Dorothea Benton Frank – Pawleys Island

(16 Aug 2011)

Sprung upon in a charity shop because I have read another of her South Carolina novels, but a “meh” read. Two old friends on an island have their quiet lives interrupted by the new girl in town, fleeing from an unpleasant husband and her uncaring children. Will Abigail dust off her law qualifications and come to the rescue? We are meant to identify with the characters early on and root for them, but I couldn’t really involve myself with them. Frank seems to love her characters a  bit too much and the divorce story just wasn’t that hugely interesting to me. Good atmospheric scenery though.

Jill Paton Walsh – The Serpentine Cave

(16 Aug 2011)

Having met the author at the Iris Murdoch conference in 2010, I have been vaguely looking out for her books since, and added two of them to the August charity shop haul I seem to be working my way through at the moment. I felt really upset for her when I found some glaring editorial errors in this book (published by Black Swan): an artist’s “pallett” (and art is a big theme: it is spelled correctly the other times it’s used), and the central character wakes up in one bedroom and goes to bed that evening in a different one, which was odd indeed. A well-done story but maybe  a bit slight – I was expecting more bulk, somehow. But I liked the locals in the book, the Cornwall setting, and I will read more of hers.

Erica James – Gardens of Delight

(BookCrossing, 27 Aug 2011)

I wouldn’t normally read this genre (womanlit?) but couldn’t resist the setting on Lake Como. That part is done well, but the book OPENED with an editing error (someone being subordinate rather than INsubordinate!) and it didn’t really hold my attention, though it was competently enough done and passed the time. I never really engaged with or cared about the characters, and it seemed over-planned and under-executed in parts, not properly thought through in others.