My favourite monthly tag, hosted by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest, Six Degrees of Separation picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps.
Links in the titles will take you to my reviews where they exist. I’ve opted for a single link between all the books this month which should be obvious to you looking at the covers… Our starting book is:
What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt
Shamefully I’ve not read this. I only read my first Hustvedt, The Blindfold, last year. Being about art history, it really appeals, so I shall look to promote it up the TBR.
This is the first of Jane Thynne’s Clara Vine books, following the adventures of an Anglo-German actress recruited to be a British spy in Berlin in the years leading up to WWII while filming a picture at Leni Riefenstahl’s studio. She gets to move in high circles – meeting Magda Goebbels, and the other Third Reich wives. Thynne expertly blends fact with exciting fiction looking at women’s lives in Germany during this period in the series of novels. A wonderful series. You can also read a Q&A I did with Jane about Black Roses here.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
I will have to re-read this novel at some point, having read it back in the 1990s. I know everyone raves about Atwood, but I’ve always remained slightly cool. I own half a shelf full though – so I should try again…
The Maltese Falcon set the bar for all the great noir novels to follow, defining the main character types of the hard-boiled detective novel that will crop up again and again. Hammett’s style is more florid than Chandler’s, but between chiselled detective Sam Spade, the femme fatale Miss Wonderly and villains Joel Cairo and Mr Gutman, the scene is set for twisty noir.
Ferrante’s debut novella tells the story of a woman who returns home when her mother dies to discover her secret life. It brought modern Naples to life, but there was a strange preoccupation with bodily functions of the young woman. Can’t say I warmed to it much!
I don’t read much historical fiction, but I am a fan of Marina Fiorato’s novels which are mostly set in Italy. This is her second – and was inspired by the story behind the development of the original almond liqueur, Amaretto di Saronno, and the frescoes by Luini in Milan. This is a great read – ideal for summer.
Don’t Look Now and Other Stories by Daphne Du Maurier
I shall bring my covers tour of red outfits to a close with this most celebrated short story by Du Maurier. The other four in the collection are well worth reading too – I remember liking ‘The Breakthrough’ about a scientist aiming to collect souls at the moment of death – sounds grim, but it was years ago when I read this set of stories.
I have plenty of other books with figures wearing red outfits on my shelves, but decided to stick with those I have read – going through pre-war Berlin to the Americas, then through historic and modern Italy to end up in Venice and the ghostly vision of the girl in a red coat.
Where will your six degrees take you?