My Week in Books – 15th April ’18


New arrivals  

Smile of the WolfSmile of the Wolf by Tim Leach (ARC, NetGalley)

Eleventh-century Iceland. One night in the darkness of winter, two friends set out on an adventure but end up killing a man. Kjaran, a travelling poet who trades songs for food and shelter, and Gunnar, a feared warrior, must make a choice: conceal the deed or confess to the crime and pay the blood price to the family. But their decision leads to a brutal feud: one man is outlawed, free to be killed by anyone without consequence; the other remorselessly hunted by the dead man’s kin. Set in a world of ice and snow, this is an epic story of exile and revenge, of duels and betrayals, and two friends struggling to survive in a desolate landscape, where honour is the only code that men abide by.

The Story KeeperThe Story Keeper by Anna Mazzola (ARC, NetGalley)

Audrey Hart is on the Isle of Skye to collect the word-of-mouth folk tales of the people and communities around her. It is 1857, the Highland Clearances have left devastation and poverty, and the crofters are suspicious and hostile, claiming they no longer know their stories. Then Audrey discovers the body of a young girl washed up on the beach and the crofters tell her that it is only a matter of weeks since another girl has disappeared. They believe the girls are the victims of the spirits of the unforgiven dead. Initially, Audrey is sure the girls are being abducted, but then she is reminded of her own mother, a Skye woman who disappeared in mysterious circumstances. It seems there is a link to be explored, and Audrey may uncover just what her family have been hiding from her all these years.

The Cliff HouseThe Cliff House by Amanda Jennings (ARC, NetGalley)

Some friendships are made to be broken

Cornwall, summer of 1986. The Davenports, with their fast cars and glamorous clothes, living the dream in a breathtaking house overlooking the sea.

If only… thinks sixteen-year-old Tamsyn, her binoculars trained on the perfect family in their perfect home.  If only her life was as perfect as theirs.  If only Edie Davenport would be her friend.  If only she lived at The Cliff House…

I Will Find YouI Will Find You (Seal Island #2) by Daniela Sacerdoti (ARC, NetGalley)

After her mother dies, grief-stricken Cora discovers she has been left a cottage, a crumbling shelter on a mysterious Scottish island. The moment Cora arrives on the windswept isle of Seal, she falls under its spell and is drawn to brooding Innes, back on the island to confront his past.

As Cora begins to trace her mother’s roots, she learns Gealach Cottage has a dark, turbulent history. Another young woman has sought refuge here, fleeing terrible danger, and waiting for her lover to return. What became of her? Only by unravelling a forgotten story of passion and courage can Cora understand what has pulled her to Seal…and led her to a man of many secrets.

The Boy at the DoorThe Boy at the Door by Alex Dahl (ARC, NetGalley)

What would you do for the perfect life? Would you lie? Would you steal? Would you kill?…

Cecilia Wilborg has the perfect life. A handsome husband, two beautiful daughters and a large house in the picture-postcard town of Sandefjord.

But then Tobias enters her life. He is a small, friendless eight-year-old. And he threatens to bring Cecilia’s world crashing down.

That Summer in PugliaThat Summer in Puglia by Valeria Vescina (review copy courtesy of Bookollective)

Tommaso has escaped discovery for thirty years but a young private investigator, Will, has tracked him down.

Tommaso asks him to pretend never to have found him.  To persuade Will, Tommaso recounts the story of his life and his great love. In the process, he comes to recognise his true role in the events which unfolded, and the legacy of unresolved grief.

Now he’s being presented with a second chance – but is he ready to pay the price it exacts?

The DraughtsmanThe Draughtsman by Robert Lautner (paperback)

1944, Germany. Ernst Beck’s new job marks an end to months of unemployment. Working for Erfurt’s most prestigious engineering firm, Topf Sons, means he can finally make a contribution to the war effort, provide for his beautiful wife, Etta, and make his parents proud. But there is a price.

Ernst is assigned to the firm’s smallest team – the Special Ovens Department. Reporting directly to Berlin his role is to annotate plans for new crematoria that are deliberately designed to burn day and night. Their destination: the concentration camps. Topf’s new client: the SS.

As the true nature of his work dawns on him, Ernst has a terrible choice to make: turning a blind eye will keep him and Etta safe, but that’s little comfort if staying silent amounts to collusion in the death of thousands.

Behind the Scenes at the MuseumBehind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson (hardcover)

Ruby Lennox begins narrating her life at the moment of conception, and from there takes us on a whirlwind tour of the twentieth century as seen through the eyes of an English girl determined to learn about her family and its secrets.

March VioletsMarch Violets (Bernie Gunther #1) by Philip Kerr (ebook, Kindle deal)

Ex-Berlin cop and private detective Bernie Gunther has seen his share of bad guys. But when the worst guys of all are the ones running the show, it’s much harder to stay out of their reach.

Hired by a wealthy industrialist to investigate the murder of his daughter and her husband in an apparent botched robbery, Bernie soon finds himself drawn into the complex – not to mention lethal – internal politics and corruption of the Nazi party. When Herman Goering himself calls Bernie in with a task for him that throws his existing case into a whole new light, he must weigh up his hatred of the Nazis against his desire to stay alive.

Mutiny on the BountyMutiny on the Bounty by John Boyne (ebook, Kindle deal)

Pickpocket John Jacob Turnstile is on his way to be detained at His Majesty’s Pleasure when he is offered a lifeline, what seems like a freedom of sorts – the job of personal valet to a departing naval captain. Little does he realise that it is anything but – and by accepting the devil’s bargain he will put his life in perilous danger. For the ship is HMS Bounty, his new captain William Bligh and their destination Tahiti.

From the moment the ship leaves port, Turnstile’s life is turned upside down, for not only must he put his own demons to rest, but he must also confront the many adversaries he will encounter on the Bounty’s extraordinary last voyage. Walking a dangerous line between an unhappy crew and a captain he comes to admire, he finds himself in a no-man’s land where the distinction between friend and foe is increasingly difficult to determine…

On What Cathy Read Next last week

Blog posts

Monday – I published my review of the atmospheric Things Bright and Beautiful by Anbara Salam, set in the New Hebrides in the 1950s.  I also took part in the blog tour for The Room by the Lake by Emma Dibdin, sharing a Q&A with Emma and my review of this intense thriller.

Tuesday – I shared my version of the I Spy Book Challenge, choosing to make my selections only from collection of books by John Buchan.

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 took part in the blog tour for Lady Helena Investigates by Jane Steen, an engaging historical mystery that is the first in a new series.

Thursday – My Throwback Thursday book was The Clocks in This House All Tell Different Times by Xan Brooks, one of the books on the long-list for this year’s Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction.  I also introduced my Buchan of the Month for April –  Greenmantle.

Friday – I shared an excerpt from El Hacho by Luis Carrasco, a novel set in Andalusia, and a guest post by Chris Bridge, author of Girl Without a Voice.

Saturday – I featured a guest post by Sara Cook about the personal journey she and her brother, Robert Peacock, undertook in order to bring to life their recently published historical novel, The Jinn and the Sword.

Challenge updates

  • Goodreads 2018 Reading Challenge – 53 out of 156 books read, 2 more than last week
  • Classics Club Challenge – 13 out of 50 books read, same as last week
  • NetGalley/Edelweiss Reading Challenge 2018 (Silver) – 17 ARCs read and reviewed out of 25, 1 more than last week
  • From Page to Screen– 10 book/film comparisons out of 15 completed, same as last week
  • 2018 TBR Pile Challenge – 5 out of 12 books read, same as last week
  • Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2018 – 25 books out of 50 read, 2 more than last week
  • When Are You Reading? Challenge 2018 – 7 out of 12 books read, same as last week
  • What’s In A Name Reading Challenge – 0 out of 6 books read, same as last week
  • Buchan of the Month – 3 out of 12 books read, same as last week

On What Cathy Read Next this week

Currently reading

Planned posts

  • Blog Tour/Review: The Black Earth by Philip Kazan
  • Book Review: White Houses by Amy Bloom
  • Blog Tour/Excerpt: Stories We Tell Ourselves by Sarah Françoise
  • Blog Tour/Q&A: Warrior of Woden by Matthew Harffy
  • Book Review: Prussian Blue by Philip Kerr
  • Book Review: Staying On by Paul Scott
  • Blog Tour/Review: Suitors and Sabotage by Cindy Anstey
  • Blog Tour/Guest Post: Tapestry of War by Jane MacKenzie
  • Book Review: The Good Father by S. R. Wilsher

How was your week in books?  Page-turner or snorefest?


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