The Best Laid Plans …

I tend not to plan my reading – my plans often go awry! I was looking forward to reading my current books  – Green Darkness, The Needle in the Blood and Anthony Trollope’s Autobiography) but my thoughts keep turning to what to read next.

I think it’s because I’m not that enthralled with the two historical novels, although Anthony Trollope’s Autobiography is very interesting. I’ve read Green Darkness by Anya Seton before, although now I’m reading it I’m beginning to think I just dreamt I read it as it’s like reading a new book. It’s my book group choice for January and although there are parts that I think are very good (the historical part set in 16th century Tudor England) I’m finding it too long and well a bit boring in parts.

And I was confused as I began reading The Needle in the Blood by Sarah Bower, set just after Harold’s death at the Battle of Hastings. This may just be because my historical knowledge of this period is very vague, but I think it should be easier to work out whether ‘Lady Edith’ and ‘Queen Edith’ are different people and are there two people called Gytha?

This book has been on my shelves for 7 years! and picking it up this time I realised why I hadn’t read it before now – it’s written in the third person present tense, which I find awkward. I’m hoping all will get clearer if I read on – but I haven’t been tempted to read much further as yet – the tense isn’t helping me.

These are just a few of the options I have for what to read next:

From my shelves:

  • Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir – because Lady Jane Grey features in Green Darkness and I fancy reading more about her.
  • The Betrayal of Trust by Susan Hill – because it’s the next one for me read in her Simon Serrailler series and I’ve borrowed the one after this (A Question of Identity) from the library, so I’d like to read them in order.
  • Turn of the Tide by Margaret Skea – about feuding clans in 16th century Scotland.

From the library (just a small selection):

  • A Question of Identity by Susan Hill – after I’ve read The Betrayal of Trust.
  • Catching the Eagle: Book I of the Regency Reivers series by Karen Charlton – I found this on my library’s list of books by local authors. It’s described as a fictionalized account of a trial that devastated a family after a robbery at Kirkley hall in Northumberland, and it’s based on the true story of the author’s family’s notorious ancestor, Jamie Charlton.

On my Kindle:

  • No Name by Wilkie Collins – having just read Peter Ackroyd’s biography I’m keen to read at least one of Wilkie Collins’ books this year.
  • Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope – inspired by reading his autobiography.
  • Black Roses by Jane Thynne – I saw this reviewed on another book blog – can’t remember which one – and thought it sounded good, set in Berlin in the 1930s.

Now, whether I will read these after I finished my current books remains to be seen – I may be drawn to something completely different.

8 thoughts on “The Best Laid Plans …”

  1. It’s so nice to know that other people have exactly the same reading problems as me. ‘I feel your pain’ as Deanna Troi used to say on Star Trek: TNG. 🙂 I’ve got a non-fiction book on the go (since Nov.) about underground London. It’s ‘ok’ but not rivetting and because it’s the start of a new year I want a non-fiction that is ‘really’ interesting. So of course I’m thinking seriously of laying it aside. But feeling guilty as I really ought to have more staying power than this…

    I’m also taking on board what you say about Needle in the Blood as I too have had this sitting on my tbr shelf for ages. I think I won it in a book draw, so I really should get to it, but the time never seems to be right…


    1. Yes – it is nice to know I’m not the only one with this problem. I will finish Green Darkness, but I’m thinking I’ll put The Needle in the Blood back on the shelf for another time! When there are so many books I’d like to read it’s a shame to read one that’s not appealing to me.


  2. I gave up on The Needle in the Blood. Like you, I was confused about Lady Edith and Queen, and none of the other characters stayed in my mind – I had to keep flipping back to try and check!

    But Barchester Towers is wonderful, so do read it. Have you read The Warden? And did you ever see the TV version of those two books, with a very young Alan Rickman as the odious Mr Slope?


    1. Christine, I have read The Warden – loved it – but I’ve not seen the TV version, must have missed it at the time!

      The Needle in the Blood is so disappointing – I’ve read 142 pages and still struggling with the characters!


  3. Well, Margaret, you know me – I’d go for the Susan Hill book or books. Mysteries, you know? LOL

    And I also subscribe to that whole “if it’s not gripping you, set it aside, for now for forever”. 🙂


  4. I sadly haven’t read any of the books you’ve listed as possible reads. I do rather like the sound of Catching the Eagle by Karen Charlton though. I hope you enjoy whatever you end up reading.


  5. Innocent Traitor is good. It may be fictional but there’s a lot of factual information. I’ve only finished one book so far this year and a novella at that. I’m sort of finding the issues you are – not so interesting stories etc.

    Two characters with the same name sounds very confusing. Is there perhaps a website with the answer/an interview with the answer on it?


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