#BookReview Death and the Seaside by Alison Moore

ABOUT THE BOOK

With an abandoned degree behind her and a thirtieth birthday approaching, amateur writer Bonnie Falls moves out of her parents’ home into a nearby flat. Her landlady, Sylvia Slythe, takes an interest in Bonnie, encouraging her to finish one of her stories, in which a young woman moves to the seaside, where she comes under strange influences. As summer approaches, Sylvia suggests to Bonnie that, as neither of them has anyone else to go on holiday with, they should go away together – to the seaside, perhaps.

The new novel from the author of the Man Booker-shortlisted The Lighthouse is a tense and moreish confection of semiotics, suggestibility and creative writing with real psychological depth and, in Bonnie Falls and Sylvia Slythe, two unforgettable characters.

Publisher – Salt Publishing

Paperback, 176 pages

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Salt Publishing

Hive.co.uk

MY REVIEW

For the first half of this book I was really unsure of it! It just wasn’t going anywhere…. And then boom! It all clicked into place and I couldn’t get enough of it! A very cleverly written book with such a dark undercurrent, that is quite unsettling to read and it quietly pulls you into the menacing world created within.

Bonnie is a pretty unremarkable character – she is kind of resigned to a quiet life, she’s a worrier and full of self doubt and receives very little praise from her parents or those around her, and her only way of escaping is to write. She has created a story based on a character called Susan and the book dips in and out of the chapters she has written and the lines start blurring between Bonnie and Susan and you wonder if fiction is fact, or vice versa! When she becomes friends with her landlady, Sylvia, she finally receives some positive interaction with another human being, as Syliva encourages her to finish writing her novel and is very interested in creating the right atmosphere for Bonnie to get into character. Bonnie is also plagued by notes containing the word ‘Jump’ on them and you start to get glimpses into her mind where she prefers to be in rooms on the ground floor and what drove her to have episodes in her childhood where she jumps off piers she visits – all very bizarre.

I loved the way the creepy factor gets increased as the story goes on. You always have a rather unpleasant feeling about what is happening around Bonnie and her writing, and especially the way she is treated by people she comes into contact with. The pace is slow which did take a while for me to come to terms with, but it made sense by the end of why I think the author approached telling the story this way!

I listened to the audio version of this and really enjoyed the way the story was told, especially the second half!

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Advertisement

#BookReview The Gloaming by Kirsty Logan #20booksofsummer

Mara’s island is one of stories and magic. She knows she’ll eventually end her days atop the cliff, turned to stone and gazing out at the horizon like all the villagers that went before her, drawn by the otherworldly call of the sea. Her whole family will be there too, even her brother Bee and her sister Islay. 

But the island and the sea do what they want, and when they claim a price from her family, Mara’s world changes forever.

As years pass and Mara grows into herself and her scars, a chance meeting with the magnetic Pearl brings magic to life once more in ways that Mara never thought possible, in a story that she never would have dreamed for herself before.

The enchanting spiritual prequel to The Gracekeepers, Kirsty Logan’s The Gloaming is a present-day fable that brims over with dazzling imagination and captivating language

Published by Harvill Secker

Purchase Links

Amazon UK  £11.34

hive.co.uk  £10.25

Book Depository  £11.34

MY REVIEW

I was a fan of The Gracekeepers, but think I actually preferred this story as I felt it was better structured and felt more emotional and easier to connect with. But I will be going back to read The Gracekeepers now this story is fresh in my mind as the prequel.

The cover is stunning, and the story is full of magical realism, beautifully written and is one of those books you can just pick up and lose yourself in! And that is exactly what I did!

Signe and Peter are the parents to 3 children – Mara, Islay and Bee – and live on the Island knowing they will die there, no matter how hard they try to get away. The 3 children are all so different and we see their stories unfold – there is a lot of sadness in the family and this is exquisitely imagined by the author and helps you to connect with the family more as they face the demons that loss brings to their lives and also allow new experiences to change their outlooks and perceptions of the world around them.

The pace of the story played a big part in my enjoyment – things never felt rushed, but were allowed to evolve in a more realistic way and especially the way it allowed flashbacks to various memorable events in all their lives play out on the page and just made me want more from this unorthodox family!

Beautiful!

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#BookReview The Story Collector by Evie Gaughan

About the Book

A beautiful and mysterious historical romance from the author of The Heirloom and The Mysterious Bakery on Rue de Paris. Thornwood Village, 1910. Anna, a young farm girl, volunteers to help an intriguing American visitor, Harold Griffin-Krauss, translate ‘fairy stories’ from Irish to English. But all is not as it seems and Anna soon finds herself at the heart of a mystery that threatens the future of her community and her very way of life….. Captivated by the land of myth, folklore and superstition, Sarah Harper finds herself walking in the footsteps of Harold and Anna one hundred years later, unearthing dark secrets that both enchant and unnerve. The Story Collector treads the intriguing line between the everyday and the otherworldly, the seen and the unseen. With a taste for the magical in everyday life, Evie Gaughan’s latest novel is full of ordinary characters with extraordinary tales to tell. Perfect for fans of Jess Kidd and Eowyn Ivey.

Publisher Urbane Publications

Publication Date   14th June 2018

Purchase Links

Hive.co.uk

Amazon UK

Book Depository

MY REVIEW

What a stunning book! Both inside and out!  It was the cover that initially drew me to pick this book up, but once I’d read the blur and it promised folklore and myth, I was convinced this was my kind of book – and I was right!

The story is set in 2 timelines – 2010 with the character of Sarah who has recently split from her husband, and is at that point in her life where she doesn’t know what is next for her – and also 1910 with the character of Anna whose story we hear of through her diary entries. The way these stories blend together is extremely clever and enthralling and I loved both characters for the ways they dealt with the issues that faced them.  

Set in the village of Thornwood over the years, the stories of ‘The Good People’ have always been part of the folklore and there has always been a huge interest in the ways of the fairies – some curse them, others see them as a good power watching over them, and as Sarah traces the steps of Anna and Harold, the American who is in the village to collect stories of local folklore, she begins to see similarities between her own life and finds herself falling under the spell of Thornwood herself.  With the help of Hazel, a local, she finds herself using the thoughts and experiences of Anna to understand her own life and how to move on.  

This was a beautifully written story that had me captivated from start to finish.   It was full of the magical elements that I love alongside some fascinating characters and that the power of belief is such a powerful thing to many.

Highly recommended!!

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My thanks to the publishers for the advanced review copy in return for a fair and honest review.

Top 5 Tuesday – top 5 covers with green, purple, blue edition!

Hello! Yay for Tuesday!! And the latest choice from Shannah at Bionic Book Worm is for your Top 5 covers featuring the colours green, blue & purple!!  Looking forward to seeing all the choices this week and here’s my efforts after a quick scan of my bookshelves!  Even got my purple dragon to help me pick!!

 

The Road to Ever After by Moira Young

A stunning story, and a stunning cover with gold twinkly bits  all over it too! How could I not love it!!

Mrs Osmond by John Banville

A recent purchase from a library sale, bought purely for the stunning green cover that was so striking on the shelves! Hopefully the story inside will be just as good!

 

The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler

A book about books, magic and mermaids!! What’s not to love!

 

The Lido by Libby Page

Another recent read but such a striking and simple cover!!

 

Nation by Terry Pratchett

Another fabulous story from Mr Pratchett and I just love this cover!

 

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#BlogTour A Sacred Storm by Theodore Brun #GuestPost #ASacredStorm

sacred cover

Hugely delighted to be the latest stop on the Blog Tour for this stunning book! My thanks to the author, publisher and Anne of Random Things Through My Letterbox for giving me the opportunity to take part!  And it is also a pleasure to be hosting a guest post where the author will share his five favourite books! A topic that always gets those of us of a bookish nature excited and worried as to what books make the final list!!

Here’s a little more about the book!

Forged in fire. Bound by honour. Haunted by loss.

Published by CorvusHardback, £17.99

June 2018 | Historical Fiction

A brilliantly conceived Viking epic set in eighth-century Sweden.

8th Century Sweden: Erlan Aurvandil, a Viking outlander, has pledged his sword to Sviggar Ivarsson, King of the Sveärs, and sworn enemy of the Danish King Harald Wartooth. But Wartooth, hungry for power, is stirring violence in the borderlands. As the fires of this ancient feud are reignited Erlan is bound by honour and oath to stand with King Sviggar.

But, unbeknownst to the old King, his daughter, Princess Lilla, has fallen under Erlan’s spell. As the armies gather Erlan and Lilla must choose between their duty to Sviggar and their love for each other.

Blooded young, betrayed often, Erlan is no stranger to battle. And hidden in the shadows, there are always those determined to bring about the maelstrom of war…

‘A masterly debut. … If Bernard Cornwall and George RR Martin had a lovechild, it would look like A Mighty Dawn. I devoured it late into the night, and eagerly await the sequel.’

Antonia Senior on A Mighty Dawn

 ‘Evocative prose and the brutality of the Viking world, it’s all here, woven with a deft touch into a tremendous tale.’ Giles Kristian on A Mighty Dawn

Purchase Links

Amazon UK  –  £14.58

Hive.co.uk  –  £13.35

Book Depository  –  £14.58

theo

Theodore Brun studied Dark Age archaeology at Cambridge, where he graduated with a BA in Archaeology and Anthropology and an MPhil in History.  He also rowed in the Boat Race for the university.  Professionally, Theodore qualified and worked as an arbitration lawyer, in London, Moscow, Paris and finally Hong Kong.  In 2010, he quit his job in Hong Kong and cycled 10,000 miles across the whole of Asia and Europe (crossing 20 countries) to his home in Norfolk. Theodore is a third generation Viking immigrant – his Danish grandfather having settled in England in 1932.  He is married and divides his time between London and Norfolk. Sacred Storm is his second novel.

 Praise for Theodore Brun

‘[The first of a] very fine historical, fantasy series.’

Nudge on A Mighty Dawn

‘Weaving together history, fantasy and myth like the Norns twining the threads of fate in A Mighty Dawn, Brun has created an excellent debut and a top quality read.’

The Tattooed Book Geek on A Mighty Dawn

‘A truly impressive debut that hints at a much larger story still left to be told. This novel has the potential to be an epic tale to rival the sagas of the ages.’ The Eloquent Page on A Mighty Dawn

‘Brun has a knack for describing combat… Very much in the vein of Bernard Cornwell’s Warrior Chronicles, a warrior’s battles are never done, at least, not whilst he still possesses the strength to swing his sword.’

Bookbag on A Mighty Dawn

And now over to Theodore for his Five Favourite Books!!   

 

1) A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens: Best opening and ending of any book I’ve read. With my favourite scene as well. I first encountered this as an audiobook cycling across China. I wept like a child at the ending. 

 

2) Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky: Pure genius. I’m the middle of three brothers. This family scarily resembles my own. I found so much wisdom in this book. I first read it when I was living in Moscow, which helped. 

 

3) Flashman in the Great Game by George MacDonald Fraser: A brilliant story. GMF has undoubtedly the most original and entertaining voice I’ve ever read. The Flashman series sparked my love of history, and also gave me the first glimmer of a pipe-dream: that one day I would like to write. 

 

4) The Everlasting Man by G.K. Chesterton: This book is dynamite and an incredible achievement. An outline of history that no one has matched. 

 

5) The Bible: I’ve read it several times. There’s a reason they give this away on Desert Island Discs. You can never come to the end of it. It reads you. 

 

sacredtour

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – Week 22 2018

Hello!! I hope you are well!! I’m having a ‘meh’ day! Didn’t sleep well last night and it has taken its’ toll this morning! So I hope a bit of blogging and organising my reading list will help perk me up a little – and hopefully this blog post will make sense! Any spelling mistakes you spot, please feel free to mark them with red pen!!

It has been a good week on the reading front though so that is always worth celebrating!!  Still hasn’t made the TBR pile look any smaller though!!

And what also doesn’t help the TBR pile look smaller is the arrival of new books!  There has been a few! Some from publishers ahead of blog tours, some from shops that I was browsing in and some from websites of publishers who beg  you to buy #JustOneBook to help save them  – Salt Publishing it’s all your fault! 😂

So here’s a quick round up of the books I’ve finished, the new books I’ve ‘adopted’, and those that I’m currently reading/listening to!   Click on the title for a link to the GoodReads page for more info on each book if you so wish!

BOOKS FINISHED

Oh Crumbs by Kathryn Freeman  –  5 stars

Loved this!! Lots of fun, fab characters and a new book boyfriend for me to drool over!!

Song by Michelle Jana Chan  –  4 stars

Another excellent read following a young boy leaving home to help earn money to bring up his family after the death of his father.

The Winds of Heaven by Monica Dickens   – 5 stars

Another stunning story from the Persephone stable!

Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay – 4 stars

Listened to the audio version – just over 3 hours long – and was gripped! Has quite a dark feeling behind it – my kind of book!

The Optimist by Sophie Kipner  –  4 stars

On the blog tour for this later next month, and this was a perfect light read full  of proper laugh out loud moments!

BOOK HAUL

Death and the Seaside by Alison Moore

This is the June pick for the Ninja Book Box Book Club which is a monthly book club online featuring Indie books!

With an abandoned degree behind her and a thirtieth birthday approaching, amateur writer Bonnie Falls moves out of her parents’ home into a nearby flat. Her landlady, Sylvia Slythe, takes an interest in Bonnie, encouraging her to finish one of her stories, in which a young woman moves to the seaside, where she comes under strange influences. As summer approaches, Sylvia suggests to Bonnie that, as neither of them has anyone else to go on holiday with, they should go away together – to the seaside, perhaps.

The new novel from the author of the Man Booker-shortlisted The Lighthouse is a tense and moreish confection of semiotics, suggestibility and creative writing with real psychological depth and, in Bonnie Falls and Sylvia Slythe, two unforgettable characters.

THE CHAMELEON by SAMUEL FISHER  

Following the plea by Salt Publishing via social media with their #JustOneBook campaign to help them out of a tough spell sales wise, this was my choice when I shopped with them!

John is infinite.

He can become any book, any combination of words — every thought, act and expression that has ever been, or ever will be, written. Now 800 years old, John wants to tell his story.

Looking back over his life, from its beginnings with a medieval anchoress to his current lodgings beside the deathbed of a cold war spy, John pieces together his tale: the love that held him together and, in particular, the reasons for a murder that took place in Moscow fifty years earlier, and that set in train a shattering series of events.

Samuel Fisher’s debut, The Chameleon is a love story about books like no other, weaving texts and lives in a family tale that leads the reader into an extraordinary historical journey, a journey of words as much as of places, and a gripping romance.

1984 & ANIMAL FARM by GEORGE ORWELL

HMV sell books now??!! I was in one of their stores this week browsing the CD’s and discovered bookshelves!! Dangerous!!  My old copies of these are way past their best so I just couldn’t resist these versions – 2 for £5 wasn’t to be resisted either!!

In 1984, London is a grim city where Big Brother is always watching you and the Thought Police can practically read your mind.  Winston Smith joins a secret revolutionary organization called The Brotherhood, dedicated to the destruction of the Party. Together with his beloved Julia, he hazards his life in a deadly match against the powers that be.

Animal Farm is Orwell’s classic satire of the Russian Revolution — an account of the bold struggle, initiated by the animals, that transforms Mr. Jones’s Manor Farm into Animal Farm–a wholly democratic society built on the credo that All Animals Are Created Equal. But are they?

THE LIGHT BETWEEN US by KATIE KHAN

Received this ahead of a Blog Tour and can’t wait to read it! Gorgeous cover too!

Isaac and Thea were once close, but they’ve grown apart.

Thea works tirelessly, convinced she can prove everyone around her wrong – convinced she can prove that time travel is possible. But when one of her attempts goes wrong, she finds herself picking up the phone and calling her old friend.

Isaac is in New York – it’s the middle of the night, but when he sees who’s calling him, he cannot ignore his phone. At Thea’s request, he travels home, determined to help her in her hour of need.

But neither of them are prepared for what they will discover when he gets there.

LETTERS TO MY DAUGHTERS by EMMA HANNIGAN

Received from the publishers – with some rather yummy biscuits! – I’ve been eagerly awaiting reading this since the sad news of the passing of the author Emma Hannigan. Think I’m going to need tissues for this read!

The new bestseller guaranteed to break your heart – and bring you joy…

Her three girls were her world. It was time to let them know.

To sisters Bea, Jeannie and Rose, the death of their beloved childhood nanny is a devastating loss. As the girls grew up, Nanny May had become so much more to them all: confidant, advocate, comforter, friend. In whom will they confide their hopes, fears and failures now she has gone? Especially now each sister needs a mother’s wisdom more than ever…

Martha cannot understand why her daughters are so upset about losing their childhood nanny. Yes, Martha was always in demand as a busy midwife, but that doesn’t mean she loved her own children any less. But why don’t the girls realise that? And has she left it too late to let them know…?

CURRENTLY READING

The Gloaming by Kirsty Logan

Mara’s island is one of stories and magic. She knows she’ll eventually end her days atop the cliff, turned to stone and gazing out at the horizon like all the villagers that went before her, drawn by the otherworldly call of the sea. Her whole family will be there too, even her brother Bee and her sister Islay.

But the island and the sea do what they want, and when they claim a price from her family, Mara’s world changes forever.

As years pass and Mara grows into herself and her scars, a chance meeting with the magnetic Pearl brings magic to life once more in ways that Mara never thought possible, in a story that she never would have dreamed for herself before.

The enchanting spiritual prequel to The Gracekeepers, Kirsty Logan’s The Gloaming is a present-day fable that brims over with dazzling imagination and captivating language.

 DEATH AND THE SEASIDE by ALISON MOORE

With an abandoned degree behind her and a thirtieth birthday approaching, amateur writer Bonnie Falls moves out of her parents’ home into a nearby flat. Her landlady, Sylvia Slythe, takes an interest in Bonnie, encouraging her to finish one of her stories, in which a young woman moves to the seaside, where she comes under strange influences. As summer approaches, Sylvia suggests to Bonnie that, as neither of them has anyone else to go on holiday with, they should go away together – to the seaside, perhaps.

THE STORY COLLECTOR by EVIE GAUGHAN

A beautiful and mysterious historical romance from the author of The Heirloom and The Mysterious Bakery on Rue de Paris. Thornwood Village, 1910. Anna, a young farm girl, volunteers to help an intriguing American visitor, Harold Griffin-Krauss, translate ‘fairy stories’ from Irish to English. But all is not as it seems and Anna soon finds herself at the heart of a mystery that threatens the future of her community and her very way of life….. Captivated by the land of myth, folklore and superstition, Sarah Harper finds herself walking in the footsteps of Harold and Anna one hundred years later, unearthing dark secrets that both enchant and unnerve. The Story Collector treads the intriguing line between the everyday and the otherworldly, the seen and the unseen. With a taste for the magical in everyday life, Evie Gaughan’s latest novel is full of ordinary characters with extraordinary tales to tell. Perfect for fans of Jess Kidd and Eowyn Ivey.

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All wrapped up  and I’m still sane….. just!! Hope your bookish week has been good to you! 

HAPPY READING!!

#Unboxing Reading In Heels – June book subscription box #spoilers

My love of Book Subscription Boxes is seemingly never-ending – and thankfully there are a few around now for us bookish folk to sample!  

One of my recent discoveries is Reading In Heels! It’s a monthly box which costs £10 (& P&P), and inside you get a lovely paperback book along with a number of beauty and lifestyle treats – the perfect mix!!   

So here’s a sneaky peek – look away if you don’t want spoilers!! – of what I got in this months’ box and can I just say how blooming gorgeous it all smells too!! If only blogs had smelly vision then I could share it with you all!

 

Pure loveliness!!! I was rather happy with all the goodies this month so let’s have a closer look at the treats, before a closer look at the book! 

T2 Sleep Tight Tea – this is lemon balm tisane to sip before bedtime! And for someone who struggles with sleep issues I can’t wait to try this out! 

Hopping Hare Relaxing Candle – a beautifully scented candle to help keep me chilled with scents of lavendar and ylang ylang! @HoppingHareCandles 

Made by Coopers Sleepy Head Beauty Balm  – this is to be massaged into temples or onto wrists to help you drift off to sleep! It smells delicious!!

Chinskitchen Rose & Cardamom Nankhatai – Indian shortbreads that are supposed to melt in the mouth! Can’t wait to try them! 

BAD ROMANCE by EMILY HILL

Tales from the happily never after

At a wedding, one woman’s revenge comes in the shape of her heavily pregnant belly. As a career girl attempts to climb the ladder she slides down into ever more grotesque flatshares. A single woman who always attends parties alone realises that the truth might not always be the best answer. And one Londoner learns her most important lesson since moving to the city – never act friendly towards a stranger.

Bad Romance is dark, hilarious and moving by turn as Emily Hill’s acid wit gives life to the women whose tales never normally make it into the storybooks.

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I just love the mix of book and treats with this book so am already eagerly awaiting the next box arriving!  Do you subscribe to any monthly/quarterly boxes? Has this tempted you to try out Reading In Heels? I hope so!!

HAPPY READING!!

Top Five Tuesday – red/orange/yellow covers

JUNE 5 – Top 5 covers with red, orange, yellow

Happy Tuesday!! Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Shanah at BionicBookWorm, to explore a wide range of topics in the bookish world!
And as you can see the topic this week is 5 favourite covers with the colours red, orange and yellow!  So here are my picks!! With a little help from Elmo of course!

Orlando by Virginia Woolf

Any excuse for a Penguin Clothbound Classic edition!

Thornyhold by Mary Stewart

Love the vintage feel of this cover

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

One of my favourite reads and I just love the simplicity of the red, black and white.

Larry and the Dog People by J.Paul Henderson

Another recent read that I loved for it’s funny but dark tones!

The Land of Decoration by Grace McCleen

This cover was the reason I picked this book up as I knew nothing else about it, but found the story fascinating!

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Six Degrees of Separation #6degrees

Time for another fun monthly meme to join in with! This is hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best where you start with one book, and then link in other books to see where the chain takes you!

So let us see where the journey through books takes us this month!

The starting point is THE TIPPING POINT by MALCOLM GLADWELL.  Dare I admit to never having read or even heard of this book?! It does sound a fascinating one to explore though!

Going with a surname link to take me to the next book…..

FIVE GO GLAMPING by LIZ TIPPING is my next choice in the chain! This was such a fun read and I would have loved it to be longer!

Hmmm I wonder where my mind is going to go next with ‘Five’ ….

Obvious I know but I couldn’t leave the most famous group of five out! FIVE ON A TREASURE ISLAND by ENID BLYTON was one of my favourite childhood books and just wanted me to get out exploring with my friends!!

The ultimate adventure story is next on my list…

THE HOBBIT by J.R.R.TOLKIEN – obvious choice for me really! A book I can always go back to and find something new from! Mixed opinions on the film versions though…

And speaking of films…

THE PRINCESS BRIDE by WILLIAM GOLDMAN is one of my most favourite films so I had to include it! It is a story that has a little bit of everything and I think both book and film are well matched! Not always that way when a film maker gets hold of a book!

Sticking with the film/books link leads me to my last choice…

HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE by DIANA WYNNE JONES is a book I discovered existed after loving the Studio Ghibli animation – and I love them both in equal measures! The book is often quite different to the film and with a dark side to the humour it is one I’ll be picking up to enjoy again soon!

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Mini Persephone Readathon 1st – 3rd June 2018

Any excuse to pick up another Persephone is fine by me, and so I’ll be excited to take part in this little mini persephone readathon, hosted by the lovely Jessie over at DwellInPossibility  and it’s just a little laid back affair – my favourite kind of affair! – and just gives us a chance to read and chat all things Persephone!

Be sure to share your readathon experience and follow along with #PersephoneReadathon on social media as well.

And it is never easy to decide which book to pick up for these things, but I’ve gone for Harriet by Elizabeth Jenkins.  I know very little about this book other than it’s based on a real life case, so I’m trying to avoid as many spoilers as I can and will just dive in and see how I get on with it – it has received rave reviews so that fills me with great hope!

When a handsome, unscrupulous fortune hunter approaches Harriet, a young woman of means whom most people would call half-witted, no good can result. Elizabeth Jenkins’s artistry, however, transforms the bare facts of this case from the annals of Victorian England’s Old Bailey into an absolutely spine-chilling exploration of the depths of human depravity.

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Have you read this book? Will you be taking part in the readathon? Look forward to seeing what everyone else picks up that weekend!!