One of the nice things about going away for a week to France, apart from the fact that you can actually see some sunshine on a regular basis, is that you get time to read some books. Not that much reading was done in the sunshine - a certain young lady was too busy playing in sandpits, swimming in lakes and swimming pools and shopping at our favourite place in Bergerac (the fizzy sugar cubes for the bath were a big hit).
I did make a dint in my pile of books, though, mainly by staying up until the early hours until I needed matchsticks to hold my eyes open. It was such a luxury to read in peace and quiet (there's no broadband, hence no distractions).
Scores on the doors:
The Rose of Sebastopol, by Katharine McMahon
Found at the library, but I'd have been quite pleased if I'd bought it, as it wasn't a bad read. It lost its way towards the end (to be honest, it could have ended a couple of chapters earlier), but I liked the characters, and the way they were drawn (there were some nice sewing details too). And I'm a sucker for a long drawn-out romantic thread. Mind, I couldn't tell you anything about the Crimean War now - it obviously went in one ear and out the other.
The Palace of Strange Girls, by Sallie Day
I liked this one a lot, but I did manage to devour it in a couple of hours, which usually means it's light on the description and heavy on plot and characters. I liked the picture it drew of 1950s Blackpool (fairly accurate, according to my Mum who was brought up there), and I loved the way each chapter was opened by a quote from the I-Spy-at-the-Seaside book. Rather a predictable ending, but I liked how it got there.
The Ghost, by Robert Harris
Ooh, plot plot plot plot bit of character development plot plot plot. You know what you're getting with a Robert Harris, really, don't you? Not as good as Fatherland or Enigma - maybe because the subject matter wasn't as interesting - although I'm sure Tony Blair's memoirs will be a riveting read.
The Visible World, by Mark Slouka
I sort of liked this one - or rather I liked the fictional memoir which makes up the first half of this book. The romance thread lost me though - in fact I didn't bother with the second part (the romantic novel), as I could cheerfully have banged the main characters' heads together by that point.