Another month, another wrap up. Throughout February I finished 11 books, bringing my total for the year so far up to 21. Here are some brief thoughts on each of them. If you’d like to know more, simply click on a title and it will take you to my full review.
How Much the Heart Can Hold by various
[ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ] A mixed bag of stories by eight different authors, each one focussing on a different kind of love (unrequited, familial, obsessive, etc.). It was a worthwhile read, but I found most stronger in concept than execution.
Mary, Who Wrote Frankenstein by Linda Bailey, illustrated by Júlia Sardà
[ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ] A short and accessible biography of Mary Shelley, suitable for any age. The real highlight here is the gorgeous artwork, which is suitably gothic and enchanting.
House of Glass by Susan Fletcher
[ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ] At once a haunting, gothic mystery, and a poignant piece of historical fiction about the destructive power of hearsay. The heroine is fantastically well realised, the setting utterly transporting, and the writing rich and evocative. I was completely enthralled.
The Best Awful by Carrie Fisher
[ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ] Fisher’s debut novel is a raw and candid exploration of a mental breakdown; life with bipolar; and the struggles of recovery. Suzanne is a complex, frustrating, and endearing heroine you can’t help but root for.
Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom by Sylvia Plath
[ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ] Short but very effective, this allegorical tale is about finding the will to live; to defy a seemingly unavoidable fate. Plath creates a number of beautiful images, and a tone of quiet menace that I really enjoyed.
Justine by Alice Thompson
[ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ] A strange and hallucinogenic look at the destructive power of obsession; the pursuit of physical beauty; and women as dehumanized objects of desire. It’s full of literary references and intricate layers of thematic depth.
Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
[ ⭐ ⭐ ] When this quasi-memoir focuses on the realities of life with mental health struggles, it is relatable and hugely worthwhile. For me, however, it was too bogged down by forced humour and extraneous tangents.
Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie
[ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ] Another highly readable yet deceptively intricate yarn from the queen of mystery. The reveal was as surprising and satisfying as I’ve come to expect, but there was also some very well executed social commentary, and wry humour.
Miss Brill by Katherine Mansfield
[ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ] Three understated yet shrewdly observant short stories that capture moments of loneliness and painful realisation. This made for a nice introduction to Mansfield’s work.
Enduring Love by Ian McEwan
[ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ] A psychological literary thriller that is as thematically engaging as it is compulsively readable. I loved its look at obsession, psychosis, coping with trauma, and a relationship stretched to breaking point.
The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier
[ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ] A unique blend of sci-fi and du Maurier’s gothic prowess. This was a great romp, with some very effective allegory about the perils of living a double life, and the struggles of addiction.
There we have it! If any of the books I mentioned caught your eye, you can find them with free shipping over on Book Depository. If you’ve already read any, I’d love to hear your thoughts on them below.
My favourite read of the month was House of Glass. What was yours?