Hello! Happy Saturday!! Definitely feeling and looking a little more Autumnal out there now.. the spiderwebs are multiplying daily in the garden!
On to books! A slower week reading wise with just 2 finishes this past week. Netgalley got me good again though with 5 new additions – oops!! Plus I’ve bought 2 new books and got 1 book in the post to review! I need to up the reading and reviewing pace again!!
Here’s my look back…
THE JANE AUSTEN REMEDY by RUTH WILSON – 4 STARS
publication date – 22nd September 2022
HAVEN by EMMA DONOGHUE – 3 STARS
Shall we see how Netgalley made me add so many?!
THE SECRET GARDENS OF THE SOUTH EAST by BARBARA SEGALL
publication date – October 2022
A tour of some of the UK’s most beguiling gardens in the counties of Kent, Sussex and Surrey, the counties that exemplify ‘the garden of England’.
In these three counties a wealth of history and horticulture has combined with geography in the shape of rolling landscapes, wooded valleys and meandering waterways, to provide an attractive and fascinating collection.
They are in villages and towns, as well as in deep countryside, and all are privately owned. Some have been in the possession of the same family for many generations, while others have recently been transformed by new owners. Some open for the National Garden Scheme, while others are open privately and in some cases for just the occasional day for charity.
The stunning gardens explored in this visually rich guide include: Arundel Castle, Denmans, Gravetye Manor, Munstead Wood and Sussex Prairie Garden. The book also includes a gazetteer of other important gardens in the area with location advice, to enable readers to plan a more elaborate tour of this fertile garden area.
Filled with stunning, specially commissioned photographs by Clive Boursnell, Secret Gardens of the South East is a unique guide that opens the gates to the most intriguing gardens in this part of England.
BATTLESHIPS by DAVID ROSS
publication date – October 2022
Battleships features 52 of the greatest warships to have sailed in the last 500 years.
Beginning with King Henry VIII’s flagship, Henry Grace à Dieu, this book covers all the main periods of battleship development, including the great sailing ships, such as Sovereign of the Seas, SantissimaTrinidad, and Victory. The advent of steam-driven warships provides the core of the book, beginning with the introduction of Gloire in 1859, and continuing through all the major pre-Dreadnoughts, such as the Inflexible, Maine, and Tsessarevitch. There is detailed coverage of the great battleships of the two world wars, including Derfflinger, Yamato, and Iowa, while the book closes with the last new battleship to be commissioned, Vanguard, in 1946. Each entry includes a brief description of the battleship’s development and history, a color profile artwork, key features, and specifications. Packed with illustrations and photographs, Battleships is a colorful guide for the military historian and naval warfare enthusiast.
GRAVES OF THE GREAT AND FAMOUS by ALASTAIR HORNE
Karl Marx is buried in London, John Keats in Rome and Leon Trotsky in Mexico. Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris is today known for the graves of Jim Morrison, Victor Hugo and Oscar Wilde, but when it opened in the early 19th century the owners felt that they needed some star names to make it a desired burial site – and so they had Molière’s body transferred there. Arranged thematically into 75 entries, Graves of the Great and Famous tours the world exploring the resting places of leading artists, thinkers, scientists, sportspeople, revolutionaries, politicians and pioneers. Some, such as communist leaders Ho Chi Minh and Vladimir Lenin, are interred in great mausoleums, where they are visited by millions each year; others are buried in little-known country graveyards. From lives cut short through assassinations – Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln – to those who suffered terrible accidents (Princess Diana), from mobsters such as Benjamin ‘Bugsy’ Siegel and John Gotti to Napoleon and his mistress Marie Walewska, from Nelson Mandela to Eva Peron, Graceland to Highgate Cemetery, the book provides a guide to some of the most famous and unusual graves of the great and the good. Featuring 150 photographs of graves, cemeteries, graveyards and mausoleums, Graves of the Great and Famous is a compact guide to the final resting place of the famous – and infamous.
BECKY by SARAH MAY
publication date – January 2023
Becky Sharp is determined. Determined to get away from the dead-end town where she grew up, determined to make a place for herself in high society and determined to reach the top of the career ladder. And she doesn’t care how many lives she ruins in the process.
Set in 90s tabloid era London, Becky charts the rise and fall of a very modern heroine as she inveigles her way into the highest society, where tabloid millionaires mingle and trade favours and fortunes with royalty and aristocracy, pushes her way up through the ranks at the Mercury newspaper with manipulative scoop after scoop, and eventually orchestrates her own dramatic downfall. These are some of the biggest news stories and scandals of the last few decades, and Becky seems to have something to do with every one of them . . .
In this viciously funny, darkly entertaining and ultimately moving read, the much-loved classic Vanity Fair finds itself in 90s London, and Becky couldn’t be a more perfect fit. For fans of Curtis Sittenfeld’s Eligible, Becky by Sarah May is impossible to put down.
FOUND IN A BOOKSHOP by STEPHANIE BUTLAND
publication – April 2023
Dear Lost for Words,
We are trying to stay at home . . . I am enclosing a cheque and I hope that you will use it to send us some books. Please choose books that we might think are wonderful.
Loveday Cardew’s beloved Lost for Words bookshop, along with the rest of York, has fallen quiet. At the very time when people most need books to widen their horizons, or escape from their fears, or enhance their lives, the doors are closed. Then the first letter comes.
Rosemary and George have been married for fifty years. Now their time is running out. They have decided to set out on their last journey together, without ever leaving the bench at the bottom of their garden in Whitby. All they need is someone who shares their love of books.
Suddenly it’s clear to Loveday that she and her team can do something useful in a crisis. They can recommend books to help with the situations their customers find themselves in: fear, boredom, loneliness, the desire for laughter and escape.
And so it begins.
On to the book I was sent for review by Gallic Books….
ORPHEUS BUILDS A GIRL by HEATHER PARRY
publication date – October 2022
Based on a true story, Orpheus Builds a Girl is a novel of sisterly love, sinister obsession, and the battle for control of the story. A dark, chilling debut novel from award-winning writer Heather Parry.
German doctor Wilhelm Von Tore shares with the reader the story of his one true ove; a love written in the stars, decades in the making, a love so strong it transcended death itself. When Wilhelm emigrates to America he carries with him a vision of a dark-haired beauty, presented to him in his dreams by his beloved late Grandmother. In Key West, Florida, a beautiful young woman is taken to him in the grip of illness, and he recognises her immediately as his promised bride. Despite his efforts, the sickness takes hold and his beloved slips away from him. But Wilhelm will not be kept from his destiny, not even by death. Using research compiled over decades, he sets about attempting to restore his love to her body, so that they might be together forever.
But there’s another voice in this story: Gabriela, and she will not let this version of events go unchallenged. From between the cracks in Wilhelm’s story Gabriela recounts her own memory of her sister Luciana, a fiery and difficult young woman, and the madman who robbed her from her grave.
And then it was time to treat myself… obviously!
FAIRY TALE by STEPHEN KING
Legendary storyteller Stephen King goes into the deepest well of his imagination in this spellbinding novel about a seventeen-year-old boy who inherits the keys to a parallel world where good and evil are at war, and the stakes could not be higher—for their world or ours.
Charlie Reade looks like a regular high school kid, great at baseball and football, a decent student. But he carries a heavy load. His mom was killed in a hit-and-run accident when he was ten, and grief drove his dad to drink. Charlie learned how to take care of himself—and his dad. Then, when Charlie is seventeen, he meets a dog named Radar and his ageing master, Howard Bowditch, a recluse in a big house at the top of a big hill, with a locked shed in the backyard. Sometimes strange sounds emerge from it.
Charlie starts doing jobs for Mr. Bowditch and loses his heart to Radar. Then, when Bowditch dies, he leaves Charlie a cassette tape telling a story no one would believe. What Bowditch knows, and has kept secret all his long life, is that inside the shed is a portal to another world.
King’s storytelling in Fairy Tale soars. This is a magnificent and terrifying tale about another world than ours, in which good is pitted against overwhelming evil, and a heroic boy—and his dog—must lead the battle
.THE VANISHING ACT OF ESME LENNOX by MAGGIE O’FARRELL
Maggie O’Farrell takes readers on a journey to the darker places of the human heart, where desires struggle with the imposition of social mores. This haunting story explores the seedy past of Victorian asylums, the oppression of family secrets, and the way truth can change everything.
In the middle of tending to the everyday business at her vintage clothing shop and sidestepping her married boyfriend’s attempts at commitment, Iris Lockhart receives a stunning phone call: Her great-aunt Esme, whom she never knew existed, is being released from Cauldstone Hospital – where she has been locked away for over sixty years. Iris’s grandmother Kitty always claimed to be an only child. But Esme’s papers prove she is Kitty’s sister, and Iris can see the shadow of her dead father in Esme’s face. Esme has been labeled harmless – sane enough to coexist with the rest of the world. But Esme’s still basically a stranger, a family member never mentioned by the family, and one who is sure to bring life-altering secrets with her when she leaves the ward. If Iris takes her in, what dangerous truths might she inherit?
Maggie O’Farrell’s intricate tale of family secrets, lost lives, and the freedom brought by truth will haunt readers long past its final page.