Book review: Lady Clementine

Lady Clementine

Lady Clementine
by Marie Benedict
Historical Fiction
336 pages


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I have enjoyed several books by Marie Benedict, for instance Carnegie’s Maid, and as I knew nothing about Clementine Churchill, I decided to read this author’s latest historical novel, Lady Clementine.

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2019: December wrap-up


📚 After a meh reading month, I managed to get an amazing month with 14 books read, like in October.

📚 SO, I have surpassed my yearly goal of 100 books by 18 titles.

📚 Of course, I’m way behind as far as reviews go, BUT I have a plan to change the situation in 2020! I’m planning on doing a weekly recap, where I’ll do a short review of books finished during my week – keeping my longer review format only for books received for review.
I have started doing a bit of this when I do WWW Wednesdays, and I realize this is the only way to go to catch up.

So here are the titles I read in December:

14 books:
9 in print 
with 2,350 pages, an average of 75 pages/day
5 in audio
= 30H37
, an average of 59 minutes

4 in historical novels:

  1. Olga’s Egg, by Sophie Law – received for review
  2. Treachery, by S. J. Parris – ebook, received for review
  3. Lady Clementine, by Marie Benedict – ebook, received for review
  4. Dreamland, by Nancy Bilyeau – ebook, received for review

3 in mystery:

  1. Le Horla, by Guy de Maupassant – audio, for The Classics Club
  2. The Lodger, by Marie Belloc Lowndes – audio, for The Classics Club
  3. Le cri, by Nicolas Beuglet – French audio

3 in nonfiction:

  1. Sur les chemins noirs, by Sylvain Tesson – French audio
  2. Elder Anthony of Optina, by Fr. Clement Sederholm
  3. Indication of the Way into the Kingdom of Heaven, by Saint Innocent of Moscow

3 in children’s books:

  1. The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate
  2. Roscoe Riley Rules #1, by Katherine Applegate
  3. Roscoe Riley Rules #2, by Katherine Applegate

1 in fiction:

  1. Parnassus on Wheels, by Christopher Morley – audio, for The Classics Club


 Olgas Egg The Lodger Le cri The One And Only Ivan

Sorry, I couldn’t pick up less than 4 this month!!
And to apply what I mentioned above, here are a few words on books not received for review.

Le Horla, by Guy de Maupassant [The Horla, in English]
I read and studied this story in France 7th grade I believe, so that’s a few decades ago. As one of my French students wanted to read something short (she has just finished reading Les Misérables in French – unabridged of course!), we talked about short stories and I mentioned that in my days, we all had to read this one.
So to accompany my student, I decided to revisit it, and to listen to it this time, also for The Classics Club.
I found an awesome recording on Youtube. The narrator is great, plus if you want to refresh your French, you can read the text at the same time! And remember you can slow down youtube videos.
I was amazed at Maupassant’s style. I had totally forgotten how he wrote. His writing is so modern, you would never think he wrote this book in 1887! There are both beautiful descriptions and successions of shorter, very lively sentences, describing the inner evolution of a sick man. It’s basically its short journal documenting his slow descent into madness, as he feels there’s some type of supernatural, invisible, and ominous being around him. It’s actually considered as a horror story. Brilliant!

The LodgerThe Lodger, by Marie Belloc Lowndes
Another great classic that I listened to for The Classics Club.
It was written in 1913 and is based on Jack the Ripper murders.
It’s the story of Mr and Mrs Buntings. They haven’t had lodgers for a long time, and they are basically starving for lack of money. Then one day, one guy arrives, asks for rooms, and pays them very generously.
But Mrs Bunting heard about a serial killer in town, and she starts wondering…
There were not too many surprises in the book, but the author did a great job on the psychological (apparently, the author is known for that) tension in the mind of the landlady. And the ending was a smart solution!
Plus the narrator is excellent at doing various English accents.
I didn’t know at all this author. Her mother was English, but her father was French. She actually has a famous brother, Hillaire Belloc, who wrote books on Roman Catholicism, very well known in France. I knew him, abut had no idea he had a prolific sister writing mysteries. Unfortunately, her other books don’t seem to be available as audiobooks.
Definitely an author I recommend.

Le criLe cri, by Nicolas Beuglet
Wow, I just finished listening to this French book, my first one by this author.
Brilliant. Alas not yet available in English.
Gaustad Psychiatric Hospital, Oslo. At the dawn of a freezing night, the body of a patient was found strangled in his cell, his mouth open in a silent scream.  Inspector Sarah Geringën immediately felt this case was very special.
And it got more and more puzzling: why does the victim have a scar with the number 488 on the forehead? What do these indecipherable drawings on the wall of his cell mean? Why do hospital staff seem so uncomfortable about his identity?
I won’t tell much more, but this story totally grabbed me. So smartly done, it’s about psychology and a special project during the Cold War – I won’t reveal you which project here. At one point in the book, I did some research, thinking the author had all made it up, but I realized this did partly happen!! I actually learned a lot, and the suspense was unreal. I’m trying to get the sequel as an audio as well.
The narrator was great, except at one point he pronounced the word Christ as to make it rhyme with mist!

The One And Only IvanThe One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate
I explained here how I got this book and why I wanted to read it, with the synopsis.
Well, I did also manage to cry on this one. Applegate has a knack for writing deep stories full of wisdom, in a very accessible style for middle graders. This one is about the strength of friendship, art, freedom, and hope, and is based on true facts. Very refreshing! Recommended to all children AND adults!

So then I decided I need to read more books by Katherine Applegate. I went to the library and checked out 4.
Roscoe Riley Rules #1 and #2 are short funny stories about a young boy getting constantly into trouble, although he means well and has always great reasons. This 7 book series is not as deep as the two novels I have read by her. However, they are funny and do have nice life lessons. Set in the context of trouble in class, they remind me a lot of the French classics Le Petit Nicolas, by René Goscinny, though they are shorter and for younger kids.

Parnassus on Wheels, by Christopher Morley
This is a charming and beautiful story as a homage to books and adventure! That’s all I will say, you have to experience it. I liked the old style, and the narrator’s voice and tone fit perfectly with the character of Helen. If you are looking for a short and nice classic, this one is for you!
Now I want to read the sequel, The Haunted Bookshop.


Classics Club: 8/50 (until September 2024)
2019 Calendar of Crime Challenge:
I read 32 mysteries, and most of them are crime fiction, but I’m not going to waste my time trying to fit the titles with the chart for this challenge. It contains categories like the author’s birth month. I have no idea, and for me, it’s totally irrelevant. I should have paid more attention before launching into this challenge.
Where Are You Reading?: 21/50 – to be finished in ??
Total of books read in 2019 = 118/100 – FINISHED
Number of books added to my TBR this past month= 25


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Olgas Egg

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Top Ten Books on my 2019 Winter TBR


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Come back tomorrow
to see the books I plan to read in January

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How was YOUR month of December?


Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction
has created a Month In Review meme
where you can link your monthly recap posts
Thanks Nicole!


WWW Wednesday December 18, 2019

  WWW Wednesdays 2

 WWW Wednesdays


click on the covers to know more about them


Olgas Egg




Sur les chemins noirs

Olga’s Egg
Received for review from Clink Street
VERDICT: The Fabergé eggs as you never knew them. Intriguing, lavish, fascinating. My best historical novel of the year.
My full review is here

Received for review through Netgalley
Another great adventure with Giordano Bruno, this time around Francis Drake. I found it a bit long, but still very satisfying.
Review coming soon.

Sur les chemins noirs
Believe it or not, I first heard about this French author through the English translation of one of his books: The Consolations of the Forest.
I so loved the content and its beautiful, both simple, direct and yet very poetic style.
This time, I decided to listen to one of his more recent narratives. After a very serious accident where he almost died, he decided to travel this time in France, on foot. He chooses as best as possible les chemins noirs, that is, the dark paths, in other words, paths and tiny roads that you cannot even find on the most precise map. Areas that are not yet under the gaze of Big Brother and the French government, who want to do all they can to connect the whole country to the internet, ignoring the choice of simple folks to go on living as they have been for generations. I loved it! So nicely written again on nature, but with this ardent cause to defend the right for people and areas of France to keep their deep identity.



Lady Clementine


Elder Anthony


The Lodger

Lady Clementine
Received for review through Netgalley
I have read and enjoyed several books by Marie Benedict, so I didn’t hesitate with this one, especially as I knew nothing about Clementine Churchill. I’m about half done, and I find it very good so far, especially at describing the complexity f characters.

Elder Anthony of Optina
Almost done with the life of the famous second Elder of Optina. I’m in the interesting part with excerpts of his journal.

The Lodger
I decided to listen to this mystery for The Classics Club.
It was written in 1913 and is based on Jack the Ripper murders. I’m almost done, and it’s fabulous! Especially the tension growing in Mrs Bunting’s mind about her latest lodger. Plus the narrator is excellent at doing various English accents.
I plan to read/listen to other books by the same author. Her mother was English, but her father was French. She actually has a famous brother, Hillaire Belloc, who wrote books on Roman Catholicism, very well known in France.





Perfect Little Children


Le cri

Received from the publisher for review 
“The year is 1911 when twenty-year-old heiress Peggy Batternberg is invited to spend the summer in America’s Playground.
The invitation to the luxurious Oriental Hotel a mile from Coney Island is unwelcome. Despite hailing from one of America’s richest families, Peggy would much rather spend the summer working at the Moonrise Bookstore than keeping up appearances with New York City socialites and her snobbish, controlling family.
But soon it transpires that the hedonism of nearby Coney Island affords Peggy the freedom she has been yearning for, and it’s not long before she finds herself in love with a troubled pier-side artist of humble means, whom the Batternberg patriarchs would surely disapprove of.
Disapprove they may, but hidden behind their pomposity lurks a web of deceit, betrayal and deadly secrets. And as bodies begin to mount up amidst the sweltering clamour of Coney Island, it seems the powerful Batternbergs can get away with anything…even murder.
Extravagant, intoxicating and thumping with suspense, bestselling Nancy Bilyeau’s magnificent Dreamland is a story of corruption, class and dangerous obsession.”
To tell the truth, I copied and pasted this synopsis without reading it. I have so far very much enjoyed Bilyeau’s books, so I want to go into this one without knowing anything about it.

Perfect Little Children
Received for review through Edelweiss
“The New York Times bestselling author of The Monogram Murders and Woman with a Secret returns with a sharp, captivating, and expertly plotted tale of psychological suspense.
All Beth has to do is drive her son to his soccer game, watch him play, and then return home. Just because she knows her ex-best friend lives near the field, that doesn’t mean she has to drive past her house and try to catch a glimpse of her.
Why would Beth do that and risk dredging up painful memories? She hasn’t seen Flora for twelve years. She doesn’t want to see her today—or ever again. But she can’t resist. She parks outside the open gates of Newnham House, watches from across the road as Flora arrives and calls to her children Thomas and Emily to get out of the car.
Except . . . There’s something terribly wrong. Flora looks the same, only older. Twelve years ago, Thomas and Emily were five and three years old. Today, they look precisely as they did then. They are Thomas and Emily without a doubt, but they haven’t changed at all. They are no taller, no older. Why haven’t they grown? How is it possible that they haven’t grown up?”
Another author of mysteries I have liked a lot.

Le cri
Not sure if I’m actually going to listen to this one. Depending on what book I get through the Classics Spin, I may switch. Anyway, that will be the next French audio I listen to.
It’s been translated in several languages, but apparently not yet in English.


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