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As well as a mystery for subseuent generations to unravel Walter's considerable acting skills keep the long process moving As most of the central figures are female her very feminine voice presents few gender problems She occasionally shows s. A lovely rich often complex historical mysteryfamily saga of which I m tempted to say something like books like this don t get written any I m sure they do of course they just rarely appear on my radar But this one did and for that I am thankful it s a cosy book something to abandon yourself to and written with the same impeccable elegance that emanates from its main charactersThe book begins as the diary of Asta a Danish woman whose husband s work has brought their family to London Asta s account starts in 1905 and extracts from her diaries are intercut with the life of her granddaughter Ann in the late 1980s By this point Asta s diaries have been turned into a bestselling series of books found and published by her eldest daughter Ann s aunt Swanny Yet only now does Ann discover the diaries may hold the key to an unsolved murder uestions also emerge around one character s parentageAsta s Book is absorbing but uietly so it encourages leisurely yet attentive reading rather than the frantic page turning that seems compulsory for mysteries now This was a delightful change of pace for meTinyLetter Twitter Instagram Tumblr

Summary Ê E-book, or Kindle E-pub ✓ Barbara Vine

Asta's Book

Train with dialects but this is mitigated by her understanding of inner motivations Indeed it proves to be the personal uirks of the characters that both create and solve the mystery as denouement follows denouement to a surprising conclusion. Terribly boring and awfully hard work for a rather anticlimatic ending Too much bleak social commentary and not enough story which is fine but not on the fiction and entertainment shelves Redeemed by some interesting thoughtsFavourite uotes Hope is a horrible thing I don t know why these church people call it virtue it is horrible because it is so often disappointed P13 Hope deferred may make the heart sick at first later it leads only to boredomPleasire came laterInuiring about its provenance came much later p38 1988 In our society the extended family fast disappearing one sees one s cousins only at funerals and then very likely fails to recognise them p74 Love hasn t much chance of survival in a relationship where one person is always telling the other one what to do and bullying and preaching p 113

Barbara Vine ✓ 9 Read

Written by Ruth Rendell under the pen name of Barbara Vine the diary of a lonely Danish immigrant at the turn of the century became a bestseller in England Asta offers keen interest in life zest for storytelling and acerbic views of humanity. In the early 1900s Rasmus Westerby moves his wife Asta and their two young boys from their native Denmark to LondonRasmus parks his family in the middling neighborhood of Hackney and leaves for long stretches of time trying to become a business success For her part Asta doesn t like Hackney disdains English people has little interest in her sons and has no love for her husband who she thinks only married her for the dowry of 5000 kroner As it happens Asta is pregnant again characters in this book have no concept of birth control and is desperate to have a girl So when little Swanhild Swanny is born in 1905 Asta is thrilled A few years later another daughter Marie comes along and the family is complete Asta is a conventional and conservative woman of her time but she s well educated and loves to read especially Charles Dickens in Danish To assuage some of the loneliness Asta feels in the alien environs of England she keeps a diary In the journal Asta talks about many things daily activities thoughts feelings people children husband friends relatives servants neighbors acuaintances etc food clothes homes furniture ornaments parties gossip newspaper stories and so onanything that pops into her head Asta s diary entries spanning than sixty years are interspersed throughout the book which goes back and forth between past and presentAfter Asta s death in her eighties her oldest daughter Swanny finds the diaries Swanny has the first couple of volumes translated from Danish to English and publishes them as a sort of lark To Swanny s surprise the diaries become wildly popular a worldwide phenomenon In time additional volumes of the diary are published and Swanny as the editor becomes a celebrity in her own right There are meetings with publishers book signings public appearances photos in magazines and world travel After Swanny dies her niece Ann Marie s daughter a professional researcher takes over as editor of the remaining diaries As the story unfolds a couple of mysteries are revealed Swanny s conundrum When Asta is widowed she moves in with Swanny who has a rich successful husband and a lovely large house Asta loves to socialize and for her own 83rd birthday arranges a lavish chocolate party at Swanny s home On the day of the party Swanny receives an anonymous letter that says You are not your mother s child or your father s They got you from somewhere when their own one died Swanny who always knew her father didn t like her intuitively believes this She confronts her mother who or less admits Swanny is not her natural born child but refuses to say anything ever Swanny is devastated and haunted by this revelation and desperately tries to discover her origins When Swanny and then Ann get custody of the diaries they study them for clues to Swanny s origin but several vital pages are missing For Swanny the enigma of her parentage has severe psychological conseuencesThe Roper murder In her 1905 diary Asta briefly mentions that her maid Hansine has become acuainted with Florence the servant of a family called the Ropers Hansine asks permission to invite her new friend Florence to tea and Asta agrees Soon afterward Lizzie Roper is murdered and her toddler daughter Edith disappears Lizzie s husband Alfred Roper is accused of murdering his wife and the trial is avidly followed by the public Jump to the present and true crime stories are very popular A producer named Cary is planning to make a movie about the old Roper case She asks Ann the current editor of the Asta diaries for a peek at the yet unpublished diaries to see if the Ropers are mentioned again This leads to a loose collaboration between Cary and Ann as they look for information about the Roper affair Asta s Book is both a novel of psychological suspense and the story of Asta Westerby and her family Asta s story is uite compelling As Rasmus s fortunes rise and fall she goes from lower middle class to prosperity to struggling once again before moving in with Swanny I enjoyed the diary entries about Asta s fashionable clothes Danish foods blekage and kransekage household trappings love for Swanny crush on her driver and so on KransekageI also liked the description of the dollhouse Rasmus made for Ann called Padanaram This masterpiece took years to complete and was a faithful reproduction of the Westerby s posh home at the time I would have loved to have this dollhouse as a child LOLThe mystery portion of the story is also uite engaging I wanted to know about Swanny s heritage and was intrigued by the various theories proposed by different characters I was also eager to discover whether Alfred Roper was guilty or innocent of murdering his wife Asta s Book published in 1993 has the vibe of an old fashioned mystery It moves slowly and thoughtfully contains provocative red herrings and has no graphic violence except for one slit throat The book would appeal to a wide array of readers including fans of literary novels psychological suspense stories and traditional mysteries Highly recommendedYou can follow my review at

10 thoughts on “Asta's Book

  1. says:

    Did Ruth Rendell consider the novels she wrote under the pseudonym Barbara Vine to be her best work? I personally think this is than likely Much missed by her many fans since her death in 2015 Ruth Rendell was a very prolific and highly regarded crime writer with over sixty books to her name She won many awards and honours and continued to craft novel after novel even though she increasingly had other commitments She regularly attended the

  2. says:

    In the early 1900s Rasmus Westerby moves his wife Asta and their two young boys from their native Denmark to LondonRasmus parks his family in the middling neighborhood of Hackney and leaves for long stretches of time trying to become a business success For her part Asta doesn't like Hackney disdains English people has little interes

  3. says:

    71415 I've listened to this several times over the past few months on audio superbly performed by Harriet Walter As many times as I've read th

  4. says:

    While this book does have the clever plotting twists and turns I've come to expect of a Barbara Vine title somehow it just didn't have the same force for me Perhaps it seemed to go on too long to have too many red herrings Yes I did enjoy the unwinding of the diary and current day story but it all seemed just

  5. says:

    A lovely rich often complex historical mysteryfamily saga of which I'm tempted to say something like 'books lik

  6. says:

    This is one of those rare gems of a book that I literally could not put down Ever tried washing dishes with one hand so you could hold a book wi

  7. says:

    Once again I try to read Ruth Rendell this time in her guise as Barbara Vine I wonder if there is something wrong with me? I just can't take to her writing in either personification In this case I could not like AstaAnna at all I found her best selling book not credible and she came across cold arrogant and cruel apart from the early part of the book where she simply seemed unhappy and a bit spitefulAnyway it hasn't changed my min

  8. says:

    I was recently nudged toward this book by another Goodreader’s excellent review Apart from its rather complicated plots

  9. says:

    Terribly boring and awfully hard work for a rather anticlimatic ending Too much bleak social commentary and not enough story which is fine but n

  10. says:

    Asta's book is classic Barbara Vine and I loved it almost as much as No Night is Too Long and A Dark Adapted Eye I just feel compelled to ask why on earth was Asta's name changed ??? And was some one employed to go through the whole book editing the change ? Or did American readers open the first page and then find out