Feb 2013 tbrTime to get some February reviews set down, although I have reviewed one book finished in February already, to keep in with the Month of Re-Reading in January. I do like to make things complicated for myself! I have read quite a lot this month already, so some substantial batches to come out! We’ve got a nice variety of comfort reading and Kindle reading here …

Mark Rashid – “A Good Horse is Never a Bad Color”

(Kindle, bought December 2012)

A really good read, a reissue with update notes, about his education and subsequent work in training horses in a kind and horse-centred way. Plenty of detail on how not to do it, and plenty of examples of how to do it, with an interesting emphasis on types of horse – Arabs, “paint” horses – that are considered to be particularly difficult to train and work with. Really interesting and humane, and the thoughtful updates made it feel like good value rather than just a re-issue to cash in on the e-book craze.

Dodie Smith – “It Ends with Revelations”

(16 May 2012)

A slightly odd novel, like the others of hers I’ve read recently, set firmly in the world of the theatre. Jill is married to actor, Miles: when they visit a spa town to present a slightly dodgy play in the town festival, and meet local MP Geoffrey and his two quirky daughters (more brilliant Smith adolescents), relationships start to form and, indeed, revelations start to emerge. Set apparently in 1967, the discussions of homosexuality and alcoholism do manage to seem both daring and dated. It’s whimsical and charming in true Smith style, but some elements do seem slightly bolted on or placed in the narrative to raise “issues”, so it doesn’t quite work all the way through. But it’s a not-so-good Dodie Smith novel rather than a bad novel per se, if that makes sense.

Georgette Heyer – “Lady of Quality”

(16 June 2012 – Oxford)

A sweet Heyer, set in Bath. Annis is 29 and has set up a household independent of her brother, to his horror. Then she suddenly acquires a young lady guest and comes up against her (saturnine, rude, natch) guardian. Lots of sparring ensues and some great Bath scenes, making it an enjoyable, escapist read. I found it amusing that some of the locations are the same as those encountered in my recent read of “Persuasion”!

Carole Matthews – “Winter Warmers”

(Kindle December 2012 – free offer)

I’d not read any of Carole Matthews’ short stories before, although I have read a couple of her novels. These three were very nicely done, with just the right amount of plot, character development and romance to make them more satisfying than just a bit of fun – great escapist reading, even in February! I enjoyed “All I Want for Christmas is You” the most, as I liked the office scenes and the intriguing events.

Robert Arthur – “The Case of the Whispering Mummy”

(22 November 2012)

Third in the set (I see I’m missing the Stuttering Parrot but I don’t always come across these in massive batches!), and an easily guessed non-supernatural plot, although not too formulaic (i.e. Jupiter isn’t captured at a vital moment, although he does have a rather exciting ride). The walkie-talkies are introduced, and Alfred Hitchcock is quite involved – interesting, as I’d not read many of the earlier ones recently. The perfect pitch and length for a comfort read …

Coming up … some KM Peyton and a Barbara Pym, some travel writing, some social history … and I might even finish Tony Blair this month. Watch this space! Have you been comfort reading this rainy (or snowy) February?