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September wrap-up

Weird month for me! I got dumped during the first weekend and so my reading plans got completely derailed! Life! Sucked! For! A! Really! Big! Chunk! Of! This! Month! And it! Still! Sucks!

Also, I was at my grandmother's house on holiday and I like going off grid while I'm there and pretending the internet and the rest of the horrible world doesn't exist, and staring at my phone waiting for a text that never came ate up way more of my waking hours than I am comfortable admitting.

Also also, I wasn't really thrilled by any of the books I read (other than A Rogue of One's Own; see below).

Sorry to have disappointed you, loyal reader.

Anyway, read on for the pathetically very few (only 10. I am ASHAMED) books I did manage to get through.


Best book of the month: A Rogue of One's Own. It was so good, so cheesy, so deliciously me that I already can't wait for the third book in this series. I want it NOW, Evie Dunmore. You hear me??? Worst book of the month: Le Pont de Buena Vista. Ugh to everything about this crappy novel.

Most disappointing book of the month: On ne meurt pas d'amour. The writing was deserving of an actual love story, not this clichéd and painful dissection of an affair between three horrendous characters.

Most 'pleasant surprise' book of the month: The Flatshare. Wasn't expecting to love this quite as intensely as I did, but I really think this is a wonderful romance novel that does everything a romance novel should do really well, while also tackling some big issues that you don't usually get in cheese books. Highly, highly recommend.

The Glass Hotel (3★/5), by Emily St John Mandel: So much is going on in this book... I loved every Mandel book I've ever read, but this one I think is, quite easily, my least favorite. There's just so much happening that it's impossible to feel like the story all fits together, or that there's any cohesive or coherent overarching narrative. It's just a lot of different threads that briefly connect in one character, but nothing ever really meshes together or fits in one narrative. Lovely writing as ever, though - beautiful imagery throughout.

A Rogue of One's Own (5/5), by Evie Dunmore: A delightful, wonderful, cheery little read that way helped to correct the foul mood I've been in for weeks. My (glowing) review is here.

On ne meurt pas d'amour (0.9★/5), by Géraldine Dalban-Moreynas: Lovely writing cannot save this tawdry story with terrible characters. The affair is unbelievable and interminable, the death throes of it last 60 pages too long and are horrendously annoying and unsympathetic; the male character is petulant, whiney, indecisive, cruel, weak-willed and it's not like the sex seems to be all that good; both female characters are weak, pathetic and their entire lives revolve around this useless man. The wife character is particularly pathetic, with a good hefty dose of manipulative and conniving. Again, though - lovely, evocative writing with some excellent metaphors and poetry. Shame the characters don't deserve it.

Bahamas: Le Pont de Buena Vista (1★/5), by Maurice Denuzière: There was so much going on and none of it was handled well. I hate dialogue-as-exposition, and every single one of the characters was caricatural, grandiloquent, melodramatic, and pretty frankly terrible. The main (male) character spends the entirety of this 700-page novel basically treating women as interchangeable and disposable. Also, there is a lot of casual racism and voyeurism that is dismissed as anti-colonialist expression. And there was never really any plot to speak of, just a lot of exposition and dialogue that never led to anything, and therefore the scene at the end that was meant as the big narrative payoff felt completely irrelevant and flat. I did not like this book, clearly.

L'Allée du roi (4.4★/5), by Françoise Chandernagor: My review is here.

The Flatshare (5★/5), by Beth O'Leary: A lovely closed-door romance that was so violently charming I was almost angry at it. The banter between the two main characters is witty, funny, and unbelievably sexy. Tackles some pretty difficult issues head on and in a deft, careful, compassionate way. I inhaled this book in one sitting (I broke my no e-book rule for this one because I was so desperate to continue reading after I finished the online sample I couldn't wait to get back to London and buy it), and adored it so much I immediately recommended it to all of my friends - and now I am doing that for you, my lovely Internet friends. Please read this book immediately.

The Switch (4★/5), by Beth O'Leary: Also inhaled it in one sitting, but liked it a smidgen less than The Flatshare (I think because I didn't get the narration from the first-person POV of the male main character, which I do really like in my cheesy romance novels). But I love the premise of this novel - a grandmother and granddaughter switch lives for two months! - and the main characters were lovely, heart-warming characters and I really enjoyed spending the book with them.

L'Amie prodigieuse (3.7★/5), by Elena Ferrante: A weird one for me. I enjoyed it, but not as much as I'd been told I was; and I don't think the quality of the writing or the character study lived up to all the massive hype. I'll still read the other three books, though. My full review is here.

La Course à l'abîme (4.6★/5), by Dominique Fernandez: There is a lot happening in this book (like, a lot). It's the story of Caravaggio's life, from when he leaves his native village until he dies at the age of thirty-seven. Caravaggio is a deeply unpleasant man, unfortunately; but his story was still highly compelling and the writing in this book is near technically perfect. My only gripe is that the ending felt a bit rushed compared to the leisurely pace of the first three-quarters of the story.

La vie est brève et le désir sans fin (2.4★/5), by Patrick Lapeyre: I've had a half-eye on this one for a while, and it turned out to be just fine - couldn't really get into the romance side of it and the chronology was weird without ever really being properly explained or justified; same with the overlapping narratives. Deeply unsympathetic characters, could never quite work out what the book was meant to be about, and the ending didn't fit the style or the tone particularly well. Anyway. A fine book with some decent writing, but nothing spectacular - or anything that will stick with me long-term.

Let me know if you've read any of these, or if any of them strike your fancy now that I've talked about them, or, you know, if you think any of my ratings are completely wrong (I'm expecting people to come at me for my Elena Ferrante review). I just want to talk about books.

Happy reading,

Amélie xx

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I’m Amélie, I love books and reading, and I also love talking about them.

I’m incredibly lucky to be bilingual, so I read books in both French and English, and will talk about both of those on here – although I will do more in English, since I know that’s probably what the majority of the people who ever find this blog will be interested in!

I also like history, traveling, Shakespeare, coffee, cheese, musicals, Italian Baroque art, the ballet, Mock the Week and Have I Got News For You, flowers, makeup, high heels, and baking. Yes, I’m a walking cliché. I am aware.

Please do tweet at me with any suggestions/book recommendations/thoughts.

In case you’re curious – yes, Pride and Prejudice is my favorite book of all time.

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