#WWWWednesdays – 25th September ’19


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!

Currently reading

I’m enjoying listening to Chanel’s Riviera with its picture of sun-drenched glamorous hedonism and cast of famous faces. Regular followers of my blog will be delighted to see The Mathematical Bridge has finally made it from the ‘Currently Reading’ to the ‘Recently Finished’ category! Review coming soon.

Chanels RivieraChanel’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.

Anne De Courcy is appearing at Henley Literary Festival 2019

The Tide Between UsThe Tide Between Us by Olive Collins (e-book, review copy courtesy of the author)

1821: After the landlord of Lugdale Estate in Kerry is assassinated, young Art O’Neill’s innocent father is hanged and Art is deported to the cane fields of Jamaica as an indentured servant. On Mangrove Plantation he gradually acclimatises to the exotic country and unfamiliar customs of the African slaves, and achieves a kind of contentment. Then the new heirs to the plantation arrive.

His new owner is Colonel Stratford-Rice from Lugdale Estate, the man who hanged his father. Art must overcome his hatred to survive the harsh life of a slave and live to see the eventual emancipation which liberates his coloured children. Eventually he is promised seven gold coins when he finishes his service, but he doubts his master will part with the coins.

One hundred years later in Ireland, a skeleton is discovered beneath a fallen tree on the grounds of Lugdale Estate. By its side is a gold coin minted in 1870. Yseult, the owner of the estate, watches as events unfold, fearful of the long-buried truths that may emerge about her family’s past and its links to the slave trade. As the body gives up its secrets, Yseult realises she too can no longer hide.

20190916_105622_resizedThe Blanket of the Dark by John Buchan (paperback)

The period is the Pilgrimage of Grace. In the country west of Oxford, nobles, clergy and laity await the success of the risings in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire to overthrow Henry VIII and Cromwell.

Peter Pentecost is the man they plan to put on the English throne. Although a monk by training, he is the legitimate child of the Duke of Buckingham and the last of the Bohuns. His bid to be crowned and his duel with Henry VIII make for an exciting adventure.

Eight Hours From EnglandEight Hours From England by Anthony Quayle (paperback, review copy courtesy of Imperial War Museum Classics and Random Things Tours)

Autumn 1943. Realising that his feelings for his sweetheart are not reciprocated, Major John Overton accepts a posting behind enemy lines in Nazi-occupied Albania.  Arriving to find the situation in disarray, he attempts to overcome geographical challenges and political intrigues to set up a new camp in the mountains overlooking the Adriatic.

As he struggles to complete his mission amidst a chaotic backdrop, Overton is left to ruminate on loyalty, comradeship and his own future.

Based on Anthony Quayle’s own wartime experiences with the Special Operations Executive (SOE), this new edition of a 1945 classic includes a contextual introduction from IWM which sheds new light on the fascinating true events that inspired its author.

Recently finished (click on title for review)

The Mermaid's CallThe Mermaid’s Call (Cornish Mysteries #3) by Katherine Stansfield (eARC, courtesy of Allison & Busby and NetGalley)

Cornwall, 1845. Shilly has always felt a connection to happenings that are not of this world, a talent that has proved invaluable when investigating dark deeds with master of disguise, Anna Drake. The women opened a detective agency with help from their newest member and investor, Mathilda, but six long months have passed without a single case to solve and tensions are growing.

It is almost a relief when a man is found dead along the Morwenstow coast and the agency is sought out to investigate. There are suspicions that wreckers plague the shores, luring ships to their ruin with false lights – though nothing has ever been proved. Yet with the local talk of sirens calling victims to the sea to meet their end, could something other-worldly be responsible for the man’s death?

Dead FlowersDead Flowers by Nicola Monaghan (e-book, courtesy of Verve Books)

She doesn’t trust the police. She used to be one of them.

Hardened by ten years on the murder squad, DNA analyst Doctor Sian Love has seen it all. So when she finds human remains in the basement of her new home, she knows the drill. Except this time it’s different. This time, it’s personal…

A page-turning cold case investigation, Dead Flowers is an intriguing, multi-layered story perfect for fans of Kate Atkinson’s Case Histories and British crime dramas like Line of Duty and Unforgotten. Shortlisted for the UEA Crime Fiction Award 2019. (Review to follow as part of blog tour)

the mathematical bridgeThe Mathematical Bridge (Nighthawk #2) 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? (Review to follow)

The FamiliarsThe Familiars by Stacey Halls (hardcover, review copy courtesy of Zaffre and Readers First)

Fleetwood Shuttleworth is 17 years old, married, and pregnant for the fourth time. But as the mistress at Gawthorpe Hall, she still has no living child, and her husband Richard is anxious for an heir. When Fleetwood finds a letter she isn¹t supposed to read from the doctor who delivered her third stillbirth, she is dealt the crushing blow that she will not survive another pregnancy.

When she crosses paths by chance with Alice Gray, a young midwife, Alice promises to help her give birth to a healthy baby, and to prove the physician wrong. When Alice is drawn into the witchcraft accusations that are sweeping the North-West, Fleetwood risks everything by trying to help her. But is there more to Alice than meets the eye?

As the two women’s lives become inextricably bound together, the legendary trial at Lancaster approaches, and Fleetwood’s stomach continues to grow. Time is running out, and both their lives are at stake.

Only they know the truth. Only they can save each other.   (Review to follow)

What Cathy (will) Read Next

Asylum RoadAsylum Road (Jake Caldwell #4) by James L. Weaver (eARC, courtesy of Lakewater Press)

Nearly two years ago, former mafia leg-breaker Jake Caldwell had ruthless drug lord Shane Langston staring down the wrong end of Jake’s pistol. Instead of pulling the trigger like he should have, Jake let the law handle it.

Now Langston’s escaped from a Missouri maximum security prison with a deadly goal – kill the men who put him there. With Langston’s crosshairs focused on Jake and his best friend, Sheriff Bear Parley, the duo must scramble to protect those they love and stop Langston’s bloody quest for vengeance.

As the hunt for Langston intensifies, Jake and Bear stumble upon a hard-nosed gang of bikers with their claws deep in murder, meth, guns and sex trafficking. Teaming up with some new allies to unravel the mystery and nail Langston, Jake finds himself caught up in a game of cat and mouse with some seriously deadly consequences.

18 thoughts on “#WWWWednesdays – 25th September ’19

    1. Yes, I thought you’d be proud of me for that 😁 It was really good as well, equally as good as the first one (The Great Darkness) and there’s a third book coming next year. Just got to write the review now…hopefully that won’t take so long.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t read the first book in the series (yet, although I definitely plan to) but I loved the second one, The Magpie Tree, and this latest one. Think Sarah Waters (for the relationship between the two women) Daphne du Maurier for the Cornish setting with a crime mystery thrown in.

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    1. I enjoyed it although I have to say I’ve read a few similar books involving women accused of witchcraft such as Widdershins and Sunwise by Helen Steadman. Interestingly, according to the author’s historical note, many of the characters in The Familiars are based on real people although large elements of the story are fictionalized obviously.

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  1. I’m interested in Chanel’s Riviera as I read The Riviera Set by Mary S Lovell a few months ago, which I thought fascinating, about Maxine Elliott’s villa Chateau de l’Horizon!


    1. I think this book may be covering similar ground as Elliott is definitely mentioned, alongside many other famous names. Other reviewers have commented that they found the parts of the book that cover wartime the most interesting. I haven’t got that far yet – still in the early 1930s.


  2. I like the sound of Chanel’s Riviera. Nothing wrong with a bit of glamour in a period otherwise dominated by war. Well done for finishing The Mathematical Bridge. I have been considering that one and will look out for your review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m always drawn to books set in the Caribbean, especially historical fiction, and particularly if I’ve visited the islands on which they’re set. I’ve been to Jamaica but only for a day as a stop on a cruise.

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  3. Oh gosh, I would happily read any of these! I have had Stansfield’s ‘Falling Creatures’ on my Kindle for ages and hadn’t realise dthat she’s written others since. I need to catch up!

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