It’s the first Saturday of the month which means 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.
This month we are starting with Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld. I haven’t read it, but I know that it’s an alternate history imagining what might have happened if Hillary Rodham had never married Bill Clinton.
However, I have read one of Curtis Sittenfeld’s earlier novels, Prep (1), which follows four years in the life of Lee Fiora, a teenage girl with social anxiety who attends a boarding school in Massachusetts. This seems to be a book that people either love or hate; I think whether or not you enjoy it probably depends on how strongly you can relate to the main character.
Another girl who goes to boarding school, in Canada this time, is Flavia de Luce in Alan Bradley’s As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust (2). This is the seventh book in a series of mysteries starring Flavia and in this one she is investigating the disappearances of three girls at Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy. Not my favourite in the series, but I do love the Flavia books overall.
The title of that book comes from the lines from Shakespeare’s Cymbeline: “Golden lads and girls all must, As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.” Another book which also takes its inspiration from the same source is Golden Lads by Daphne du Maurier (3), a biography of two important Elizabethan figures, Francis and Anthony Bacon.
My next link is to another book with the word ‘Golden’ in the title: Golden Hill by Francis Spufford (4). I found this a very entertaining novel set in 18th century New York, in those days still a small community just beginning to expand into the city we know today.
Stella Tillyard’s Call Upon the Water (5) is also set, at least partly, in the same location – but a century earlier, when the settlement was known as New Amsterdam. The rest of the novel is set in England and follows a Dutch engineer working on the draining of the marshlands in the Fens.
Finally, I’m going to link to a book written by another Stella – Stella Gibbons. Gibbons wrote many novels, as well as some short stories and poetry, but the only one I have read is her most famous one, Cold Comfort Farm (6). Because I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I’d hoped to, I haven’t attempted any of her other work yet but maybe I will one day.
And that’s my chain for this month! My links included school stories, Cymbeline, the word ‘golden’, old New York and the name Stella. In October, we will be starting with The Turn of the Screw by Henry James – finally a book that I’ve read!