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I love books, and I like book clubs. No, really, I do. I relish a friendly meeting of minds to discuss books as much as the next person (if the next person is a librarian). The problem is, I have so many books on my “to read” list that I’m not always willing to make room for THE book the club is reading.

That’s what happened to the last book club I joined. The five (or was it six?) of us tried to meet once a month at one of our homes, to discuss the book we’d chosen. With a handful of kids between us and full- or part-time jobs, to boot, attendance had become spotty.

UNTIL…..we decided to discuss books “in general”, moved the meetings out of our homes and into restaurants, and, in the process, “saved” our club. We get almost everybody together once a month to try out new restaurants (or old favorites) and we recommend books to each other. Good times.

Over the holidays, I was invited to join a “virtual” book club. I’m calling it a “virtual” club because it’s the first one I’ve joined that’s based online, while its members are all over the map — it’s on Goodreads, and our first discussion is coming up this month — The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters.

Set in post-war Britain, the novel is centered around a decaying estate, Hundreds Hall, home of Mrs. Ayres, her daughter, Caroline, who is on the verge of spinsterhood, and her son, Roderick, who suffers with physical and mental scars from the war.

As the novels opens, the village doctor has been called to Hundreds Hall to see to a young maid, recently arrived to the household, who has taken ill. The good doctor was last at the Hall as a child, when his mother was in the Ayres’ employ.

The Little Stranger quickly becomes a Gothic page turner, and it has all the right ingredients – eccentric personalities, a suitably creepy period setting, and things that go bump in the night (and day). In the tradition of “if you like….you’ll LOVE…..”

I started and finished it this past weekend — and I’m looking forward to discussing it this month on Goodreads.