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message 1: by Diane , Armchair Tour Guide (new)

Diane  | 12972 comments Post reviews for books set anywhere in Europe here.

message 2: by Laurie (new)

Laurie | 632 comments The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon finished on August 19th. Set in Swindon, UK.

I gave this novel 4 stars because I think it is a fairly realistic depiction of an autistic young man's view of the world. Christopher is great at math and chess because he gets hyper focused on the task at hand and can envision math problems and chess moves like movies in his head. He can't stand to be touched, doesn't understand idiomatic expressions and cannot read other people's facial expressions. He also shuts downs and curls up in a ball on the floor screaming when he gets overly upset. These actions are so similar to the real-life actions of Daniel Tammet, the author of Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant which I read earlier this year. Overall an interesting and enlightening story.

message 3: by Jennifer (last edited Sep 05, 2016 04:01AM) (new)

Jennifer S. Alderson (jennifesalderson) | 138 comments My 4 star review of The House of Dolls:
House of Dolls takes place in Amsterdam and the author describes the city quite beautifully and accurately. One of his characters live on a houseboat close to my neighborhood and his descriptions were extremely familiar – well done! I also loved the very Dutch attributes he’s given some of his characters (calling while biking, constant presence of small, nippy dogs). The plot line about missing and abused children disturbed me somewhat, making it difficult to finish. However David Hewson is a fantastic writer and I would definitely read another book by him.

[[okay, didn't read the rules carefully enough -- I read this book in 2016 and reviewed it a few weeks ago. Wasn't happy with my review so rewrote it last week, hence the reason I posted it here.]

message 4: by Jennifer (last edited Sep 05, 2016 04:02AM) (new)

Jennifer S. Alderson (jennifesalderson) | 138 comments The Travelers is a well-plotted, stylish, sophisticated, fast-paced thriller that makes the incredible seem credible. It’s about an average Joe who makes his living as a travel writer. In the beginning of the novel, he gets caught up in extraordinary circumstances and spends the rest of the time trying to get out. No one is who they seem and no one can be trusted.
It’s a truly global thriller; its main characters taking a whirlwind tour of Europe, South America and the East Coast, with a final confrontation in Iceland.
I’m really drawn to Chris Pavone’s style, and a touch envious. He sucks you in from the get go and writes the kind of book I prefer to read in one or two sittings (when possible) because I like to get caught up in his characters’ adventures and the sometimes surprising plot twists. Having read all three of his books, I am in awe of his style, compact descriptions of place and plot, without going literary. These books stay true to the thriller genre.
I thoroughly enjoyed this and his first book, Expats and would highly recommend either.
**Just finished this morning, book was published in 2016. European countries play the largest role in this truly international thriller, which is why I'm placing me review for the challenge, here.**

message 5: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer S. Alderson (jennifesalderson) | 138 comments A few days before my husband and I set off for a week-long holiday in Venice, I popped into a local secondhand bookstore and spotted John Berendt’s The City of Falling Angels. I absolutely loved Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, so I bought it without even reading the description on the back. Imagine my surprise when I pulled it out of my suitcase and realized it was all about the same magical city I’d just arrived in! It is an absorbing, magnificent novel that effortlessly blends fact and fiction. The fabled city and many of her more eccentric residents form the soul of this book; art, opera and architecture are the main ingredients. Let yourself get lost in Berendt’s unique, almost conversational prose and follow along on his deliciously slow journey through one of the prettiest (and most mysterious) places on the planet.
[read in 2011, placed review today on Goodreads]]

message 6: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer S. Alderson (jennifesalderson) | 138 comments When I read on the beach, the story’s got to be light and quirky or it goes back in my tote bag. The Good Thief's Guide to Paris, by Chris Ewan—or really any of the other four books in Ewan’s popular series of mysteries about a globetrotting thief-for-hire—fits the bill perfectly. I actually dislike the much-displaced Charlie Howard immensely—yet somehow end up rooting for him along the way. An Englishman, he doesn’t feel at home anywhere and travels the world to get inspired to write his next novel—and then ends up involved in criminal activities that mirror his fictitious plots. Each novel revolves around Charlie’s bungled robbery of an artwork or antiquity in yet another famous tourist destination: Amsterdam, Paris, Venice, Las Vegas, Berlin… Ewan’s descriptions of each city are spot on and quite beautiful, in contrast to the wonderfully sarcastic tone of the novels themselves. The capers are silly, absurd constructions involving the shadiest of characters, which inevitably leave a smile on my face.
[read in 2016, placed review on Goodreads yesterday]

message 7: by Jennifer (last edited Oct 30, 2016 01:40PM) (new)

Jennifer S. Alderson (jennifesalderson) | 138 comments Hello all, it's me again :)

Just finished reading Blood on the Bulb Fields by Judith Cranswick. Wasn't really sure if a story about a tour guide on a couch tour would be my thing, but I loved it! Here's my 5 star review:

Blood on the Bulb Fields is a simply delightful murder mystery set in the Netherlands. The fantastic lead character, Fiona Mason, is a sympathetic semi-retired English lady looking to ‘do something’ with her life after her husband’s death. The story begins with her heading off to her first day at her new job as the Tour Manager for Super Sun Coach Tours, departing from Dover.

When I saw were twenty-seven characters in this book, I got a bit worried it was going to be a nightmare to keep them apart, yet the author manages to make them unique enough (without going overboard) that it was easy. Though it’s quite a large cast, none seem to have the motive or opportunity, reminding me a bit of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None.

The author’s engaging style of writing pulls you into the story immediately. Her introduction of a number of mysterious passengers and hidden agenda’s straightaway kept my interest piqued and my mind guessing. I was sure I’d solved the mystery, until I got to the last chapter and found out I had it all wrong!

It’s also a pleasant travelogue through the Netherlands, Delft, Keukenhof, Aalsmeer, Voldendam, Amsterdam, and of course, a cheese factory. I enjoyed her detailed descriptions of the countryside, villages and many tourist hot-spots; it is clear the author has done this trip before.

I adored Fiona Mason’s spunk and resolve and really enjoyed visiting the Netherlands with her. This is a character and series I’ve fallen in love with, and which I’ve already recommended to friends and family who love cozy mysteries. I can’t wait to read the rest!

message 8: by Cindy (new)

Cindy | 17 comments Mrs. Robinson's Disgrace The Private Diary of a Victorian Lady by Kate Summerscale Mrs. Robinson's Disgrace: The Private Diary of a Victorian Lady by Kate Summerscale

I can't image what prompted Kate Summerscale to write this book, but I'm glad she did. Based on the bibliography and notes, it is clear that a huge amount of research went into it. Summerscale takes facts from these varied sources and builds a flowing, cohesive narrative.

First, we're given some background on Isabella Robinson & her world, giving us context for the story. Then, we follow Isabella's thoughts & actions through the 1850s, as chronicled in her diary and letters to friends & family, as well as letters written to her.

In 1856, Isabella's greedy, selfish husband, Henry Oliver Robinson, confiscated and read her diary. Reading that she hated her husband, that her heart & desires went out to another, and that she implied she had been physically intimate with the other, Henry was outraged. He filed for divorce on the grounds of adultery.

Kate Summerscale then takes us into the broiling scandal raised by the trial, society, the press. A number of social issues are examined - lack of rights for married women, suppression of sexual urges, contemporary ideas about physical and mental health, the sanctity of marriage irrespective of oppression, and just how much truth can be inferred from a personal diary. It is a very interesting examination of the times.

Summerscale then goes on to summarize what became of the people in the story once the trial is over, giving us a sense of closure.

Not a group read
I read Sept 2016
My rating: 4-stars
Region: Europe/U.K.

message 9: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer S. Alderson (jennifesalderson) | 138 comments Drawing Conclusions by Donna Leon

I love the Commissario Brunetti series! Donna Leon's lavish descriptions of Venice never fail to inspired a serious dose of wanderlust. The cases Brunetti's assigned are always complex yet realistic and offer insight into issues facing locals (organized crime, ancient infrastructure, overwhelming number of tourists, poorly designed water works, and rich foreigners buying up properties in the centrum) without getting preachy. Highly recommend her books!

Read in March 2016, reviewed in November 2016.

message 10: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer S. Alderson (jennifesalderson) | 138 comments Amsterdam (group read) by Ian McEwan

Crazy is the adjective that comes to mind. Had trouble connecting with this book, but was also my first time reading Ian McEwan.

message 11: by Doreen (new)

Doreen Petersen Does anyone have books to recommend that are based in Poland or written by Polish authors that are written in English? Thanks.

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