So, the reading kick didn't really happen as I had hoped. It took me almost a month to read the next book I selected - yet another case of slowly reading a few chapters and then finishing most of the book off in the space of a day or so. And then it's taken me over a month to start writing about it. But I do have an excuse for that part. I finished reading this while I was in the early stages of labour, and strangely free time has been in short supply since then!
Not wanting to make a decision I asked my husband what book I should read next, and he picked something by Robert Harris. Archangel was the next book for me to read (in the order they were written) and so that is what I read. Archangel follows an academic called Kelso in a historical-mystery-scavenger hunt, searching for a notebook that belonged to Stalin.
In the same way that The Shadow of the Wind made me realise my ignorance about the Spanish Civil War, reading this made me realise how little I know about the rise, existence and fall of the USSR. Possibly knowing more would have enabled me to get more out of the book in terms of background context, but just enough background was provided that the plot still worked perfectly well.
The characters involved aren't the sort of people I'de want to spend the day with, however they fit the grittiness of the setting and plot. While it's not the sort of book that I'm desperate to have back on my 'to read' list I enjoyed the time I spent reading it (well, except for the pain I was in....).