It was this good: I read three and a half books!
I finished Three Men in a Boat, and read The Time Traveler's Wife, The Beach House and The Observations.
Three Men in a Boat was very funny although the author does have a tendency to wander off into the realms of poetic fantasy now and again. His descriptions of the now mundane-sounding towns along the Thames are a revelation. Definitely a different age but very entertaining.
I finally got through The Time Traveler's Wife. I'm assuming most people have already read it. I still don't get the time travelling thing but overall enjoyed it as a simple love story - except I didn't like Henry and wanted Claire to end up with Gomez - which is actually quite a major distraction.
The Beach House was good in that it made me think, 'My novel is better than this!' and decide to dust it off, revamp and try again with it. I still like my heroine and I think the story is good although I know there are weak points. So back to the drawing-board.
My favourite read was The Observations. Daughter read it and lent it to me ages ago, saying I'd enjoy it but for some reason I'd put off reading it. It's an unusual tale, narrated by a fabulous Irish maid-servant. it reminded me of the Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre type of stories, although I'm ashamed to say I've never read those, only seen adaptations. It's very readable and entertaining with mystery, ghosts and love all thrown in. I really didn't know where it was going but that didn't lessen the pleasure of it. The reviews suggest that Bessy, the narrator, could take her place with the Becky Sharps of the literary world and she certainly has a very distinctive and likeable voice. Yes, a bit out of the ordinary and definitely a good read.