Hosted by Taking on a World of Words, this meme is all about the three Ws:
- What are you currently reading?
- What did you recently finish reading?
- What do you think you’ll read next?
Why not join in too? Leave a comment with your link at Taking on a World of Words and then go blog hopping!
Dance of the Happy Shades by Alice Munro (ebook)
Alice Munro’s territory is the farms and semi-rural towns of south-western Ontario. In these dazzling stories she deals with the self-discovery of adolescence, the joys and pains of love and the despair and guilt of those caught in a narrow existence. And in sensitively exploring the lives of ordinary men and women, she makes us aware of the universal nature of their fears, sorrows and aspirations.
Cuz by Danielle Allen (eARC, NetGalley)
Aged 15 and living in LA, Michael Allen was arrested for a botched carjacking. He was tried as an adult and sentenced to thirteen years behind bars. After growing up in prison Michael was then released aged 26, only to be murdered three years later. In this deeply personal yet clear-eyed memoir, Danielle Allen reconstructs her cousin’s life to try and understand how this tragedy was the end result. We become intimate with Michael’s experience, from his first steps to his first love, and with the events of his arrest, his coming of age in prison, and his attempts to make up for lost time after his release. We learn what it’s like to grow up in a city carved up by invisible gang borders; and we learn how a generation has been lost. With breathtaking bravery and intelligence, Cuz circles around its subject, viewing it from all angles to expose a shocking reality. The result is both a personal and analytical view of a life that wields devastating power. This is the new American tragedy.
The Other Life of Charlotte Evans by Louisa George (ebook, review copy courtesy of Neverland Book Tours)
Would you sacrifice your future to understand your past? Life is rosy for dance studio owner Charlotte Evans, who is about to marry beloved fiancé, Ben. But when Ben finds a lump in Charlotte’s breast, it sends her on a journey of self-discovery which she knows she must do alone. Because Charlotte is adopted, and she suddenly, desperately, needs to know who she is and where she comes from. Finding and reconnecting with her birth family, the life Charlotte could have had unfolds before her. As her wedding day draws closer, and her past merges ever more into her present, Charlotte must decide on the future she really wants…A heartrendingly beautiful novel about love, family and finding your own path to happiness.
Recently finished (click on title for review)
The Last Hours by Minette Walters (eARC, NetGalley)
For most, the Black Death is the end. For a brave few, it heralds a new beginning.
When the Black Death enters England through the port of Melcombe in Dorseteshire in June 1348, no one knows what manner of sickness it is or how it spreads and kills so quickly. The Church cites God as the cause, and religious fear grips the people as they come to believe that the plague is a punishment for wickedness. But Lady Anne of Develish has her own ideas. Educated by nuns, Anne is a rarity among women, being both literate and knowledgeable. With her brutal husband absent from Develish when news of this pestilence reaches her, she takes the decision to look for more sensible ways to protect her people than daily confessions of sin. Well-versed in the importance of isolating the sick from the well, she withdraws her people inside the moat that surrounds her manor house and refuses entry even to her husband. She makes an enemy of her daughter and her husband’s steward by doing so, but her resolve is strengthened by the support of her leading serfs … until food stocks run low and the nerves of all are tested by continued confinement and ignorance of what is happening in the world outside. The people of Develish are alive. But for how long? And what will they discover when the time comes for them to cross the moat?
The Murderer’s Maid: A Lizzie Borden Novel by Erika Mailman (ebook, review copy courtesy of HF Virtual Book Tours)
The Murderer’s Maid interweaves the stories of two women: one, the servant of infamous Lizzie Borden, and the other a modern-day barista fleeing from an attempt on her life. Trapped by servitude and afraid for her own safety, Irish maid Bridget finds herself an unwilling witness to the tensions in the volatile Borden household. As Lizzie seethes with resentment, Bridget tries to perform her duties and keep her mouth shut. Unknowingly connected to the legendary crime of a century ago, Brooke, the illegitimate daughter of an immigrant maid, struggles to conceal her identity and stay a jump ahead of the men who want to kill her. When she unexpectedly falls in love with Anthony, a local attorney, she has to decide whether to stop running and begin her life anew.
Mr Dickens and His Carol: A Novel of Christmas Past by Samantha Silva (advanced reader copy courtesy of Allison & Busby)
For Charles Dickens, each Christmas has been better than the last. His novels are literary blockbusters, and he is famous on the streets of London, where avid fans sneak up on him to snip off pieces of his hair. He and his wife have five happy children, a sixth on the way, and a home filled with every comfort they could imagine. But when Dickens’ newest book is a flop, the glorious life he has built for himself threatens to collapse around him. His publishers offer an ultimatum: either he writes a Christmas book in a month, or they will call in his debts, and he could lose everything. Grudgingly, he accepts, but with relatives hounding him for loans, his wife and children planning an excessively lavish holiday party, and jealous critics going in for the kill, he is hardly feeling the Christmas spirit. Increasingly frazzled and filled with self-doubt, Dickens seeks solace and inspiration in London itself, his great palace of thinking. And on one of his long walks, in a once-beloved square, he meets a young woman in a purple cloak, who might be just the muse he needs. Eleanor Lovejoy and her young son, Timothy, propel Dickens on a Scrooge-like journey through his Christmases past and present—but with time running out, will he find the perfect new story to save him?
Fires by Tom Ward (eARC courtesy of the author)
There’s a fire on the horizon. For Guy, a fireman, it means the death of his wife and daughter. For 19-year-old Nathan and Alexa it means a chance to fight back against austerity and abandonment. While the teenagers turn to arson, Guy searches for meaning behind his family’s deaths, battling corruption and a lost underclass, intent on fiery revolution. For all three, their actions will lead them to the precipice of disaster. (Review to follow 2nd November)
What Cathy (will) Read Next
CWA Anthology of Short Stories: Mystery Tour, ed by Martin Edwards (ARC courtesy of Orenda Books)
This exciting collection of short stories features crime writers working with a “mystery tour” or travel theme. Ann Cleeves on Tanzania, Vas Khan on Mumbai, and Marnie Riches on Holland. Other writers include Sarah Hilary, Alex Marwood, Cally Taylor, Elly Griffiths, Steph Broadribb, Johana Gustawsson, Liz Nugent, Steve Cavanagh, Cal Moriarty, Paul Hardisty, Mason Cross, Sharon Bolton, Vas Khan, Marnie Riches, Bill Ryan, Ian Rankin, Peter James, Kate Rhodes, Ragnar Jonasson, and Ann Cleeves.
Zenka by Alison Brodie (eARC, courtesy of the author)
Ruthless, devious, and loyal, Zenka is a Hungarian pole-dancer with a dark past. When cranky London mob boss, Jack Murray, saves her life she vows to become his guardian angel – whether he likes it or not. Happily, she now has easy access to pistols, knives and shotguns. Jack discovers he has a son, Nicholas, a male nurse with a heart of gold. Problem is, Nicholas is a wimp. Zenka takes charge. Using her feminine wiles and gangland contacts, she will turn Nicholas into the son any self-respecting crime boss would be proud of. And she succeeds! Nicholas is learning fast that sometimes you have to kill, or be killed. As his life becomes more terrifying, questions have to be asked: How do you tell a mob boss you don’t want to be his son? And is Zenka really who she says she is?