I'm still enjoying B. Cleverly's Sandilands series and hope she continues. Light reading but a damn good story.
From Booklist: Scotland Yard commander Joe Sandilands is finally going to take a vacation, escorting his niece to visit her father in the south of France. Of course, the British military authorities have other ideas, and Joe's trip becomes an inquiry to establish the identity of a shell-shocked veteran of World War I. The glamorous widow who owns a Champagne estate outside Reims is sure that the soldier is her missing husband, but four other people have claimed him as a family member, too. Sandilands must sort through the various motives to find out whether the soldier is British. In the process, he uncovers a well-concealed murder committed during the war. Cleverly continues to present fine historical mysteries with complex plots, well-developed characters, and colorful settings. Whether Sandilands is solving crimes in France, Raj-era India (The Damascened Blade, 2004) or jazz-age London (The Bee's Kiss, 2006), he is emerging as one of the most engaging heroes in the history-mystery genre.
Interesting because I'd never work as hard as she does and Prince Philip continues to make me laugh.
Book Description: What really happens when the most powerful man in the world invites the most famous woman in the world to dinner? What is life really like in the 650 rooms beyond the gates of Buckingham Palace? Who are the 50 people in the line of succession to the throne? What does a Lady-in-Waiting do? What do you actually say when it's your turn to meet royalty?
A Year with the Queen tells the story from the inside. No Monarch in history has travelled as far and met as many people as Queen Elizabeth II. And no book has revealed the workings of the Monarchy like this -- with members of the Royal Family and world leaders telling their own stories, too.
Like the brilliant television series it accompanies, A Year with the Queen shows the extraordinary world of the Monarch and her family -- from sacred constitutional talks with the Prime Minister to the razzmatazz of a stay at the White House and from a seaside stroll with the Prince of Wales to a weekend in Iraq with Prince Philip. Equally extraordinary is the work of the Royal Household team -- the man who carries the Crown around in a box, the team who counts out the medals, the chef who paints the chocolates, the in-house royal agony aunt....
The result is a book packed with fabulous photographs, important insights, wonderful anecdotes -- and plenty of advice, too. Ever wondered how to reply to a royal invitation? Or how to get one...?
A total and happy surprise seeing as this was a quick pick off the library shelf. Thoroughly enjoyed every page.
Quirky: adolescent angst meets metaphysics, screwball-comedy trysts with the underpinnings of reality. It's funny and tender; it's a chance to see Scarlett O'Hara and Emma Bovary off duty."
-- Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler's Wife ( I totally agree and refuse to spoil it with any more information )
Finished this one yesterday so technically it's my first 2008. Wonderful. Look for this one.
From Booklist*Starred Review* : Her granddaughter's wedding should be a time of happiness for Marina Buriakov. But the Russian emigre's descent into Alzheimer's has her and her family experiencing more anxiety than joy. As the details of her present-day life slip mysteriously away, Marina's recollections of her early years as a docent at the State Hermitage Museum become increasingly vivid. When Leningrad came under siege at the beginning of World War II, museum workers--whose families were provided shelter in the building's basement--stowed away countless treasures, leaving the painting's frames in place as a hopeful symbol of their ultimate return. Amid the chaos, Marina found solace in the creation of a "memory palace," in which she envisioned the brushstroke of every painting and each statue's line and curve. Gracefully shifting between the Soviet Union and the contemporary Pacific Northwest, first-time novelist Dean renders a poignant tale about the power of memory. Dean eloquently describes the works of Rembrandt, Rubens, and Raphael, but she is at her best illuminating aging Marina's precarious state of mind: "It is like disappearing for a few moments at a time, like a switch being turned off," she writes. "A short while later, the switch mysteriously flips again." Allison Block
And just to finish off with a movie list:
Vanity Fair .. Better than I had expected, a typical period piece
American Dreamz .. totally unknown to us but we laughed in more than one spot
Premonition .. not what I had expected from the reviews, better actually