I'd had my eye on 'The Fishing Fleet' for some time and I've now made a start and am already delighted with some gorgeous photos and great tales of the adventures of young Victorian women making the 3 month journey by boat in order to bag themselves a good English husband out in exotic India.
And The Vanishing Act: literally caught my eye just as I was leaving the shop: it was the lovely cover that drew me in but as it was shortlisted for the commonwealth book prize I figured it was worth taking home. Also the wintry feeling of the cover and summary made me think of snuggling by a fire sheltering from the snow outside ** as good a reason as any! here's the shpeal:
"On a small snow-covered island—so tiny that it can't be found on any map—lives twelve-year-old Minou, her philosopher Papa (a descendent of Descartes), Boxman the magician, and a clever dog called No-Name. A year earlier Minou's mother left the house wearing her best shoes and carrying a large black umbrella. She never returned.
One morning Minou finds a dead boy washed up on the beach. Her father decides to lay him in the room that once belonged to her mother. Can her mother's disappearance be explained by the boy? Will Boxman be able to help find her? Minou, unwilling to accept her mother's death, attempts to find the truth through Descartes' philosophy. Over the course of her investigation Minou will discover the truth about loss and love, a truth that The Vanishing Act conveys in a voice that is uniquely enchanting."
* Today I went for Mr B's Emporium of Reading Delights
** It snowed this morning in Bath