Hello and Happy Saturday!! And hello to February!! I wonder what this month has in store for us!! I’m just ecstatic that I finally got to get a photograph of a Kingfisher this week!! I just hope I now get more opportunities as they are an amazing bird!!
The book front has not been so amazing!! In my defence we have a decorator in painting our hallway so it’s absolute chaos and definitely not putting me in a reading frame of mind!! I just hope I can get back to it properly next week!! But I have managed to finish 2 books in the chaos, there has been some lovely bookpost and no visits to Netgalley! So that is a big positive!!
I have been extremely lucky to receive a copy of this in the post for review!!
THE GARNETT GIRLS by GEORGINA MOORE
published by HQ
In this brilliant debut novel full of heart and warmth, three very different sisters–and their free-spirited mother–must grapple with life, responsibilities, and family secrets.
Forbidden, passionate and all-encompassing, Margo and Richard’s love affair was the stuff of legend–but, ultimately, doomed. When Richard walked out, Margo locked herself away, leaving her three daughters, Rachel, Imogen, and Sasha, to run wild.
Years later, charismatic Margo entertains lovers and friends in her cottage on the Isle of Wight, refusing to ever speak of Richard and her painful past. But her silence is keeping each of the Garnett girls from finding true happiness.
Rachel is desperate to return to London but is held hostage by responsibility for Sandcove, their beloved but crumbling family home. Dreamy Imogen feels the pressure to marry her kind, considerate fiancé, even when life is taking an unexpected turn. Wild, passionate Sasha, trapped between her fractured family and controlling husband, is weighed down by a secret that could shake the family to its core.
The Garnett Girls, the captivating debut novel from Georgina Moore, asks whether children can ever be free of the mistakes of their parents.
Hello! Happy Saturday!! Been a rather chilly week here, lots of frosty days but beautiful sunshine! And no snow for us! We missed out on the fun again! AT least it beats the grey, rainy weather!
And on the book front it’s been a very good week!! Managed to finish 6 books this week which pleased me greatly!! Just 1 new addition to the Netgalley shelves too, along with 1 physical book for review!
One temptation at Netgalley this week…. HOMECOMING by KATE MORTON
publication date – April 2023
Adelaide Hills, Christmas Eve, 1959. At the end of a scorching hot day, beside a creek in the grounds of a grand and mysterious mansion, a local delivery man makes a terrible discovery. A police investigation is called and the small town of Tumbeela becomes embroiled in one of the most shocking and perplexing murder cases in the history of South Australia.
Sixty years later, Jess is a journalist in search of a story. Having lived and worked in London for almost twenty years, she now finds herself laid off from her full-time job and struggling to make ends meet. A phone call out of nowhere summons her back to Sydney, where her beloved grandmother, Stella, who raised Jess when her mother could not, has suffered a fall and been raced to the hospital.
Stella has always been a vibrant and strong presence: decisive, encouraging, young beyond her years. When Jess visits her in the hospital she is alarmed to find her grandmother frail and confused; it’s even more alarming to hear from Stella’s housekeeper that Stella had been distracted in the weeks before her accident, and that she fell on the steps to the attic – the one place Jess was forbidden from playing when she was small.
At a loose end in Stella’s house, Jess does some digging of her own. In Stella’s bedroom, she discovers a true crime book, chronicling the police investigation into a long-buried tragedy: the Turner Family Tragedy of Christmas Eve, 1959. It is only when Jess skims through the book that she finds a shocking connection between her own family and this once-infamous crime – a crime that has never been resolved satisfactorily. And for a journalist without a story, a cold case might be the best distraction she can find . . .
An epic novel that spans generations, Homecoming asks what we would do for those we love, and how we protect the lies we tell. It explores the power of motherhood, the corrosive effects of tightly held secrets, and the healing nature of truth. Above all, it is a beguiling and immensely satisfying novel from one of the finest writers working today.
And in the post I was very thankful to receive this book for review…
1989 by VAL McDERMAID
publication date – February 2nd 2023
It’s 1989 and Allie Burns is back.Older and maybe wiser, she’s running the northern news operation of the Sunday Globe, chafing at losing her role in investigative journalism and at the descent into the gutter of the UK tabloid media.But there’s plenty to keep her occupied. The year begins with the memorial service to the victims of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, but Allie has barely filed her copy when she stumbles over a story about HIV/AIDS that will shock her into a major change of direction.The world of newspapers is undergoing a revolution, there’s skulduggery in the medical research labs and there are seismic rumblings behind the Iron Curtain. When kidnap and murder are added to this potent mix, Allie is forced to question all her old certainties.
I was invited to read this one via Netgalley… so it’s not my fault! 😉
THE LADY OF THE LOCH by ELENA COLLINS
publication date – February 2023
‘Although I believe I will die here in this castle, my spirit will never be silent.’
Ravenscraig Castle, Scotland. 1307
When the castle she works in is sacked by the army of Prince Edward of England, kitchen maid Agnes Fitzgerald manages to escape north of Inverness to throw herself at the mercy of the Lord and Lady at Ravenscraig Castle. Although safe for now, the people of Scotland are fighting hard for their independence, and the threat of the English hangs heavy over the land. But when Agnes spies Cam Buchanan swimming in the loch, her mind turns away from war and towards love. Agnes even dares to dream of a happy future, until she learns that Cam must go and fight alongside Robert de Brus.
Twins Leah and Zoe need a change, so caretaking at Ravenscraig Castle is the perfect opportunity to get away from it all. Surrounded by rugged Highland countryside, and bordered by a loch, the picturesque setting is everything they dreamed of. But the locals are reluctant to visit Ravenscraig, and there are whispers of ghosts and lost souls. The sisters quickly dismiss such superstition, but soon the overwhelming sadness they feel coming from the tower grows too hard to ignore.
Can the sisters finally right the wrongs of seven hundred years of heartbreak, seven hundred years of betrayal…
And I received this from Gallic Press for review…
BIRTHRIGHT by CHARLES LAMBERT publication date – March 2023
A sublime psychological thriller from Polari Prize-shortlisted Charles Lambert.
Sixteen-year-old Fiona inhabits a privileged world of English affluence, though her relationship with her widowed mother is strained. When she discovers an old newspaper clipping of a woman and her daughter – the little girl a mirror image of her own younger self – she becomes convinced she has a true family elsewhere. Four years later, with the help of charming fraudster Patrick, Fiona drops everything to seek out her doppelgänger in Italy.
Fiona arrives in Rome to find Maddy living hand to mouth with her alcoholic mother. Spooked by the appearance of this strange girl wearing her face and stalking her every move, Maddy wants nothing to do with her. Caught in a surreal push-and-pull, the two are both fascinated and repulsed by the oddly familiar other, each coveting a different life. But they aren’t the only ones trying to control their fate, and the two women will soon learn that people aren’t always what they seem – though blood may still prove thicker than water.
Birthright is a dark, gripping literary thriller for fans of Ian McEwan, Rupert Thomson and Edward St Aubyn
Hello! Merry Christmas Eve!! Hope you’ve got the treats out ready for Santa when he drops off all your bookish gifts in the morning!! I have!! Just hope he got my list!!
And talking of books, it’s been a good bookish week as I’ve been trying to catch up on some unfinished books to clear the backlog! So 6 books got finished this week, 4 new books arrived in the post – so it’s all go on the book front! Isn’t it always?! But 0 on the Netgalley front so that’s good!
Had a little spend up at Galley Beggar Press and got a lovely Tote bag as a free extra! Ooh I do love a Tote!
INSIGNIFICANCE by JAMES CLAMMER
JOSEPH is trying to focus on a plumbing job he is doing for his wife’s friend, but is distracted by the terrible things that have been happening within his family.
Joseph believes that his son has tried to kill his wife.
Joseph is afraid his son will try again.
Joseph is also terrified that his wife is going to leave him. And that he himself may not get through the day.
Insignificance, James Clammer’s first novel for adults, unfurls over the course of a single day. Placing the reader right inside the head of its struggling narrator, it works double time, both as an act of empathy – a taste of the uncertainty and awkwardness of one vulnerable man, and his relationship with the world – and also as a tense, emotional and gripping drama.
Exploring the burdens of mental health as well as family life, as well as a particular illness called Capgras Syndrome (a condition in which someone comes to believe that a person close to them has been replaced by an imposter) – Insignificance is a deeply human story, a novel that portrays the thoughts of one working man on his own terms, without artifice or condescension… and a novel that takes us ever closer to the edge.
AFTER SAPPHO by SELBY WYNN SCHWARTZ
“What did we want? To begin with, we wanted what half the population had got by just being born.”
IT’S 1895. Amid laundry and bruises, Rina Pierangeli Faccio gives birth to the child of the man who raped her – and who she has also been forced to marry. Unbroken, she determines to change her name; and her life, alongside it.
1902. Romaine Brooks sails for Capri. She has barely enough money for the ferry, nothing for lunch; her paintbrushes are bald and clotted… But she is sure she can sell a painting – and is fervent in her belief that the island is detached from all fates she has previously suffered.
… In 1923, Virginia Woolf writes: I want to make life fuller – and fuller.
Told in a series of cascading vignettes, featuring a multitude of voices, After Sappho is Selby Wynn Schwartz’s joyous reimagining of the lives of a brilliant group of feminists, sapphists, artists and writers in the late 19th and early 20th century as they battle for control over their lives; for liberation and for justice.
Sarah Bernhard – Colette – Eleanora Duse – Lina Poletti – Josephine Baker – Virginia Woolf… these are just a few of the women (some famous, others hitherto unsung) sharing the pages of a novel as fierce as it is luminous. Lush and poetic; furious and funny; in After Sappho, Selby Wynn Schwartz has created a novel that celebrates the women and trailblazers of the past – and also offers hope for our present, and our futures.
ENGLISH MAGIC by USCHI GATWARD
English Magic moves through fields and parklands, urban estates and empty beaches, upmarket art galleries, scuffed corner shops. It lands at Heathrow Airport, takes a taxi to the suburbs, finds emptiness and oppression. It strikes out for the countryside on May Day to where there are maypoles and fire blazing haybales, and where blessings sound like threats. It takes a train to the sea. The rain powers down. The beach is damp. Balloons pop. It in a flat, drags itself out of half sleep… and there something tapping behind the gas fire. Scraping and flurrying. What is it? In her debut collection of short stories, the prize winning author Uschi Gatward takes us on a tour of an England simultaneously domestic and wild, familiar and strange, real and imagined. Coupling the past and the present, merging the surreal and the mundane, English Magic is a collection full of humour and warmth, subversion and intoxication a and announcing the arrival of a shining new talent.
THE PERCEPTION OF DOLLS by ANTHONY CROIX
And from Fahrenheit Press Book Subscription is this newbie
“It’s almost as if history is trying to erase the whole affair.” – Anthony Croix
The triple murder and failed suicide that took place at 37 Fantoccini Street in 2001, raised little media interest at the time. In a week heavy with global news, a ‘domestic tragedy’ warranted few column inches. The case was open and shut, the inquest was brief and the ‘Doll Murders’ – little more than a footnote in the ledgers of Britain’s true crime enthusiasts – were largely forgotten.
Nevertheless, investigations were made, police files generated, testimonies recorded, and conclusions reached. The reports are there, a matter of public record, for those with a mind to look.
The details of what took place in Fantoccini Street in the years that followed are less accessible. The people involved in the field trips to number 37 are often unwilling, or unable, to talk about what they witnessed. The hours of audio recordings, video tapes, written accounts, photographs, drawings, and even online postings are elusive, almost furtive.
In fact, were it not for a chance encounter between the late Anthony Croix and an obsessive collector of Gothic dolls, the Fantoccini Street Reports might well have been lost forever.
Was very lucky to receive 2 books from the publishers to review..
THE TOLL HOUSE by CARLY REAGON
The past isn’t always dead and buried . . .
A house with history. That’s how the estate agent described the old toll house on the edge of the town. For Kelda it’s the perfect rural home for her young son Dylan after a difficult few years.
But when Kelda finds a death mask concealed behind one of the walls, everything changes. Inexplicable things happen in the house, Kelda cannot shake the feeling of being watched and Dylan is plagued by nightmares, convinced he can see figures in his room. As Dylan’s behaviour becomes increasingly challenging, Kelda seeks answers in the house’s mysterious past. But she’s running out of time.
Because something has awoken.
And now it won’t rest . . .
THE VIRAGO BOOK OF WITCHES by SHAHRUKH HUSAIN
For Daughters of the Moon, folklorist Shahrukh Husain has gathered more than fifty tales of witches and witchcraft from more than thirty cultures worldwide. Here are femme fatales who sap men’s strength and lure them to their doom, cannibalistic hags who prey on abandoned children, shape-shifters who can change themselves and others into animals and worse, and wise women who render aid and comfort in sometimes inexplicable ways.
And over at Netgalley…..
THE DARLINGS OF THE ASYLUM by NOEL O’REILLY
publication date – December 2022
To marry is madness. To escape is impossible. Noel O’Reilly returns with a gripping historical novel about a woman locked in a Victorian asylum against her will…
She wakes in a strange, stark room. Through the bare walls she hears muffled cries and yells. The label on her unfamiliar, starched gown reads PROPERTY OF HILLWOOD GRANGE LUNATIC ASYLUM. Her heart thumps as a key rattles in the lock…
In 1886, a respectable young woman must acquire a husband. Violet Pring’s scheming mother has secured a desirable marriage proposal from an eligible Brighton gentleman. But Violet does not want to marry. She longs to be a professional artist and live on her own terms.
Violet’s family believes she is deranged and deluded, so she is locked away in Hillwood Grange against her will. In her new cage, Violet faces an even greater challenge: she must escape the clutches of a sinister and formidable doctor and set herself free.
This tantalizing gothic novel from Noel O’Reilly tells a thrilling story of duty and desire, madness and sanity, truth and delusion, told from within a Victorian asylum.
NORWAY by CLAUDIA MARTIN
Presented in a landscape format and with captions explaining the story behind each entry, Norway is a stunning collection of images celebrating this striking country.
Did you know that Oslo is the only capital city in Europe where you can go cross-country skiing? Just take your skis on the metro to the suburbs and ski off from the platform across the frozen, snowy landscape. Stretching so far from north to south, and from west to east—the country reaches further east than St. Petersburg—Norway has a larger number of different habitats than almost any other European country. It has Scandinavia’s most spectacular fjords, steep mountains, pretty fishing villages, beautiful beaches—and continental Europe’s largest glacier. From remote settlements within the Arctic Circle to Oslo’s lively city life, from the northern lights to the white nights when the sun never sets, from sculpture gardens to immense bridges linking the country’s many islands, Norway is a fascinating exploration of this increasingly popular tourist destination.
JAPAN by MELANIE CLEGG
Presented in a landscape format and with captions explaining the story behind each entry, Japan is a stunning collection of images celebrating the world’s most vibrant country.
From shrines to megacities, from paddy fields to high-speed trains to the latest in digital technology, Japan is a fascinating mix of the ancient and modern, of East and West. Featuring castles and hot springs, remote volcanic islands and intense high-rises, delicate tea ceremonies and busy cities, medieval bridges and modern flyovers, Japan presents outstanding color photographs depicting a wide range of perspectives on Japanese life. From farming to engineering, war memorials to the devastation of the Tohoku tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster, the beauty of Kyoto to the bustle of Tokyo, a great many sides to the Land of the Rising Sun are explored.
Boo!! Happy Saturday all! And a very warm end to the month here – what’s going on??!! Time for an ice cream I think!!
And on to books! Another quiet week for me as other stuff has distracted me! But I’ve been getting in to the festive spirit by finishing 2 Christmas books! Netgalley only made me click once this week and there has been some book post too!!
From the internationally bestselling author of The Mountains Sing, a suspenseful and moving saga about family secrets, hidden trauma, and the overriding power of forgiveness, set during the war and in present-day Việt Nam.
In 1969, sisters Trang and Quỳnh, desperate to help their parents pay off debts, leave their rural village and become “bar girls” in Sài Gòn, drinking, flirting (and more) with American GIs in return for money. As the war moves closer to the city, the once-innocent Trang gets swept up in an irresistible romance with a young and charming American helicopter pilot, Dan. Decades later, Dan returns to Việt Nam with his wife, Linda, hoping to find a way to heal from his PTSD and, unbeknownst to her, reckon with secrets from his past.
At the same time, Phong—the son of a Black American soldier and a Vietnamese woman—embarks on a search to find both his parents and a way out of Việt Nam. Abandoned in front of an orphanage, Phong grew up being called “the dust of life,” “Black American imperialist,” and “child of the enemy,” and he dreams of a better life for himself and his family in the U.S.
Past and present converge as these characters come together to confront decisions made during a time of war—decisions that force them to look deep within and find common ground across race, generation, culture, and language. Suspenseful, poetic, and perfect for readers of Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko or Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing, Dust Child tells an unforgettable and immersive story of how those who inherited tragedy can redefine their destinies through love, hard-earned wisdom, compassion, courage, and joy.
The lovely folk at Gallic Press kindly sent me a copy of this one to review…
DEVILS AND SAINTS by JEAN-BAPTISTE ANDREA
publication – December 2022
An elderly man gives virtuoso piano performances in airports and train stations. To the incredulity of the passers-by, he refuses their offers to play in concert halls, or at prestigious gatherings. He is waiting for someone, he tells them.
Joseph was just sixteen when he was sent to a religious boarding school in the Pyrenees: les Confins, a dumping ground for waifs, strays, and other abandoned souls. His days were filled with routine and drudgery, and he thought longingly of the solace he found through music in his former life.
Joe dreams constantly of escape, but it seems impossible. That is, until a chance encounter with the orphanage’s benefactor leads him to Rose, and a plan begins to form…
Humorous even in its darkest moments, Devils and Saints tells a daring tale of camaraderie, love, and good triumphing over evil.
And then my monthly subscription book from the fabulous Renard Press was this pick…
WIT & ACID by GEORGE BERNARD SHAW
‘If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.’
One of the most prolific and respected playwrights of the twentieth century, Bernard Shaw’s legacy shows no signs of waning, and his beautifully written plays, laced with wry wit and invective alike, have seen countless performances over the years, their finest lines paraded in literary conversation and review.
Meticulously selected by Simon Mundy, Wit and Acid collects the sharpest lines from the Shaw’s oeuvre in one neat volume, allowing the reader to sample some of the very best barbs and one-liners the twentieth century has to offer.
‘He was a Tolstoy with jokes, a modern Dr Johnson, a universal genius who on his own modest reckoning put even Shakespeare in the shade.’ The Independent
And then I found this signed copy in a local charity shop the other day…
.NORA WEBSTER by COLM TOIBIN
From one of contemporary literature’s most acclaimed and beloved authors comes this magnificent new novel set in a small town in Ireland in the 1960s, where a fiercely compelling, too-young widow and mother of four moves from grief, fear, and longing to unexpected discovery. Toibin’s portrayal of the intricacy and drama of ordinary lives brings to mind of the work of Alice Munro. Set in Wexford, Ireland, and in breathtaking Ballyconnigar by the sea, Colm Toibin’s tour de force eighth novel introduces the formidable, memorable Nora Webster. Widowed at 40, with four children and not enough money, Nora has lost the love of her life, Maurice, the man who rescued her from the stifling world she was born into. Wounded and self-centred from grief and the need to provide for her family, she struggles to be attentive to her children’s needs and their own difficult loss. In masterfully detailing the intimate lives of one small family, Toibin has given us a vivid portrait of a time and an intricately woven tapestry of lives in a small town where everyone knows everyone’s business, and where well-meaning gestures often have unforeseen consequences. Toibin has created one of contemporary fiction’s most memorable female characters, one who has the strength and depth of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler. In Nora Webster, Colm Toibin is writing at the height of his powers.
Hello all! Another Saturday arrives!! And it’s been a week of pretty decent weather so I’m trying to make the most of it while it’s about!! Even a few butterflies still about locally and my gardening exploits continue – that means I’ve been buying more plants!!
And speaking of buying, there may have been some book purchasing going on too! Still not been reading too much as been too distracted but have managed to finish off 2 books. I’ve avoided Netgalley too but received 1 book for review, and treated myself to 4 new books! Just because lol!
Let’s start with the lovely book I got to review from Red Door Press
THE CONJUROR’S APPRENTICE by G J WILLIAMS
When a battered body is more than murder…it heralds the end of a dynasty.
Pulling the battered body of a young boy out of the Thames was not unusual in the cruel England of Bloody Mary. But this was different. The messages on his body tell of a plot which will take the queen’s sister, Elizabeth, to The Tower heralding the end of the Tudor dynasty and England’s freedom as a nation. Margaretta Morgan, apprenticed to Doctor John Dee for her strange gift of seeing the thoughts of others, will face her first murder mystery. Guided by her master’s brilliance and ability to commune with the other side, she will uncover the evil and intrigue which goes to the very heart of Court.
I hadn’t added to my Clothbound Classics collection for a while so this is the result!!
EMMA by JANE AUSTEN
Emma Woodhouse believes herself to be an excellent matchmaker, though she herself does not plan on marrying. But as she meddles in the relationships of others, she causes confusion and misunderstandings throughout the village, and she just may be overlooking a true love of her own.
This edition is part of the Penguin Classics Clothbound series designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith.
MIDDLEMARCH by GEORGE ELIOT
George Eliot’s most ambitious novel is a masterly evocation of diverse lives and changing fortunes in a provincial community. Peopling its landscape are Dorothea Brooke, a young idealist whose search for intellectual fulfillment leads her into a disastrous marriage to the pedantic scholar Casaubon; the charming but tactless Dr Lydgate, whose marriage to the spendthrift beauty Rosamund and pioneering medical methods threaten to undermine his career; and the religious hypocrite Bulstrode, hiding scandalous crimes from his past. As their stories interweave, George Eliot creates a richly nuanced and moving drama, hailed by Virginia Woolf as ‘one of the few English novels written for adult people’.
This edition is part of the Penguin Classics Clothbound series designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith.
SANDITON by JANE AUSTEN
Charlotte Heywood is privileged to accompany Mr and Mrs Parker to their home in Sanditon – not least because, they assure her, it is soon to become the fashionable epicentre of society summers. Finding the town all but deserted, she is party to the machinations of her socially mobile hosts in their attempts to gather a respectable crowd, and Austen assembles a classic cast of characters of varying degrees of absurdity of sense.
The last of Austen’s fiction works, written in the year before her death, when she was gravely ill, Sanditon affords a glimpse of the ultimate creative powers and preoccupations of one of the greatest figures in English literature.
And then another treat for myself from the Blackwell’s 12 hour sale recently….
THE BEDSIDE BOOK OF BIRDS by GRAEME GIBSON
Featuring a new foreword by Margaret Atwood!
In this stunning assemblage of words and images, novelist and avid birdwatcher Graeme Gibson offers an extraordinary tribute to the venerable relationship between humans and birds.
From the Aztec plumed serpent to the Christian dove to Plato’s vision of the human soul growing wings, religion and philosophy use birds to represent our aspirational selves. Winged creatures appear in mythology and folk tales, and in literature by writers as diverse as Ovid, Thoreau, and T. S. Eliot. They’ve been omens, allegories, and guides; they’ve been worshipped, eaten, and feared. Birds figure tellingly in the work of such nature writers as Gilbert White and Peter Matthiessen, and are synonymous with the science of Darwin.
Gibson spent years collecting this gorgeously illustrated celebration of centuries of human response to the delights of the feathered tribes. The Bedside Book of Birds is for everyone who is intrigued by the artistic forms that humanity creates to represent its soul.
Hello all and Happy October! How the flip did that happen?!! Got a lovely surprise out on a local walk too this past week when this little stoat appeared for a quick pose!! Put a smile on my face as it’s been a very emotional week with the unexpected passing of a dear friend 😦
So on to books, and I haven’t really been in the reading mood much so just 2 books finished this week but Netgalley and bookshops led me astray so 2 new NG shelf additions along with 4 physical books!
Naughty Netgalley tempted me with these this week…
HEX APPEAL by KATE JOHNSON
publication – October 2022
It’s just a bunch of hocus pocus…
Essie Winterscale lives in a huge and ever-changing house in the village of Good Winter, in deepest, darkest Essex. She lives with various witches of various ages, one of whom is still a bit salty about having been burned at the stake in 1635, one who keeps accidentally casting fertility spells, and one who knits things that create the future.
All Essie ever wanted was to have a normal life but in the end she found herself drawn back to Beldam House because she just can’t stop her witchiness (although the ability to instantly chill wine is pretty awesome, even she has to admit).
Into this coven of chaos stumbles gorgeous, clueless Josh, their new landlord – and he’s just discovered his tenants haven’t paid rent since the 1700s! As Josh is drawn further into the lives of the inhabitants of Beldam House, Essie is determined to keep him at broomstick’s length. That is, until a family secret, lying hidden for centuries, puts Josh firmly under her spell…
WEYWARD by EMILIA HART
publication – February 2023
Three women. Five centuries. One secret.
‘I had nature in my heart, she said. Like she did, and her mother before her. There was something about us – the Weyward women – that bonded us more tightly with the natural world. We can feel it, she said, the same way we feel rage, sorrow or joy.’
In 2019, Kate flees an abusive relationship in London for Crows Beck, a remote Cumbrian village. Her destination is Weyward Cottage, inherited from her great Aunt Violet, an eccentric entomologist.
As Kate struggles with the trauma of her past, she uncovers a secret about the women in her family. A secret dating back to 1619, when her ancestor Altha Weyward was put on trial for witchcraft…
Weyward is a stunning debut novel about gender and control – about the long echoes of male violence through the centuries. But more than that, it is a celebration of nature, female power and breaking free.
And then I went shopping….
TREACLE WALKER by ALAN GARNER
Treacle Walker is a stunning fusion of myth and folklore and an exploration of the fluidity of time, vivid storytelling that brilliantly illuminates an introspective young mind trying to make sense of everything around him.
‘Ragbone! Ragbone! Any rags! Pots for rags! Donkey stone!’
Joe looked up from his comic and lifted his eye patch. There was a white pony in the yard. It was harnessed to a cart, a flat cart, with a wooden chest on it. A man was sitting at a front corner of the cart, holding the reins. His face was creased. He wore a long coat and a floppy high-crowned hat, with hair straggling beneath, and a leather bag was slung from his shoulder across his hip.
Joe Coppock squints at the world with his lazy eye. He reads his comics, collects birds’ eggs and treasures his marbles, particularly his prized dobbers. When Treacle Walker appears off the Cheshire moor one day – a wanderer, a healer – an unlikely friendship is forged and the young boy is introduced to a world he could never have imagined.
DIARY OF A VOID by EMI YAGI
A prizewinning, thrillingly subversive debut novel about a woman in Japan who avoids harassment at work by perpetuating, for nine months and beyond, the lie that she’s pregnantWhen thirty-four-year-old Ms. Shibata gets a new job in Tokyo to escape sexual harassment at her old one, she finds that, as the only woman at her new workplace–a company that manufactures cardboard tubes–she is expected to do all the menial tasks. One day she announces that she can’t clear away her colleagues’ dirty cups–because she’s pregnant and the smell nauseates her. The only thing is . . . Ms. Shibata is not pregnant.Pregnant Ms. Shibata doesn’t have to serve coffee to anyone. Pregnant Ms. Shibata isn’t forced to work overtime. Pregnant Ms. Shibata rests, watches TV, takes long baths, and even joins an aerobics class for expectant mothers. But pregnant Ms. Shibata also has a nine-month ruse to keep up. Helped along by towel-stuffed shirts and a diary app on which she can log every stage of her “pregnancy,” she feels prepared to play the game for the long haul. Before long, though, the hoax becomes all-absorbing, and the boundary between her lie and her life begins to dissolve.A surreal and wryly humorous cultural critique, Diary of a Void is bound to become a landmark in feminist world literature.
THE BULLET THAT MISSED by RICHARD OSMAN
It is an ordinary Thursday, and things should finally be returning to normal.Except trouble is never far away where the Thursday Murder Club are concerned. A local news legend is on the hunt for a sensational headline, and soon the gang are hot on the trail of two murders, ten years apart.To make matters worse, a new nemesis pays Elizabeth a visit, presenting her with a deadly mission: kill or be killed…While Elizabeth grapples with her conscience (and a gun), the gang and their unlikely new friends (including TV stars, money launderers and ex-KGB colonels) unravel a new mystery. But can they catch the culprit and save Elizabeth before the murderer strikes again?
OPERA OBSCURA by PETER KENT
Many musical and theatrical traditions walk the very narrow path between the sublime and the ridiculous, but perhaps none more so than opera, which, while maintaining an elegant reputation, makes a show out of princes making romantic speeches to soft fruit, noses being accidentally cut off and woodpeckers performing wedding ceremonies.
Opera Obscura is a beautifully illustrated collection that contributes twenty-five brand new impossibly madcap operas to the canon of magnificent absurdities, along with the intricate blueprints for several incredible opera houses and information on of a whole range of almost unbelievably incredible instruments.
Hello! Happy Saturday! What a week it has been! I turned 50 (aarrgghhh!) at the start of the week so it’s been nice doing stuff with family and it now means there may be book tokens to be spent!! So watch out for a book haul post coming up fairly soon…. when I can decide which new books I need to be purchasing!
So it’s been a very slow reading week for me with just 1 book finished LOL!! But there have been 2 Netgalley additions along with some wonderful BookPost additions to my world!
Let’s get the Netgalley additions out of the way first…
THE IT GIRL by RUTH WARE
publication date – August 2022
The #1 New York Times bestselling author of One by One returns with an unputdownable mystery following a woman on the search for answers a decade after her friend’s murder.
April Coutts-Cliveden was the first person Hannah Jones met at Oxford.
Vivacious, bright, occasionally vicious, and the ultimate It girl, she quickly pulled Hannah into her dazzling orbit. Together, they developed a group of devoted and inseparable friends—Will, Hugh, Ryan, and Emily—during their first term. By the end of the second, April was dead.
Now, a decade later, Hannah and Will are expecting their first child, and the man convicted of killing April, former Oxford porter John Neville, has died in prison. Relieved to have finally put the past behind her, Hannah’s world is rocked when a young journalist comes knocking and presents new evidence that Neville may have been innocent. As Hannah reconnects with old friends and delves deeper into the mystery of April’s death, she realizes that the friends she thought she knew all have something to hide…including a murder.
THE HIDEAWAY by NORMA CURTIS
publication – June 2022
Thea looked at the small suitcase on the kitchen table. The tan leather was scuffed, with the soft gleam of age. She ran her hands over the smooth, cool lid. The thunk of the lock sounded very loud in the stillness of the cottage and she froze, her eyes on her grandmother’s bedroom door. Hearing nothing, she took a big breath and peered inside…
Hedi Fischer, aged ninety, smooths her hair and applies a touch of red lipstick from the tube. Over her pristine wool skirt suit she has knotted a men’s tartan bathrobe, wrinkled and frayed with age. Hedi hasn’t taken it off since Harry passed. Since the day she gave away everything but her battered leather suitcase and decided that she too was ready to die.
Thea has never met her grandmother Hedi, so she’s surprised when she receives a call from social services to take the frail old woman home. She’s not sure how Hedi will fit into her new life – the one where she’s left her boyfriend and moved into a run-down cottage miles from the nearest town. And Hedi refuses to talk about her past, or why she and Thea’s mother haven’t spoken for more than thirty years. So when Thea spots Hedi’s old suitcase on the table, she can’t resist taking a peak inside.
What Thea finds there is more heartbreaking than she could have ever imagined. It is a story that begins in World War Two, when young Hedi arrives by train at a Nazi concentration camp, from which she has no hope of escaping alive…
ITHACA by CLAIRE NORTH
publication date – September 2022
Extremely excited with this bookpost from Little Brown Book Group, as it came with a cross stitch kit!! My 2 favourite things collide!! So I’m excited to stitch the cover, as well as read the book!
‘The greatest power we woman can own, is that we take in secret . . . ‘
Seventeen years ago, king Odysseus sailed to war with Troy, taking with him every man of fighting age from the island of Ithaca. None of them have returned, and the women have been left behind to run the kingdom.
Penelope was barely into womanhood when she wed Odysseus. Whilst he lived, her position was secure. But now, years on, speculation is mounting that husband is dead, and suitors are starting to knock at her door . . .
But no one man is strong enough to claim Odysseus’ empty throne – not yet. Between Penelope’s many suitors, a cold war of dubious alliances and hidden knives reigns, as everyone waits for the balance of power to tip one way or another. If Penelope chooses one from amongst them, it will plunge Ithaca into bloody civil war. Only through cunning and her spy network of maids can she maintain the delicate balance of power needed for the kingdom to survive.
On Ithaca, everyone watches everyone else, and there is no corner of the palace where intrigue does not reign . . .
HOPE FOR THE RAILWAY GIRLS by MAISIE THOMAS
signed copy from the author for review
A new year brings new hope for the railway girls.
Alison‘s romance with the charming Dr Maitland is blossoming, but then she is posted away from Manchester. Working in a canteen isn’t part of her plan, nor is meeting her beau’s old girlfriend. One who just happens to want him back.
Margaret is supportive of her friend’s new relationship until she realises exactly who he is. Torn between keeping her secret and warning Alison, she turns to Joan for help.
Working in Lost Property wouldn’t be Joan‘s first choice of job, but with a baby on the way she knows she can’t continue being a station porter. She’s also eligible to be evacuated but could she leave Bob – and Gran – behind?
Being a railway girl isn’t always easy but together they can overcome every challenge that stands in their way.
And then I received these 3 proofs from Harper Fiction for helping them via The Readers Room
TWELVE MONTHS AND A DAY by LOUISA YOUNG
publication date – June 2022
Rasmus and Jay, Róisín and Nico – two beautiful, ordinary love stories, cut short by death. Jay and Nico don’t even believe in ghosts, yet they seem to be… still here. Still in love with Rasmus and Roísín. And maddeningly powerless.
Both are incapable of leaving the living alone: Jay plays matchmaker, convinced that Rasmus and Róisín can heal each other; Nico, plagued by jealousy, doesn’t agree.
Rasmus and Róisín are just trying to navigate their newly widowed lives.
But all four of them are thinking the same thing: what is love, after death? What is it for? And what are we to do with it?
Moving and thought-provoking, playful and bittersweet, this is a Truly, Madly, Deeply for our times, showcasing one of Britain’s finest contemporary writers at her very best.
DARK OBJECTS by SIMON TOYNE
publication date – July 2022
Forensics expert Laughton Rees tracks an unusually clever killer while trying to overcome her own dark family history in this twisty new psychological thriller by the bestselling author of the Sanctus trilogy.
When she was fifteen years old, Laughton Rees witnessed the brutal murder of her mother by a masked killer—and barely escape with her own life. In the aftermath, she cut off all contact with her father, a police commissioner at the time, whom she blamed for failing to prevent the murder, and locked her past away for good… or so she thought.
Now a successful forensics professor, Laughton’s focused on her daughter and her work—but the past isn’t done with her. When Laughton’s book about criminal investigation is found at the scene of a violent murder, the Met police officer in charge of the case asks for her help. The crime scene has some disturbingly personal elements for Laughton, and she can’t shake the feeling that someone is sending her a message. After all these years, has the monster who murdered her mother come back for her?
Laughton is no longer the terrified teenager who fled the masked killer back then, but she’ll have to face her history head on—including the father she hasn’t spoken to in years—in order to take down the psychopath from her nightmares… and keep him from destroying her family once again.
THE FINAL STRIFE by SAARA EL-ARIFI
publication date – June 2022
In the first book of a visionary African and Arabian-inspired fantasy trilogy, three women band together against a cruel Empire that divides people by blood.
Red is the blood of the elite, of magic, of control.
Blue is the blood of the poor, of workers, of the resistance.
Clear is the blood of the servants, of the crushed, of the invisible.
Sylah dreams of days growing up in the resistance, being told she would spark a revolution that would free the Empire from the red-blooded ruling classes’ tyranny. That spark was extinguished the day she watched her family murdered before her eyes.
Anoor has been told she’s nothing, no one, a disappointment by the only person who matters: her mother, the most powerful ruler in the Empire. But dust always rises in a storm.
Hassa moves through the world unseen by upper classes, so she knows what it means to be invisible. But invisibility has its uses: It can hide the most dangerous of secrets, secrets that can reignite a revolution.
As the Empire begins a set of trials of combat and skill designed to find its new leaders, the stage is set for blood to flow, power to shift, and cities to burn.
Hello! Happy Saturday! We meet again… these weekends are coming round quicker and quicker each week! And disappearing equally as fast!!
Book wise it’s been an OK week! Gardening has taken over my focus so books have taken a bit of a back seat, but still managed to finish 3 books. And being otherwise occupied has kept me away from Netgalley so that’s always good! Just 1 book in post wise for review!
The lovely people at Filbert Press have kindly sent me this to review…
THE CREVICE GARDEN by PAUL SPRIGGS/KENTON SETH
published by Filbert Press
publication date – April 21st 2022
A crevice garden replicates the environmental conditions of mountain tops, deserts, coastlines, and other exposed or rocky places on earth. These striking garden features provide perfect conditions for the plants native to these far-off places, bringing the cultivation of these precious gems within everybody’s reach.
In this book, enthusiastic experts Kenton Seth and Paul Spriggs bring us in-depth guidance on the design, construction, and planting of crevice gardens of all kinds including those suitable for containers, small gardens, and public parks and in styles that encompass both naturalistic scenes and non-traditional installations.
A wealth of international case studies demonstrate how crevice gardens provide multiple micro-habitats that are exceptionally well-suited to plants that struggle in normal garden conditions.
Further examples reveal their value in the ecological re-use of waste materials such as concrete, wildlife habitat creation, and for making permeable, plant-friendly alternatives to retaining walls.
An illustrated A-Z recommending 250 irresistible plants completes this comprehensive book which heralds a bold new chapter in the history of crevice garden making.