Friday, January 29, 2021

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot


I've been a big fan of British/PBS television series for years, but somehow, I missed watching All Creatures Great and Small. I guess I was the wrong demographic when the original series came out in the 1980s -- it was something my grandparents watched, and definitely Not Cool Enough. I've shelved the series of memoirs at the library often enough to know them by sight, and I'm quite sure I'd have never got round to reading or watching it until the new series reboot started a couple of weeks ago. 

But I'm always looking for good audio books for my daily walks and I was able to download the first in the series a couple of weeks ago. If you're not familiar, it's the memoirs of a young country veterinarian in Yorkshire as he navigates his way in his first job as an assistant vet in a rural practice in the 1930s. Young James Herriot (the pseudonym of James Alfred Wight) is newly qualified and desperate for a job. He had always planned on working with small animals, but James jumps at the chance to work for the dashing yet slightly eccentric Sigfreid Farnon, who has recently purchased a practice in Yorkshire. 



The book is a series of short chapters, each detailing amusing, poignant, and sometimes sad stories of his work in his first year as a veterinarian, treating cows, horses, various livestock, and sometimes pets. The reader is introduced to some colorful local Yorkshire characters, farmers and gentry, including Mrs. Pumphrey and her spoiled but loveable Pekingese, Tricki-Woo; and also some possible love interests, including the beautiful Helen Alderson. 

The audiobook is beautifully narrated by Christopher Timothy, and I didn't realize until I was nearly finished that he played James Herriot in the original series! He does a great job with the accents different voices, and I liked it so much I listened to the entire book on audio instead of rushing through it and reading the print volume which I got from the library as a backup. I often have a print or e-book copy of an audio and alternate. Often, I get really caught up in a story and wind up reading the print copy instead of taking the time to finish the audio. But I liked the audio so much I forced myself to be patient and listen. I was a little surprised that he didn't use a Scottish accent for Herriot but maybe that was too much for an entire audio? In the new series Herriot is definitely using a Scottish accent, but it makes sense as the actor is in fact from the Highlands. 


Nicholas Ralph as James Herriot, with an adoring co-star.


And about the new series. . . well, it's beautifully filmed and I love seeing all the animals, but I already have some quibbles since I'd read most of the book before I started watching. We've only had three episodes air here in the U.S. but I'm already annoyed with some of the changes they've made, both with the plot and the characters. I'm sure I'll watch all eight episodes, but I'm already hoping that the original series didn't make as many changes. I did love the book and am already on the library waitlist for the next in the series. It's perfect reading for difficult times and I suspect I may finish all the books in the next few months.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Private Lives by Noel Coward

I've been really trying to read more plays the last couple of years, for several reasons. First, because I've really gotten into theater; because I realized it's a whole genre of writing that I've largely ignored; and finally, because they're really quick reads (every year I set a goal of 100 books to read and I'll admit I have read plays in December so I can make my quota -- silly, I know, but I can't help myself). 

I'm also always looking for things to listen to while walking, and while browsing the library's Overdrive catalog, I saw that there were some Noel Coward plays with full-cast recordings. In December I listened to a recording of Coward's Blithe Spirit, which I loved but never got around to reviewing. I also found Private Lives, a short play which is one of his most popular, so I was happy to find it. I listened to the entire thing in the course of a day, over two walks, as it's just over an hour long. 

Basically, it's the story of two British couples: Elyot and Sibyl, and Victor and Amanda. We first meet Ellyot and Sibyl, a couple on their honeymoon in a resort in Deauville, on the coast of France. They've just arrived and Sibyl somehow brings up the subject of Elyot's previous marriage to Amanda. Little do they know that Amanda has also just remarried, to Victor. . . and they're also honeymooning. . . in Deauville. In the same hotel. In fact, Amanda and Victor are in the next suite, and they share a balcony. To their mutual horror, Ellyot and Amanda encounter one another, and, aghast, try to convince their respective new spouses to leave the hotel and honeymoon in Paris instead -- without admitting that their exes are in the next room. Basically, it's a bedroom farce and naturally all goes wrong, setting up comedic events in which the couples have to decide whether or not they're better off married -- and to whom.

This sounds like the setup for a fun and rollicking farce, and in parts, it is. However, I wasn't prepared for the fact that there's a history of domestic violence in the relationship between Amanda and Elyot -- and it occurs again, and it seems like it's played for laughs. (There's also a lot of bickering and shouting that also would have made me really uncomfortable, even without the domestic violence). The play was originally written in 1930, and hopefully, domestic violence is taken much more seriously now. I don't know if Private Lives is still performed regularly and how it's addressed. I know there's a film version from 1931, and there's a recorded version from the West End, but I haven't watched either of them. I may have to try them and reserve judgment. Parts of the play are very witty and some of the characters get in some real zingers when they're arguing, but mostly it made me really uncomfortable. But I did love Blithe Spirit so I'm not going to give up on Noel Coward just yet. 

I'm counting this as my Classic Play for the Back to the Classics Challenge.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Fraulein Schmidt and Mr. Anstruther by Elizabeth von Arnim

 Love this cover image, The Letter by Mary Cassatt (1890). 

Another book that's been on my radar forever. I love Elizabeth von Arnim and I've been saving this one for awhile -- I read two by von Arnim last year (Father and In the Mountains) and though I still own several unread, I'm trying to ration them out -- I know I'll be sad when I've completed them all.

Anyway. Published in 1907, Fraulein Schmidt and Mr. Anstruther is a departure for von Arnim -- it's an epistolary novel, told in letters spanning a little more than a year, from a young woman in Germany (the eponymous Rose-Marie Schmidt) to her sometime lover, Mr. Roger Anstruther. Roger, a young Englishman of 25, has spent the past year boarding with Fraulein Schmidt, her step-mother, and her father in the small town of Jena in eastern Germany. Herr Schmidt is a professor and makes very little money writing books that no one reads, so the family takes in English students for extra cash. Rose-Marie also has a small legacy from her mother, who died ten years ago. At 25 (the same age as Roger) she is considered a spinster. 

Nice period-appropriate image on this German edition

The first letter is sent from Rose-Marie to Roger shortly after he departs Germany, and reveals that on his last day, he has professed his love to Rose-Marie, and they are secretly betrothed -- secretly, because his father will never approve. Roger is from a Good English Family who have a long history, but little money. Rose-Marie is considered middle-class and therefore Not Good Enough, though her late mother was English. Roger is entering the Foreign Service and is therefore destined to marry someone with money, and preferably someone whose social standing will help advance his career. 

After a few months, [MILD SPOILER ALERT] Roger breaks off the engagement because, as predicted, he needs to marry someone with money. He then becomes betrothed to the perfect girl, but continues to write as a friend to Rose-Marie. The letters become more formal but it's pretty clear that they still care for one another -- but how much? Does Rose-Marie still love him? Can she forgive him, or has she moved on? Does he even deserve her? 

This cover art is from an 1883 painting by Renoir -- too early, but I get why they chose it. 

I liked this book but it wasn't what I expected; first of all, the letters are one-sided -- the reader only gets Rose-Marie's letters to Roger, not the other way around. There are 83 letters, some very long, some very short, so there are no chapter breaks, and some of the letters are just solid blocks of text which are a little difficult to read. However, I loved the character of Rose-Marie and I particularly enjoyed learning about her life in Germany. I could easily picture the little town of Jena, which is a real place about halfway between Frankfurt and Dresden, not far from the border of Czechia. It's about a four-hour drive from my village in the Rhineland, and I'm sorry I didn't read the book sooner so I could have made a weekend trip to visit the area and get a real look at it. 

Rose-Marie is a great character and you really get to know her through her letters. She's very smart and funny and has to put up with a lot, with her absent-minded father and her overbearing stepmother, not to mention all the village biddies who make cracks about her unmarried state. Parts of the book do veer into the philosophical which made my eyes glaze over a bit (lots of love for Goethe, not my favorite writer!) but I did get caught up in the plot and I was really rooting for Rose-Marie. I particularly loved this passage in which she describes how much reading means to her: 

Try to imagine yourself in my place. Come out of that gay world of yours where you are talking or being talked to all day long, and suppose yourself Rose-Marie Schmidt, alone in Jena, on a hill, with books. Suppose yourself for hours and hours every day of your life with nothing particular that you must do, that you have no shooting, no hunting, no newspapers, no novels. . . . Think of what writers are to me. . . . 

My one complaint is that it ends very abruptly, and the reader doesn't really learn what happens to Rose-Marie. I was rather gobsmacked about the ending -- I really wanted more resolution! However, I did really enjoy this book. I still have four unread books by Elizabeth von Arnim on my shelves and will probably read at least one more of her books this year, probably The Caravaners, which I'm planning to read (finally!) as my Travel or Journey Classic for the Back to the Classics Challenge.

I'm counting this as my German book for the European Reading Challenge

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

The New Magdalen by Wilkie Collins


On January 1 I dove right into Back to the Classics Challenge with a new-to-me Victorian sensation novel, The New Magdalen by Wilkie Collins. Despite being a Collins fan I hadn't heard of it until it was recently reprinted by Persephone Books which immediately placed it on my reading radar.

One of Collins' shorter novels, it's the story of Mercy Merrick, an otherwise saintly and perfect Victorian lady who through no fault of her own, has a checkered past -- she was once forced to work as a prostitute. Having since left prostitution through a women's Refuge, she's now working as a nurse in France. The story begins in a small cottage where she is nursing French soldiers, under attack from the advancing German army (the book was published in 1873 so this must be the Franco-Prussian War). There is another woman in the house, Grace Roseberry. a lady by birth but in reduced circumstances. Grace had been in Rome with her father, who traveled from Canada for his health, but ended up dying there. Grace had been en route to England, for a job as a lady's companion, when she was caught up in the war and trapped on the frontier. She has nothing but her papers, and even the clothes on her back belong to Mercy Merrick, as her own dress is drying by the fire in the next room.


One of Collins' shorter novels, it's the story of Mercy Merrick, an otherwise saintly and perfect Victorian lady who through no fault of her own, has a checkered past -- she was once forced to work as a prostitute. Having since left prostitution through a women's Refuge, she's now working as a nurse in France. The story begins in a small cottage where she is nursing French soldiers, under attack from the advancing German army (the book was published in 1873 so this must be the Franco-Prussian War). There is another woman in the house, Grace Roseberry. a lady by birth but in reduced circumstances. Grace had been in Rome with her father, who traveled from Canada for his health, but ended up dying there. Grace had been en route to England, for a job as a lady's companion, when she was caught up in the war and trapped on the frontier. She has nothing but her papers, and even the clothes on her back belong to Mercy Merrick, as her own dress is drying by the fire in the next room.

Also adapted as a silent film in 1912! 

To pass the time while the women fear the advancing German army, Mercy tells Grace of her own sad history as a fallen woman. Then the unthinkable happens -- a shell hits the cottage, and Grace is killed. Mercy is evacuated with an English journalist, and on a sudden impulse, she grabs Grace's dress and all her papers, and assumes her identity. She sees this as a final chance for a better life, and Grace is beyond help, so no harm done there. 

Fast-forward several months, back in England. Grace is ensconced as the beloved companion of the steely but kind Lady Janet Roy, a wealthy and childless woman, and engaged to Horace Holmcroft, the journalist who -- coincidentally! -- is the son of one of Lady Janet's oldest friends. Horace has naturally fallen in love with the beautiful and perfect Grace, and his connection to Lady Janet is but the first of several amazing coincidences. Although Grace has had several idyllic months as Lady Janet's companion -- practically her adopted daughter -- her world will soon be turned upside down when her identity is called into question, and the truth of her sad and checkered past comes to light. 

 

I enjoyed this novel. It's a pretty standard Victorian sensation, with amazing coincidences, intrigue, swooning, scandals -- the usual. What's different about this one is the fairly serious subject matter of prostitution and forgiveness. Wilkie Collins points out the hypocrisy of the upper classes who are all talk and no action when it comes to Christian values. He does go over the top with the character of Merry who has literally no faults -- except for the prostitution, which literally is not her fault, as she explains in great detail. Collins also points out how few choices there were for Victorian women, particularly poor women. 

I did find the plot a little predictable and it was a little one-note -- it's only about 400 pages, short for a Victorian, so there's no room for sub-plots. It also seemed to have an abrupt finish, but there's an epilogue which explains what ultimately happens to Mercy, in the form of letters which are actually rather amusing. This would definitely be a good introduction to anyone interested in Victorian sensation novels who is put off by some of the triple-decker doorstoppers like The Woman in White or Man and Wife

I'm counting this as my New Classic by a Favorite Author Category for the Back to the Classics Challenge; and as my British selection for the European Reading Challenge

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Challenge Link-Up Post: Classic Play

Please link your reviews for the Classic Play here. This is only for the Classic Play category. This includes any play that was written or performed at least 50 years ago, and should be a work that was originally created for the stage (not a book adaptation).  Plays are eligible in this category only.

If you do not have a blog, or somewhere public on the internet where you post book reviews, please write your mini-review/thoughts in the comments section. If you like, you can include the name of your blog and or/the title of the book in your link, like this: "Karen K. @ Books and Chocolate (The Importance of Being Earnest)."

Challenge Link-Up Post: Travel or Adventure Classic

 

Please link your reviews for your Classic Travel or Adventure Classic here.  This is only for the Classic Travel or Adventure Classic category. This can be fiction or non-fiction, but the journey itself must be the major plot point -- not just the destination.   If you do not have a blog, or somewhere public on the internet where you post book reviews, please write your mini-review/thoughts in the comments section.  If you like, you can include the name of your blog and/or the title of the book in your link, like this: "Karen K. @ Books and Chocolate (The Time Machine)." 

Challenge Link-Up Post: Classic Humor or Satire

 

Please link your reviews for your Classic Humor or Satire here.  This is only for the Classic Humor or Satire category. This can be any novel that is humorous or satirical; since humor is subjective, it's up to the reader to decide. If you think Crime and Punishment is funny, go ahead and use it, but please explain why in your post.

If you do not have a blog, or somewhere public on the internet where you post book reviews, please write your mini-review/thoughts in the comments section.  If you like, you can include the name of your blog and/or the title of the book in your link, like this: "Karen K. @ Books and Chocolate (Three Men in a Boat)." 

Challenge Link-Up Post: Children's Classic



Please link your reviews for your Children's Classic here.  This is only for the Children's Classic category. Picture books do not count! If you do not have a blog, or somewhere public on the internet where you post book reviews, please write your mini-review/thoughts in the comments section.  If you like, you can include the name of your blog and/or the title of the book in your link, like this: "Karen K. @ Books and Chocolate (The Wizard of Oz)."
 

Challenge Link-Up Post: Classic About an Animal

 

Please link your reviews for your Classic About an Animal or With an Animal in the Title here.  This is only for the Classic About an Animal or Animal in the Title category.  The animal can be real, imaginary, or metaphorical. If the animal is not obvious, please clarify in your post. 

If you do not have a blog, or somewhere public on the internet where you post book reviews, please write your mini-review/thoughts in the comments section.  If you like, you can include the name of your blog and/or the title of the book in your link, like this: "Karen K. @ Books and Chocolate (The Hound of the Baskervilles)."

Challenge Link-Up Post: New Classic by a Favorite Author

Please link your reviews for your New Classic by a Favorite Author here.  This is only for the New Classic By A Favorite Author category.  This should be a classic that you haven't read before, written by one of your favorite authors. 

If you do not have a blog, or somewhere public on the internet where you post book reviews, please write your mini-review/thoughts in the comments section.  If you like, you can include the name of your blog and/or the title of the book in your link, like this: "Karen K. @ Books and Chocolate (Carry On, Jeeves)."

Challenge Link-Up Post: Classic by a New-to-You Author


Please link your reviews for your Classic By An Author That's New To You here.  This is only for the Classic By An Author That's New To You category.  This should be a classic by an author you've never read before (it doesn't necessarily have to be an author you'd never heard of.) 

If you do not have a blog, or somewhere public on the internet where you post book reviews, please write your mini-review/thoughts in the comments section.  If you like, you can include the name of your blog and/or the title of the book in your link, like this: "Karen K. @ Books and Chocolate (Crime and Punishment)."

Challenge Link-Up Post: Classic by a BIPOC Author

Please link your reviews for your Classic By a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and Person of Color) Author here.  This is only for the Classic By a BIPOC Author category.  These should all be classic books that were written by an authors who are not white; i.e., Black, Native American, Asian, Latinx, etc. The classic can be written in your native language or in translation.  

If you do not have a blog, or somewhere public on the internet where you post book reviews, please write your mini-review/thoughts in the comments section.  If you like, you can include the name of your blog and/or the title of the book in your link, like this: "Karen K. @ Books and Chocolate (The Bluest Eye)."


Challenge Link-Up Post: Classic in Translation


Please link your reviews for your Classic in Translation here.  This is only for the Classic in Translation category.  These should all be classics that were originally written in a language other than your primary language; that is, if you are a native English speaker, it should be a classic written in another language other than English.  If you are not a native English speaker, it could be in English (or any other language, other than your primary language). If you want to read the book in its original language, that's fine too!


If you do not have a blog, or somewhere public on the internet where you post book reviews, please write your mini-review/thoughts in the comments section.  If you like, you can include the name of your blog and/or the title of the book in your link, like this: "Karen K. @ Books and Chocolate (One Hundred Years of Solitude)."


Challenge Link-Up Post: 20th Century Classic


Please link your reviews for your 20th Century Classic here.  This is only for the 20th Century Classic category.  All books in this category must have been published between 1900 and 1971 to qualify as classics (except for posthumous publications.  If you do not have a blog, or somewhere public on the internet where you post book reviews, please write your mini-review/thoughts in the comments section.  If you like, you can include the name of your blog and/or the title of the book in your link, like this: "Karen K. @ Books and Chocolate (The Grapes of Wrath)."


Challenge Link-Up Post: 19th Century Classic



Please link your reviews for your 19th Century Classic here.  This is only for the 19th Century Classic category.  All books in this category must have been published from 1800 to 1899.   If you do not have a blog, or somewhere public on the internet where you post book reviews, please write your mini-review/thoughts in the comments section.  If you like, you can include the name of your blog and/or the title of the book in your link, like this: "Karen K. @ Books and Chocolate (Bleak House)."


Thursday, January 7, 2021

Two More Reading Challenges: WWII Reading Challenge and Chunkster Challenge

Two more great challenges for 2021! I'd love to read one per month from each of these lists  which are books from my own TBR shelves. And of course some of them cross over and count for other challenges including my own Back to the Classics Challenge -- a win-win!

World War II Reading Challenge. Hosted by Becky's Book Reviews, it includes fiction and non-fiction, and basically includes any books written about or during the WWII era -- the war itself, leading up to the war, and the direct aftermath. Lots of choices from my TBR shelves! I don't have a lot of historical fiction but I definitely have quite a few books published during the era, and several nonfiction books I've been meaning to read. 

Non-Fiction:
Our Hidden Lives by Simon Garfield
Long Live Great Bardfield by Tirzah Garwood
A Good Place to Hide by Peter Grose
Maman, What Are We Called Now? by Jacqueline Mesnil-Amar
Millions Like Us by Virginia Nicholson
Fashion on the Ration by Julie Summers
Our Uninvited Guests by Julie Summers

Fiction:
A House in the Country by Ruth Adam
A Footman For the Peacock by Rachel Ferguson
The Bachelor by Stella Gibbon
Westwood by Stella Gibbon
Chloe Marr by A. A. Milne
The Chequer Board by Nevil Shute
Ordeal by Nevil Shute (UK title: What Happened to the Corbetts)
The Foolish Gentlewoman by Margery Sharp
Growing Up by Angela Thirkell
The Headmistress by Angela Thirkell
Marling Hall by Angela Thirkell
Miss Bunting by Angela Thirkell
Peace Breaks Out by Angela Thirkell
Love Among the Ruins by Angela Thirkell

Chunkster Challenge 2021. Hosted by Impressions in Ink, it's any book more than 450 pages. I still have my unfinished list from the Big Book Summer Challenge, and if I can read one from this list every month, it would cut my stack nearly in half.
Here's what's left. Some of them could count for other challenges, as noted. 

Nonfiction:
Our Hidden Lives: The Remarkable Diaries of Postwar Britain by Simon Garfield (544 pp)  (WWII Challenge)
Long Live Great Bardfield by Tirzah Garwood (495 pp) (WWII Challenge)
Trollope by Victoria Glendinning (551 pp)
Slipstream: A Memoir by Elizabeth Jane Howard (528 pp)
A London Family, 1870-1900 by Molly Hughes (600 pp)
Edith Wharton by Hermione Lee (869 pp)
Decca: The Letters of Jessica Mitford (744 pp)
Charles Dickens by Michael Slater (696 pp)

Novels: 
T. Tembarom by Frances Hodgson Burnett (518 pp)
The Complete Claudine by Collette (656 pp) (European Reading Challenge)
Painting the Darkness by Robert Goddard (608 pp)
Green Dolphin Street by Elizabeth Goudge (571 pp) (Also counts for Back to the Classics)
Bella Poldark by Winston Graham (688 pp) 
Penmarric by Susan Howatch (735 pp)
The Little Ottleys by Ada Leverson (543 pp)
The Macdermots of Ballycloran by Anthony Trollope (731 pp) (Classics Club)
Ralph the Heir by Anthony Trollope (770 pp) (Classics Club)
Marcella by Mrs. Humphrey Ward (560 pp) (Back to the Classics)
Hudson River Bracketed by Edith Wharton (547 pp) (Classics Club)
La Debacle by Emile Zola (536 pp) (Back to the Classics, European Reading Challenge)

Short Stories:
The Canterbury Tales retold by Peter Ackroyd (464 pp) (Back to the Classics)
Sketches by Boz by Charles Dickens (635 pp) (Back to the Classics)
The World Over: The Collected Stories of W. Somerset Maugham, Vol. II (681 pp)
The Portable Dorothy Parker (626 pp) (Classics Club, Back to the Classics)
The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter (495 pp)
The Complete Stories of Evelyn Waugh (640 pp)
The Collected Stories of Edith Wharton (640 pp)
The Most of P. G. Wodehouse (701 pp)
The Collected Stories of Stephan Zweig (720 pp) (European Reading Challenge)

WWII/Postwar Era Fiction
Mr. Skeffington by Elizabeth von Arnim
Tea is So Intoxicating by Mary Essex
Green Dolphin Street by Elizabeth Goudge 
English Climate: Wartime Stories by Sylvia Townsend Warner



Sketches by Boz by Charles Dickens (680 pp)

So, quite a few choices! I could even try to read separate books for each challenge, without crossing over -- which would be another 24 books from the TBR shelves completed! Bloggers, which do you recommend from these lists? 

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Back to the Classics 2020: The Winner



And the winner is. . . . 



Reese won a $40 gift card from Amazon.com! (I know it was posted as $30, but let's be honest, 2020 was a rough year and we all need a little more joy, right? Plus, inflation). So, congratulations, Reese! And many thanks and congratulations to everyone who participated in this challenge -- 83 people signed up, and 34 people completed the challenge. 

We're all winners because we got to share the joy of books and each one of us crossed some classic books off our to-read lists!. I hope everyone enjoyed all the new books and authors they discovered. Also, I hope all everyone has signed up for the 2021 Back to the Classics Challenge, I can't wait to see what everyone else is reading! 

Later this week I'll add the link-up posts so you can add your reviews and see what everyone else is reading. Thanks again to everyone for participating. I hope everyone is having a good new year with lots of wonderful books to read. 

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Challenge Link-Up Post: Classic by a Woman Author



Please link your reviews for your 
Classic by a Woman Author here.  This is only for the Classic by a Woman Author category.  If you do not have a blog, or somewhere public on the internet where you post book reviews, please write your mini-review/thoughts in the comments section. If you like, you can include the name of your blog and/or the title of the book in your link, like this: "Karen K. @ Books and Chocolate (Wives and Daughters)."


European Reading Challenge 2020: Completed!



Another challenge finished! I was hoping to make it to twelve countries, but I was never able to get past page 19 of my Russian book selection -- might have to keep it for 2021. But I visited eleven different countries for this challenge, and finished six books from my own shelves. Here's what I read, with links: 

Austria: The Exiles Return by Elisabeth de Waal
Belgium: The Professor by Charlotte Bronte
France: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Georgia: The Eighth Life by Nino Haratischvili
Germany: The Dancing Bear by Frances Faviell
Hungary: Temptation by Janos Szekely
Italy: Madame Solario by Gladys Huntington
Spain: Every Eye by Isobel English 
Switzerland: In the Mountains by Elizabeth von Arnim
UK: Crossriggs by Jane & Mary Findlater
Ukraine: The Misunderstanding by Irene Nemirovsky

I loved nearly all the books I read for this challenge, but if I had to choose favorites, I'd have to pick Temptation, Every Eye, and Crossriggs, with In the Mountains as an Honorable Mention. And The Eighth Life! (didn't I say it was a great year? Tough to choose!).  I'm definitely going to revisit some of my favorite countries in 2021 and hopefully some new ones as well -- in literature, since I can't go in person. 

Thanks again to Rose City Reader for hosting this challenge! I'm looking forward to my 2021 list.