71. The Fiery Cross – Diana Gabaldon
Story – This is the 5th book in the Outlander series and takes place in 1771. Jamie and Claire are the recipients of a land grant in the backwood mountains of North Carolina, and along with Brianna and Roger they continue making a homestead out of the wilderness. This is complicated by the politics of the time and the ever looming shadow of the coming war of independence.
Thoughts – I like these books. I like the history, I like the characters, I like the fantasy time travel element of it. This book continues the fault of the previous one of getting too complicated though, in the sense of there being a million characters and a million little plot points. It’s not always clear what is important and what is just fun and interesting filler.
70. Adrian Mole: the Prostrate Years – Sue Townsend
Story – It’s a middle aged Adrian Mole, living in a converted piggery beside his parents with his daughter Gracie and his increasingly distant wife Daisy, and dealing with jobs, middle age and a bout of prostate cancer.
Thoughts – Who would have ever really thought about a middle aged Adrian Mole? Well, here he is, and I have to admit I liked it a lot. It doesn’t have all the classic charm of his teenage diaries, but it’s still worth a read for people who have loved Adrian all along.
69. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 and ¾ – Sue Townsend
Story – It’s the secret diary of Adrian Mole, the most self absorbed and tragic-comic teen who ever existed.
Thoughts – I love Adrian Mole. I have always liked reading diary books, and Adrian is just so hopeless and funny! This book was written back in the 80s, but it’s definitely a keeper that has stood the test of time. To me, anyway.
68. Unravelled – Anna Scanlon
Story – Aliz and Hajna are eight year old sisters are living an enjoyable life in Hungary until the Nazi’s move in. Suddenly there are new rules, and then the ghetto, and then transportation. Caught up in a crowd of young or sick people destined for the gas chambers, Hajna and Aliz are taken from their mother. They have been saved because they are twins, and Dr Mengele has other plans for twins.
Thoughts – I’ve read about the experiments carried out on the twins of Auschwitz, and it’s horrific. Mengele did brutal things to them in the name of science, killing many and leaving others with permanent disabilities. Although he used other prisoners (dwarves, congenital deformities etc) he liked twins because he had a control subject. In this book Aliz is the control subject (still forced to endure numerous experiments and Hajna was the one who bore the full brunt of it. This book covers the time period before they war, while they were in Auschwitz and then in America.
This book didn’t do it for me. The subject matter is fascinating, but the writing style didn’t really resonate with me. It’s also going to have a sequel, which I kind of hate- just write the damn book in the first place! It’s not as though this one was too long or couldn’t have been edited a bit!.
67. Drums of Autumn – Diana Gabaldon
Story – Fourth book in the Outlander Series. After finding Ian and being washed up in North Carolina, Claire and Jamie find them entwined in the life of his aunt Jocasta, as well as the perils and adventures of building their own life on the ridge. Meanwhile, back in the future, Claire and Jamie’s daughter Brianna and Roger Wakefield are making some reckless plans…
Thoughts – I still love this series at this point. I love reading about Claire and Jamie carving their property out of the wilderness, and I love the boldness of Brianna. I was a bit irritated by the misunderstanding with Roger that led to his disappearance because it was so contrived, but that’s my only real complaint.