December is nearly over, and it's been quite a month. The girls were home for the holidays, my sister-in-law stayed with us for several days, and we hosted or attended family gatherings galore. It was wonderful!
I'm still recovering from a bad cold and bronchitis, which I unfortunately shared with my husband. We had planned to leave for Florida today, but with neither of us feeling 100%, it's taking longer to get Christmas put away and pack for the trip. We're hoping to hit the road early New Years Day.
Before I post my 2018 wrap-up and favorites, I want to tell you about my final few books of the year. I still may finish my current read, Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny, over the weekend though...
The Dukes's Children by Anthony Trollope
It's taken two years, but I've finally finished the Palliser series! The Duke's Children was a fitting conclusion to Trollope's grand story, though I was particularly disappointed in the fate of one character. As always, I approached this long classic as a read/listen combination. I began reading the newly restored edition, which contains 200 pages previously cut by the publishers. Unfortunately, there is no restored audio edition so, after much frustration, I switched to the standard/free ebook.
The Duke's Children is described as "a compelling exploration of wealth, pride and ultimately the strength of love." It was easily a 4-star read for me, despite the fate of the above-mentioned character... and Simon Vance's annoying and overly sharp American accent.
Overall, I much prefer the Barsetshire Chronicles and would love to reread that series one day. But in 2019, it's time to move on to Trollope's stand-alone novels... possibly beginning with Rachel Ray or Miss Makenzie.
Finally, I want to thank my intrepid reading companion, Audrey, for sharing this Trollopian adventure with me. I've enjoyed our #PalliserParty so much and am already looking forward to the next project... whatever it might be.
Winter in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand
It's a story we've all read before. Husband dies suddenly and tragically; grieving family discovers his alternate, secret life. To be honest, I almost set this novel aside at 25%... but then somehow Elin Hilderbrand (or maybe the tropical vibe) managed to suck me in.
Set in the U.S. Virgin Islands, as opposed to her usual Nantucket, Winter in Paradise is the first in what will be a series of three books. As expected, this episode ends with a cliffhanger of sorts, begging the reader to turn the page... but we'll have to wait until next year. It's a far cry from the Quinn family of the Winter series, but I'll likely return for more.
Improvement by Joan Silber
I hope you've managed to find time to read during this busy season, too. What book will carry you into the New Year?