Tuesday, June 25, 2013

What's on Your Nightstand? Not Much This Month Edition

As I finish the draft of my novel, many other things have fallen to the wayside--such as cleaning, cooking, and reading. Yes, reading! And that includes the audio books I love on my commute as I've worked over my story in my mind on the drive. I only manage a tiny bit of reading or listening this month.


Few things give me more pleasure than a new (or new-to-me) well researched, well written Royal book! And Serving Victoria: Life in the Royal Household did not disappoint! I read the Kindle version, which wasn't so great for the photos and memorabilia, so I will watch for a used copy of the print book to buy. This book pulls on original sources--mostly letters and diaries of various members of Queen Victoria's household. The ladies in waiting, gentlemen of the household, Clergy and physicians. It was just simply riveting reading! Queen Victoria's own thoughts and words are well documented, too. I dearly loved the poor doctor's struggle in trying to marry! The Queen simply didn't want to give him up! Her Majesty's relations with, and views on the clergy (especially Bishops) were also quite interesting and, Downton Abbey fans will love to hear, would probably get a pithy bon mot of approval from the Dowager Countess!

[Much of this research was used, apparently (not mentioned as such either in the book or film) in film Mrs. Brown, starring Judi Dench and Billy Connolly.]

This book was made even more interesting to me due to two others I read in recent years that detailed life in the household of the last Victorian in the Royal Family--Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. Books by her last young Equerry, Behind Palace Doors, and Final Curtsey by her nice and lady-in-waiting, Mrs. Margaret Rhodes, showed that at least in the Queen Mother's home, life was still lived almost exactly as it was in Queen Victoria's time but with better plumbing, better medical care and more efficient transportation. If you enjoy Downton Abbey or are a royal watcher, you will definitely enjoy this book. Serving Victoria: Life in the Royal Household by Kate Hubbard.


Having recently enjoyed the first book in Anne Perry's William Monk series, I read the blub on No Graves as Yet and got excited! A series set in World War I England? What's not to love! The story centers around a supposed conspiracy that reaches clear to King George V and his first cousin, Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany.  A young Cambridge Don loses his parents in a suspicious car accident is told by his brother that a document relating to the conspiracy may be the cause. Well, this all sounded more interesting than it was. This book was "ok"--at some point I'll likely listen to the others, but it did not hold my attention like the Monk book did last month. No Graves as Yet, by Anne Perry.

Finally, I threw back The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen and wondered what intern from the publisher wrote the fabulous reviews for it on Amazon. The story started with promise, but quickly dissolved into drivel...twaddle...pap--chose your word.

Want to see what others are reading/have read this month? Head over to 5 Minutes for Mom for all the What's on Your Nightstand? posts for June.


Kara said...

How exciting that you're making progress with your novel! It seems like this was a tough reading month for everyone. I enjoyed Tutor's Daughter, but it definitely wasn't my favorite by Julie Klassen.

Tonia said...

I agree with you on the Tutor's Daughter. I've read other books by Klassen and enjoyed them but this was definitely my least favorite.

Hopewell said...

Thanks ladies! Good to know I wasn't alone in not liking the Tutor's Daughter, but based on what you've said I'll likely give the author another shot with a different title.

Susan said...

Love your reviews, as always. The Victoria book sounds awesome -- primary sources are always the best. I think I'd enjoy that one!

Susan said...

Great reviews, as always. I know I would like the Victoria book. Primary sources always make a book so much more "real."

barbarah said...

I can see how working on one's own novel would cut into reading time. How exciting!

Serving Victoria sounds fascinating, though I would definitely prefer the better plumbing, travel, and medical care aspect of modern times.

I've read Klassen books I have enjoyed but have not read that one.

Beth Starr said...

Serving Victoria looks like an interesting read. I'll have to look for it at the library. I've been eyeing Anne Perry's book for awhile and after reading your thoughts I'll search for the Monk series.

Cassandra said...

Good luck with your novel!!