March was a miserable month for me, thanks to the man who sprayed his germs all over the carriage of the Didcot to Oxford train as I was on my way to meet a friend. That horrible hacking cough became all too familiar. What I thought might be a nasty cold turned out to be proper flu which laid me low for weeks, deprived me of my appetite for food, the savour of that quintessential British comfort – a nice cup of tea – and, worst of all, my ability to lose myself in a book. Many were started, few were finished. Of those the only one I’m not reviewing was dug out of my ancient proof pile out of desperation: S. J. Watson’s Second Life. I’d enjoyed Before I Go to Sleep, not usually my kind of thing but it suited a plane journey perfectly and was satisfyingly taut, reminding me a little of Christopher Nolan’s film Memento. Second Life with its premise of the dangers of engaging in a secret life online seemed to offer an easy way back into reading – untaxing but compulsive. Sadly, it was no match for Before I Go to Sleep – its twists were somewhat predictable and its coincidences stretched all credibility – but it was hard to put down and I did finish it which felt like a triumph at the time.
It’s the small acts of kindness from friends and family that get you through the miseries of life, both major and minor. In this instance one of those friends is a blogger pal – Marina Sofia who blogs at Finding Time to Write. A little while ago I’d commented that I’d been having trouble tracking down Michelle Bailat-Jones’ Fog Island Mountains which Marina had mentioned in one of her posts. Not only did she send me a copy but she’d had it signed by the author – so thoughtful and perfect timing arriving when it did at a particularly low point for me. I’m looking forward to reading it but I’m waiting until my brain’s fully functional. Hoping for a better April than March.