March reading summary

March is over and I can’t say that I’m sorry to see it go. It’s been a stressful month for me at work as the woman I’ve been working with and sharing an office with for the last six years retired last week and the company directors decided to take the opportunity to restructure our department. This means that I’ve spent the whole month not knowing if my job would be changing, who I would be working with and even where I would be working. Things are settling down now and while I’m not exactly thrilled about the changes, at least I know what’s happening now and I’m hoping April is going to be a better month for me.

RomolaIn terms of reading, March got off to a great start with Ross Poldark, the first of Winston Graham’s Poldark series which I really enjoyed and finished just in time for the start of the BBC’s new adaptation. I also finished two long novels that I had begun in February. One of these was George Eliot’s classic novel set in Renaissance Italy, Romola, a detailed and demanding read but one that I loved; the second was Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh, the first in a trilogy set during the Opium Wars. Sea of Poppies ended on a cliffhanger but luckily I had a copy of the sequel, River of Smoke, so I could start that one straight away!

I managed to read two books for Jess’s Forgotten Histories challenge. One was Temeraire by Naomi Novik, an alternate history in which dragons play a part in the Napoleonic Wars. The other was City of God by Cecelia Holland, a novel set in Borgia-ruled Rome. I’m interested in reading more by both of these authors, particularly Naomi Novik – I have the second Temeraire novel, Throne of Jade, and also a review copy of her new novel Uprooted waiting to be read.

The TapestryI also read two Tudor novels this month – Dark Fire, the second book in CJ Sansom’s Shardlake series, and The Tapestry, the third and final volume of Nancy Bilyeau’s Joanna Stafford trilogy. I read some non-fiction too – An Accidental Tragedy by Roderick Graham, a biography of Mary, Queen of Scots, and Rebellion, the latest book in Peter Ackroyd’s History of England series. And I continued working through Baroness Orczy’s Scarlet Pimpernel books; The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel is a collection of short stories and although they were fun to read I’m disappointed that none of the Pimpernel sequels I’ve tried so far are as good as the original novel.

There were also two books that I started reading towards the end of the month but didn’t finish. I read the first three chapters of The Marigold Chain by Stella Riley, which I was interested in reading because I’d heard that it was similar to Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles; I wasn’t prepared for just how similar it was, to the point where it made me feel uncomfortable and I had to stop reading. I gave up on The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro as well. It was a very intriguing book with some fascinating concepts and ideas, but somewhere in the middle I accepted that I wasn’t engaging with either the story or the characters and couldn’t go any further. I’ll probably write more about that book soon as I did read more than half of it before abandoning it.

In April I’m hoping to read The Eustace Diamonds for Karen’s Anthony Trollope Bicentennial Celebration. Lory is also hosting an Elizabeth Goudge Reading Week and I would like to read something for that too. And of course, there’s Easter to look forward to this weekend!

What did you read in March? Do you have any plans for April?

22 thoughts on “March reading summary

  1. Isi says:

    Hope things at work improve soon.
    Regarding the books, I haven’t read any of the ones you mention, but I’ve heard that Ishiguro’s novels are not for everybody.

    • Helen says:

      Thank you, Isi – I hope so too! I did love The Remains of the Day by Ishiguro, so I was disappointed that I didn’t enjoy The Buried Giant.

  2. Lory @ Emerald City Book Review says:

    I’m sort of having an Elizabeth Goudge Reading Month myself, which I’m enjoying very much. As soon as that’s over I’m going to start Dr Thorne for the Trollope event.

    • Helen says:

      I’ve never read anything by Elizabeth Goudge so I’m hoping I can find time to read at least one of her books in April. Dr Thorne was one of my favourites of the Barchester series – I hope you like it!

  3. jessicabookworm says:

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts on Rebellion by Peter Ackroyd as I am about half way through it now. I finished 5 books which is a good month for me. Happy reading in April and I hope it is a better month for you at work 🙂

    • Helen says:

      Thank you Jessica. I’ll probably be posting my thoughts on Rebellion soon and will look forward to hearing what you thought of it as well.

  4. Tracey says:

    I can totally sympathise with your work situation as we are going through something similar. No one is happy about it and the management don’t seem to be listening to those who actually do the job. Morale is so low and everyone just looks miserable.

    No wonder we like escaping into a good book!

    • Helen says:

      Sorry to hear you’re having a similar experience at work, Tracey. I hope it improves for you soon – it’s not good when you find yourself walking into a miserable atmosphere every day. And yes, reading a good book is the perfect way to cope and lower our stress levels!

  5. piningforthewest says:

    It’s never nice when things change at work when you were happy as it was. I hope you enjoy The Eustace Diamonds, I did. I’ve already read Rachel Ray for Karen’s Trollope celebration but want to read something else, maybe Orley Farm.

    • Helen says:

      I loved the first two Palliser novels, so I’m looking forward to reading The Eustace Diamonds. I hope you enjoy Orley Farm, or whichever one you choose to read. I want to finish the Palliser series before I start any of the standalones.

  6. Lark says:

    Sorry work’s been so stressful…it’s never fun waiting for change. Hopefully things will get better in April! At least you read some good books. 🙂

    • Helen says:

      Yes, I’m glad I managed to find some good books to escape into during March! I’m looking forward to having some time to relax over Easter.

    • Helen says:

      Thank you! I enjoyed Romola as I love reading about Renaissance Italy, but it was definitely a challenging read and I’m not sure I would want to read it again either.

  7. Charlie says:

    That’s a lot of reading, especially when you factor in the longer books! My books were all literary/general fiction this month which was different for me. I made a start on The Tapestry but nowhere near finishing it yet. I’m kind of sorry to hear it’s the last in the series. Hope your situation at work continues to be okay 🙂

    • Helen says:

      Thank you, Charlie. I love the Joanna Stafford books so I’ll be interested to know what you think of The Tapestry. I was sorry to find it was the last in the series too.

  8. Jo says:

    That familiar work feeling, been there on more than one occasion. I do hope it settles for you soon.

    Such a wide variety of books, it makes me think I need to be reading even more!

    • Helen says:

      Thanks Jo. Things have already started to settle down a little bit at work and I know what’s happening now, but I would definitely have preferred things to just stay as they were!

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