I haven’t written about books for ages on here, I have however been reading loads recently as well as listening to lots of books on Audible. I thought I’d do one big round-up of everything I’ve read recently rather than try to review them all.

The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro:

I read this one a few weeks ago and got through it really quickly. It’s set in the 1950s. The main character Grace is bored and unhappy in her marriage. She is called unexpectedly to Paris where she has been left some money by a complete stranger. Rather than just accept the money she feels the need to discover more about the mysterious benefactor. Her search leads her on a journey through Paris to a shut up Perfume shop.

Alongside Grace’s story we learn about the life of Eva starting in 1920s New York.

This was a brilliant read and I couldn’t put it down. It is at time really sad, but also a really enjoyable book. Eva’s story is particularly interesting. It’s not a very light read but it’s so well written that I would definitely recommend it.

Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan:

I am a huge Jenny Colgan fan and always look forward to her new books coming out. They seem to get better every time. This lovely offering is my favourite to date.

When Polly breaks up with her boyfriend and is left bankrupt after the failure of his business, she has to start again. The only home she can afford to live in is on a little island, only accessible to the mainland during low tide. She must adjust to her new life and the locals. She also has a huge love of baking and this brings her friends and enemies and ultimately a job she loves.

The book is an absolute treat and my favourite Colgan novel yet. I laughed and cried and developed a love of puffins and if you like girlie books then this is an absolute must read.

The Vintage Girl by Hester Browne: 

I was drawn to the title of this after spotting it in Tesco. It’s actually quite an odd choice of title and cover as the book isn’t specifically about vintage fashion, but it turned out to be the perfect read for me.

The book is about Evie who works in a London antique shop and can’t help buying every interesting item she sees, much to her bosses annoyance. She has a home full of little treasures and things she picked up because she likes to imagine the story behind them. She is sent to a castle in Scotland to value the antiques that are hiding away throughout the house. While searching the attics and and back rooms she discovers the story behind the house and it’s contents as well as befriending the owners. There’s also a charming little love interest or two thrown in for good measure.

I loved this book as it’s totally my sort of thing, I love old houses and antiques and the book was really well written with a great mix of humour romance and a little bit of mystery. If you fancy a well written dose of chick-lit then this is a great book to try.

The Debutante by Kathleen Tessaro:

I read this one right after I finished The Vintage Girl and was struck by the similarities, this book again is about the sale of goods from an old stately home. Kate the main character, has left her past in New York behind to work for her aunt. She is sent to a country house along with potential love interest Jack to sort through the contents. While there she discovers a shoebox containing letters between two wealthy sisters who were debutantes in the 1920s.

The book tells Kate’s story with the story of the Blythe sisters told through their letters alongside. The story really is a fascinating one and is concluded brilliantly.

I really enjoyed this book too, the characters were fascinating and the story had a great pace. I was really happy with the way the book ended and the unexpected twist and turns throughout.

Longbourn by Jo Baker:

I am a massive Pride and Prejudice fan, so much so that I listen to the audio book every night to get me off to sleep. So I’m always really apprehensive to read any sequels or adaptations of the story, (Death Comes to Pemberley I’m talking to you).

Longbourn is basically Pride and Prejudice told through the lives of the servants. This was clearly a well thought out, well researched book. It really made me think differently about Jane Austen’s characters and the Regency period itself which I have read so much about. And for that reason I loved the book, and felt that I learned a lot from it. However there were points where I didn’t enjoy the story line and felt the pace slowed down a little too much in the last third of the book.

One thing I really liked, was the different perspective on the characters of Mr and Mrs Bennet, and for me this was reason enough to read the book.

I’d recommend this if you’re an Austen fan or interested in that historical period as it was really interesting seeing it all from another angle.

Excellent Women by Barbara Pym: 

I love Barbara Pym’s books, which were mostly written in the 1950s. They manage to tell the most interesting stories about the simplest things. They also don’t follow the formula of most books. There isn’t always a big romance or intrigue or even a happy ending. They more take a snapshot of a period of time of quite ordinary characters and tell their story. The genius is in the simplicity as her books are perfectly written and really engaging.

Excellent Women was her second book, first published in 1952. The books main character is Mildred a single women in her 30s who lives in a bedsit within a shared house. Her days are taken up by her part-time job and organising church jumble sales. Her life becomes slightly more interesting when some new neighbours arrive in her building.

I can’t really say much more about the plot without telling the whole story. But I really loved this book. Her books are either your thing or they’re not, but personally I love the subtle story telling and the very british dry humour and wit.

Amelia Grey’s Fireside Dream by Abby Clements:

A book about a home renovation is always going to appeal to me, and this lovely bit of chick-lit had me sold from the description on the back. I’ve also read and enjoyed Abby Clement’s other two novels.

Amelia works as a teacher in a failing inner London high school, she loves her job despite the constant challenges it throws her way. She also has a lifelong dream to move to the country.

She and her husband sell their flat in Hackney and buy a cottage in a little village in Kent which needs more than a little work on it. The book charmingly covers the passing of time, through the renovation of each room and the changes in Amelia’s life as she settles into her new life in the country. There are issues with locals, family secrets and strains in her marriage as well as a rather dashing gardener.

I really enjoyed this sweet easy read all the way through. However I felt the ending was far too rushed and all the ends were tied far too quickly. It would have been perfect with a couple of extra chapters. Rushed endings are my literary pet hate.

A Glass of Blessings by Barbara Pym:

I started this over a year ago and recently resumed reading it and I’m glad I did. This is another really witty Pym novel from the 1950s.

The character writing in this book is absolutely fantastic, Wilmet the heroin is such an interesting character and I couldn’t work out if I liked her or not, but in a very good way. She finds herself bored in her marriage and loves to pry into the lives of others.

The book tells the story of the people living within her London parish along with all their quirks and foibles. This is my favourite of all the Pym novels I’ve read as the characters are all absolutely fantastically written.

I hope you have found something you might like to read here and enjoy my recommendations. I now have nothing at all to read myself to suggestions would be most welcome!

Buy these books on Amazon (I get a few pence if you do which helps keep me in candles and fake flowers)

It’s Monday What Are You Reading is a weekly blog event hosted by Sheila over at Book Journey. It’s a chance to share your reads from the last week and plan the next week of reading. I mostly share vintage themed books with a little chick lit rolled in every now and then.

This week was a wonderful week, because I got away from the non-existent British Spring and relaxed in the sun in Spain. I had such a wonderful week with my family and I’ve come back feeling really refreshed.

This week I managed to finish two books and start a new one.

I read The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan. I love all of Colgan’s books and couldn’t wait for this one to be released. It’s every bit as good as her other books and I loved her descriptions of Paris which is one my very favourite cities. I’d recommend this to anyone who likes a good quality chick-lit read.

I also finished Don’t Tell Alfred by Nancy Mitford. I’ve been working my way through Mitford’s books recently and this one which is a follow-up to her earlier novels The Pursuit of Love and Love in cold Climate, is one of her funniest works. If you liked her earlier more well-known books you will adore this one.

I started reading The Mitford Girls by Mary s Lovell. The book is about the fascinating lives of Nancy and her sisters who led very high-profile lives which span the whole length of the Twentieth Century. I’m only a few chapters in, but so far the book has been a well written page turner. I was so pleased to find this book in the WH Smiths at Gatwick airport as it was exactly what I was looking for. this is a very long book so I might read it over a few weeks and get some other reading done as well.

I am planning to read Jane and Prudence by Barbara Pym and The Blessing by Nancy Mitford over the next week.

The Vintage Book Group are currently reading The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald, join in the discussion here.

This week I watched Funny Face starring Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire and Wings a silent movie from 1927 set in WW1 starring Clara Bow.

It’s Monday What are you Reading is a weekly blog event hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. It’s a chance for us to share the books we’ve enjoyed this week as well as any reviews and to plan the book we want to read over the next week. Here I like to share some of my favourite vintage themed books and books being read by The Vintage Book Group.

This week I have finished The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald, The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford and Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote. I loved all these books and the way they capture a picture of the time which they were written. The 20s, 30s and 40s are all covered here, so it was a great week for vintage reads.

Next week I plan to read Jane and Prudence by Barbara Pym, The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan and Don’t Tell Alfred by Nancy Mitford.

This week I reviewed Style Me Vintage Weddings by Annabel Beeforth, it’s a wonderful book packed with beautiful wedding ideas.

This week I watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which is very different from Capote’s novella and Lagerfeld Confidential. I find Karl Lagerfeld completely fascinating and loved this documentary film which shows so much of the man behind the suit and dark specs. I could have watched hours more footage.

Have a great reading week. What are you reading?

It's Monday, What are you Reading copy

It’s Monday What Are you Reading is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely Sheila over at Book Journey. It’s a chance to share what you’ve been reading over the last week and what books you have planned for the week ahead. Every Monday I share my latest vintage reads and the book being read by The Vintage Book Group.

This week I put my ongoing books to one side and read The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice. I had been meaning to read this for ages and managed to get a copy in a charity shop while I was staying in Bath a few weeks ago. The book is set in the mid 1950s in an England still recovering after the second world war. I really enjoyed this book, firstly because of the era it’s set in, secondly because it’s set between a crumbling English country house and London and thirdly because the plot and characters are very well written.

Having read The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets I am returning to the other two books I’ve had on the go for a while, The Island set in Crete in the years surrounding the second world war and A Glass of Blessings a book written in the 1950s by Barbara Pym.

This week with my daughter being back at school I am hoping to finish my unfinished reads and make a start on something new.

The Vintage Book Group are currently reading The Vintage Teacup Club by Vanessa Greene. Our next book is A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolfe. If you’d like to join in on Goodreads you can sign up here. The group is open to anyone, you don’t have to be a vintage lover, just a fan of a good book.

For more vintage book reccomendations why not folow my Books and Literature Board on Pinterest.

Have a fabulous reading week xxx

Future Reads….

20130225-090515.jpg

It's Monday, What are you Reading copy

It’s Monday What are you Reading is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. It’s a chance to share what you’ve been reading this week. You’ll find lot’s of vintage book inspiration here on Vintage Frills.

This week I’ve been making progress on two books which I’ve been reading for a little while. The Island by Victoria Hislop is set in Crete during the second world war and the years surrounding it.

A Glass of Blessings is a 1950s book written by Barbara Pym.

This week The Vintage Book Group is reading The Vintage Teacup Club by Vanessa Greene who I will also be interviewing this week. We are also planning a giveaway featuring this book later next week.

I don’t have any other reading planned this week as I still need to catch up on reviews and finish these ones.

Join The Vintage Book Group here. It’s not just for vintage lovers but for anyone who enjoys a good book!

Vintage Book Group copy

—————————

My Books