Yes, I have finally torn myself away from my classic literature and have chosen to join the more contemporary world, if only for a brief moment. Victoria Clayton was recommended to me by the very same friend with whom I discuss Jane Austen every time we meet up. She said I would enjoy the humour as well as the writing. So, I trawled the bookshops in town with no luck, then the charity shops also with no luck and was eventually forced to try amazon, where I found a great number of her novels, so I ordered three. I have come to the conclusion that they are so popular, people keep them rather than donate them. 'Moonshine' was the one particularly recommended, but that hasn't arrived yet, so in the meantime, I have read the ones pictured - 'Past Mischief' and 'Clouds among the Stars', both of which I enjoyed a lot. Past Mischief is about a woman coming to terms with the death of her philandering husband (and I, for one, was pleased to find he was dead as he was a horrible person!) and I enjoyed the humour as well as the intelligent writing and many quotes which sent me off to the Dictionary of Quotations. The author is obviously very well read and this comes through in her books - not just (and I don't like this phrase) 'chick lit'. There are sex scenes, but not gratuitous, over-described and cringeable ones and there is some use of swearing, but not done just for effect. The author does create some very lovable characters, although I do wish they weren't always beautiful. It would be nice to read about an ordinary looking heroine. The story had a lot of twists and turns, some of which came as a complete surprise, some which didn't. Clouds among the Stars was also a good read, with lots of characters and plot twists, lovely descriptions, and a mad theatrical family where the parents constantly quote Shakespeare and expect to be given the correct play the quotes are from by the children. It is also a detective story and has some supernatural elements in it. I am looking forward to starting on Moonshine.
Link to more information about Victoria Clayton: http://www.claytons.demon.co.uk/author.html