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July & August Reads, PART 1

I've had my head buried in writing and swimming and family time, but my combined August and July reading is interesting. 12 books in all, less than normal. One was a huge tome, taking me almost three weeks, when I usually read two books a week. What can I say, I'm now a huge fan of Sharon Kay Penman, and am just glad I learned of her, even posthumously. She was honored during June's amazing HNS North American online conference, and the tributes brought me to tears. I had to know this writer!

That book was WHEN CHRIST AND HIS SAINTS SLEPT, and begins during the Stephen and Maude wars after the White Ship sinking creates a succession crisis for Henry I. Living in Texas, it seemed pretty fitting to read of a lifetime of war, simply because Englishmen wouldn't get behind the appointed female heir.

But, let's start at the beginning.

Rhys Bowen's THE VENICE SKETCHBOOK was an interesting new venue in the WWII offerings: Venice. A stretch for plausibility, it was still great reading.

Next, THE HEIRESS: The Revelations of Anne de Bourgh, by Molly Greeley is a highly sensuous and gorgeously written book on the character who USED to be the least interesting sidekick in Pride and Prejudice. My prediction is that this book will have long staying power.

I've already blogged on THE PERSONAL LIBRARIAN, by Marie Benedict AND Victoria Christopher Murray. For those who loved THE VANISHING HALF, TPL tells the amazing story of the personal librarian for a bigoted JP Morgan. She was Black and passed for white her entire life. This book has staying power and is in a subgenre that I predict is here to stay. Be prepared to be inspired and slayed, at the same time.

Next I read IN THE ARENA: A Memoir of Love, War, and Politics, by Chuck Robb. Some fascinating new inside information here about being married to Lynda Robb Johnson and serving in Vietnam while his FIL (LBJ) was in the White House. The latter part dealing with accusations of infidelity will put off many, but it's still a worthwhile addition to students of Vietnam history, as well as to the Democratic party in general.

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