My Week in Books – 5th November ’17


New arrivals

Oops, someone let me loose on NetGalley again…

The Wicked ComethThe Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin (eARC, NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton)

The year is 1831. Down the murky alleyways of London, acts of unspeakable wickedness are taking place and no one is willing to speak out on behalf of the city’s vulnerable poor as they disappear from the streets. Out of these shadows comes Hester White, a bright young woman who is desperate to escape the slums by any means possible. When Hester is thrust into the world of the aristocratic Brock family, she leaps at the chance to improve her station in life under the tutelage of the fiercely intelligent and mysterious Rebekah Brock. But whispers from her past slowly begin to poison her new life and both she and Rebekah are lured into the most sinister of investigations. Hester and Rebekah find themselves crossing every boundary they’ve ever known in pursuit of truth, redemption and passion. But their trust in each other will be tested as a web of deceit begins to unspool, dragging them into the blackest heart of a city where something more depraved than either of them could ever imagine is lurking . . .

Oliver LovingOliver Loving by Stefan Merrill Block (eARC, NetGalley & Atlantic Books)

One warm, West Texas November night, a shy boy named Oliver Loving joins his classmates at Bliss County Day School’s annual dance, hoping for a glimpse of the object of his unrequited affections, an enigmatic Junior named Rebekkah Sterling. But as the music plays, a troubled young man sneaks in through the school’s back door. The dire choices this man makes that evening —and the unspoken story he carries— will tear the town of Bliss, Texas apart.

Nearly ten years later, Oliver Loving still lies wordless and paralyzed at Crockett State Assisted Care Facility, the fate of his mind unclear. Orbiting the still point of Oliver’s hospital bed is a family transformed: Oliver’s mother, Eve, who keeps desperate vigil; Oliver’s brother, Charlie, who has fled for New York City only to discover he cannot escape the gravity of his shattered family; Oliver’s father, Jed, who tries to erase his memories with bourbon. And then there is Rebekkah Sterling, Oliver’s teenage love, who left Texas long ago and still refuses to speak about her own part in that tragic night. When a new medical test promises a key to unlock Oliver’s trapped mind, the town’s unanswered questions resurface with new urgency, as Oliver’s doctors and his family fight for a way for Oliver to finally communicate — and so also to tell the truth of what really happened that fateful night.

The Good Doctor of WarsawThe Good Doctor of Warsaw by Elisabeth Gifford (eARC, NetGalley and Atlantic Books)

Deeply in love and about to marry, students Misha and Sophia flee a Warsaw under Nazi occupation for a chance at freedom. Forced to return to the Warsaw ghetto, they help Misha’s mentor, Dr Korczak, care for the two hundred children in his orphanage. As Korczak struggles to uphold the rights of even the smallest child in the face of unimaginable conditions, he becomes a beacon of hope for the thousands who live behind the walls. As the noose tightens around the ghetto Misha and Sophia are torn from one another, forcing them to face their worst fears alone. They can only hope to find each other again one day… Meanwhile, refusing to leave the children unprotected, Korczak must confront a terrible darkness.  Half a million people lived in the Warsaw ghetto. Less than one percent survived to tell their story. This novel is based on the true accounts of Misha and Sophia, and on the life of one of Poland’s greatest men, Dr Janusz Korczak.

TreasonTreason by James Jackson (paperback, review copy courtesy of Bonnier Zaffre)

Behind the famous rhyme lies a murderous conspiracy that goes far beyond Guy Fawkes and his ill-fated Gunpowder Plot . . . In a desperate race against time, spy Christian Hardy must uncover a web of deceit that runs from the cock-fighting pits of Shoe Lane, to the tunnels beneath a bear-baiting arena in Southwark, and from the bad lands of Clerkenwell to a brutal fire fight in The Globe theatre.  But of the forces ranged against Hardy, all pale beside the renegade Spanish agent codenamed Realm.

Nucleus BookpostNucleus (Tom Wilde #2) by Rory Clements (uncorrected bound proof, courtesy of Bonnier Zaffre)

The eve of war: a secret so deadly, nothing and no one is safe…

June 1939. England is partying like there is no tomorrow, gas masks at the ready…but the good times won’t last. The Nazis have invaded Czechoslovakia, in Germany Jewish persecution is  widespread, and, closer to home,  the IRA has embarked on a  bombing campaign.  But perhaps the most far-reaching event of all goes largely unreported: in Germany, Otto Hahn has produced man-made fission.  An atomic bomb is now possible.  German High Command knows Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory is also close; they must discover its secrets before it is safe to wage war. When one of the Cavendish’s finest brains is murdered, Professor Tom Wilde is drawn in to the investigation.  In a conspiracy that stretches from Cambridge to Berlin, from the US to Ireland, the fate of the world comes to depend on the recovery of a kidnapped child.  Can Tom Wilde discover the truth before it is too late?

The Assassin of VeronaThe Assassin of Verona by Benet Brandreth (hardcover, review copy courtesy of Bonnier Zaffre)

All is not well in Venice. Threatened daily by Papal assassins, William Shakespeare and his close friends Oldcastle and Hemminges are increasingly isolated – the lies that have protected them so far beginning to wear thin. His companions want desperately to leave, but Will is tied to the city – his lover, the beautiful Isabella, is growing ever more sick. As tensions reach breaking point, their company is forced to split… Once more full of swaggering charm, breathless action and rapier-sharp dialogue, this is the second novel in Benet Brandreth’s highly acclaimed series reimagining the lost years of William Shakespeare.

The Tide Between UsThe Tide Between Us by Olive Collins (ebook, review copy courtesy of the author)

1821: After the landlord of Lugdale Estate in Kerry is assassinated, young Art O’Neill’s innocent father is hanged and Art is deported to the cane fields of Jamaica as an indentured servant. On Mangrove Plantation he gradually acclimatises to the exotic country and unfamiliar customs of the African slaves, and achieves a kind of contentment. Then the new heirs to the plantation arrive. His new owner is Colonel Stratford-Rice from Lugdale Estate, the man who hanged his father. Art must overcome his hatred to survive the harsh life of a slave and live to see the eventual emancipation which liberates his coloured children. Eventually he is promised seven gold coins when he finishes his service, but he doubts his master will part with the coins.

One hundred years later in Ireland, a skeleton is discovered beneath a fallen tree on the grounds of Lugdale Estate. By its side is a gold coin minted in 1870. Yseult, the owner of the estate, watches as events unfold, fearful of the long-buried truths that may emerge about her family’s past and its links to the slave trade. As the body gives up its secrets, Yseult realises she too can no longer hide.

Venetian BloodVenetian Blood: Murder in a Sensuous City by Christine Evelyn Volker (ebook)

Struggling to forget a crumbling marriage, forty-year-old Anna Lucia Lottol comes to Venice to visit an old friend–but instead of finding solace, she is dragged into the police station and accused of murdering a money-laundering count with whom she had a brief affair. A US Treasury officer with brains and athleticism, Anna fights to clear her name in a seductive city full of watery illusions. As she works to pry information from a cast of recalcitrant characters sometimes denying what she sees and hears, she succeeds in unleashing a powerful foe bent on destroying her. Will she save herself and vanquish her enemies, including her darkest fears? A captivating tapestry of murder, betrayal, and family, Venetian Blood is a story of one woman’s brave quest for the truth –before it’s too late.

On What Cathy Read Next last week

Blog posts

Monday – I shared my review of Mr Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva, which being a lover of A Christmas Carol, I absolutely adored.

Tuesday – I featured a Q&A with Zoe Folbigg, author of the best-selling The Note. I also reviewed The Last Hours by Minette Walters, her first foray into historical fiction. Finally, I rounded up my top five favourite reads in October.

WednesdayWWW Wednesday is the opportunity to share what I’ve just finished reading, what I’m reading now and what I’ll be reading next. I also participated in the spotlight tour for the historical fiction novel, The Painter’s Apprentice by Laura Morelli

Thursday –I shared my review of the terrific Fires by Tom Ward to mark its publication day.

Friday – Another blog tour review, this time for The Other Life of Charlotte Evans by Louisa George.

Saturday – A busy day on the blog! First off I featured a Q&A with Rebecca Stonehill, author of the intriguing The Secret Life of Alfred Nightingale, ahead of the book’s publication on 11th November. It being the eve of Bonfire Night, I published an extract from the exciting historical thriller, Treason by James Jackson, centred round the gunpowder plot. Finally, as part of the 1968 Club reading challenge, I shared my review of The Dance of the Happy Shades, a short story collection by Alice Munro first published in 1968 but which has definitely stood the test of time.

Sunday – I published my review of the CWA Anthology of Short Stories: Mystery Tour, edited by Martin Edwards, a terrific collection that will be loved by crime fiction fans.

Challenge updates

  • Goodreads 2017 Reading Challenge – 134 out of 156 books read, 6 more than last week
  • Classics Club Challenge – 5 out of 50 books reviewed, same as last week
  • NetGalley/Edelweiss Reading Challenge 2017 (Gold) – 53 ARCs reviewed out of 50, 1 more than last week
  • From Page to Screen 2016/7– 7 book/film comparisons out of 12 completed, same as last week
  • From Page to Screen 2017/18 – 1 out of 2 completed, same as last week

On What Cathy Read Next this week

Currently reading

Planned posts

  • Review: Zenka by Alison Brodie
  • Review: Cuz by Danielle Allen
  • Review: The Secret of Vesalius by Jordi Llobregat
  • Spotlight: The Tides Between by Elizabeth Jane Corbett
  • Extract: Lying in Vengeance by Gary Corbin
  • Blog Tour/Review: Choosing Hope by Holly Kammier
  • Blog Tour/Q&A: Lido Girls by Allie Burns

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