Strange coincidence. I picked a novel to read and it was on a similar story as the next bookclub novel. Women as counter agents dropped behind enemy lines in World War Two. In fact the third novel I read was also set in WWII.
The Postcard by Leah Fleming was one of those melodramatic epic novels suited for holiday reading on the beach or by the pool. Even the cover suggested it, although it had nothing to do with the story.
I started on the next novel, Nine Days by Toni Jordan, but how could I proceed when on page one it has “should of”. I know the author was trying to recreate the character’s voice but still… So I swapped it the book club novel but that was atrocious in both style and inaccurate historical detail, so I returned to Nine Days.
It was an easy read, still not only was it stylistically superior to The Nightingale but it had a truer sense of place and time and language. Maybe Kristen Hannah should have written about what she knows?
Set in Melbourne, each chapter in Nine Days is told by a different character all linked by family. The thread follows the impact of WWII and trying to support family when times are tough.
The photo used on the cover was the inspiration for the tale. It is a famous photo and so evocative of the time.
I started on the book club choice and stopped and started and maybe gave up.
In the meantime I read Benjamin Law’s The Family Law. Growing up in the unglamorous hinterland of the Sunshine Coast of Queensland is be interesting enough, as would being Australian-born of Chinese parents, but to be both?!? And to be gay. It’s very funny. I laughed out loud about the sad theme parks of the 80s and 90s in that area. Honey Land. I remember it. And the land of big things -Bottle. Pineapple.
This book has been translated into French. What do the French make of tropical, sweaty, suburban Queensland? It must be extremely foreign.
And then I returned to the atrocious bookclub novel. A fellow book clubber abandoned it. And my frequent texts confirmed for her that she made the right decision.
But the champion I am, I perservered.
PS: I also nearly finished two other books. But I’ll include those in “What I read in August” when I have finished them. Some books might get a post of their own.