The Books: The past reading week felt a little slow, though I did finish reading three books: Code Name Verity, The Life of Rebecca Jones, and One Dog and His Boy. All wonderful books in their own way, though Code Name Verity easily left the biggest impression. On the other hand, the Eva Ibbotson gave me exactly the kind of comfort and rose-coloured world I needed this week.
I am currently reading two books. One is Harriet by Elizabeth Jenkins*, which is published today by Persephone books. I am taking my time reading this title, since its subject matter is quite heavy. Harriet is based on the 1877 Penge Murder Mystery. A case in which a wealthy young woman died of starvation by neglect by family members who are after her fortune. In the book you follow Harriet, her mothers helplessness in regards to the young man who makes designs on Harriet’s money, the man in question, Lewis, and other family members who align themselves with him. What makes the book interesting thus far is that Jenkins managed to write very ambivalent about the girl’s circumstances. She is to be pitied, but we also receive glimpses of the humanity below the cruelty of the other characters. Added are reflections of the legal status of women and their (in)ability to protect themselves or their daughters from misfortune.
The other book I am reading is E.H. Young’s The Misses Mallett. I think after my constant reading of contemporary books in the past few weeks, I needed an outing to some older ones. I chose The Misses Mallett quite at random, wanting a book available in the public domain for the Project Gutenberg Project. Seeing as this one is a Virago Modern Classic, I thought I would give it a try. Since then, I have learned that other novels by Young are considered better. The Misses Mallett is about four women who tell themselves, or live by the idea, that they made a conscious decision to stay single, while still flirting with men. It is an interesting family dynamic, and different from other books I have read about single women at the turn of the century.
The Tea: I am drinking the herbal blend of nettle, lemongrass and cranberry again. It is my comfort tea at the moment.
Do they go together? Not necessarily. Both books have that disturbing quiet front with lots of tensions under the surface going on. The authors seem to consciously want to make you feel uneasy. Not something that fits the calming taste of my tea well, actually. But perhaps that is what makes their combination work?
Thursday Tea is a weekly meme organised by Anastasia of Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog.