Six Degrees of Separation: from Three Women to …

I love doing Six Degrees of Separation, a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. Each month a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain.

Three Women


This month the chain begins with Three Women by Lisa Taddeo – a book I haven’t read, or even heard of before. It’s described on Goodreads as Desire as we’ve never seen it before: a riveting true story about the sex lives of three real American women, based on nearly a decade of reporting. I have no desire to read it.

My first link is to one of the books I’m currently reading – a biography of D H Lawrence, a man who believed himself to be an outsider in angry revolt against his class, culture and country, and who was engaged in a furious commitment to his writing and a passionate struggle to live according to his beliefs. He also struggled all his life with his relationships with women, particularly about those with his mother and his wife, Frieda.

Leading on from Lawrence’s biography my second link is to his book, Women in Love,  a book I first read as a teenager. It’s about the relationships of two sisters, Ursula and Gudrun. Ursula falls in love with Birkin (a self portrait of Lawrence) and Gudrun has an affair with Gerald, the son of the local colliery owner. Later on I watched the film version with Glenda Jackson as Gudrun, Oliver Reed as Gerald, Alan Bates as Birkin and Jennie Linden as Ursula. Lawrence considered this book to be his best and the one that clearly showed his ideas of society at the time (1922).

Moving on from a book about sisters, my third link is to a book about brothers. It’s The Lost Man by Jane Harper, set in an isolated part of Australia hundreds of miles from anywhere and revolving around the death of Cameron Bright. There are three Bright brothers – Nathan the oldest, then Cameron and the youngest brother, Bub. They have a vast cattle ranch in the Queensland outback. The book begins with the discovery of Cameron’s body lying at the the base of the headstone of the stockman’s grave – a headstone standing alone, a metre high, facing west, towards the desert, in a land of mirages.

My fourth link is to another book set in Australia – Sarah Thornhill by Kate Grenville, a love story set in 19th century Australia, where the convicts, transported or ‘sent out‘ are  now called ‘old colonists‘. A story about prejudice – some people, those who had ‘come free‘,  thought being ‘sent out‘ meant you were tainted for all time, but for others having money and land overcame their distaste. And then there is the prejudice about the ‘blacks’. When Sarah, the daughter of William Thornhill, an ‘old colonist’ and now a landowner on the Hawkesbury River, falls in love with Jack Langland, whose mother was a native woman, racial prejudice and hatred rear their ugly heads.

Prejudice and racial tension is also uppermost in The Tea Planter’s Wife by Dinah Jefferies, set in Ceylon (now called Sri Lanka) in 1913. It was a time of unrest, with political and racial tension between the Sinhalese and Tamil workers and the British plantation owners. After a whirlwind romance, Gwendolyn Hooper marries a tea planter, Laurence, an older man, and a widower. But this is not the idyllic life she expected – there are secrets, locked doors and a caste system and culture that is alien to her. There is a mystery, too, surrounding the death of Caroline, Laurence’s first wife.

And so to the last link, which is to another book about the death of a wife. It’s The Evidence Against You by Gillian McAllister – Gabe English has been released from prison on parole, having served seventeen years for the murder of his wife, Alexandra. But nobody really knew exactly what had happened the night Alexandra was killed – she simply went missing and then her body was found – she’d been strangled. Gabe’s daughter Izzy thought that her father could never have harmed anybody, let alone her mother. Now, he swears that he is innocent and wants to tell his side of it. He asks her to consider the evidence for herself. But is he really guilty – can she trust her father?

My chain is link by books about women, sisters and brothers, prejudice and racial tension, books set in Australia and about the deaths of wives. It passes from America to Great Britain,  and Sri Lanka, via books of crime fiction, historical fiction and non-fiction.

Next month (November 2, 2019), we’ll begin with Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – a book I have read and loved.

24 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation: from Three Women to …

  1. I am always impressed with the clever way you do these chains, Margaret. I’m very glad to see you included Kate Grenville here. I think her Thornhill novels (have you read The Secret Rever?) are excellent. And I like it that you took a very interesting virtual journey, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes – I think he came to mind because I’m reading a biography about Lawrence – it’s slow going and I’ve been reading it on and off for months!


  2. Not a D.H. Lawrence fan but your other books are all authors I have read or am planning to read. In fact, I think I bought The Tea Planter’s Wife for my mother (usually, I plan book gifts with enough time to read before wrapping but that must have been closer to the deadline!). The Evidence Against You has not reached my library system yet (I see just one town owns her books – maybe a fan who donated UK editions – and Everything but the Truth which seems to be her first is being “mended” – there’s something I rarely see when placing a hold!). Maybe I will try another. My sister and I love suspense/crime and are always eager to try a new author.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gillian McAllister has written several books – others I loved are Everything but the Truth and also No Further Questions. I hope you’ll be able to get hold of one of her books.


  3. A really thoughtful chain, Margaret, thank you! I enjoyed Grenville’s The Secret River so will take a look at ST. And I am a sucker for anything about tea, so the Jefferies looks very interesting too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Jefferies book is interesting, but I also thought much of it was predictable and in places a bit too sentimentally melodramatic for me. I much prefer Kate Grenville’s books.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. A very enjoyable chain! Ha! I’m amused that the start book about sex seems to have inspired a couple of people to link to DH Lawrence, espeically since I’ve just finished a re-read of Sons and Lovers. The man was undoubtedly a little obsessed with the subject… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve been wondering whether to re-read Sons and Lovers – how did it compare to when you first read it? As I remember it I enjoyed it much more than Women in Love. Reading his biography I can certainly agree with your last sentence – maybe go a little further and say he was more than a little obsessed …

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think it stands up pretty well, though my adult self wasn’t quite as blown away by it as my teen self was. I’m not sure it’s inspired me to re-read any of his other stuff…

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m still catching up from all the posts I missed while I was in Japan. This list is great – and I’ve even read two. Your started – I’ve no desire to read it made me laugh.


Comments are closed.