The Books I'm Reading Now
I'm listening to Sherry Thomas's Victorian mystery (the first in a hefty series) starring an independent young woman who invents an alternate identity of Sherlock Holmes, A Study in Scarlet Women; I'm reading Less Is Lost, the second in Andrew Sean Greer's series (the first book was Less) about the character of author Arthur Less and the lengths he'll go to to try to avoid coping with the difficulties of life; and I'm listening to The Librarian Spy, World War II historical fiction by the author of The Last Bookshop in London.
What are you reading these days, bookworms?
01 A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas
I'm listening to Sherry Thomas's A Study in Scarlet Women, which presents Charlotte Holmes, a clever, forward-thinking, independent woman trapped in a Victorian age in which women have little choice and even less voice.
Charlotte will go to almost any length to avoid being married off to an eligible bachelor of her parents' choosing--but when she pushes against the restrictions of the time, she goes against societal expectations and may be left with even fewer options than her constrained existence as a lady afforded.
Then a series of unusual events lead to Charlotte's assuming the identity of a made-up detective, Sherlock Holmes, and putting to good use her powers of observation and her reading of people. With her scandalous elderly sidekick, the former actress Ms. Watson, adding her own ability to play parts and facilitate meetings and encounters, Charlotte reimagines what a Victorian woman is able to achieve.
Charlotte is strong-willed and an irresistible character so far.
I love that the title is a play on the Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes story A Study in Scarlet.
02 Less Is Lost (Arthur Less #2) by Andrew Sean Greer
In Andrew Sean Greer's Less, Arthur Less is about to turn fifty and is a novelist of limited acclaim. When his ex sends him a wedding invitation, Arthur panics. He can't attend, but feels that he can't stay home, either. He decides to accept all of the random literary event invitations he's received and to put together a makeshift tour of the world, putting thousands of miles between him and his problems.
In book two, Less Is Lost, Arthur faces the death of a former lover and a financial crisis--and again turns to the comforting schedule and constant movement of a literary tour to cope (or run from coping).
Check out this link for my review of Andrew Sean Greer's Less.
03 The Librarian Spy by Madeline Martin
As World War II explodes, Ava loves her job at the Library of Congress. But a surprise job offer from the US military leads her to Lisbon--and instills a passion in her to help European refugees.
Meanwhile, Elaine is French and is doing what she can to help those in need there--including giving away her own papers and ration cards to a hungry Jewish woman. She urges her husband to join the Resistance--but when he disappears, she seeks out the leaders herself, offering her assistance, regardless of the danger.
The two women become linked through coded messages and a shared urgency to save the lives of those in danger.
I'm listening to The Librarian Spy as an audiobook. Madeline Martin is also the author of The Last Bookshop in London.