It isn’t officially the holidays, but you may be plotting your holiday reading, or perhaps taking the break before the holidays.
Here are a few notes on three fabulous plot-oriented escape reads to add to your TBR.
The heroine, Bertha Kellynch, is exceptionally intelligent, fashionable, and very much in love with her husband Percy, who describes her as a bird of Paradise. Leverson emphasizes Bertha’s uniqueness. She is not just beautiful: she gives sensible advice. Her lovelorn friend Madeline pines for the affections of a caddish aesthete who lends her architecture books; her snobbish mother-in-law dithers at an at-home party until Bertha steps in to chat with a nouveau riche former chorus girl; and Bertha deals tactully with her former boyfriend, Nigel, who visits her house a tad too often and makes his wife jealous. We know everything will end well, beccause Bertha is so calm, but there are a few tense moments in this sweet, comical novel.
I recently read The Wonder Worker, which is set at St. Benet’s Church in London in the ‘80s. It is entrancing. I dare you to put it down! Howatch describes the chaos of a ministry of healing which goes astray. The charismatic Nicholas Darrow changes strangers’ lives but neglects his family; his wife Rosalind, a successful businesswoman, has grown to despise his hypocrisy and wants a divorce; Lewis Hall, a priest who was Nicholas’s former spiritual adviser, has a troubled past and rages in his diary about his ambivalence toward women and hatred of modern times; and Alice, an obese gourmet cook, stumbles into the church to get out of the rain and finds help for her dying aun; she also finds a job as the cook at St. Benet’s. I couldn’t get enough of this book; it is the first of a trilogy.