Monday, 12 September 2011

Some Light Summer Reading

I’ve been working quite hard recently, have Italian exams looming and so not had much time for books that need a lot of concentration.  So I’ve been enjoying a bit of frivolous reading.
I read about Dee Weaver’s novel ‘The Winter House’ on the Strictly Writing blog and was intrigued enough to download a sample and then buy the book at the generous price of £2.14.

Dee is one of a new breed of Indie authors by-passing the publishers and going straight onto Kindle and other E-book platforms.   The Winter House is a gothic romance with elements of the supernatural and the pagan.  Dee is a pagan herself and knows the world of alternative relation well.  While not a believer in religion of any kind, re-incarnation, or the supernatural, Dee made me suspend my disbelief for the duration of the story.  It brought back the rather guilty pleasure I used to feel reading my mother’s Victoria Holt novels  - but Dee’s are very, very, much better written and the comparison should probably be with the Mysteries of Udolpho, Castle of Utranto, Northanger Abbey and others in that genre.   I notice from my trawls around the book world that novels with elements of the paranormal are coming back into fashion again.

The plot is quite complicated, involving a haunting and a state of possession, but begins when two people glimpse a house through the bare winter trees and become determined to own it.  Both are convinced that they have been there before, and then .......  very strange things begin to happen.

The Glassblower of Murano,  (a much pricier £4.67 on Kindle) by best selling author Marina Fiorato, was recommended by DoveGreyReader, so I approached it with great anticipation.  It had all the ingredients I like - a 17th century Venetian story of mystery and suspense involving a famous glass blower called Corradino Manin, and his beautiful 21st century female descendent  who goes from England to Venice in search of a new life.  The novel weaves back and forth between the two stories and quickly lost my interest.  I found the structure a bit clunky and the writing less than satisfying.  There was a distinct absence of rich historical texture and an unwillingness to go deeper into the issues and ideas the subject matter raised (unlike the Venetian novels of Michelle Lovric for instance).   The plot was just a bit too much Mills and Boon for me (another blog reviewer has described it as historical chicklit!) and the writing nowhere near as good as Dee Weaver’s.    Mainstream publishing really lost out here against the Indie E-book and I won’t be buying any of Marina’s other books.    Apparently she secured a £250,000 advance for her Venetian series, so my small abstention won't make any difference to her at all!


  1. She is a terrific writer, I love her imagination and her ideas.

  2. I am currently reading The Winter House and finding it a very good read.