1. The Girl Who Saved The King of Sweden, Jonas Jonasson
I loved 'The Hundred Year-Old Man who Jumped out of the Window and Disappeared'. I really did. And I loved this book too, which follows the life of the South African girl Nombeko from the slums of Soweto. Nombeko is extremely bright and has an innate talent for mental arithmetic. After being run over by a drunk and incompetent chief South African nuclear engineer Nombeko is ordered to work for him by a corrupt court in the time of Apartheid. She becomes indispensable to the man as she quickly grasps the fundamental nuclear physics that he cannot. A series of (unfortunate) events sees Nombeko escape from the compound where the engineer works, accompanied by a nuclear bomb that technically doesn't exist, and pursued by two Israeli intelligence agents (you'll have to read it to find out why!). She travels to Sweden, where her adventures continue, climaxing in the plucky Nombeko finding herself with the King and Prime Minister of Sweden and a nuclear bomb in a potato truck. She does save the King but I won't say how. I was really gripped by this book, and learnt a lot about South African nuclear armament and Swedish history along the way.
2. The House of Silk - Anthony Horowitz
I haven't read many original Sherlock Holmes books, but I really enjoyed Horowitz's take on it. He writes convincingly as Watson and takes the reader back to the Victorian underworld as Holmes, accompanied Watson, try to uncover the mysterious House of Silk, against the background of a multitude of 'typical' tropes, the rich client, a gruesome murder, links to the underworld of Victorian London as well as criminal gangs of Boston. What is revealed has an extraordinary relevance for today's society and recurring news stories, which I won't comment on. This was a really easy and enjoyable read, and whilst I found the ending a bit cliche I do realise that I count as a 'modern' reader. The plot certainly departs from the limits of Victorian sensibilities and stands in contrast to what Conan Doyle wrote about. Overall I'd recommend as a good entertaining way.
3. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
I read this book before, but I'm not sure I appreciated it properly. I absolutely loved it this time around, beautiful writing, a rich cast of vivid characters and a really gripping plot. The narrator is a young woman who married the rich widower Maxim De Winter after meeting him in Monte Carlo where she is working as the companion of an elderly American woman. She returns with him to Manderley, his infamous estate on the coast but is completely overshadowed by her own sense of inferiority to his first wife, Rebecca, a paragon of elegance, grace and beauty who ruled Manderley with a tight grip, organising renowned social gatherings and playing the part of the perfect hostess. In her obsession with her predecessor the narrator loses her own identity - we do not even learn her name - and as the plot progresses some dramatic twists and turns challenge all that we know, that the narrator constructs in her imagination, about Rebecca. I couldn't put this book down!
What have you been reading? Do you have any recommendations?
Joining in with Laura at The Circle of Pines.