destruction down South, but an ill wind and all that.


    I read a mystery each days while it rained. Today I picked up a garbage can of downed debris from my beautiful old oak tree.

  • msmeow
    last month

    Vee, I would love to see photos of your collection of stray cats! LOL

    Still very hot and humid in central Florida. It will probably be that way until late October. My hubby and I are going to Colorado for a week starting next Sat. so we are looking forward to less humidity! I don't mind hot weather but 85% humidity is really draining.

    I just finished re-reading another Virgil Flowers book. I need a break from murder stories so have started Somewhere in France by Jennifer Robson. I've only read one chapter but I like it so far. It opens in London in July 1914.

    Donna

  • Carolyn Newlen
    last month
    last modified: last month

    We need a September thread, and I can't start new ones. Hint, hint.

    I'm presently reading Death in the Stocks by Georgette Heyer. It is from the list I copied of the Ten Best Golden Age Mysteries. It wouldn't have been on my ten best list, but it is fun to read.

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