You Had Me At Hello- Mhairi McFarlane (A Rainy Day Read)

you-had-me-at-hello

Happy December everybody!

I’ve been featuring a couple of what could loosely be termed ‘heavy reads’ on The Female Scriblerian lately and as much as I love those books, you do have to be in the right mood to read them. Sometimes, however, I’m in the mood for something unashamedly romantic and heart-warming; especially now the nights are longer, and colder. I love nothing better than snuggling up with good romantic fiction at these times they fill a place in my life that Virginia Woolf, however much I love her, never will! Plus I realised I’ve been neglecting my Rainy Day Reads so I thought I’d suggest a sparkly new Rainy Day Read today. Read more

Read It: Where’d You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple

Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple

Where to start with this book? It took me a while to warm to it and for a couple of days I put it down and considered not finishing it (I’m having a bit of a problem with this recently). My main reason was that it didn’t grab my attention in the first couple of pages because it seemed too disjointed. I’ve noticed a trend in fiction recently where authors have started to use various different forms of writing; letters, emails, bills, reports etc. to compose their novels instead of regular prose. This can sometimes make a novel feel slightly erratic, especially if the different mediums and styles aren’t dealt with properly. “Where’d You Go Bernadette?”  is a perfect example of this trend. Read more

A Little Love Song- Michelle Magorian (A Rainy Day Read)

a little love song

This books has a bit of a soft, special place in my heart. It’s one of the first books I read where I was really struck by how lovely the romantic story line is. This is a book, as you may guess from the title, that I return to on rainy days, when I want a bit of cheer.

It’s the story of seventeen year old Rose who is sent with her sister to a sleepy seaside town to escape London, and the Second World War. The thing I love about this book is that it ticks so many boxes. Like my last post, it’s a coming of age novel, it’s also a historical fiction and a romance all rolled into to one. This is definitely more of a “Young Adult” novel. However, what makes it different from so many of the other YA novels out there at the moment (apart from its significant lack of vampires), is that the love story Michelle Magorian develops is more of a quiet, slowly developing, and romantic one, rather than the “burning passion of a thousand suns” kind. The thing about Rose is that she has so many other things to learn about herself before she is ready for love, and what’s particularly nice is that Magorian allows her to make plenty of mistakes as she discovers what kind of person she is.

Another thing that really helps make this book good is the quality of the supporting characters and their sub-plots. Through them Magorian manages to show how displaced many women were by the second world war, but also that it was a time that really gave women the chance to do more with their lives.  Ultimately, I think the thing that keeps me returning to “A Little Love Song” is  the sweetness of the relationship between Rose and Alec, it’s one of those fictional relationships that I secretly wish I could have myself, especially because Alec runs a bookshop! So next time you’re stuck inside on a rainy day, why don’t you give “A Little Love Song” a try? I think you’ll be glad you did!

Brighter Than The Sun- Julia Quinn (A Rainy Day Remedy)

brighter

It’s Time for a little confession: I love this book. There is nothing like snuggling up with a blanket, a cup of tea and a really good novel on a rainy day, don’t you agree? Brighter Than The Sun serves this purpose perfectly. It’s a light, bright and (coincidentally) sunny read. Even better, it’s sure to cheer you up when the weather is grim, and really, what more could you ask for? This is the first book I read by Julia Quinn and before I started it, I don’t mind admitting I was a little sceptical. I’m very picky when it comes to historical fiction as it’s so easy to get it horribly wrong but Quinn avoids this. The reason is that her heroine, Eleanor, is so engaging. She’s sufficiently modern minded to make her identifiable, but is equally endowed with enough Regency England morality to make her fit the setting well enough to  keep me reading. I’m not sure about you, but for me this is a really hard balance for authors to get right. I get really annoyed with this genre when the time period is just used as an excuse for the words “Rake” and “The Season” to be thrown in and then conveniently forgotten. Plus the writing is funny, well paced and, crucially, the interplay between Eleanor and Charles makes you really root for them. The two of them are really equally matched; Charles is demanding but Eleanor is no pushover and what’s really nice is the way both characters seem to learn from each other.

At a push you may be forced to admit that the idea of a man falling from a tree and immediately proposing marriage is a little bit ridiculous, but I can forgive Quinn if you can. There’s enough motive on both sides of the match to make the haste if not totally realistic, at least understandable and quite frankly is an Earl fell out of a tree and proposed to me, I’d at least consider it! Additionally, what’s nice about Julia Quinn’s novels is that her characters often reappear in other stories; one of my favourite things is to spend half an hour imagining the afterlives of characters and Quinn really taps into this in a subtle enough way not to detract from other stories. Obviously if you are looking for a book that really stretches all the boundaries, this is never going to be it; but if you are looking for a nice book to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon with I can’t think of better one. What do you think? What’s your favourite rainy day read?