It’s February here. I guess it’s February everywhere, but here, right now, this is meaning in-between temperatures. Warm enough to melt the snow that I love, leaving green mud and crusty black not-quite melted piles. Not warm enough for flowers or the shedding of winter clothing. Normally I love winter, but this year is just rough. It’s everyone I know depressed, overwhelmed, bones breaking and loved ones dying. Spring will make it better, right?
In the meantime, two books of the escapist variety:
Pirates! by Celia Rees who also wrote Witch Child, which I didn’t like but which was extremely popular. This one, however, is a great romp. Nancy Kington is the daughter of an 18th century Jamaican plantation owner, sent there for the first time after her father’s death. There she meets Minerva, first her slave, then her best friend. They run together from Nancy’s arranged marriage to an Evil Rich Man and Minerva’s Evil Overseer – straight to lives as female pirates! All the necessary elements are here – villains, true love, chases, duels and fabulous jewels. I know, it’s marketed for teens, but you’ll enjoy it too. Really.
Getting Mother’s Body by Suzan-Lori Parks. This is a road novel that starts in the mostly African-American community of Lincoln, Texas. Billy Beede is 15 and pregnant. When she learns that her mother’s grave, rumored to be filled with pearls and diamonds, is about to be paved over, she determines to make the trip to Arizona and dig them up. Her mother’s former lover is determined to stop her. Most of her relatives want a share in the loot. It’s told in first person, with each chapter being narrated by a different character. If you can, I recommend the book on tape – dead Willa Mae Beede’s chapters are nearly all blues songs, which the author sings beautifully in the recorded version.