I'm deep in fifth century Britain with Merlin, and although it took me a wee while to get into the book, Mary Stewart is a storyteller of such skill and flair, and she has done her research so thoroughly, that I'm now caught up in this dark world of warring factions and conflicting beliefs, as seen through the eyes of the young prince with the gift of second sight; it's developing beautifully.
In contrast, I'm also in Illinois in the twentieth century at Laurelfield, home of the wealthy Devohr family. The book is in four parts, moving back in time from 1999 to 1900, and at its centre is Violet Devohr who is introduced in the opening paragraph:
"For a ghost story, the tale of Violet Saville Devohr was vague and underwhelming. She had lived, she was unhappy, and she died by her own hand somewhere in that vast house. If the house hadn't been a mansion, if the death hadn't been a suicide, if Violet Devohr's dark, refined beauty hadn't smouldered down from that massive oil portrait, it wouldn't have been a ghost story at all. Beauty and wealth, it seems, get you as far in the afterlife as they do here on earth. We can't all afford to be ghosts."
Violet's great-granddaughter is married to an academic whose research concerns a poet who lived at Laurelfield when it was an artists' colony. Doug needs access to the colony records which are mouldering away in the attics, but his mother-in-law Gracie "guards the files with a strange ferocity, raising questions about what she might be hiding".
So far this "literary scavenger hunt" is excellent, and I can't wait to read on, but if you're casting around for something new and you have a Kindle, may I point you in the direction of Niall Williams' wonderful, wonderful History of the Rain which is currently available for £3.08. I know I've gone on about it, but it's my 'best read' so far this year - there's a snippet of it here, and no, the irony of that passage quoted in conjunction with an e-book bargain is not lost on me!
What will you be reading this weekend?