Around Christmas time, if you were to ask a New Zealander, what he or she was reading, the answer would have probably been "The Luminaries". A mystery taking place on the New Zealand gold fields, which has got the Booker's Prize last year. It's starts rather slowly but then gets more and more elaborate and fast-paced. One of the few books, I will actually consider rereading a bit later.
#5 Kathleen Grissom: The Kitchen House
In "The Help" we were talking 1950s. Here is it is 1790s and the main protagonist is a little Irish girl, whose parents have died on the ship, en route to the New World, and so she ends up indentured and sent to work in the kitchen house with the black slaves. So again, the book is about the slavery and racism and humanity. Unfortunately, this book is a bit harder to take seriously, because whereas the events and people in "the Help" were mundane and commonplace - and therefore all the more outrageous, here incredible things keep happening all the time. An evil overseer, a lecherous old fiance, a crazed drunken husband (outwardly beautiful but rotten inside), endless tragic misunderstandings, a grand plantation house burning on the hill... It really felt like a mosaic of old Hollywood movies. The unhappy marriage reminded me for a bit of my favorite "Dragonwyck" (nice and hopeful neighbor included), but the latter gothic novel pales in comparison. And to top it off there was no happy ending, however unbelievable. Rather disappointing.