I was beginning to think that November would pass and I wouldn't have finished any books. But I surged forward recently, finishing these three books. I've been reading mostly library books lately. You know how it goes: you read about a book that sounds interesting, you put it on hold at the library, you wait and wait, and then all six books you put on hold are available at the same time.
My Brilliant Friend and the other three books in this series are enjoying a recent boom. MBF was published in the US in 2012 and, apparently, went pretty much unnoticed. I was excited about this book, the story of two girls growing up in Naples, and although I enjoyed it, I don't think I'll bother to read the others. The characters didn't come alive for me. There wasn't a whole lot happening, just the progression of life. Not that that can't be interesting. It just wasn't for me.
Undermajordomo Minor was a delight! I heard it discussed on a video podcast about books that is one of my favorites. The Book Club (which used to be The First Tuesday Book Club) from Australia read it. I love quirky books and that's the best word I can find to describe it. It reminded me of Titus Groan, Alice in Wonderland, the film The Grand Budapest Hotel, and some campy 1960s things. A young man, Lucien, a.k.a. Lucy, is ill and is visited by a man who may be God, or may be a local beggar. Lucy is cured and goes off to find a new life, since his girlfriend dumped him. He gets more than he bargained for when he takes a job as an 'under majordomo' in the castle of a mad baron. It's a madcap adventure and I loved it.
I was looking forward to the next Elvis Cole / Joe Pike mystery, so I was excited when I sat down with The Promise. But I ended up being disappointed. I love Elvis Cole and Joe Pike, but there wasn't enough of either of them in this book. Joe barely appears, does almost nothing, and then disappears. There are some other interesting characters in the book, Scott James and his K-9 dog Maggie. Maggie is an ex-Marine bomb sniffing dog who has been wounded in battle. She could have her own book and is the real hero in this one. I hope there will be more Elvis Cole / Joe Pike books, but I hope they're more enthusiastic in them than I am about this one.
I guess I haven't done too badly in November so far. I have a few more library books sitting around .... and some more on hold.