Showing posts from April, 2017

A Rare Benedictine (Cadfael Series)

A Rare Benedictine (Cadfael Series) Ellis Peters, 1988 (Kindle version 2014) Premise: Collects three short stories from across the series' timeline, including the account of when Cadfael joins the monastery. I love Cadfael, and when I recently needed a quick comfort read, I knew this wouldn't disappoint. However, if you're looking for a dramatic turn of events to drive Cadfael the crusader to the Benedictine order, you won't find it here. The first story, "A Light on the Road to Woodstock," is the account in question. Given the character as revealed throughout the series, it would be surprising if Cadfael had some supernatural or esoteric revelation. In the introduction to this volume, in fact, the author describes the decision as analogous to the way some people (more common in certain times and cultures) simply find they have reached another phase in life and choose to renounce the world in some way. As it is, it's a lovely story in whic

The Price of Salt

The Price of Salt Patricia Highsmith (released under the name Claire Morgan), 1952 (e-version 2011) Premise: Therese is unsatisfied with her life, her retail job, her boyfriend. One day, she meets a beautiful stranger, and her life is changed. I watched and enjoyed Carol for Mainlining Christmas , but I was curious about the source material. When I had an opportunity to pick it up cheap on Kindle, I took it. I think from the descriptions, I was expecting something that felt more dated, or that had more of the conventions of pulp. I found nothing of the sort. This book could have been written yesterday. At least in style, it could have. Of course, today it's harder to imagine a person like Therese would get to be nineteen with so little interest in sex or men and not really consider an attraction to women as a possible alternative. But that would have been the reality for many women of the time. This book is a romance with thriller elements and a character study: a

The Cutting Season

The Cutting Season Attica Locke, 2012 Premise: Caren grew up at Belle Vie as generations before her did, and now she lives on the plantation with her daughter, managing the historical reenactments and booking weekend weddings. When a woman is found dead on the grounds, she is horrified, but not prepared for the ramifications for her family, past and present. This is a solid mystery-thriller made special by context. The plot takes place in the present, but Caren's life is intimately affected by her family's history with the land. Her ancestors were slaves and then freedmen working the same land she now manages. One disappeared, possibly murdered, in the same fields where a woman is now found dead. Caren is the central character by a large margin, but her daughter, her ex-boyfriend and all the actors and staff at the plantation are each interesting and unique. Her past with the facility and the family that owns it both supports her career and traps her in the past. S