My Week in Books – 3rd June ’18



New arrivals

Hmm, it could be the start of a new Kindle Monthly Deal selection on Amazon.  Possibly…

The Shady Side of TownThe Shady Side of Town: Reading’s Trees by Adrian Lawson and Geoff Sawers (paperback)

Three hundred years ago, an acorn germinated at the edge of a field; today a mighty oak stands in the middle of a congested roundabout.  What has it witnessed and what can we discover from it?

The stories of towns are so often told in terms of their architecture, or the humans that have lived in them.  This book brings trees to the fore, with evocative illustrations and beautifully told stories of the natural wonders of Reading.

The VisitorThe Visitor by Katherine Stansfield (ebook)

Cornwall. 1880. Pearl, Jack and Nicholas play among the fishing boats of Skommow Bay, not understanding the undercurrents beneath their games. As they grow older, the choices they make shape the pattern of their lives.

1936 and everything has changed. The fish have stopped coming and the Pilchard Palace is abandoned. Pearl, exiled in favour of holidaymakers, turns to the memory of her great love, and her greatest loss. She’s waiting for her own visitor. Will he come for her? The sea’s ghosts are stirring. The past can be more alive than the present…

A cliff top romance in the style of Daphne Du Maurier and set in a fictional village based on St Ives, The Visitor is a novel steeped in the coast and people of Cornwall. It shivers and flashes with visions as elusive as the fish at the centre of its story.

Downed Over GermanyDowned Over Germany (War Girl #0.5) by Marion Kummerow (ebook, new subscriber giveaway)

Tom Westlake is a Britsh RAF pilot. His struggle to survive starts the moment his fighter-bomber is shot down over Germany in 1943. Follow his adventures and find out if he manages to stay alive despite Gestapo hunting him down.

IncendiumThe Incendium Plot (Christopher Radcliff #1) by Andrew Swanston (paperback, review copy courtesy of the author)

England in 1572 is a powder keg of rumour, fanaticism, treachery and dissent. All it would take is a single spark . . .

In the England of Elizabeth I, the fear of plague and invasion, and the threat of insurrection are constant. As the Earl of Leicester’s chief intelligencer, lawyer Dr Christopher Radcliff is tasked with investigating rumours of treachery at home and the papist threat from abroad. And with heresy and religious unrest simmering beneath the surface of a country on the brink, Radcliff is under pressure to get results.

Then two brutal and seemingly motiveless killings point alert Radcliff to the whisper of a new plot against the queen. There are few clues, and all he and his network of agents have to go on is a single word: incendium. But what does it mean – and who lies behind it? Christopher Radcliff must find out before it’s too late . . .

The Reading PartyThe Reading Party by Fenella Gentleman (advance review copy courtesy of Muswell Press and Random Things Tours)

It is the 1970s and Oxford’s male institutions are finally opening their doors to women…

Sarah Addleshaw – young, spirited and keen to prove her worth – begins term as the first female academic at her college. She is, in fact, its only female ‘Fellow’.

Impulsive love affairs – with people, places and the ideas in her head – beset Sarah throughout her first exhilarating year as a don, but it is the Reading Party that has the most dramatic impact.

Asked to accompany the first mixed group of students on the annual college trip to Cornwall, Sarah finds herself illicitly drawn to the suave American Tyler. Torn between professional integrity and personal feelings, she faces her biggest challenge yet.

A German RequiemA German Requiem (Bernie Gunther #3) by Philip Kerr (ebook)

In postwar Vienna, the term ‘peace’ is relative – the Americans, British and Russians govern the city in an uneasy truce, and the main difference is that now it’s the Soviet secret police making people disappear rather than the Nazis. When Bernie is asked by a high-ranking Soviet official to clear an old Kripo colleague’s name of the murder of an American officer, he quickly realises he’s in over his head.

Bernie’s ex-colleague Becker was working for a secret society of Nazi hunters, tracking down and executing war criminals who faked their own deaths to escape the noose at Nuremberg. Infiltrating the group, Bernie finds himself face to face with men he thought he’d never see again. They’ve cheated justice once – now Bernie must see that they don’t get away a second time.

Different ClassDifferent Class by Joanne Harris (ebook)

After thirty years at St Oswald’s Grammar in North Yorkshire, Latin master Roy Straitley has seen all kinds of boys come and go – the clowns, the rebels, the underdogs, and those he calls his Brodie boys. But every so often there’s a boy who doesn’t fit the mould. A troublemaker. A boy capable of twisting everything around him. A boy with hidden shadows inside.

With insolvency and academic failure looming, a new broom has arrived at the venerable school, bringing Powerpoint, sharp suits and even sixth form girls to the dusty corridors. But while Straitley does his sardonic best to resist this march to the future, a shadow from his past is stirring. A boy who even twenty years on haunts his teacher’s dreams. A boy capable of bad things.

Tin ManTin Man by Sarah Winman (ebook)

It begins with a painting won in a raffle: fifteen sunflowers, hung on the wall by a woman who believes that men and boys are capable of beautiful things.

And then there are two boys, Ellis and Michael, who are inseparable.

And the boys become men, and then Annie walks into their lives, and it changes nothing and everything.

The Road to NewgateThe Road to Newgate by Kate Braithwaite (eARC, courtesy of the author)

What price justice?

London 1678.  Titus Oates, an unknown preacher, creates panic with wild stories of a Catholic uprising against Charles II. The murder of a prominent Protestant magistrate appears to confirm that the Popish Plot is real.  Only Nathaniel Thompson, writer and Licenser of the Presses, instinctively doubts Oates’s revelations. Even his young wife, Anne, is not so sure. And neither knows that their friend William Smith has personal history with Titus Oates.  When Nathaniel takes a public stand, questioning the plot and Oates’s integrity, the consequences threaten them all.

Root of the Tudor RoseRoot of the Tudor Rose by Mari Griffith (ebook, review copy courtesy of Accent Press)

When King Henry V and his bride, Catherine de Valois, are blessed with the birth of a son, their happiness is short-lived. Henry’s unexpected death leaves Catherine a widow at the age of twenty-one. Then her father, King Charles of France, also dies, and her son inherits both crowns. Henry VI, King of England and France, is just ten months old and needs all his mother’s watchful care to protect him from political intrigue.

The queen, an attractive young widow, is a foreigner at the English court and now finds herself regarded with suspicion, particularly by the Duke of Gloucester, who will seemingly stop at nothing to protect his own claim to the throne. But lonely, vulnerable Catherine has found true friendship with another foreigner at court, a young Welshman named Owen. Their friendship deepens, but their liaisons must be kept secret at all costs, because Catherine, Queen of England and forbidden to remarry, is in love with a servant…

On What Cathy Read Next last week

Blog posts

Monday – I shared my review of historical fiction novel, War Girl Ursula by Marion Kummerow.  Set in World War 2 Germany, the book is first in the author’s War Girl series which charts the experiences of a family of sisters.   I’m grateful to the author for sending me a review copy.

Tuesday – I published my review of The Last Day by Claire Dyer, sharing ten of the many things I loved about the book. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic was Bookish Worlds I’d Never Want To Live In.  My list seemed pretty scary to me but on reflection gave me an all too chilling sense that fiction may be reflecting reality.  What do you think?

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 published my review of May’s Buchan of the Month, A Lost Lady of Old Years.  Although I call myself a Buchan fan this is a book of his I’d never read.  Set against the backdrop of the Jacobite Rebellion, it follows the exploits of a troubled young man, Francis Birkenshaw.  I also shared my list for the 20 Books of Summer Challenge hosted by Cathy at 746 Books.  I enjoyed putting together my list and I’ve enjoyed even more seeing other people’s lists!

Thursday –My Throwback Thursday book was The Dream Shelf by Jeff Russell in which a son seeks clues to his father’s past using as a starting point the objects stored on the titular ‘dream shelf’.

Friday – I published my review of The Concubine’s Child by Carol Jones, a fascinating historical fiction novel set in Malaysia in the 1930s and the present day.  It was also time for another of my Fact in Fiction Friday features where I pick out interesting things I’ve learned through reading novels.  This week my list included Scots dialect words, ‘self-combed’ women, and how some wartime brides ended up getting married to a steel helmet!

Saturday – I shared my Five Favourite of the books that I read in May.  I also took part in the Six Degrees of Separation meme.  This month’s starting book was The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell which proved quite a challenge for a few of us.

Challenge updates

  • Goodreads 2018 Reading Challenge – 82 out of 156 books read, 3 more than last week
  • Classics Club Challenge – 15 out of 50 books read, 1 more than last week
  • NetGalley/Edelweiss Reading Challenge 2018 (Gold) – 30 ARCs read and reviewed out of 50, 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 – 40 books out of 50 read, 3 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 – 1 out of 6 books read, same as last week
  • Buchan of the Month – 5 out of 12 books read, 1 more than last week
  • NEW 20 Books of Summer Challenge – 0 out of 20 books read

On What Cathy Read Next this week

Currently reading

Planned posts

  • Book Review: The Shady Side of Town by Adrian Lawson and Geoff Sawers
  • Book Review: Sugar Money by Jane Harris
  • Blog Tour/Book Review: A Woman’s Lot by Carolyn Hughes
  • Book Review: After the Party by Cressida Connolly
  • Book Review: Old Baggage by Lissa Evans
  • Book Review: The Poison Bed by E. C. Fremantle
  • Buchan of the Month: Introducing…The Half-Hearted by John Buchan

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