Hi, I’m Janet and I blog at From First Page to Last which has been around for about 4 and 1/2 years. I feature an eclectic mix of novels, short stories, guest posts and Q&A’s. I could recommend books all day long, in fact don’t get me started or you’ll rue the day! Christine asked for one recommendation. Because I can’t count and because I’m very indecisive I’ve picked three.
My recommendation is The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne
Helena was raised in the marshes. Away from other human contact, it was only ever her, her mother, who she distanced herself from and her father, who she loved and feared in equal measure. It is only when she finds out the truth about her unconventional family that her world is turned upside down. Fast forward and nearly 20 years later her father has escaped prison. The prison she helped put him in. Helena knows only she can find her father. For although he is a hunter, used to surviving in the marshes, he taught her everything he knows. And she is her father’s daughter….
I picked this novel up to have a quick look and soon found myself not wanting to put it down. There is a darkness that runs through the novel. It is a compelling, character driven read, with a closed room feel that is juxtaposed with the outdoor setting. I only picked it up to see if I wanted to read it and soon found myself a quarter of the way through.
My second recommendation is a series so a bit of a cheat. I adore the Guido Brunetti series by Donna Leon. Set in beautiful, atmospheric, Venice this series follows the life and career of Commissario Guido Brunetti and his family and colleagues. Brunetti is the anti-thesis of the stereo-typical fictional detective. He is happily married, still in love with his wife after over 30 years together. He has a stable family and a network of friends. He likes his job but is aware of its pitfalls – in particular his boss, Patta and his sycophantic side-kick Scarpa. He is not afraid to bend the rules and is more than belligerent towards the state of the politics and bureaucracy rife in Italy. He is also well aware of the limits of the justice system and that some things don’t always work out for the best. The series is very much character based and part of the appeal of the books is watching the family and friends age and develop stronger ties. Much like real life there are not always happy endings, or endings that tie up nicely. Donna Leon’s books are ones I always look forward to and devour. The latest in the series – Earthly Remains, was published by William Heinemann on 6 April 2017.
My final choice is also another book from a series – Let the Dead Speak by Jane Casey. Chloe Emery returns home after a weekend away to find her mother gone. In her place is a wave of blood covering the house. Maeve Kerrigan and her colleagues are called to investigate. What secrets was Kate Emery keeping and where is she? If there are all the signs of violence, but no body, is it really murder?
This is the seventh book in the series but the first one I have read. My first thought on finishing the book was – Brilliant. I was immediately drawn into the story. There is an acerbic, dark humour to the writing that I felt worked perfectly with the story and characters. I loved the interaction between the main characters. The balance of seriousness and humour worked perfectly for me. I can’t wait to catch up with the rest of the series.
Janet’s reviews can be found here:
To buy the books: