Have you ever read a book by an author that made you immediately want to devour every other word he or she has ever put on paper? If so, then you know how I felt when I recently discovered the works of Kate Noble
I picked up The Summer of You because I had heard good things about it. I didn't know what to expect, other than it was an historical set in the countryside. I started reading and was quickly enchanted with Ms. Noble's lively writing style. There was nothing stiff or formal about the prose. Instead, the story was told in a relaxed, almost conversational manner, in spite of the fact that the story itself was not a frothy meringue of silliness. I absolutely fell in love with Jane and Byrne and even with Jane's rather self-absorbed brother, Jason. But, Jane and Byrne occasionally referenced events in the past that made me realize that there was a book before this one. So, naturally, I had to track it down.
Revealed is the story of Jane's "arch-rival," Phillippa Benning, and Marcus Worth, Byrne's brother. And, to be honest, Phillippa was super-annoying for large portions of the book. However, she slowly won me over ? kind of like she did Marcus. And, she and Jane had gone from being rivals to being on the road to friendship (though the road is very long and badly potholed). I wish I had read these in reverse order, simply because the last scene of this book leads directly (I mean by mere seconds) into the first book of The Summer of You.
I followed this up with Jason's story, Follow My Lead. I think that Winnifred, the heroine of this volume, may well be my favorite of Ms. Noble's heroines so far. She's smart and determined, but also slightly sheltered and naive. However, she's willing to do whatever is necessary to get what she feels is her due. And, it was very refreshing to see the Jason of this book be someone who could loosen up and take responsibility. He really grew into an admirable man between when I, as a reader, met him in The Summer of You and his happily ever after at the end of this one.
I finished up my binge with Compromised, which was Ms. Noble's first novel. I initially thought that it was unconnected to the other three, but then realized that there were a couple of supporting characters in Follow My Lead who were at the heart of this book, though they were several years older here. There's even a clever chapter heading in Follow My Lead that really only pays off if one has read this book first, though it still had me laughing in retrospect.
The only problem with an author binge like this is that I now have to wait several months before I have a new Kate Noble to read.