More 104 in 2014

I too have been a little slack in writing reviews; I have however been quite busy reading

 Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I finally read a Jane Austen novel! As I said in another post, it wasn’t as if I had objections to reading Austen I just knew it would always be there to read. Surely that is the definition of a classic. There are hundreds of other books that won’t stand the test of time so I feel obliged to read some of them first.

I loved Pride and Prejudice, and I have to say that if someone had mentioned earlier how funny and clever it was I probably would have read it earlier. The characters are so well written. The shallowness of the Bennet sisters (except Elizabeth) and the awfulness of Lady Catherine are fabulous.

 

The Woman who wouldn’t die (Dr Siri Paiboun) by Colin Cotterill

The Dr Siri Paiboun mysteries are an interesting series. This is the 9th book in the series, you don’t have to read them in order, they do stand alone. Set in Laos in the late 70s, just after the revolution, the Communists are running the country and Dr Siri, retired coroner, detective and party member is doing his best to be subversive!

In a small Lao village, a very strange thing has happened. A woman was shot and killed in her bed during a burglary; she was given a funeral and everyone in the village saw her body burned. Then, three days later, she was back in her house as if she’d never been dead at all. But now she’s clairvoyant, and can speak to the dead. Dr Siri, who also sees ghosts, but can’t yet talk to them, is determined to make sense of the strange events.

The combination of Lao beliefs and culture, and the history of the resistance against the French and Russian presence in the country are blended into the novel beautifully. This is another of those books that I wish I had read before going to Laos.

 

 The Reef by Nora Roberts

People rave about Nora Roberts. I had never read anything of hers, mainly because the story lines have never appealed but I thought I would give it a go. I have to say I did not enjoy it. The premise is good. Marine archaeologist Tate Beaumont and her parents have a passion for treasure-hunting. Over the years they have dived many wrecks in the Caribbean and uncovered many fabulous riches, but one treasure has always eluded them: Angelique’s Curse—a jewelled amulet heavy with history, dark with legend, and tainted with blood. In order to find this precious artefact, the Beaumonts reluctantly form a partnership with salvagers Buck and Matthew Lassiter. Added to the this is a very evil character Silus Van Dyck who wants the treasure more than anyone else and will do anything in his power (and he has a lot) to get his hands on it. Roberts description of treasure hunting, archaeology and underwater scenes are excellent.

For me the failure of the book was the romance. It made no sense to me that Tate would fall in love with Matthew. He stood for everything she was opposed to, she had good values and ethics and he had none. He was happy to sell the treasures for money, she was appalled at such greed. It just didn’t ring true.