The Room by the Lake by Emma Dibdin (eARC, NetGalley)
When Caitlin moved from London to New York, she thought she had left her problems behind: her alcoholic father, her dead mother, the pressure to succeed. But now, down to her last dollar in a foreign city, she is desperately lonely. Then she meets Jake. Handsome, smart, slightly damaged Jake. He lives off-grid, in a lakeside commune whose members practise regular exercise and frequent group therapy. Before long, Caitlin has settled into her idyllic new home. It looks like she has found the fresh start she longed for. But, as the commune tightens its grip on her freedom and her sanity, Caitlin realizes too late that she might become lost forever…
Under A Tuscan Sky by Karen Aldous (eARC, NetGalley)
A summer she’ll never forget… When Olivia Montague’s grandmother passes away, she decides it’s finally time to make some changes in her own life. So she breaks up with her ‘going nowhere’ boyfriend and embarks on a journey to her Nonna’s home in Tuscany. Until now, Olivia has always believed that she’s incapable of love, after being abandoned by her parents as a baby. But with each day spent at the gorgeous villa nestled in the rolling Italian hills, she feels her heart begin to flutter… And when handsome antiques dealer Hugh St. James arrives on the scene, she realises things might be about to change forever!
A Kind of Light by H. R. F. Keating (ebook, 99p)
Two stories, two journeys into the darkness… Thomasina le Mesurier writes in her journal of finding a miraculous plant which has the potential to save thousands of lives with its medicinal properties. A plant which could have saved her beloved mentor and friend, Doctor Diver, who fell ill with the Typhoid Fever. She insists on venturing deep into the jungle to source the healing plant and take it back to England. Although told she is being foolhardy, Thomasina ventures off, following Doctor Diver’s notes… But is she chasing after a delusion? The forest is rumoured to hold unmentionable terrors and unfathomable enigmas, but regardless, Thomasina embarks on her journey into the heart of Africa, accompanied only by three native bearers. Can she survive the dangers of the dark? And what will her journey bring? In the present day a young couple, David Teigh and Theresa Olivia Mountjoy, stumble upon an article expounding the writings of Thomasina. They soon set off on their journey, following in Thomasina’s footsteps, to discover the remaining notebooks preserved in the depths of Africa, all the while recording a documentary film of their treacherous journey. Will the adventurers’ respective searches come to a satisfying, or a more macabre, end? One thing is certain, no traveller who undertakes this expedition can emerge unchanged… A homage to Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, A Kind of Light will take you on a perilous journey through Africa’s forests.
Liberty Boy (The Liberty Series #1) by David Gaughran (ebook, free)
Dublin has been on a knife-edge since the failed rebellion in July, and Jimmy O’Flaherty suspects a newcomer to The Liberties – Kitty Doyle – is mixed up in it. She accuses him of spying for the English, and he thinks she’s a reckless troublemaker. All Jimmy wants is to earn enough coin to buy passage to America. But when the English turn his trading patch into a gallows, Jimmy finds himself drawn into the very conflict he’s spent his whole life avoiding.
Plague Land (Oswald de Lacy #1) by S. D. Sykes (ebook, 99p)
Oswald de Lacy was never meant to be the Lord of Somerhill Manor. Despatched to a monastery at the age of seven, sent back at seventeen when his father and two older brothers are killed by thePlague, Oswald has no experience of running an estate. He finds the years of pestilence and neglect have changed the old place dramatically, not to mention the attitude of the surviving peasants. Yet some things never change. Oswald’s mother remains the powerful matriarch of the family, and his sister Clemence simmers in the background, dangerous and unmarried. Before he can do anything, Oswald is confronted by the shocking death of a young woman, Alison Starvecrow. The ambitious village priest claims that Alison was killed by a band of demonic dog-headed men. Oswald is certain this is nonsense, but proving it – by finding the real murderer – is quite a different matter. Every step he takes seems to lead Oswald deeper into a dark maze of political intrigue, family secrets and violent strife. And then the body of another girl is found.
Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski (ebook, 99p)
The novel is constructed as a series of podcasts, in which an investigative journalist describes the circumstances around the death of a teenage boy in an outward-bound centre, interviewing witnesses, suspects and people close to the incident. Their six accounts form the six stories of the title, creating a “chilling and compelling, page-turning thriller that also delves deep into notions of truth, perception and loyalty”.
House of Names by Colm Toibin (ebook, NetGalley)
On the day of his daughter’s wedding, Agamemnon orders her sacrifice. His daughter is led to her death, and Agamemnon leads his army into battle, where he is rewarded with glorious victory. Three years later, he returns home and his murderous action has set the entire family – mother, brother, sister – on a path of intimate violence, as they enter a world of hushed commands and soundless journeys through the palace’s dungeons and bedchambers. As his wife seeks his death, his daughter, Electra, is the silent observer to the family’s game of innocence while his son, Orestes, is sent into bewildering, frightening exile where survival is far from certain. Out of their desolating loss, Electra and Orestes must find a way to right these wrongs of the past even if it means committing themselves to a terrible, barbarous act. House of Names is a story of intense longing and shocking betrayal. It is a work of great beauty, and daring, from one of our finest living writers.
Wake Me When I’m Gone by Odafe Atogun (eARC, NetGalley)
Everyone says that Ese is the most beautiful woman in the region, but a fool. A young widow, she lives in a village, where the crops grow tall and the people are ruled over by a Chief on a white horse. She married for love, but now her husband is dead, leaving her with nothing but a market stall and a young son to feed. When the Chief knocks on Ese’s door demanding that she marry again, as the laws of the land dictate she must, Ese is a fool once more. There is a high price for breaking the law, and an even greater cost for breaking the heart of a Chief. Ese will face the wrath of gods and men in the fight to preserve her heart, to keep her son and to right centuries of wrongs. She will change the lives of many on the road to freedom, and she will face the greatest pain a mother ever can.
The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde by Eve Chase (eARC, NetGalley)
From the present day… Applecote Manor captivates Jessie with it promise of hazy summers in the Cotswolds. She believes it’s the perfect escape for her troubled family. But the house has an unsettling history, and strange rumours surround the estate.
To the fifties… When teenage Margot and her three sisters arrive at Applecote during the heatwave of ’59, they find their aunt and uncle still reeling from the disappearance of their daughter Audrey five years before. The sisters are drawn into the mystery of Audrey’s vanishing – until the stifling summer takes a shocking, deadly turn. Will one unthinkable choice bind them together, or tear them apart?
On What Cathy Read Next last week
On Tuesday I published my review of Fata Morgana by Steven R. Boyett & Ken Mitchroney, a highly entertaining mash up of historical fiction, sci-fi and time travel. Thursday saw my review of The Outcasts of Time by Ian Mortimer, coincidentally another combination of historical fiction and time travel! On Friday, I reviewed The Floating Theatre by Martha Conway set in the southern states of America in the 1840s.
On Monday, I discussed What Makes A Good Author Q&A, including some tips on how to research and come up with good interview questions. On Wednesday I tried my best to put that good advice into practice in a Q&A with Michael Pronko, author of the Tokyo-set thriller, The Last Train, to coincide with its publication. Finally, on Friday I highlighted my favourite books that I read in May.
- Goodreads 2017 Reading Challenge – 65 out of 78 books read (3 more than last week)
- Classics Club – 2 out of 50 books reviewed (same as last week)
- NetGalley and Edelweiss Reading Challenge 2017 (Gold) – 34 ARCs reviewed out of 50 (1 more than last week)
- From Page to Screen – 6 book/film comparisons completed (same as last week)
- The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction Shortlist 2017 – 5 out of 7 read (2 more than last week)
On What Cathy Read Next this week
- Blog Tour/Guest Post: Widdershins by Helen Steadman
- Blog Tour/Q&A: Day of the Dead by Mark Roberts
- Blitz: Rise of Princes by Janell Rhiannon
- Blog Tour/Review: More Than A Soldier by D. M. Annechino
- Book Review: The Former Chief Executive by Kate Vane
- Book Review: A Country Road, A Tree by Jo Baker
- Blog Tour/Review: Secrets of Southern Girls by Haley Harrigan
- Blog Tour/Q&A: Killer of Kings by Matthew Harffy
Reviews to be added to NetGalley
- None, just at this moment!
How was your week in books? Literary sensation or slush pile candidate?