Short reviews: my last 3 for 2014

What link can you possible find between

 City of Scoundrels The Crown Unlikely Pilgrimage

Three audiobooks, ok, but hree different genres, three different periods?

Don’t wreck your brain, it’s simply the last 3 books I have not found time to review in 2014, even though I enjoyed it very much!

City of Scoundrels: The 12 Days of Disaster That Gave Birth to Modern Chicago, by Gary Krist

I really enjoyed this audiobook. First I have to say I loved Rob Shapiro‘s warm voice, perfect for me for the journalistic style of this book.
The premise of the book is fascinating: the author picks up 12 days in 1919 with events that helped to shape Chicago as it is today.
It was a total discovery for me that there were heavy racial riots back in 1919!
This short quotation will give you an idea of the events and also of the style of the book, that reads like a novel.
Highly recommended for those who want to know more about Chicago.

Several hundred white gang members –having shot up, ransacked, and set fire to the black-occupied homes up and down the street– celebrated with a riotous bacchanal. To music provided by a player piano stolen from a black home and set up on the street, they danced and sang in the flickering light of a dozen burning houses, drinking, firing their pistols in the air, and feeding broken furniture, toys, and clothing into the flames. It was a demonstration of mind-boggling barbarity –a spectacle from Hieronymus Bosch, played out on the streets of South Side Chicago, to the city’s lasting shame.

And if you don’t know the paintings by Hieronymus Bosch, I encourage you to look them up right now, that will tell you a lot about what was happening!

The Crown, by Nancy Bilyeau

Having enjoyed volume 2 of the series, The Chalice, and preparing to read and review volume in a few months, it was tome to finally listen to volume 1!
Yes, another Tudor book, but so very different than many others, as it is seen from the perspective of Joanna Stafford, a strong willed young Dominican novice.
Fabulous protagonist, curious, investigating, ready for mystery, adventure and the pursuit of truth.
The suspense is fabulous. I can’t wait for volume 3!
The narrator Nicola Barber is good, though at times I think remembering I would have preferred a less high pitch voice.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, by Rachel Joyce

Oh how I loved this book!
Great literary fiction, with awesome description of landscape and characters.
Harold is retired. On the point of mailing a letter to a former colleague who is dying, he decides on the spot this is not enough, and gets convinced that if he walks there on foot (600 miles away, with no former experience as a hiker, no equipment, no good shoes) he will somehow save her life.
This is a must read. The characters are so rich in their nature and encounters.
As Harold walks, he remembers his past and opens up to what he sees around him.
Beautiful writing voice.
I cna’t wait to read “the sequel”, written from the perspective of Queenie Hennessy, the woman he went to visit.




13 thoughts on “Short reviews: my last 3 for 2014

  1. I did read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and liked it very much as well. I especially liked that his wife Maureen’s story was a different kind of “journey”–an interior pilgrimage to the heart of her love for her husband which was stronger than she knew. And I certainly admired her patience with the whole thing!


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  3. One of my neighbors listened to City of Scoundrels and recommended it to me. I need to get on it already because every time I see him he asks if I’ve read or listened to it yet. Glad to see you liked it.


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  8. I also loved “the Pilgrimage…”. Absolutely wonderful and so much food for thought about the world we are living in.
    I definitely will have to read these Tudor books by Bilyeau. I have read a lot about Tudors and have now stopped for a while. This seems to be quite different though. And, after all, the Tudor time is very interesting. Thank you for sharing.


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