My Week in Books – 6th May ’18


New arrivals  

The Last DayThe Last Day by Claire Dyer (review copy courtesy of The Dome Press)

They say three’s a crowd but when Boyd moves back into the family home with his now amicably estranged wife, Vita, accompanied by his impossibly beautiful twenty-seven-year-old girlfriend, Honey, it seems the perfect solution: Boyd can get his finances back on track while he deals with his difficult, ailing mother; Honey can keep herself safe from her secret, troubled past; and Vita can carry on painting portraits of the pets she dislikes and telling herself she no longer minds her marriage is over.

But the house in Albert Terrace is small and full of memories, and living together is unsettling.

For Vita, Boyd and Honey love proves to be a surprising, dangerous thing and, one year on, their lives are changed forever.

Call of the CurlewCall of the Curlew by Elizabeth Brooks (review copy courtesy of Doubleday)

Virginia Wrathmell has always known she will meet her death on the marsh in reparation for the mistakes of her childhood.

On New Year’s Eve, at the age of eighty-six, Virginia feels the time has finally come.

In 1939, Virginia is ten, an orphan arriving to meet her new adoptive parents, Clem and Lorna Wrathmell, at their mysterious house, Salt Winds. The house sits right on the edge of a vast marsh, a beautiful but dangerous place. It’s the start of a new life for Virginia, but she quickly senses that all is not right between Clem and Lorna – in particular, the presence of their wealthy neighbour Max Deering, who takes an unhealthy interest in the family. When a German fighter plane crashes into the marsh, Clem ventures onto the deadly sands to rescue the airman. And that is when things really begin to go wrong…

RoomRoom by Emma Donaghue (ebook)

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it’s not enough…not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son’s bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed

Black OutBlack Out (Inspector Troy #1) by John Lawton (ebook)

As the Luftwaffe makes its last, desperate assaults on the battered city in 1944, Londoners take to the underground shelters amidst the black out. Detective-Sergeant Troy starts with the clue of a neatly dismembered corpse leading him into a world of stateless refugees, military intelligence, and corruption all the way to the top of Allied High Command.

The Pale CriminalThe Pale Criminal (Bernie Gunther #2) by Phillip Kerr (ebook)

Five German schoolgirls are missing. Four have been found dead. But unlike the undesirables who make up the majority of dead and missing people in Hitler’s Berlin, these girls were blonde and blue-eyed – the Aryan flower of German maidenhood – and their gruesome deaths recall ritual killings.

Busy with a blackmail case, Bernie is reluctant when he is asked to rejoin the Berlin police in order to track down the murderer. But when the person doing the asking is none other than head of the SD, Reinhard Heydrich, it’s not exactly a request he can turn down. As Bernie gets closer to the truth, he realises that at the heart of this case is much more than one lone madman – in fact, there is a conspiracy at work more chilling than he could ever have imagined.

The Fact of a BodyThe Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich (ebook)

Before Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working to help defend men accused of murder, she thinks her position is clear. The child of two lawyers, she is staunchly anti-death penalty. But the moment convicted murderer Ricky Langley’s face flashes on the screen as she reviews old tapes―the moment she hears him speak of his crimes―she is overcome with the feeling of wanting him to die. Shocked by her reaction, she digs deeper and deeper into the case. Despite their vastly different circumstances, something in his story is unsettlingly, uncannily familiar.

Crime, even the darkest and most unsayable acts, can happen to any one of us. As Alexandria pores over the facts of the murder, she finds herself thrust into the complicated narrative of Ricky’s childhood. And by examining the details of Ricky’s case, she is forced to face her own story, to unearth long-buried family secrets, and reckon with a past that colors her view of Ricky’s crime.  But another surprise awaits: She wasn’t the only one who saw her life in Ricky’s.

An intellectual and emotional thriller that is also a different kind of murder mystery, The Fact of a Body is a book not only about how the story of one crime was constructed―but about how we grapple with our own personal histories. Along the way it tackles questions about the nature of forgiveness, and if a single narrative can ever really contain something as definitive as the truth. This groundbreaking, heart-stopping work, ten years in the making, shows how the law is more personal than we would like to believe―and the truth more complicated, and powerful, than we could ever imagine.

Artist Soldier Lover MuseArtist, Soldier, Lover, Muse by Arthur D. Hittner (review copy courtesy of the author)

Freshly graduated from Yale in 1935, Henry J. Kapler parlays his talent, determination, and creative energy into a burgeoning art career in New York under the wing of artists such as Edward Hopper and Reginald Marsh.  The young artist first gains notoriety when his depiction of a symbolic, interracial handshake between ballplayers is attacked by a knife-wielding assailant at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington.

Yet even as his art star rises, his personal life turns precarious—and perilous—when his love for Fiona, a young WPA muralist, collides with his growing attraction to the exquisitely beautiful Alice, an ex-chorus girl who becomes his model and muse.  Alice is the girlfriend of Fiona’s cousin, Jake Powell, the hotheaded, hard-drinking outfielder for the New York Yankees whose jealousy explodes into abuse and rage, endangering the lives of all three.  While Henry wrestles with his complicated love life, he also struggles mightily to reconcile his pacifism with the rabid patriotism of his Jewish-Russian émigré father.  As war draws near, Henry faces two difficult choices, one of which could cost him his life.

A Woman’s Lot (Meonbridge Chronicles #2) by Carolyn Hughes (eARC courtesy of the author)   Cover Reveal Coming Soon!

How can mere women resist the misogyny of men?

When a resentful peasant rages against a woman’s efforts to build up her flock of sheep. Or a husband, grown melancholy and ill-tempered, succumbs to idle talk that his wife’s a scold. Or a priest, fearful of women’s “unnatural” power, determines to keep them in their place.

The devastation wrought two years ago by the Black Death changed the balance of society, and gave women a chance to break free from the yoke of chatteldom, to learn a trade, build a business, be more than just men’s wives. But many men still hold fast to the teachings of the Church, and fear the havoc the daughters of Eve might wreak if they’re allowed to usurp men’s roles, and gain control over their own lives.

Not all men resist women’s quest for change – indeed, they want change for themselves. Yet it takes only one or two misogynists to unleash the hounds of hostility and hatred…

On What Cathy Read Next last week

Blog posts

Monday – I took part in the blog tour for The Million Dollar Duchesses by Julie Ferry, sharing my review of this fascinating look at the American heiresses who married into English aristocracy and the women who – behind the scenes – facilitated the process.  I also published my review of my Buchan of the Month, Greenmantle and my Classics Club Spin book, The Crowded Street by Winifred Holtby.

Tuesday – Another blog tour and another review, this time for crime thriller Fault Lines by Doug Johnstone.   I also published my reviews of historical fiction novel, The Illumination of Ursula Flight by Maria-Anna Crowhurst and historical crime novel, Prussian Blue (Bernie Gunther #12) by the late lamented Phillip Kerr. As you may have noticed above, I’m gradually adding to my stack of the earlier books in the latter series.

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 shared my Five Favourite April Reads.

Thursday –My Throwback Thursday book was The Du Lac Devil by Mary Anne Yarde.

Friday – I introduced May’s Buchan of the Month, A Lost Lady of Old Years with a spoiler free look at this historical romance written early in John Buchan’s writing career.

Saturday –I took part in the 6 Degrees of Separation meme making bookish connections from The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver to Catherine Dickens: Outside the Magic Circle by Heera Datta.

Sunday – I hosted a stop on the blog tour for Grace After Henry by Eithne Shortall, sharing my list of ten reasons I think readers will love this book.  Gosh, what a busy blogging week!

Challenge updates

  • Goodreads 2018 Reading Challenge – 66 out of 156 books read, 3 more than last week
  • Classics Club Challenge – 14 out of 50 books read, 1 more than last week
  • NetGalley/Edelweiss Reading Challenge 2018 (Silver) – 20 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 – 32 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 – 4 out of 12 books read, same as last week

On What Cathy Read Next this week

Currently reading

Planned posts

  • Blog Tour/Review: Ecstasy by Mary Sharratt
  • Book Review: The Burning Chambers by Kate Mosse
  • Blog Tour/Extract: Her Hidden Life by V. S. Alexander
  • Book Review: Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall
  • Book Review: Jane Seymour: The Haunted Queen by Alison Weir
  • Cover Reveal: A Woman’s Lot by Carolyn Hughes
  • Book Review: The Cliff House by Amanda Jennings
  • Book Review: Mr Peacock’s Possessions by Lydia Syson
  • Book Review: The Cornish Dressmaker by Nicola Pryce
  • Book Review: The Magpie Tree by Katherine Stansfield

4 thoughts on “My Week in Books – 6th May ’18

    1. I saw the film version of Room and liked the first half when they were actually in the room but lost interest a bit in the second half. I’m wondering if I’ll feel the same way about the book…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too. I’m going to an event at my local Waterstones towards the end of this month with Claire and Amanda Jennings, author of The Cliff House (another one on my May TBR) and I”d really like to have read both before I go.

      Liked by 1 person

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