Reading Round-Up for January 16, 2009

by Trish

Two books I read on the plane back and forth to London.

Murder in the Bastille by Cara Black. Publishers Weekly writes “PI Aimee Leduc is in the dark not only figuratively but literally after
a mysterious attack leaves her blinded at the start of her fourth
absorbing Paris mystery (after 2002’s Murder in the Sentier). Aimee and
her partner, computer expert Ren‚ Friant, face dual dilemmas as a
client’s recalcitrance to comply with a court request coincides with
Aimee’s misfortune. The diminutive Ren‚ must become the eyes of the
team while Aimee makes do as best she can with her other senses.
Meanwhile, with her attacker still on the loose and the police off on a
wrong scent chasing a serial killer, Aimee remains a vulnerable target.
Black loads her plot with Eastern European thugs, aggressive developers
and other familiar villains, but she compensates the reader with the
rich ambiance of Paris as well as a realistic and moving account of
Aimee’s coming to terms with her new condition. Some readers may be
annoyed by the use of French words and phrases not obvious from
context, but for the rest of us these authentic touches will be as
welcome as the fresh butter on our morning croissant.”

The Tsarina’s Daughter by Carolly Erickson. Publishers Weekly writes “Historical maven Erickson (The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette)
delivers a top-notch narrative featuring beautiful and courageous
Tatiana Romanov, daughter of Nicholas and Alexandra, during the final
years of their reign. As life becomes increasingly bleak in
prerevolution Russia, Tatiana sneaks out of the palace and sees
firsthand the poverty and violence pervading her country. With
Communist rebels shouting for equality and enemy countries invading,
Tatiana befriends a young and destitute pregnant woman whose fiancé has
just been murdered by Cossacks, opening up her conscience in unexpected
ways. But as the czar falters and the czarina takes refuge from her
afflictions in the company of Father Gregory (better known as
Rasputin), Tatiana finds solace in the arms of a fierce patriot.
Erickson creates an entirely convincing historical backdrop, and her
tale of a family’s fall from power and a country in transition is both
romantic and gripping.”

I’m glad to be home again!


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