Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Library Love - The Little Stranger and Halcyon Crane

I've been listening to this audio book in the car.  It's one I've been meaning to read but decided to give it a go in the car so I could finally get to it.  I love it.  All the gothic ingredients that I love so much.  Dilapidated house, in thise case Hundreds Hall.  Family secrets, don't know what they are yet. 

Sarah Waters is a wonderful writer and her ability to describe makes the narration even better.  Simon Vance is the narrator.  I understand he is a popular narrator for books, but this being only my second audio book, I didn't know that when I began listening.  Here's the back cover blurb:

One postwar summer in his home of rural Warwickshire, Dr. Faraday, the son of a maid who has built a life of quiet respectability as a country physician, is called to a patient at lonely Hundreds Hall.  Home to the Ayres family for over two centuries, the Georgian house, once impressive and handsome, is now in decline, its masonry crumbling, its gardens choked with weeds, the clock in it stable yard permanently fixed at twenty to nine.  It's owners - mother, son, and daughter - are struggling to keep pace with a changing society, as well as with conflicts of their won.  But are the Ayreses haunted by something more sinister than a dying way of life?  Little does Dr. Faraday know how closely, and how terrifyingly, their story is about to become entwined with his.

I'm reading this one.  It's actually pretty good.  At times, I'm not in love with the writing the way I am with Sarah Waters, but the plot is very intriguing and keeps me going and she isn't a bad writer, just not as descriptive in the same way as Waters.  Here's the blurb:
When a mysterious letter lands in Hallie James’s mailbox, her life is upended. Hallie was raised by her loving father, having been told her mother died in a fire decades earlier. But it turns out that her mother, Madlyn, was alive until very recently. Why would Hallie’s father have taken her away from Madlyn? What really happened to her family thirty years ago?

In search of answers, Hallie travels to the place where her mother lived, a remote island in the middle of the Great Lakes. The stiff islanders fix her first with icy stares and then unabashed amazement as they recognize why she looks so familiar, and Hallie quickly realizes her family’s dark secrets are enmeshed in the history of this strange place. But not everyone greets her with such a chilly reception—a coffee-shop owner and the family’s lawyer both warm to Hallie, and the possibility of romance blooms. And then there’s the grand Victorian house bequeathed to her—maybe it’s the eerie atmosphere or maybe it’s the prim, elderly maid who used to work for her mother, but Hallie just can’t shake the feeling that strange things are starting to happen . . .

Work has been stinky as we have a big event coming up this weekend, so I've been dealing with that.  Additionally Cub Scouts is starting up and lots to do there.  So the reading/listening is a lovely escape at times.