Well, those are for sure two things that I adore: summer and reading. Sometimes, there is no better option for an afternoon than to go to the park with a blanket and a book. I’m quite proud of myself because despite spending like 90 % of my life either working or sleeping (just kidding…am I?), I managed to read quite a lot within the last couple of months. And what has been my favorite?
The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton.
I wanted to read this book since I first saw its advertisement on Victoria Station back at the beginning of 2015, right after I came to London (I fell in love with a cover instantly!). But somehow, it wasn’t until very recently when I finally got a chance to read it (as always- thank you, Mum).
It’s a beautiful, atmospheric novel that I enjoyed reading. It’s written with attention to detail that helps to create a breathtaking image of Amsterdam in the 17th century. The story begins when eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives in the city to move to her husband’s house, a wealthy merchant Johannes Brandt whom she married a month earlier. But her new life is not quite what she was expecting. I think the story is beautifully told, really addictive, mysterious, and captivating. It also addresses important social issues, as seventeenth-century Dutch society does not look favorably on people who are somehow different from them.
The Versions of Us, Laura Barnett
I’ve never heard of this book before. I got it from my Mom, and I completely didn’t know what to expect. But I think it took me like three minutes to fall in love with it (and I’m still in love btw). It’s definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year and one of my favorites whatsoever. A beautiful story about life, love, and happiness. About how little choices we make every day may shape our entire future. And about how life could be different- not better, not worse, just different. It’s one of those books I didn’t want to finish because I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the characters. I love the whole concept of it, as deep down I am the master of “what if” questions, and I think this one will stay with me for a long time. I would recommend it to absolutely everyone (what I actively do; I basically forced my Mom to read it- and she loved it as well, yay!).
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
It was on my to-read list for quite a while. I knew it’s a bestseller, but I had no idea what is it about. That was an advantage because the story took me by surprise. I couldn’t put this book away because I wanted to know what would happen next. I got involved with trying to figure out who the bad guy is. That was making me feel frustrated sometimes. The main narrator of the story (and the person who may know the most about what happened) is completely unreliable due to her alcohol problem, which leads to distorted perspective perception. I found this book absorbing, it kept me awake for a few late evenings, and I had a good time trying to solve the case.
Obsession, Amanda Robson
That one was, well, interesting. It all starts when a wife asks her husband a question: who else would you go for if you could? The answer, even though quite innocent, starts a spiral of events that will eventually ruin everybody’s lives. The plot is twisted, and the characters are unlikable, but somehow I wasn’t able to put this book down. As the story develops, the tension thickens, so I was desperate to find out who is the craziest of them all and who is just an innocent victim of others’ vicious games. The events are told alternately by four main characters, and with every chapter, I was changing my mind about who I should believe. It’s not a happy story. The plot is dark, twisted, and shows the worst side of the main characters and their crazy minds. It addresses a whole lot of important issues, such as depression, addictions, infidelity. However, I think that some threads could have been developed more deeply. It also has strong sexual content with some very explicit scenes that not everyone may like. It’s not the kind of book that I would recommend to everyone, but I certainly enjoyed it.
Tulip Fever by Deborah Moggach
As I liked The Miniaturist so much, I was looking for something similar. The plot is also set in 17th century Amsterdam, in times of the great Dutch painters and tulip mania. The very picturesque tale about love, lust, and art. I like that it’s not a typical love story, as the character I felt most compassionate about was the one that I disliked at first. I loved the plot twists, references to Dutch paintings, and, once again, the image of Amsterdam created by the author. The book is quite short- it took me two afternoons to finish it, and it made a perfect summer reading story.
Thank you for reading! What has been your favorite book recently? Please share, as I’m looking for something to read at the moment. 🙂