TBR Thursday 162…

Episode 162…

Oh dear! There’s been a big jump in the TBR since I last reported – up 3 to 222. It’s not my fault! First, tennis. Second, loads of my favourite authors seem to be releasing their new books all at the same time. What’s a girl to do?? I try not to let it stress me though…

Better get reading, I think! Here’s the next batch…

Classic Fiction

One of my Classics Club books. I’m particularly intrigued by this since the blurb makes it sound like a women’s-lit melodrama, but it’s written by James M Cain, whom I think of as a noir crime writer. In fact, he’s one of only three authors who appear more than once on in my list, and his other entry is certainly classic noir – The Postman Always Rings Twice.

The Blurb says: Mildred Pierce had gorgeous legs, a way with a skillet, and a bone-deep core of toughness. She used those attributes to survive a divorce and poverty and to claw her way out of the lower middle class. But Mildred also had two weaknesses: a yen for shiftless men, and an unreasoning devotion to a monstrous daughter.

Out of these elements, Cain creates a novel of acute social observation and devastating emotional violence, with a heroine whose ambitions and sufferings are never less than recognizable.

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Biography

This one has been on my TBR since December 2012! Because it’s huge and will probably take me a couple of months to read, I keep putting it off for review copies, but the time has finally come! (Unless any nice review copies arrive before I begin…) It won the Pulitzer for Biography and has excellent reviews, though, so I’m looking forward to it.

The Blurb says: Against the monumental canvas of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Europe and Russia, unfolds the magnificent story of Peter the Great, crowned at the age of 10. A barbarous, volatile feudal tsar with a taste for torture; a progressive and enlightened reformer of government and science; a statesman of vision and colossal significance: Peter the Great embodied the greatest strengths and weaknesses of Russia while being at the very forefront of her development.

Robert K. Massie delves deep into the life of this captivating historical figure, chronicling the pivotal events that shaped a boy into a legend – including his ‘incognito’ travels in Europe, his unquenchable curiosity about Western ways, his obsession with the sea and establishment of the stupendous Russian navy, his creation of an unbeatable army, and his relationships with those he loved most: Catherine, his loving mistress, wife, and successor; and Menshikov, the charming, unscrupulous prince who rose to power through Peter’s friendship. Impetuous and stubborn, generous and cruel, a man of enormous energy and complexity, Peter the Great is brought fully to life.

* * * * *

Historical Crime

Courtesy of Harvill Secker. The third in the Sam Wyndham series of historical crime novels set in India in the last days of the Raj. I’ve loved the previous books, so this is a must-read for me, though I’m a bit concerned that Sam seems to be becoming more of an opium addict in each book…

The Blurb says: India, 1921. Haunted by his memories of the Great War, Captain Sam Wyndham is battling a serious addiction to opium that he must keep secret from his superiors in the Calcutta police force.

When Sam is summoned to investigate a grisly murder, he is stunned at the sight of the body: he’s seen this before. Last night, in a drug addled haze, he stumbled across a corpse with the same ritualistic injuries. It seems like there’s a deranged killer on the loose. Unfortunately for Sam, the corpse was in an opium den and revealing his presence there could cost him his career.

With the aid of his quick-witted Indian Sergeant, Surrender-not Banerjee, Sam must try to solve the two murders, all the while keeping his personal demons secret, before somebody else turns up dead.

* * * * *

More Historical Crime

Courtesy of Random House Transworld via NetGalley. I enjoyed Rachel Rhys’ last book, A Dangerous Crossing, very much, so I’m looking forward to this one…

The Blurb says: 1948: Eve Forrester is trapped in a loveless marriage, in a gloomy house, in a grey London suburb. Then, out of the blue, she receives a solicitor’s letter. A wealthy stranger has left her a mystery inheritance. And to find out more, she must to travel to the glittering French Riviera.

There Eve discovers that her legacy is an enchanting pale pink villa overlooking the Mediterranean sea. Suddenly her life could not be more glamorous. But while she rubs shoulders with film-stars and famous writers, under the heat of the golden sun, rivals to her unexplained fortune begin to emerge. Rivals who want her out of the way.

Alone in this beguiling paradise, Eve must unlock the story behind her surprise bequest – before events turn deadly…

Reminiscent of a Golden Age mystery, Fatal Inheritance is an intoxicating story of dysfunctional families and long-hidden secrets, set against the razzle-dazzle and decadence of the French Riviera.

* * * * *

NB All blurbs and covers taken from Goodreads or Amazon UK.

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So…what do you think? Do any of these tempt you?

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37 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 162…

  1. That first one sounds good! Although I was rather deflated to read that Mildred had clawed her way out of the lower middle class, when lower middle class is a place I am desperately trying crawl into… 😉 (this is clearly a joke. I’m obviously lower upper class 😉 )
    Peter The Great is definitely a book I would like to know more about but probably don’t want to take the time to get through that massive book – thank goodness we have you, FF!
    The opium-addict cop sounds almost like it should be a farce, but I am intrigued nonetheless…

    • Hahaha – aspiration is a wonderful thing! I’m sure eventually you’ll be just as middle-class as John Cleese – you’ve already got the bowler! I do feel I provide a service to the nation reading these massive history tomes – I’m surprised I haven’t been made a Dame yet! Dame Twanky of Kirkintilloch – it has a nice ring to it…

      • I fully support you becoming a Dame. I shall start harassing the relevant people at once. Mind you, once I become middle class I will have enough sway to influence such things so hang on in there while I do my social climbing! 😀

  2. There is no way you can possibly be held responsible, FictionFan, when you have the combined efforts of Rafa and authors whose work you love going against you. What can anyone do?? But, to your choices here…I’m eager to read the Mukherjee, too. That’s a strong series with a fine main character. And I do love the Raj setting. I’ll be interested in what you think of Mildred Pierce, too. Cain’s one of those authors who can create completely unsympathetic characters, but you still want to read the story.

    • So true! There really ought to be a rule that no books should be published in tennis season! 😉 I almost missed the Mukherjee for some reason (system failure), so was glad to be able to snaffle a copy, even if it meant rearranging my entire reading schedule! Some books are worth it. I’m looking forward to Mildred Pierce – that mismatch between the blurb and my expectations has me thoroughly intrigued…

  3. Peter the Great, and the Mukherjee for me. I read Mildred Pierce years ago, but I don’t remember much about it.

    • Peter the Great looks… er… great, but is humongous. Thank goodness I have the Kindle version or I’d have had to do weight training. The Mukherjee worries me a bit with its emphasis on his opium addiction, but I have my fingers crossed. Hmm… I wonder if that means Mildred Pierce didn’t impress you overly much.

  4. Of course we wouldn’t blame you for that increase to your TBR pile! Who could resist??

    I saw the movie adaptation of Mildred Pierce ages ago, but never read the book. I’ll be interested in your review. As for A Dangerous Crossing, I’m curious as to what became of the other half of the heroine’s loveless marriage once she heads off to gain an inheritance, so I await your review of that one too!

    • I’m glad you understand – I just can’t be held responsible!

      I’ve had the DVD sitting on my shelf for about three years, patiently waiting for me to read the book first! I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen it, though it seems odd – I used to watch the films of that era all the time. Yes, good question – maybe she bumps him off before she leaves! That would be an excellent start… 😉

  5. I love that cover on Fatal Inheritance. I still haven’t read A Dangerous Crossing, but I’ll be glad to know that this book will be coming around to us after a while. I also want to start the Mukherjee series. Have heard such good things about it. I suspected you were immersed in the tennis. LOL

    • So do I – one of my favourite covers of the year, and there have been a lot of good ones recently! I’ve loved the first two books in the Mukherjee series so I do recommend them. I’m just hoping this one isn’t too much about his opium addiction – stories about addiction always bore me, I fear. But I have my fingers crossed! Haha – yes! And now I need to catch up with all these books before Wimbledon… 😱

  6. Have you not seen Mildred Pierce – Joan Crawford chewing scenery for all she’s worth? It’s a cracking film. Not got my paws on a copy yet, but my TBR has had a notice for Council Tax recently, so I’d better do something about it…

    • I don’t think I have, which is odd since I love films of that era. I bought the DVD about three years ago and it’s been patiently waiting for me to read the book first! I’m actually looking forward to the film more than the book… 😀

  7. Thankfully, I have little desire (or time!) to read Peter the Great; however, Mildred Pierce sounds pretty good. The opium addict doesn’t interest me much (we have far too many flawed police types in today’s fiction, I think). Way more fascinated with watching Rafa!

    • I’m a bit sad that Sam Wyndham seems to be descending into opium addiction – it’s likely to put me off the series altogether if it goes too far. But I’m really looking forward to Mildred Pierce – it sounds good, and I want to watch the film too! But Rafa… and Andy’s making a comeback… so books will have to come second for a while… 😀

  8. Mildred Pierce – Joan Crawford, the shoulder pads, the whole glorious glory of it! I’ve not read it but I also saw the version (mini series) with Kate Winslet. She didn’t do that bad a job but Joan is the one that sticks in my mind. I like the sound of Smoke and Ashes.

    • Oh, I didn’t know there was a Kate Winslet version! Perhaps I shall immerse myself in all three – book first, then Kate, and save Joan for the big finale! 😀

  9. I remember your Sam Wyndham reviews and enjoyed reading them, so I’d vote for that book next (though I don’t want to discourage you from jumping into your chunker biography!).

    That gif of the tennis player beating the crap out of his racket… is that an actually player, or a spoof? I would think if it were real the tennis association people would punish him.

    • The biography will be read in tiny chunks alongside more fun reads – the only way I can take serious history! So hopefully I’ll get to Smoke and Ashes next week…

      Hahaha – it’s Marcos Baghdatis, a top Cypriot player, having a really bad day at the office! And I’m sure they’d have fined him for it. Poor man – he’s probably better known for that outburst than for his tennis… 😀

  10. I predict that your TBR will top 250 by the end of the year, if you don’t get busy. That said, the first blurb makes it sound like it’s a man writing about a woman, so it doesn’t feel like “chicklit” to me. I do like the blurb, however. My husband’s read the PtG bio and really enjoyed it, so I think you will. But I find the last one most intriguing. So very escapist before turning into a more sinister story.

    • At the rate is going, I suspect you could be right! I did well for the first few months of the year but it’s all falling apart again… 😱 Yeah, it’s a strange mix of nourish language and women’s lit subject matter – I’m intrigued. Oh, good to hear about the PtG bio – a book as huge as that would have to be well written to keep me going… Rachel Rhys’ last historical fiction was great so I have high hopes for this one…

  11. FF, I am tempted by both historical crimes and the biography of Peter the Great 🙂 Although I enjoyed the TV adaptation starring Kate Winslet, I think the book of Mildred Pierce might be a bit too depressing for me.

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