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Seeing England in a novel way with two new books

I spent part of last week with a family in London. OK, I wasn't really in England, but I was reading about it in "The Great Indoors" by Sabine Durrant (Riverhead, $14).

When the novel begins, Martha, who owns an antique shop in London, finds out that her stepfather has died. The death affects each member of her family differently.

Martha's sisters end up fighting over who will get furniture and a painting from the house where their mother and stepfather lived. Martha isn't really interested in the sentimental value of her family's furniture, though she does take home a bag of papers from her past. After she reads the old notes, she can't stop thinking about her first boyfriend.

Her sisters, however, are more interested in seeing Martha end up with a more recent ex, the guy she broke up with two years ago. They invite him to the funeral, hoping for the best.

As Martha tries to find a home for her stepfather's cat, she ends up meeting someone new. He's the complete opposite of her last boyfriend, who is a successful jewelry dealer.

The characters in "The Great Indoors" are a little stiff and reserved, but I enjoyed the story. The book's ending, though, was a bit ambiguous. I prefer stories that are more firmly resolved. After I finished "The Great Indoors," I just imagined that the story had actually ended the way I wanted it to. Still, I'd like to know what the author intended for her characters.

Another British book

Even though I have never been there, it seems like I spend a lot of time in England. I just can't stay away from those British books.

In "2Cool2BTrue" by Simon Brooke (Downtown Press, $13), a male model in London gets his first office job. The model, Charlie, is hired by an ultra hip Web company, 2cool2btrue, but their business plan is really never made clear.

The story was somewhat predictable. Not surprisingly, Charlie's Web site job doesn't work out. He meets a journalist who writes a profile about him for a newspaper. She ends up chronicling the crash of the Web site business, though she repeatedly promises Charlie she won't be writing another story. The resulting scandal ends up being bigger than Charlie had imagined.

I liked the book fairly well, but I'm not going to be passing it along to friends. Sadly, the story wasn't too good to be true.

If there's a book you think I really ought to read or you have information about upcoming author appearances in the Atlanta area, please e-mail rachael.mason@gwinnettdailypost.com.