Hosted by Taking on a World of Words, this meme is all about the three Ws:
- What are you currently reading?
- What did you recently finish reading?
- What do you think you’ll read next?
Why not join in too? Leave a comment with your link at Taking on a World of Words and then go blog hopping!
I’m still juggling my reading schedule to meet blog tour commitments, try to clear books from my NetGalley shelf plus read books by authors I’ll be hearing speak at Henley Literary Festival, which starts on 28th September. That’s why poor old The Mathematical Bridge is making what seems like its hundredth appearance in my Currently Reading List….
A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier (eARC, courtesy of The Borough Press and NetGalley)
It is 1932, and the losses of the First World War are still keenly felt. Violet Speedwell, mourning for both her fiancé and her brother and regarded by society as a ‘surplus woman’ unlikely to marry, resolves to escape her suffocating mother and strike out alone.
A new life awaits her in Winchester. Yes, it is one of draughty boarding-houses and sidelong glances at her naked ring finger from younger colleagues; but it is also a life gleaming with independence and opportunity. Violet falls in with the broderers, a disparate group of women charged with embroidering kneelers for the Cathedral, and is soon entwined in their lives and their secrets. As the almost unthinkable threat of a second Great War appears on the horizon Violet collects a few secrets of her own that could just change everything…
Wicked By Design by Katy Moran (uncorrected proof copy, courtesy of Head of Zeus)
1819. Jack ‘Crow’ Crowlas has married his feisty love, Hester and with their baby daughter, settled down to enjoy their new life as Lord and Lady Lamorna of Nansmornow in Cornwall.
But for Crow, trouble is never far away and as Cornwall seethes with rebellion, he is arrested for treason. Spared execution on condition that he undertakes a highly dubious mission to St Petersburg, he finds himself tangled in a snare of treachery and illicit passion, violence and sexual deceit, where not only his love for Hester, but also his relationship with his only brother, serving with the British army in Russia, will be tested to the limit and beyond.
The Mathematical Bridge by Jim Kelly (hardcover, review copy courtesy of Allison & Busby)
Cambridge, 1940. It is the first winter of the war, and snow is falling. When an evacuee drowns in the river, his body swept away, Detective Inspector Eden Brooke sets out to investigate what seems to be a deliberate attack. The following night, a local electronics factory is attacked, and an Irish republican slogan is left at the scene. The IRA are campaigning to win freedom for Ulster, but why has Cambridge been chosen as a target?
And when Brooke learns that the drowned boy was part of the close-knit local Irish Catholic community, he begins to question whether there may be a connection between the boy’s death and the attack at the factory. As more riddles come to light, can Brooke solve the mystery before a second attack claims a famous victim?
Chanel’s Riviera: The Cote d’Azur in Peace and War, 1930-1944 by Anne de Courcy (audio book)
Far from worrying about the onset of war, the burning question on the French Riviera in 1938 was whether one should curtsey to the Duchess of Windsor.
Featuring a sparkling cast of historical figures, writers and artists including Winston Churchill, Daisy Fellowes, Salvador Dalí, the Windsors, Aldous Huxley and Edith Wharton – and the enigmatic Coco Chanel at its heart – Chanel’s Riviera is a sparkling account of a period where such deep extremes of luxury and terror had never before been experienced.
From the glamour of the pre-war parties and casinos, to Robert Streitz’s secret wireless transmitter in the basement of La Pausa – Chanel’s villa that he created – while Chanel had her German lover to stay during the war, Chanel’s Riviera explores the fascinating world of the Cote d’Azur elite in the 1930s and 1940s, enriched with original research that brings the lives of both rich and poor, protected and persecuted, to vivid life.
Recently finished (click on title for review)
The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott (eARC, courtesy of Hutchinson)
At the height of the Cold War, two secretaries are pulled out of the typing pool at the CIA and given the assignment of a lifetime. Their mission: to smuggle Doctor Zhivago out of the USSR, where no one dare publish it, and help Pasternak’s magnum opus make its way into print around the world. Glamorous and sophisticated Sally Forrester is a seasoned spy who has honed her gift for deceit all over the world–using her magnetism and charm to pry secrets out of powerful men. Irina is a complete novice, and under Sally’s tutelage quickly learns how to blend in, make drops, and invisibly ferry classified documents.
The Secrets We Kept combines a legendary literary love story—the decades-long affair between Pasternak and his mistress and muse, Olga Ivinskaya, who was sent to the Gulag and inspired Zhivago’s heroine, Lara—with a narrative about two women empowered to lead lives of extraordinary intrigue and risk. From Pasternak’s country estate outside Moscow to the brutalities of the Gulag, from Washington, D.C. to Paris and Milan, The Secrets We Kept captures a watershed moment in the history of literature—told with soaring emotional intensity and captivating historical detail. And at the center of this unforgettable debut is the powerful belief that a piece of art can change the world.
What Cathy (will) Read Next
The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis (eARC, courtesy of Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley)
Yorkshire, 1845. A young wife and mother has gone missing from her home, leaving behind two small children and a large pool of blood. Just a few miles away, a humble parson’s daughters – the Brontë sisters – learn of the crime. Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë are horrified and intrigued by the mysterious disappearance.
These three creative, energetic, and resourceful women quickly realize that they have all the skills required to make for excellent “lady detectors.” Not yet published novelists, they have well-honed imaginations and are expert readers. And, as Charlotte remarks, “detecting is reading between the lines–it’s seeing what is not there.”
As they investigate, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne are confronted with a society that believes a woman’s place is in the home, not scouring the countryside looking for clues. But nothing will stop the sisters from discovering what happened to the vanished bride, even as they find their own lives are in great peril…