Since I’m not writing and the children are with their father in Arizona, I am reading. It is what I do when I am free. It is what I want to do even when I am not free. But when I write I do not let myself read very much as the desire to read overtakes the desire to write. I am far more enchanted by someone elses’ words than my own, and the thrill of falling into a story and being led from one point to another is never as satisfying if you know the story arc in advance.
Flying to Hawaii on Sunday I read Anna Campbell’s newest, her second historical romance and the follow up to her stunning debut, Claiming The Courtesan. I read the new one, a December release, Untouched, voraciously, starting and finishing it in one long blissful day of reading while flying over the Pacific from Seattle to Honolulu. This new book, this second book, is an incredible follow up to the debut novel. I loved the first but Untouched wowed me at a deeper level. It’s impossible and unfair to compare books but somehow I do, and despite loving Claiming the Courtesan it seems raw and youthful next to Untouched.
Untouched is everything a great novel should be: intriguing, tender, heartbreaking, rich, taut, and quietly sophisticated. In short, Anna writes the stories I want to read. Somehow she has managed to crawl into my imagination and discover all the secrets there–the shadows, the fears, the hungers, the desires and then she crafts her magic, taking characters and stories that hint of the familiar and beloved and makes them all new, and endlessly fascinating and impossibly magical. I did not want Untouched to end. I did not want to ever stop reading. Anna, Anna where is your next book? When will it be released? I am your devoted fan.
Following a brilliant read with a new book is always difficult and I often struggle to lose myself in a new book after I’ve just finished one I adore. To make the adjustment easier I decided I would read outside the romance genre, going for something I knew was a hot pick with the book club group and I’m glad I did. I’m just twenty pages shy of the end of The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield and it’s been a fascinating and comforting read. It’s one of those books that draw you in little by little with fierce precise prose and an unassuming protagonist but soon you’re snared–the protagonist is rare and talented and wounded and the story landscape unfamiliar which tempts with questions and mysteries, and one reads on to learn more. And more. And more.
When Ty finished teaching today and returned from the beach I could barely look up from my book. My head is so happy. It is thick with words, a tapestry of words that have contrasting textures–layers of velvet, cotton, silk, wool. Squares of fabric an upholster shows a customer. Look at this. See this. Touch here.
How I love to read. How right it feels to read. How right I am when I read.
How wonderful our world of words.