Okay, It has been a while since we’ve posted the last edition of Marie’s Monthly Minutes. A little chat with Marie yesterday got the gears in motion. Here are a few of her latest recommendations that will keep you busy for a good long while and can help you complete the Chunkster Challenge if you’re game.
Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follett
Everything readers expect from Follett is here: intrigue, fast-paced action, and passionate romance. But what makes The Pillars of the Earth extraordinary is the time—the twelfth century; the place—feudal England; and the subject—the building of a glorious cathedral. Follett has re-created the crude, flamboyant England of the Middle Ages in every detail. The vast forests, the walled towns, the castles, and the monasteries become a familiar landscape. Against this richly imagined and intricately interwoven backdrop, filled with the ravages of war and the rhythms of daily life, the master storyteller draws the reader irresistibly into the intertwined lives of his characters—into their dreams, their labors, and their loves: Tom, the master builder; Aliena, the ravishingly beautiful noblewoman; Philip, the prior of Kingsbridge; Jack, the artist in stone; and Ellen, the woman of the forest who casts a terrifying curse. From humble stonemason to imperious monarch, each character is brought vividly to life.
The funny thing about this one is that Marie didn’t think she would like it. She really didn’t want to read it. It was too long. But, once she started, she couldn’t put it down.
Page count: 973
Absolute Scandal – Penny Vincenzi
Set during the boom-and-bust years of the 1980s, An Absolute Scandal follows the lives of a group of people drawn together by their mutual monetary woes when the great financial institution Lloyd’s undergoes a devastating downturn. For Nigel Cowper, this means the destruction of his family business; his wife, Lucinda, is willing to do everything she can to help him—except give up her irresistible lover. The powerful, charismatic banker Simon Beaumont and his wife, a highly successful advertising executive, lose everything they worked so hard to acquire; but the ultimate tragedy is something that neither one could have anticipated. The well-to-do are not the only ones suffering: a self-sufficient widow is suddenly deep in debt; a single mother struggles to maintain a comfortable home for her children; and a schoolmaster and his frustrated wife find that financial problems deepen the cracks in their troubled marriage.
What Marie liked about this one was how closely it related to the kind of thing we’re going through right now with the economic crisis. She also thought that the characters (and there are many) were very well done.
Page count: 608