Six Degrees of Separation: From The Poisonwood Bible to Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?

Sorry for the unannounced absence over the last week – I’ve been to Malta on holiday and didn’t get round to scheduling any posts before I left. Anyway, I’m back now and it’s time for another Six Degrees of Separation, hosted by Kate of Books are my Favourite and Best. The idea is that Kate chooses a book to use as a starting point and then we have to link it to six other books of our choice to form a chain. A book doesn’t have to be connected to all of the others on the list – only to the one next to it in the chain.

The first book this month is The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. I have never read this book, but it is described as “the story of an American missionary family in the Congo during a poignant chapter in African history”.

Thinking of other books about missionary families, I’m going to link to a novel I remember really enjoying a few years ago: In a Far Country by Linda Holeman. It is set in India in the 19th century and the heroine, Pree Fincastle, is the daughter of two British missionaries living on a Church of England medical mission in Punjab.

I’ve read most of Linda Holeman’s adult novels and enjoyed them all – the settings are always interesting and beautifully described. My favourite of her books is The Saffron Gate, which is set in Morocco in the 1930s. Morocco is not a country that has featured very often in my reading, but it does provide the setting for another book I loved: The Sultan’s Wife by Jane Johnson.

There are so many books around these days with the word “wife” in the title. Some that I have reviewed on my blog include The Aviator’s Wife, The Tea Planter’s Wife, The Tiger’s Wife and, most recently, The Pharmacist’s Wife. A much earlier example is Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s The Doctor’s Wife, a Victorian novel from 1864 with a similar plot and themes to Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert.

The image on the front cover of the Oxford World’s Classics version of The Doctor’s Wife is apparently called Faraway Thoughts by an unknown artist. Coincidentally, the same image has been used on the cover of one of my current reads, Friday’s Child by Georgette Heyer (although I am reading a different edition).

Friday’s Child, one of Heyer’s Regency romances, follows the early days of a marriage between two young people, Sherry and Hero. This brings to mind another funny and charming novel about a newly-married couple, Little Man, What Now? by Hans Fallada. I loved that book and really wish it was better known!

It’s unusual to find a book with a question mark in the title, but I can think of a few that I’ve read, including Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? by Agatha Christie. I really enjoyed that one – it’s a bit melodramatic and silly, but a lot of fun to read.

And that’s my chain for this month! Have you read any of these books?

Next month, the starting point will be The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, a book I’ve never read and know nothing about!

21 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation: From The Poisonwood Bible to Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?

  1. FictionFan says:

    Great links – bonus points for the question marks! Though I think linking by the cover pictures is just as good. The only one of these I’ve read is the Agatha Christie, but the Heyer and The Doctor’s Wife both appeal… 🙂

    • Helen says:

      I wonder if that same picture has been used on other books as well. I’m enjoying Friday’s Child but I don’t think it’s going to be a favourite Heyer.

  2. piningforthewest says:

    I’ve only read Friday’s Child, but I really want to read the Hans Fallada. I hope you enjoyed your holiday.

    • Helen says:

      Yes, it was lovely, thank you. The Hans Fallada book is great – I liked it almost as much as Alone in Berlin, though in a different way.

  3. Judy Krueger says:

    I have read The Poisonwood Bible as well as every novel Kingsolver has written. She is one of my top three favorite authors. I read one Georgette Heyer book. She is not for me. But I loved your “wife book” section.

    • Helen says:

      I love Georgette Heyer, but she is definitely not for everyone! I’ve never read anything by Kingsolver but I would like to give The Poisonwood Bible a try one day.

  4. Carmen says:

    I have The Poisonwood Bible on my TBR, but all others you mentioned are new to me. I liked the connection via covers; that’s quite creative! You are a natural at this meme. 🙂

    • Helen says:

      Friday’s Child isn’t the best of the Georgette Heyer books I’ve read, but it isn’t the worst either. I was surprised when I realised it had exactly the same picture on the cover as The Doctor’s Wife – it made me wonder if it had been used on other book covers too.

  5. Ruthiella says:

    What a fun and clever way to talk about books! I have only read the first and the last. I really enjoyed The Poisonwood Bible and look forward to reading more from Kingsolver. I have Prodigal Summer on my shelf. I liked Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? but didn’t love it. It leans more towards thriller/plucky young kids solving things than a murder mystery a la Poirot or Miss Marple. Those two are more my jam.

    • Helen says:

      Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? is more like Christie’s Tommy and Tuppence books, if you’ve read any of those. I thought it was fun, but I agree that the Poirots and Marples are better mysteries. I will have to read The Poisonwood Bible one day!

  6. Sandra says:

    I’m glad you enjoyed your holiday, Helen 🙂

    What a great chain – such diverse choices and with such clever and unusual links. The Doctor’s Wife certainly piques my interest and I’ve just paused to read more about Hans Fallada since I only know of him through Alone in Berlin. I’ve yet to read that book; it seems such a contrast to Little Man, What now? An indication maybe, of where his life took him.

    • Helen says:

      I think you might enjoy The Doctor’s Wife, Sandra. I can’t remember much about it now, but I know it was an interesting read. Alone in Berlin is a great book! It’s very different from Little Man, What Now? but I loved them both and would highly recommend either.

      • Sandra says:

        Thanks, Helen; I have added the two new ones to my list! If only I could tick them off as read as quickly as I can them as ‘to be read’!

  7. cirtnecce says:

    Hope you had a marvelous holiday Helen! I have not read either Poisonwood Bible or In a Far Country; but like you I really loved The Sultan’s Wife; though The Doctor’s Wife left me, meh! I also like Why Didn’t they…though not my most favorite Christie. Great Post!

    • Helen says:

      Thank you – yes, I had a lovely holiday. I enjoyed The Doctor’s Wife, but it wasn’t what I had been expecting after reading her better known book, Lady Audley’s Secret. I’m glad you liked Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? It’s not my favourite Christie either, but it was a fun read.

  8. Kate W says:

    I haven’t read any Heyer for so, so long – it sustained my ‘down-time’ reading during my university years. Now that I’m studying again, perhaps I should revisit?!

    • Helen says:

      I think they would be great books to revisit. I only started reading Heyer a few years ago so I am working through them all for the first time, but there are already some that I know I will want to reread.

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