I am so determined to stick with my three book rule (see yesterday's post) that I am hesitant to even start a new book, but I knew I would be choosing a prompt book, and for August it is "A Month in the Country". My mental list was much longer but it ended up being the stack of choices you see here for the simple reason these were the books closest at hand. I had a few other books in mind but I could not easily locate them and it's amazing how much time you can spend looking for books you know you own just are not sure where they have walked off to. Besides sometimes too many choices only makes the process even harder.
The nice thing about my prompt books is my intention is always to read it within the month the month, so my attention rarely strays. It's only harder choosing now since I know I can't choose another book until I finish one of the three (and soon four) that I am currently reading. So here is what I am contemplating:
First Love by Ivan Turgenev -- "When the down-at-heel Princess Zasyekin moves next door to the country estate of Vladimir Petrovich's parents, he instantly and overwhelmingly falls in love with his new neighbour's daughter, Zinaida. But the capricious young woman already has many admirers and as she plays her suitors against each other, Vladimir's unrequited youthful passion soon turns to torment and despair - although he remains unaware of his true rival for Zinaida's affections. Set in the world of nineteenth-century Russia's fading aristocracy, Turgenev's story depicts a boy's growth of knowledge and mastery over his own heart as he awakens to the complex nature of adult love."
The Saltmarsh Murders by Gladys Mitchell -- "Noel Wells, curate in the sleepy village of Saltmarsh, likes to spend his time dancing in the study with the vicar's niece, until one day the vicar's unpleasant wife discovers her unmarried housemaid is pregnant and trouble begins. It is left to Noel to call for the help of sometime-detective and full-time psychoanalyst Mrs Bradley, who sets out on an unnervingly unorthodox investigation into the mysterious pregnancy, an investigation that also takes in a smuggler, the village lunatic, a missing corpse, a public pillory, an exhumation and, of course, a murderer."
Miss Boston and Miss Hargeaves by Rachel Malik -- "One day in 1940 Rene Hargreaves walks out on her family and the city to take a position as a Land Girl at the remote Starlight farm. There she will live with and help lonely farmer Elsie Boston. At first Elsie and Rene are unsure of one another - strangers from different worlds. But over time they each come to depend on the other. They become inseparable. Until the day a visitor from Rene's past arrives and their careful, secluded life is thrown into confusion. Suddenly, all they have built together is threatened. What will they do to protect themselves? And are they prepared for the consequences?"
The Silence in the Garden by William Trevor -- "In the summer of 1904 Sarah Pollenfax, the daughter of an impecunious clergyman, arrives at Carriglas, an island off the coast of Cork, to act as governess for her distant cousins. It's a magical time in a magical place. But when she comes back almost thirty years later, after the First World War and the Irish Civil War have taken their toll, she discovers that there were things going on during that apparently idyllic summer which now horrify her and which cast a long shadow over the remnants of the family still living there."
The Country Life by Rachel Cusk -- "Stella Benson answers a classified ad for an au pair, arriving in a tiny Sussex village that's home to a family that is slightly larger than life. Her hopes for the Maddens may be high, but her station among them is low and remote. It soon becomes clear that Stella falls short of even the meager specifications her new role requires, most visibly in the area of 'aptitude for the country life.' But what drove her to leave her home, job, and life in London in the first place? Why has she severed all ties with her parents? Why is she so reluctant to discuss her past? And who, exactly, is Edward?"
Mary McGreevy by Walter Keady -- "After her father's death, Sister Mary Thomas leaves her convent to return to the family farm in the Irish village of Creevagh, where her status as ex-nun scandalizes the women of the village and her beauty attracts the eligible men."
Oh, decisions, decisions. If I started with the Turgenev (and I have the compact Meville House Novella edition) it would be quick and I could read a second book. Plus it is an 'easy' classic to slide into my reading. The Gladys Mitchell just sounds promising! Rachel Malik's book was shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize, so I expect it to be well done. William Trevor is always superlative. The Cusk seems the perfect book for this prompt, though I have yet to read any of her work. It might be a tad more challenging than the others. And I have actually read Mary McGreevy years ago, but it has been so long I remember nothing from the story. Now to make a choice and stick with it. Has anyone read any of these and particularly liked one over another?