BookReview THE NIGHT SHIP by JESS KIDD #TheNightShip


Based on a real-life event, an epic historical novel from the award-winning author of Things in Jars that illuminates the lives of two characters: a girl shipwrecked on an island off Western Australia and, three hundred years later, a boy finding a home with his grandfather on the very same island.

1629: A newly orphaned young girl named Mayken is bound for the Dutch East Indies on the Batavia, one of the greatest ships of the Dutch Golden Age. Curious and mischievous, Mayken spends the long journey going on misadventures above and below the deck, searching for a mythical monster. But the true monsters might be closer than she thinks.

1989: A lonely boy named Gil is sent to live off the coast of Western Australia among the seasonal fishing community where his late mother once resided. There, on the tiny reef-shrouded island, he discovers the story of an infamous shipwreck…​

With her trademark “thrilling, mysterious, twisted, but more than anything, beautifully written” (Graham Norton, New York Times bestselling author) storytelling, Jess Kidd weaves a unputdownable and charming tale of friendship and sacrifice, brutality and forgiveness.





Loved. Loved. Loved!!!

An astonishing piece of historical fiction that had me under its’ spell from page one and still has me mesmerized even now!! Jess Kidd has a wonderful way of storytelling, and I think this might be her best yet. Told over 2 timelines, featuring 2 amazing child characters who lived so far apart timewise, but had so much in common. Their stories will break your heart and inspire and I’m already itching to read it all over again!

This story is based on real life events, and starts in 1628 with Mayken who is travelling on board the Batavia with her nursemaid to a new life overseas. She has never met her father but is travelling to join him after the passing of her mother.

And in 1989, we meet the character of Gil, who is a lost soul after losing his mother and he’s travelling to live with his grandfather who lives on an Island and makes a living fishing. The Island is where the Batavia ran aground causing a huge loss of life.

The switching timelines work in tandem to perfection – the excitement of Mayken, the trepidation of Gil, as they both set out on different paths and exploring the loss of their mothers and the impact that has on them as very young children.

It’s a book that made me lose time as I just became so involved in the lives of these characters! From the settings, the complexity of family relationships to the pure emotion as you watch over these children as they’re faced with all kinds of challenges.

I could easily wax lyrical for hours about this book as it was just a sheer delight to read from start to finish, but I won’t so you can enjoy the drama of it all for yourself – cannot recommend it highly enough and easily one of my most favourite books of 2022.



#BookReview Things In Jars by Jess Kidd

About the book

London, 1863. Bridie Devine, the finest female detective of her age, is taking on her toughest case yet. Reeling from her last job and with her reputation in tatters, a remarkable puzzle has come her way. Christabel Berwick has been kidnapped. But Christabel is no ordinary child. She is not supposed to exist.

As Bridie fights to recover the stolen child she enters a world of fanatical anatomists, crooked surgeons and mercenary showmen. Anomalies are in fashion, curiosities are the thing, and fortunes are won and lost in the name of entertainment. The public love a spectacle and Christabel may well prove the most remarkable spectacle London has ever seen.

Things in Jars is an enchanting Victorian detective novel that explores what it is to be human in inhumane times.

Published by Canongate Books

Publication Date – 4th April 2019


Goldsboro Books  – signed first edition £14.99  £10.99

waterstones  £14.99


Move over Sherlock, Bridie Devine is the new super sleuth in town and I adore her! Jess Kidd has created another dark and wonderful tale set in Victorian times that explores the disturbing disappearance of a young girl, who has been kept hidden away because she’s ‘different’ – she feeds on snails, has an unusual appearance and is also said to possess powers.  The family she is stolen from are never too forthcoming with details about her, so it’s left to Bridie to uncover the dark story behind young Christabel, and that leads Bridie to look back on her own childhood too.

She isn’t alone on her quest as she is joined by the rather wonderful   Ruby, a ghost-boxer who appears in Bridie’s life at a seemingly random time! Is there more to his story than meets the eye?! He adds many lighter moments throughout with his comments and observations but also shows sensitivities which are very touching.

As she confronts many repulsive characters on the search for Christabel, the look back on her own earlier life is also a fascinating glimpse into why she feels so connected to this poor girl and why she is determined to try and save her.  

And while there is much love for Bridie and her quest, the evilness of many characters throughout is another success of this book! The levels of depravity that some of them sink to is eye-wateringly shocking and I just found myself wishing for karma to deal with them as soon as possible – in a very unpleasant way!!

I was utterly riveted by this story! And switching the story from the now timeline to Bridie’s past added more as she also had a very unconventional upbringing which explained her outlook on life – and death – now!  The more she uncovers about various characters, the more you left to be staggered by the goings on and I found that I had my heart in my mouth with the dramatic ending.

  I would love to say more about this book but am sure I would include a spoiler or three, so I’m just going to have to say if you love your stories dark, dramatic, mysterious, macabre, weird, wonderful, tense and thrilling then look no further!!


#BookReview The Little Snake by A.L.Kennedy

About the book

This is the story of Mary, a young girl born in a beautiful city full of rose gardens and fluttering kites. When she is still very small, Mary meets Lanmo, a shining golden snake, who becomes her very best friend.

The snake visits Mary many times, he sees her city change, become sadder as bombs drop and war creeps in. He sees Mary and her family leave their home, he sees her grow up and he sees her fall in love. But Lanmo knows that the day will come when he can no longer visit Mary, when his destiny will break them apart, and he wonders whether having a friend can possibly be worth the pain of knowing you will lose them.

From one of Britain’s most gifted and celebrated writers, The Little Snake is a magical and deeply moving fable about the journey we all take through life, about love and family, about war and resilience, about how we live in this world, and how we leave it.

Published by Canongate Books

Purchase Links




A random pick from the library – why can’t I resist a black and gold cover?! – and what a charming and touching read it turned out to be!

Only 144 pages long but feels longer as you connect immediately to the character of Mary – a young girl who is a rare soul who sees only good in people and things. She’s happy with her lot it seems, and that’s despite living on the poor side of town and never having much. When in her beloved garden she meets a snake, who becomes a close friend to her and they both learn so much from one another. The snake sees many bad things going on in the world so to find this kind hearted young girl fills him with feelings he rarely experiences and their friendship is both touching and quite profound. It follows their friendship and lives over a number of years and it becomes quite emotional to see how their bond strengthens even after time apart.

This is a dark fable filled with hope and all that I love in fairy stories. It’s aimed at children but is rewarding to readers of all ages as you can see beyond the simple story with many mentions to the modern world we live in – how wealth is idolized, the way chidren are taught things to conform – and I was pleasantly surprised with how much I got from this story.


The Hoarder by Jess Kidd #bookreview


Maud Drennan – underpaid carer and unintentional psychic – is the latest in a long line of dogsbodies for the ancient, belligerent Cathal Flood. Yet despite her best efforts, Maud is drawn into the mysteries concealed in his filthy, once-grand home. She realises that something is changing: Cathal, and the junk-filled rooms, are opening up to her.

With only her agoraphobic landlady and a troop of sarcastic ghostly saints to help, Maud must uncover what lies beneath Cathal’s decades-old hostility, and the strange activities of the house itself. And if someone has hidden a secret there, how far will they go to ensure it remains buried?

Publishing Date;  February 1st 2018

Publisher;  Canongate Books

Author Twitter Link;  @JessKiddHerself

Pre-order Links;

Amazon UK   £14.99 H/B – buy online and support your local bookstore  £10.25 H/B

Book Depository   £13.41  H/B

Waterstones  £14.99  H/B


Where do I even begin??!! I loved Himself and it made it on to my Top Books of 2017, so I’ve been so eager to read this and was lucky to have been sent an early copy from the publisher.  

  I just couldn’t put this down!! I read it in one sitting!!  That pretty much tells you my thoughts on this book!  I frigging loved it!!  It made me laugh, it made me cry, it even made me forget to breathe at times as the tension started to build and the mysteries began to be revealed!  A pretty comprehensive and perfect reading experience all wrapped up in one book!!

It starts off quite quietly as we get acquainted with Maud Drennan who has the unenviable job of ‘helping’ the prickly Mr Flood who has a serious hoarding problem.  Of course he doesn’t see it as a problem so does all he can to prove as unhelpful as humanly possible, but there is something slightly different about Maud who doesn’t flinch at the abuse he throws her way, and Cathal Flood slowly responds to her in the way where others have given up and  been forced out.  During their time together he starts to share stories and opens up to her.  Maud has her own secrets too and she becomes fascinated by the stories she hears, and the house itself begins to give up its’ secrets as she clears things out and she finds herself involved in mysteries going back many years.

Maud also shares the stories she hears with her landlady, the wonderful Renata who is agoraphobic, and the ghostly Saints that follow Maud wherever she goes, and a world of intrigue soon opens up that maybe they should have left well alone. Even the Saints warn her off from exploring more – if only she listened to them!!

All the characters in this book were so different and complex but lovable in their own special ways.  Maud had her own difficult and secretive past and that was quite obvious at times, but that helped her put on a front especially when she first entered the world of Cathal.  Renata is a delight to read about – the way she took on trying to solve the mysteries was hilarious and there were many touching scenes involving her where it was obvious how much Maud and her were devoted to each other.  And as for Cathal, despite his abuse and prickly demeanour, you get to see different sides to him through his concern for a fox, his hatred for his son and the sadness over losses he has suffered over the years.

This book had it all for me – it was so cleverly paced so there were never any dips in where the story was heading, and it just had me captivated from start to finish!  I became so attached to all the characters that I’ve not really stopped thinking about them since I put the book down so can’t wait to pick this up again and enjoy all the dark humour, mystery, supernatural twists and human drama all over again!! More please Jess!!

Thank you to the publishers and author for the advanced reading copy in return for a fair and honest review.

Himself by Jess Kidd #bookreview


When Mahony returns to Mulderrig, a speck of a place on Ireland’s west coast, he brings only a photograph of his long-lost mother and a determination to do battle with the village’s lies.

His arrival causes cheeks to flush and arms to fold in disapproval. No one in the village – living or dead – will tell what happened to the teenage mother who abandoned him as a baby, despite Mahony’s certainty that more than one of them has answers.

Buy your copy;

Amazon UK – buy online and support your local bookstore

Book Depository

Author Website

Follow the author on Twitter


I have just given myself a stern telling off for taking so long to pick this book up off my shelves!! From the dark opening, to the captivating characters, to the magical setting and supernatural goings on and the mystery at the heart of the story, this has gone straight onto my list as one of my favourite reads of 2017!!

It is going to be difficult to sum this story up in a review as it has a little bit of everything in it! Elements of mystery, violence, supernatural, magical, historical and dark wit are throughout this story and I loved every minute of it! One of those books where you are conflicted as you want to race through it and find out what happens, but you are then loathe to get to the end as you just want to stay within the world created!

The simple way of describing this story is that Mahony returns to the village to find out what happened to his mother. Did she leave the town as the villagers thought or was she murdered? His mother wasn’t well liked and you feel like many villagers aren’t being honest with their take on what happened. But Mahony gets help from Mrs Cauley – I loved her!! – who has lived in the village for many years and understands his special gift along with wanting to stick her nose in and get to the bottom of the murkier side of the village. She doesn’t suffer fools gladly and isn’t afraid to say what she thinks. Would love to read a book just about her too!!

There is a great feeling of dark humour throughout which does lend itself perfectly to lightening the mood of what is often quite a serious storyline. The story flits between the timelines of 1976 when Mahony turns up, and back to the late 1940’s and the story of his mother and how life was for her and what she got up to that enraged some of the locals so much.

Full of such fascinating characters and a truly magical storyline, I highly recommend this to everyone looking for a story that is so different and covers all genres!!

Do you get the impression that I loved reading this?! Have you read it?!  Hope you thought the same as me if you did!!