Monday, December 31, 2012

84. An Island Apart by Lillian Beckwith

This novel is a departure from Beckwith's Bruach series. Kirsty MacLennan is a hard working, resourceful spinster employed in a city boarding house. When boarder and Island man Ruari MacDonald suddenly proposes marriage, she hardly knows what to think. Suddenly her life is changed and many twists and turns bring the plot to a surprising conclusion.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

83. Bruach Blend by Lillian Beckwith

Another collection of amusing anecdotes and stories shared at céilidhs. "Miss Peckwitt" remembers various animals she's looked after from gulls to hedgehogs to lambs.

82. The Turkish Embassy Letters by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

This book is a collection of letters written to family and friends, by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, between 2 August 1716 and 1 November 1718. It seems she was the first woman to see and write about the private lives of women in Turkey at that time. She records an early form of inoculation against smallpox and describes animals, plants and food that would seem exotic to the letters' recipients.

Monday, December 24, 2012

81.The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection by Alexander McCall Smith

Precious Ramotswe and her secretary/assistant Grace Makutsi solve cases that involve their friends with the help of their mentor Clovis Anderson, the author of "The Principles of Private Detection". Garage mechanic Fanwell, Mma Potokwane matron of the orphan farm and Mma Makutsi and her new husband Phuti Radiphuti, all find themselves victims of dishonest people who seek only personal gain. One by one, the cases get solved and hard working, honest people prevail.

Friday, December 21, 2012

80. Beautiful Just by Lillian Beckwith

A series of vignettes in the highland crofting life:"Miss Peckwitt" raises a calf and reluctantly takes him to market; whelk picking; more tales of the supernatural and local customs

Thursday, December 20, 2012

79. Making Life Rich Without Any Money by Phil Callaway

I ordered this thinking it was the book we're reading in my church book group. Turns out it's a very nice companion volume with great photos, quotes and top ten lists. Some great ideas like not wearing a watch on Sundays. I think I'll try that this week.

78. The Spuddy by Lillian Beckwith

The Spuddy is a grey-black mongrel who is befriended by a mute boy named Andy. After his mother walked out, Andy is left in the care of his Aunt and Uncle, in a Hebridean fishing village, by his father is away with the Navy. The exciting climax results in a surprising ending.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

77. Christmas at Thrush Green by Miss Read

A charming story that features all of my favourite Thrush Green characters including the curmudgeonly Albert Piggot who retires as church sexton and the redoubtable Ella Bembridge who is suffering from macular degeneration and then falls and breaks her wrist.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

76. Lightly Poached by Lillian Beckwith

Another enjoyable read filled with eccentric and lovable characters. Beckwith has, by now, thoroughly adapted to her new life in the Hebrides and finds it difficult to contemplate going back to town life in England. She's working, eating and dressing like a local and using their idioms too.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

75. The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds by Alexander McCall Smith

Philosopher Isabel Dalhousie is asked to help facilitate the return of a stolen masterpiece to its rightful owners. McCall Smith implies that in many real cases, thieves return works of art for ransom payments. They know that they can't sell the paintings on the open market and claim reward money from owners or insurance companies. I'm still puzzling over which suspect was the true culprit in this novel.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

74. A Rope - In Case by Lillian Beckwith

"Miss Peckwitt" has got into the Hebredean habit of bringing a piece of rope when she goes out - in case. It comes in handy more than once in this book of amusing anecdotes and observations about working a croft, local customs,  belief in the supernatural and superstitions in the fictional Scottish island of Bruach.

Monday, December 10, 2012

73. Portmeirion by Jan Morris et al

This coffee table book is filled with wonderful photographs of the titled Welsh village built by architect Clough Williams-Ellis. Chapters are devoted to the history, gardens, buildings and pottery of Portmeirion.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

72. The Green Hand by Lillian Beckwith

Welshman David Jones is a "Green Hand" or novice fisherman in Scotland. His religious parents have disowned him for not following his father's footsteps in their community. David, with the help of some rough and ready skippers and crewmen learns the ropes and finds himself.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

71. Emma by Jane Austen

I really had to persevere to finish this book as I did not enjoy reading it. Emma Wodehouse, the title character, fancies herself as a matchmaker for her friends but vows that she will never marry. You can guess where this is all leading. Again, I have to say that I do not find Austen's characters sympathetic or very interesting. Of the five of her six novels I've read, Northanger Abbey is still by far my favourite.