It’s time again for 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.
The starting book this month is The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. I have a copy of this book but haven’t read it yet. So all I know is that it is set in Alaska in the 1920s where a childless couple build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone–but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees.
It was a nominee for the Goodreads Choice Award in the Best Historical Fiction category in 2012. My First link is to the winner of that Award, which was The Light Between Oceans by M L Stedman. It’s set on a lighthouse keeper’s island, where the Indian Ocean washes into the Great Southern Ocean in the 1920s. A boat washes up on the shore of the island. It holds a dead man – and a crying baby. The only two islanders, Tom and his wife Izzy, are about to make a devastating decision.
My Second Link is a book with a similar title, both books containing the word ‘between‘, The House Between Tides by Sarah Maine. I confuse the two. It is set in the Outer Hebrides, on a crumbling estate with a century-old secret, historical fiction set in 2010 and in 1910, described as ‘An echo of Daphne du Maurier‘. One of the characters is called Hetty,
My Third Link also contains a character called Hetty. In Adam Bede by George Eliot Adam, a hard working young man, a carpenter, with a strong sense of right and wrong, strong and intelligent, is in love with Hetty Sorrel. But she is attracted by the seductive charm of Arthur, the local squire’s son. They begin to meet in secret, with tragic consequences.
George Eliot is the pseudonym of Mary Anne Evans and my Fourth Link is another novel written under a pseudonym. It’s The Chalk Circle Man, the first book in the Commissaire Adamsberg novels by Fred Vargas, the pseudonym of the French historian, archaeologist and writer Frédérique Audoin-Rouzeauin. It’s a very cleverly constructed and quirky mystery with a twist at the end. Strange blue chalk circles start appearing on the pavements of Paris and then the body of a woman with her throat savagely cut is found in one of them.
Thinking about other books set in Paris brings me to Georges Simenon’s Maigret books. So my Fifth Link is a short story – A Maigret Christmas – set in Paris on Christmas Day in which Maigret and his wife receive two unexpected visitors who lead him on the trail of a mysterious intruder dressed in red and white. I liked the light it throws on Maigret and his wife, their relationship and the sadness they feel at being childless, particularly so at Christmas.
My Sixth Link – is Crime at Lark Cottage by John Bingham a short story in The Christmas Card Crime and Other Stories. One snowy Christmas car trouble and poor weather lead John Bradley to Lark Cottage, the home of Lucy Shaw and her young daughter Julia. Her husband, serving a life-sentence for murder, has escaped from Lanforth Prison, and she implores her unexpected visitor to stay the night.
My chain this month starts with a snow child in Alaska and ends with another child in a country cottage one snowy Christmas, travelling through an island in the Great Southern Ocean, to the Outer Hebrides and France before ending in England.
Next month (7, Janusry 2022), we’ll start with Beach Read by Emily Henry.