The Lost Letters of William Woolf by Helen Cullen (eARC, courtesy of NetGalley and Michael Joseph)
Lost letters have only one hope for survival . . .
Inside the Dead Letters Depot in East London, William Woolf is one of thirty letter detectives who spend their days solving mysteries: Missing postcodes, illegible handwriting, rain-smudged ink, lost address labels, torn packages, forgotten street names – they are all the culprits of missed birthdays, broken hearts, unheard confessions, pointless accusations, unpaid bills and unanswered prayers.
When William discovers letters addressed simply to ‘My Great Love’ his work takes on new meaning. Written by a woman to a soul mate she hasn’t met yet, the missives stir William in ways he didn’t know were possible. Soon he begins to wonder: Could William be her great love? William must follow the clues in Winter’s letters to solve his most important mystery yet: the human heart.
The Devil’s Half Mile by Paddy Hirsch (hardcover, prize courtesy of Readers First and Corvus)
New York, 1799: Justy Flanagan, lawyer, soldier, policeman, has returned to his native city, bloodied and battered after fighting in the Irish Rebellion against the English. Determined to hunt down the man who murdered his father, his inquiries lead him to Wall Street and the fledgling stock market there. But as his investigations into the past move ahead, the horrific murders of young slave women in the present start to occupy his time. Convinced that there is a link between his father’s murder, the deaths of the young women, and a massive fraud that nearly destroyed New York’s economy, Justy can trust no one.
As the conspiracy deepens, it becomes clear that those involved will stop atnothing to keep their secrets. Justy is forced to choose: will he betray his father’s memory, compromise his integrity, and risk the lives of his closest friends, to get to the bottom of a tale so dangerous it could change the landscape of America forever?
The Pagoda Tree by Claire Scobie (proof copy courtesy of Random Things Tours and Unbound)
Maya plays among the towering granite temples in the ancient city of Tanjore. Like her mother before her, she is destined to become a devadasi, a dancer for the temple, and her family all expect that the prince himself will choose her as a courtesan. On the day of her initiation, a stranger arrives in town. Walter Sutcliffe, a black-frocked English clergyman, strives to offer moral guidance to the British troops stationed in Tanjore. But he is beset by his own demons.
As the British tear apart the princely kingdoms of India, Maya flees her ancestral home and heads to the steamy port city of Madras, where silks and satins are traded, poets vie for patrons, and fortunes are lost and found. When the shrieks of parrots fill the skies at dusk, Maya bows to the earth and starts to dance. Thomas Pearce, an ambitious young Englishman, is entranced from the moment he first sees her. But their love is forbidden and the consequences are devastating.
Unfolding amid war and famine, The Pagoda Tree takes us deep into the heart of India as the country struggles under brutal occupation. As cultures collide, Walter Sutcliffe unknowingly plays the decisive card in Maya’s destiny.
The Italian Couple by J. R. Rogers (ebook, review copy courtesy of the author)
Colonel Francesco Ferrazza, a disciplined and inflexible Royal Italian Army officer with Italy’s Fascist Military Information Service, and his attractive British wife, Emilia, are posted to Asmara affectionately referred to as ‘Little Rome’ by Mussolini. He is astonished when in 1938 he is ordered to set in motion a clandestine sabotage operation of the engineering marvel the Asmara-Massawa cableway that links Italian Eritrea to the sea. It is of such strategic importance the army comes to realize they may have made a mistake in constructing it. They fear it could fall into the hands of neighbouring Ethiopia—whom they defeated in a colonial war just two years ago.
Ferrazza sets out to find someone to carry out Operation Red Lion and meets Mario Caparrotti, an amateur race car driver and also a cableway mechanic who has unfettered access to the engine room. Prodded by her husband, the reluctant Emilia unhappily plays her part by becoming Caparrotti’s lover. But things begin to fall apart. As the clock counts down the final hours, Ferrazza begins to grasp that in ‘Little Rome’ nothing is what it seems, no one can be trusted and, when serving Mussolini, failure will never be condoned.
On What Cathy Read Next last week
Monday – I featured a guest post ‘Putting Science in Fiction’ by R J Corgan, author of Cold Flood.
Wednesday – WWW 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 crime mystery The Mountain Man’s Badge by Gary Corbin, the third book in his Mountain Man series.
Thursday – I took a delve into my To-Read shelf on Goodreads going Down the TBR Hole, although sadly it didn’t help reduce the number of books in my wish list on this occasion. My Throwback Thursday post was my review of the terrific Shelter by Sarah Franklin.
Saturday – I finally made a dent in both my author review pile and my 20 Books of Summer list by publishing my review of The King’s Daughter by Stephanie Churchill. The sequel to The Scribe’s Daughter it’s an engaging mix of historical fiction and fantasy (and this from someone who really doesn’t ‘do’ fantasy).
- Goodreads 2018 Reading Challenge – 92 out of 156 books read, 2 more than last week
- Classics Club Challenge – 15 out of 50 books read, same as last week
- NetGalley/Edelweiss Reading Challenge 2018 (Gold) – 33 ARCs read and reviewed out of 50, same as 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 – 46 books out of 50 read, same as 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, same as last week
- NEW 20 Books of Summer Challenge – 5 out of 20 books read, 1 more than last week
On What Cathy Read Next this week
- Book Review: Darkest Hour by Anthony McCarten
Book Review: Grace by Paul Lynch
Book Review: Old Baggage by Lissa Evans
Blog Tour/Book Review: The Hidden Bones (Clare Hills #1) by Nicola Ford
Book Review: The Devil’s Half Mile by Paddy Hirsch
From Page to Screen: Darkest Hour
Buchan of the Month: The Half-Hearted by John Buchan