I’ve had a crazy busy few months…but I’ve still found time to read some awesome books! Here’s what I’ve been enjoying in March & April- bit of an ecletic mix I have to say (but that’s just me).

Lark Rise to Candleford by Flora Thompson

A beautiful swan song to the countryside set in the changing England of the late nineteenth century; this book by Flora Thompson was an unexpected delight.

Inside the book’s worn and unassuming cover was a warm and delightful coming of age tale. Farm and village life intertwine in this careful depiction of rural life, dissecting the human condition from farm labourers to village postmistress. This semi-autobiographical book, written by Thompson years after her childhood world had irreversibly changed, is tinged with nostalgia and warmth for the human condition. The poignant observations of a young girl are both funny and full of truth. A great book to read whilst contemplating the changing seasons.

Get the book on Amazon here.

The Mitford Girls by Mary S Lovell

Lively and detailed account of the glittering and complex Mitford family, spanning decades and covering everything from politics to love.

I first came across these fascinating women a few years back, so I was excited to finally delve into this hefty book by Lovell and learn more about them. I was surprised how quickly Lovell managed to draw me in, to the extent that I literally couldn’t put the book down! The amazing lives led by these women seem almost impossibly interesting: from rebellious Decca running off with a Communist, to Unity Mitford who famously befriended Hitler. The different paths and choices the sisters took perfectly exemplify the turbulent world of the twentieth century. The ways in which the sisters saw and remembered things so very differently poses interesting questions about family, history and memory. A comprehensive collection of anecdotes, interviews, letters and extracts from the witty writing of the Mitford girls make up the bulk of the book’s research. Scholarly, but opinionated and lively, this book draws you into the glamorous Mitford world.

Get the book on Amazon here.

The Six Wives of Henry VII by Antonia Fraser

Fraser’s love for her subject shines through in this comprehensive narrative of Henry’s (unfortunate) wives.

I’ve always loved the Tudors, and Antonia Fraser seems to have a special knack for bringing them to life. With descriptive writing, and a great eye for detail, Fraser manages to navigate the complexities of Tudor politics to bring you the story you really want to hear. Personal, gritty and honest- you get to see the wives of Henry VIII as real women with ambitions and weaknesses. The book exudes heartfelt sympathy and rigorous research, mapping Henry’s descent into tyranny and infamy.

Get the book on Amazon here.

L’élégance du hérisson by Muriel Barbery

Beautiful French book that zooms in on the delicate human condition, passing from philosophy to friendship and love.

This was a great holiday read and Barbery’s book has been translated into English as The Elegance of the Hedgehog. Reading it in its original French was great as I hadn’t read much in French recently and I loved getting back into French through Barbery’s rich prose. A real eclectic story, Barbery examines the inner lives of a closet intellectual concierge and a rich young French girl living in her apartment in Paris. The young girl, in the grips of an existential crisis, has decided to kill herself and the book follows here deep fears about growing up, adulthood, life and happiness. A beautiful book that is smart and laugh out loud funny too!

Get the book on Amazon in English here, or in French here.

**this post contains Amazon affiliate links which have not impacted the copy or the review given.