Bitter Orange by Claire Fuller (ebook)
From the attic of a dilapidated English country house, she sees them — Cara first: dark and beautiful, clinging to a marble fountain of Cupid, and Peter, an Apollo. It is 1969 and they are spending the summer in the rooms below hers while Frances writes a report on the follies in the garden for the absent American owner. But she is distracted. Beneath a floorboard in her bathroom, she discovers a peephole which gives her access to her neighbours’ private lives.
To Frances’ surprise, Cara and Peter are keen to spend time with her. It is the first occasion that she has had anybody to call a friend, and before long they are spending every day together: eating lavish dinners, drinking bottle after bottle of wine, and smoking cigarettes till the ash piles up on the crumbling furniture. Frances is dazzled.
But as the hot summer rolls lazily on, it becomes clear that not everything is right between Cara and Peter. The stories that Cara tells don’t quite add up — and as Frances becomes increasingly entangled in the lives of the glamorous, hedonistic couple, the boundaries between truth and lies, right and wrong, begin to blur. Amid the decadence of that summer, a small crime brings on a bigger one: a crime so terrible that it will brand all their lives forever.
States of Passion by Nihad Sirees, trans. by Max Weiss (paperback, subscription box)
The world is so strange. The strangest things are the stories you overhear.
When a hapless bureaucrat finds himself stranded in the countryside during a raging storm, he seeks refuge in a grand yet isolated mansion, inhabited by only an elderly gentleman and his unwelcoming servant.
The tale of family secrets he encounters while sheltering there begins with a faded photograph in yellowed newspaper, of a beautiful woman stepping off a train at Aleppo station many years ago. It transports him to Syria’s golden age, to the heart of the mysterious, unconventional banat al-ishreh – the infamous women who live, dance and play music together – and into a tangled web of forbidden love.
States of Passion is a beautifully spun, playful novel about what it means to live within a memory of the past – and about the many faces of a city that might have been.
Nemesis (Tom Wilde #3) by Rory Clements (eARC, courtesy of Bonnier Zaffre and NetGalley)
A race against time to unmask a Nazi spy
In a great English house, a young woman offers herself to one of the most powerful and influential figures in the land – but this is no ordinary seduction. She plans to ensure his death . . .
On holiday in France, Professor Tom Wilde discovers his brilliant student Marcus Marfield, who disappeared two years earlier to join the International Brigades in Spain, in the Le Vernet concentration camp in the foothills of the Pyrenees. Wilde secures his release just as German tanks roll into Poland.
Meanwhile, a U-boat sinks the liner Athenia in the Atlantic with many casualties, including Americans, onboard. Goebbels claims Churchill put a bomb in the ship to blame Germany and to lure America into the war.
As the various strands of an international conspiracy begin to unwind, Tom Wilde will find himself in great personal danger. For just who is Marcus Marfield? And where does his loyalty lie?
Pre-order Nemesis from Amazon UK
On What Cathy Read Next last week
Monday – I stepped in to publish a round-up of the reviews of books read for the October theme of the BookBum Club on Goodreads (currently in hiatus).
Tuesday – I hosted a stop on the blog tour A Pivotal Right (Shaking the Tree #2) by K. A. Servian, publishing my review of this historical novel set in 19th century New Zealand. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic was Backlist Books I Want To Read. Quite a few to choose from there then… I also shared my Five Favourite October reads and signed-up (belatedly) for Nonfiction November.
Wednesday – WWW Wednesday is the opportunity to share what I’ve just read, what I’m currently reading and what I plan to read next…and have a good nose around to see what other bloggers are reading.
Thursday – My Throwback Thursday post was my review of The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.
Friday – I published my review of The Magick of Master Lilly, a historical novel based on the life of 17th century astrologer, William Lilly.
Saturday – I (belatedly) published my review of my October Buchan of the Month, Witch Wood by John Buchan.
Sunday – To mark Remembrance Day and the one hundredth anniversary of the end of the First World War, I published a feature on John Buchan and the Great War. He lost a brother and a number of close friends in the First World War.
As always, thanks to everyone who has liked, commented on or shared my blog posts on social media this week.
On What Cathy Read Next this week
- Blog Tour/Book Review: The Price of Compassion (The Golden City #4) by A. B. Michaels
- Book Review: A Ration Book Christmas by Jean Fullerton
- Buchan of the Month: Introducing Memory-Hold-the-Door by John Buchan
- Book Review: Christmas at War by Caroline Taggart
- Book Review: Bells of Avalon by Libbet Bradstreet
- Book Review: Paris Echo by Sebastian Faulks
- Cover Reveal: The Blameless Dead by Gary Haynes