Busman’s Honeymoon is the last of Dorothy L Sayers’ novels about Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane. If I had to pick one of the series as my favourite this would be it. In fact, I did choose it as one of the books in my extravaganza of a birthday cake earlier this year. Why do I like it so much? At least partly it’s because it is unusual in following a fictional relationship through the wedding into married life. So many series of novels end with the impending marriage or resolved relationship of the hero and heroine. But Busman’s Honeymoon explores the complexities of a developing committed relationship. As far as I’m concerned the murder is simply a backdrop to the profound mystery of Peter and Harriet’s marriage and their growing awareness of each other’s multi-faceted personalities, vulnerabilities and sensitivities. The Lord Peter Wimsey of this novel is so far removed from the man we first meet in Whose Body? that they might as well be two different characters. Interestingly, his constant companion, Bunter, has changed not at all. It would take Jill Paton Walsh to alter that – but that’s a post for another time!
If you want excellence in historical storytelling for young people, Theresa Breslin’s novels are a good place to start. Perhaps because of this year’s centenary commemorations of the Armistice it is Remembrance that jumped to mind in compiling my list of favourite books, although, in fact, I will usually cite Saskia’s Journey as my favourite of her novels. Remembrance is a study of the First World War as seen through the eyes of two families in a small Scottish community. It’s a superb piece of writing and tells the story of this cataclysmic event in a beautifully understated and very personal way. There are dramatic scenes of course but the plot and characters are grounded in the real world of the time. It’s a compelling and rewarding book.