I’ve been spending quite a lot of time in bed lately.

Oh, not because I’m lazy, obviously – well, not JUST because I’m lazy. (And not actually IN bed, either, now I come to think of it. Mostly just lolling around on top of the covers, feeling sorry for myself. But I digress.) No, it’s just been a short run of bad luck, in which I managed to catch two bad colds virtually back-to-back, plus a random assortment of other health-related woes, none of which was life threatening, thank goodness, but which all left me craving the distraction of a good book. Or three.

Here’s what I’ve been reading, in between mainlining Lemsip and complaining a lot to anyone who’ll listen…

3 books to read when you're sick
The Sisters
by Claire Douglas

I think this was a Goodreads recommendation, and I wasn’t sure I was going to like it, but it was only 99p on Amazon at the time, so I figured, meh, why not? It turned out to be a good decision, too, because this was one of those books I found myself still thinking about once I’d finished reading it – which is always a good sign, isn’t it?

The Sisters is the story of twins – or, rather, twins without twins. It’s less confusing than I’m making it sound, I promise. When Abi’s twin sister is killed in a tragic accident, she latches on to Bea – who just so happens to bear a striking resemblance to Abi’s dead twin. I mean, what could possibly go wrong here, seriously? Well, unsurprisingly, quite a lot can go wrong in this particular scenario, and when Bea invites Abi to move into the beautiful house she shares with her own twin brother, things start to go very, very wrong indeed.

The story that ensues is the kind of psychological drama in which you never quite know who to trust, and while the ending wasn’t quite as much of a shock to me as it was to some of the Amazon reviewers, it’s still worth waiting for.

The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty

I’ve talked about Liane Moriarty here quite a few times now, and I’m a huge fan of her books. The Last Anniversary is one I was particularly keen to read, as it focuses on the decades-old mystery of a newborn baby found abandoned in a ‘Mary Celeste’ style farmhouse, with no clue whatsoever as to what happened to her missing parents.

Now, I LOVE a good mystery story, as I’m sure most of my regular readers know by now, so this seemed right up my street. While I did enjoy it, however, I have to admit that it wasn’t my absolute favourite Liane Moriarty: that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good book, however – it just means it’s up against some pretty stiff competition, so if you enjoy mystery stories and/or anything by Liane Moriarty, it’s definitely worth a read. (Just try What Alice Forgot, first…)

(Also in its defence, I was feeling particularly rough the weekend I read this, so feel free to take everything I’ve just said with a pinch of salt. Other than the bit about What Alice Forgot: that’s totally true.)

Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart

Nine Coaches Waiting is described by some as masterpiece of the gothic mystery, so naturally I was all over it, as soon as I heard about it. (And honestly, even I’m surprised that I hadn’t heard of this one sooner, given how well known it is…) It’s the story of a young governess who arrives at her new employer’s French Chateaux, only to find that things there are not quite as they seem: which, I mean, are they EVER,? Because of this basic storyline, it’s hard to avoid comparisons with something like Jane Eyre –  there’s even a rich-but-enigmatic suitor waiting in the wings, and everything.

The ‘Jane Eyre’ comparison is definitely a good one, although this is a Jane who goes to casinos in fast cars, and is pretty handy at whipping up the odd dazzling ballgown, should the occasion demands it, so… maybe not totally like good ol’ Jane, really. If you enjoy a bit of gothic romance, you’ll probably love this, though: as for me, however, I’m going to have to repeat what I just said above – I enjoyed it, but I stopped short of absolutely loving it, and actually found some parts a little bit slow, which made it harder to get into than I’d anticipated. Again, some of that might just have been down to my general mood while reading it: so, in retrospect, a better title for this post might have been something like, “Books I read while I was grumpy”, huh?

Still, as I said, this is still a good read, and I’ve ever intention of downloading some more Mary Stewart, so if you have any recommendations, send them my way! I promise not to read them while I’m sick next time…

14 Comments
  1. Thanks for the recommendations, I love Kate Morton as I know you do from earlier posts, and also anything ‘gothic mystery’ so these sound right up my street! Hope you’re feeling better 🙂

  2. I love Mary Stewart. I always reread her books when I am sick. Try The Moonspinners or This Rough Magic next. I am glad you are feeling better. Colds are miserable.

  3. I adore Mary Stewart. Try Touch Not the Cat! It is one of my lifetime favorites! (Those are my favorites that would make it onto my top #X list.) It is a mystery, a romance, and even has some supernatural elements. Try her Merlin novels too, beginning with The Crystal Cave, for her empathetic treatment of the Arthurian legend through the eyes of Merlin from the time he is a boy.

    1. Ah, see I’m really not keen on supernatural/magical stuff, so I’m thinking I maybe just picked the wrong author! I did enjoy Nine Coaches, but none of her other books really appeal to me much, although I know so many people who love them!

  4. I started reading The Sisters but unfortunately it just dragged a bit for me, so I never finished it. I might return to it though. I’m going to be doing a similar post soon (when I manage to actually finish writing it!) so I hope you dont think I’m copying you 🙂

    Hope you;re feeling better! xx

  5. I just discovered Liane Moriarty and am tearing through them. Keep recommending and I’ll keep reading. Try some Georgette Heyer, particularly Why Shoot a Butler? The reissued series are even called “Country House Mysteries.”

  6. Oh God was The Sisters set in Bath? If so I read half then gave up. Or rather, hated it and went straight to the end which I never do.

    Mary Stewart is on my Amazon wishlist though.

    I recently read Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase and really enjoyed it. Synopsis “At Black Rabbit Hall nothing much ever happens-time seems to move slower at this idyllic holiday home in Cornwall. Until the worst thing happens and for the Alton children time feels like it’s stopped altogether.”

  7. Sorry to hear you’re feeling lousy. I always seem to catch colds in tandem too. My theory is that battling the first cold leaves you wide open to catching the next one. The only good thing about being sick, is catching up on reading! I hardly ever get time to read these days. Not really worth getting sick for though! I don’t really go for novels much – I like a good biography.

  8. I’ve had two colds back to back recently too but I’ve been t0o exhausted to read anything! The Sisters sounds great – I’m away to download it now. I enjoy Liane Moriarty’s books and definitely want to read more <3

    Gisforgingers xx

  9. I love seeing what other people are reading… I just checked out your “4 of my favourite books” post too so I have a few to add to my “must read” list now.

    Are you on Goodreads?

  10. Ha I JUST deleted a draft post about completing my Goodreads challenge 6 months early as I started it so long ago now it was no longer relevant – but one of the books I talked about was The Sisters. As you say, it stayed with me after I finished it. I plowed through it, I think it took me 2 days to read and although I didn’t particularly like ANY of the characters I just wanted to get to the end and the twists and then more twists.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.