Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Books 35 & 36 of 2016: His Other Lover by Lucy Dawson & A Child's History of England by Charles Dickens

After reading some relatively highbrow collections of essays I moved on to some lighter material (and almost instantly regretted it).

His Other Lover by Lucy Dawson came to me in a big bag of books given to me by a family member and I figured it looked like just the right sort of fluff to follow up the heavier stuff I'd been reading. Also it was next on my bookshelf to read, and I like to follow the order of the books on my shelf, so it was an easy choice.

Things seem to be pretty good for Mia and Pete. They live together with their dog Gloria and everything is good. Except Mia begins to suspect that her boyfriend is having an affair after seeing a text on his phone. Faced with this shocking news, she decides to track down the other woman and exact revenge.

The book is written in first person point of view, from Mia's perspective, and I didn't really like her. Honestly, I felt bad that her boyfriend was cheating on her but her response was so crazy that I couldn't help but root for Pete and Liz. She would have been so much better just to call Pete on the text and his behaviour and then just leave him, since as the book went on I just got the impression that she pretty much wanted Pete so that Liz (and anyone else) couldn't have him and didn't actually care about him all that much.

It took me a ridiculously long time to read this book (given the fact it's only 262 pages long). It was over a week. I think some of this was because I was just so annoyed by Mia! It took me a while to get a grip on the story as well because in the beginning it felt as though it jumped around a bit and then I kept on stopping and not feeling like going on because Mia just wound me up so much.

And don't get me started on the ending. It just made the whole thing feel sort of pointless. Nothing changes. I'd have liked to have seen Mia decide to leave and realise she can be happy without Pete, or Pete reveal that he's definitely not been seeing Liz and Mia was being totally paranoid. Neither of these things happened and it disappointed me.

After this I decided I needed something completely different so turned to my Kindle and pulled up the most different book I could find: A Child's History of England by Charles Dickens.

This is exactly what it says on the tin. A complete history of England, written for English schoolchildren, by Charles Dickens.

I found this to be really interesting, if somewhat slow at times. I started it towards the end of August and I finished it on my work awards trip when I read over 30% of the book. Because what better way to spent your time travelling across Scotland?

It was admittedly written in a way was blatantly biased towards some historical figures and very much in favour of others. Other writings that I've read have suggested different viewpoints for certain monarchs so it was interesting to see a different perspective.

I also felt like it went into loads of details for some eras or royals, but then less for others. Presumably this was to do with what information was available for Dickens himself but that didn't make it any less frustrating. The fact he was able to go into such detail in those areas made me expect that level of detail for everything.

I really liked the fact that it quite literally covered everything. It went right back to the Angles, Saxons and Jutes, then worked forwards to Queen Victoria. Even though that's where it stops, I still found it a really interesting history book and I'd recommend it to anyone, but especially those who might have a slightly shaky grasp on English history.

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