Wednesday, June 19, 2013

2013 Reading, Books 58-60

58) The Fall of the House of Dixie, by Bruce Levine.

An excellent history of the Civil War focusing not on military strategy and tactics, but on how the conflict ultimately hastened the end of slavery even though that wasn't the Union's initial goal. I'd heard it before, but it still amazes me that so many people on both sides were surprised that blacks made as good soldiers as whites, fighting with just the courage and tenacity you'd expect of men fighting for their own and their families' freedom, and that black children given the opportunity to learn picked up reading and writing just as quickly as white children.

59) Defiant, by Pamela Clare.

For my personal 2013 Rita reading challenge, blogged about here.

60) The Ides of April, by Lindsey Davis.

Isn't that a gorgeous cover?

First in a new series of mysteries set in Ancient Rome, this book is linked to the Davis's Falco series, but it takes place about a dozen years after the last one, and we never actually see Falco and Helena. The sleuth is their adopted daughter, Flavia Albia, an independent young widow who's taken up her father's old profession and lives on her own. Falco and Helena are evidently doing fine, and Albia drops in to visit regularly--it's just that all those meeting are told rather than shown. Hopefully that won't be the case throughout the series, though I can understand wanting to establish Albia as an interesting character in her own right.

The book got off to rather a slow start, and I might not have stuck with it were it not for my long-standing love for the Falco series. But about 40% in, the story took off and I started caring about Albia for her own sake. I guessed the whodunnit fairly quickly, not to mention the love interest, though there was a sort of mini-mystery about the latter I must confess to being totally oblivious to until it was spelled out for me. In any case, I'm looking forward to book two next year.

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