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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Tuesday - First Chapter - First Paragraph - Asta's Book



Each Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea shares the first part of a book that she is reading or thinking about reading.  This week I'm sharing the first two paragraphs of Asta's Book by Barbara Vine (aka Ruth Rendell), written in 1993.  I'm reading this book for Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine month with my mystery book group.  I read it years ago, but decided to revisit.  See what you think:



     My grandmother was a novelist without knowing it.  She knew nothing about how to become a novelist and, if she had, it would never have occurred to her as feasible.  The alternative path she took is now well-known. 
     This is a collection of papers and memories:  my grandmother's diaries, an account of a crime and a transcript of a trial, letters and documents and the things I remember.  It is a double detective story, a quest for an identity and a quest for a lost child.  At the same time it is a voyage of discovery and a witness to the triumph of chance.



Blurb:

Lonely, ignored by her husband, a stranger in a strange land, Asta Westerby turns to her diary for comfort shortly after moving from Denmark to East London. Starting in 1905, she records the details of her new life and the development of her newborn daughter, Swanny. In the end, her journal spans five decades and becomes a literary sensation, offering an intimate view of an Edwardian life. But though the diaries are well known, few are acquainted with the dark tale hidden in their deleted passages.

Asta’s Book is at once a crime novel, a historical romance, and a psychological portrait told through the diary itself and through the voice of Ann, the granddaughter bent on unlocking the diary’s excised mystery.


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Have you read any of Ruth Rendell's books?  She was the Queen of the psychological mystery for many years.  This book was written under her pseudonym, Barbara Vine.  This prolific author died last year.

39 comments:

  1. You have featured one of my favourite reads of all times! I love Barbara Vine/Ruth Rendell but this one which has such a historical bent is my favourite - Enjoy!

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    1. I remember you telling me that you love it. I'm enjoying it, but I'm not going to finish by tomorrow evening. Ah well.

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  2. Oh wow. This sounds awesome and I've never heard of it before (though of course I'm familiar with the author). Must see if I can track down a copy of this.

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  3. This sounds great! I've read a few Barbara Vine/Ruth Rendell books and enjoyed them all.

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    1. I'm curious how others in my mystery group have fared with this author.

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  4. I really love that first paragraph...I'd keep reading!

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    1. Sarah, you're hard to please - in my mystery vein anyway - I'm glad I intrigued you. LOL

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  5. I've always wanted to try this author but haven't. I like the writing so I would keep reading. enjoy

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  6. I haven't read anything by Ruth Rendell, but I definitely want to at some point. I love the sound of this beginning and diaries always make for interesting book subjects! Thanks for sharing :) I hope you have a great week!
    My Tuesday Post
    Juli @ Universe in Words

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    1. I love reading about diaries too!

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  7. I've never read this author before, but the book sounds wonderful.

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  8. I love that opening, Kay. I've read one Ruth Rendell novel and really enjoyed it quite a bit. She's one of those authors I keep wanting to read more by (there are a legion of them).

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    1. There are definitely a lot of books by this author. I'm curious if anyone in my group reads her Wexford books.

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  9. There's hints of an interesting story but I wish the blurb was more specific. Hope you enjoy it.

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    1. Yes, it was pretty vague. Best blurb I could find though. LOL

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  10. Wow, I had no idea that Barbara Vine and Ruth Rendell were one and the same...and what a fascinating story! Thanks for sharing....and for visiting my blog.

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    1. She was both personas and very prolific over her writing life.

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  11. I like books that are based on diaries, so I'm sure I'd enjoy this one. The lost child and the trial mentioned in the opening would make me continue reading to find out what happened. I'm adding this to my TBR list right now.
    Thank you for stopping by my blog today.
    Sandy @ TEXAS TWANG

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    1. Yes, it's an interesting story - though it doesn't move fast at all. Very slow paced, but that's not a bad thing.

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  12. I haven't read Barbara Vine/Ruth Rendell in ages and I don't think I've ever read this one. It sounds fascinating!

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    1. I'm enjoying it, but I won't be finishing it by my group meeting tomorrow night. Oh well.

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  13. I like the opening paragraph. I want to read a Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine novel - maybe this one. Of course, that's after April 1st. I'm on the Triple Dare too. I'm glad you're back to blogging again.

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    1. Yes, I had this one prior to the start of the Dare. LOL

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  14. I have yet to read a Ruth Rendell or a Barbara Vine book, but I'm adding this one to my list. I would definitely keep reading!

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    1. It's a little slow paced, but I bet you would like it Monica, based on the books I've seen you read.

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  15. I would keep reading. I don't think I knew that Ruth/Barbara were one in the same.

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    1. Yes, I think it hasn't been generally known outside of the mystery world.

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  16. I definitely need to read this author!!

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    1. She definitely has a lot of books to choose from.

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  17. I love epistolary novels and this one sounds intriguing! I've never read anything by Rendell/Vine, but this one has my attention. Of course, I'm trying to read only from my stacks, at least for a few months, but I'll make a note of this for future reference. I wonder if it's any good on audio...

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    1. Les, this isn't really an epistolary novel - at least not the way I think of them. Kind of goes back and forth between the diaries and the present and the granddaughter's life. It pretty slow moving. I think I saw good remarks about the audio. You could listen to a sample.

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    2. Thanks for the advice. I'll see if I can find a sample on my library's site or Audible.com.

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  18. Sad to say I haven't read anything by this author...but I want to!

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    1. We had a great mystery book group this evening relating our experiences with our Barbara Vine/Ruth Rendell books. Lots of fun.

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  19. I've read several of her novels although none of the Wexford books. And, I have read a couple of there Vine books. Wonderful author. So how are you enjoying this re-read?

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    1. I finished it today and will have my post up next Thursday about how my book group meeting went. Stay tuned...LOL.

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Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy to hear your thoughts and will respond as soon as I can. Happy Reading!