I know books won’t be on most of your minds tonight but thought I’d get December mini-reviews in before I hit the champagne. Plus, both of these books are light enough that if you start them this morning you’ll have finished them well before midnight.
Published by St. Martin's Press
Publication date: December 17th 2013
The New Countess: As the writer of the pilot for Upstairs Downstairs Fay Weldon knows about the aristocratic life. This is the third book in a trilogy but stands easily on its own. Breezy, thoroughly enjoyable reading about the Dilberne’s, a titled British family in 1905. The story takes place in the months leading up to a hunting weekend being held on their estate for the King, Edward VII and his mistress, Mrs. Keppel. Gossipy intrigue in the midst of all the change happening at the beginning of the century makes this perfect reading for the lazy days in between the winter holidays.
Published by The Dial Press
Publication date: October 21st 2014
Shopaholic to the Stars: I have been a huge fan of Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series since the very first book. By and large, Becky Bloomwood has made me laugh from the first screwy letter she wrote to the bank about being overdrawn on her checking account. Throughout the series Kinsella has managed to entwine Becky’s utter hopelessness with money and shopping with an unerring sense of how to get out of trouble. In this latest novel that tricksy combination falters, making the novel wobble towards the absurd. This is not helped by the fact that Shopaholic to the Stars weighs in at a substantial 472 pages. For this icon of chick lit and light reading “substantial” is not a word you want to use. The tone needed to stay in the fluff zone can’t be maintained at this length and so this episode of Shopaholic doesn’t work as well as the others. Becky goes from being charmingly ditzy to annoying and worryingly stupid. Oh, and did I mention this book ends with a lead-in to the next one which will take place in Las Vegas? Even for this inveterate reader and Shopaholic fan this may be one shopping trip too many.