My Week in Books – 31st May 2020


On What Cathy Read Next last week

Blog posts

Monday –  I shared my review of Lionheart by Ben Kane as part of the blog tour.

Tuesday – This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic was Opening Lines and I shared a few of my favourites.

WednesdayWWW 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.

Friday – I published my review of The Flowers of Adonis by Rosemary Sutcliff, the book chosen for me in the latest Classics Club spin.

Saturday – I shared my review of legal thriller An Engineered Injustice by William L. Myers, Jr.

As always, thanks to everyone who has liked, commented on or shared my blog posts on social media this week.

New arrivals

9781526615909A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende (audio book)

In the late 1930s, civil war gripped Spain. When General Franco and his Fascists succeed in overthrowing the government, hundreds of thousands are forced to flee in a treacherous journey over the mountains to the French border. Among them is Roser, a pregnant young widow, who finds her life irreversibly intertwined with that of Victor Dalmau, an army doctor and the brother of her deceased love. In order to survive, the two must unite in a marriage neither of them wants, and together are sponsored by poet Pablo Neruda to embark on the SS Winnipeg along with 2,200 other refugees in search of a new life. As unlikely partners, they embrace exile and emigrate to Chile as the rest of Europe erupts in World War.

Starting over on a new continent, their trials are just beginning. Over the course of their lives, they will face test after test. But they will also find joy as they wait patiently for a day when they are exiles no more, and will find friends in the most unlikely of places. Through it all, it is that hope of being reunited with their home that keeps them going. And in the end, they will find that home might have been closer than they thought all along.

9780349000060The Girl Who Fell From the Sky (Marion Sutro #1) by Simon Mawer (audio book)

Marian Sutro is an outsider: the daughter of a diplomat, brought up on the shores of Lake Geneva and in England, half French, half British, naive yet too clever for her own good. But when she is recruited from her desk job by SOE to go undercover in wartime France, it seems her hybrid status – and fluent French – will be of service to a greater, more dangerous cause.

Trained in sabotage, dead-drops, how to perform under interrogation and how to kill, Marian parachutes into south-west France, her official mission to act as a Resistance courier. But her real destination is Paris, where she must seek out family friend Clement Pelletier, once the focus of her adolescent desires. A nuclear physicist engaged in the race for a new and terrifying weapon, he is of urgent significance to her superiors. As she struggles through the strange, lethal landscape of the Occupation towards this reunion, what completes her training is the understanding that war changes everything, and neither love nor fatherland may be trusted.

The Girl Who Fell from the Sky is both a gripping adventure story and a moving meditation on patriotism, betrayal and the limits of love.

9780648250838The Bridled Tongue by Catherine Meyrick (ebook, review copy courtesy of the author)

Death and life are in the power of the tongue.

England 1586. Alyce Bradley has few choices when her father decides it is time she marry as many refuse to see her as other than the girl she once was- unruly, outspoken and close to her grandmother, a woman suspected of witchcraft.

Thomas Granville, an ambitious privateer, inspires fierce loyalty in those close to him and hatred in those he has crossed. Beyond a large dowry, he is seeking a virtuous and dutiful wife. Neither he nor Alyce expect more from marriage than mutual courtesy and respect.

As the King of Spain launches his great Armada and England braces for invasion, Alyce must confront closer dangers from both her own and Thomas’s past, threats that could not only destroy her hopes of love and happiness but her life. And Thomas is powerless to help.

20200526_135309-1Business As Usual by Jane Oliver and Ann Stafford (paperback, Handheld Press)

First published in 1933, Business As Usual is a delightful illustrated novel in letters from Hilary Fane, an Edinburgh girl fresh out of university who is determined to support herself by her own earnings in London for a year, despite the mutterings of her surgeon fiancé. After a nervous beginning looking for a job while her savings rapidly diminish, she finds work as a typist in the London department store of Everyman’s (a very thin disguise for Selfridges), and rises rapidly through the ranks to work in the library, where she has to enforce modernising systems on her entrenched and frosty colleagues.

Business as Usual is charming: intelligent, heart-warming, funny, and entertaining. It’s deeply interesting as a record of the history of shopping in the 1930s, and also fascinating for its unflinching descriptions of social conditions, poverty and illegitimacy.

20200526_135327-1Blitz Writing by Inez Holden (paperback, Handheld Press)

Emerging out of the 1940-1941 London Blitz, the drama of these two short works, a novel and a memoir, comes from the courage and endurance of ordinary people met in the factories, streets and lodging houses of a city under bombardment.

Inez Holden’s novella Night Shift follows a largely working-class cast of characters for five night shifts in a factory that produces camera parts for war planes. It Was Different At The Time is Holden’s account of wartime life from April 1938 to August 1941, drawn from her own diary. This was intended to be a joint project written with her friend George Orwell (he was in the end too busy to contribute), and includes disguised appearances of Orwell and other notable literary figures of the period. The experiences recorded in It Was Different At The Time overlap in period and subject with Night Shift, setting up a vibrant dialogue between the two texts.

9781789042221The Senator’s Darkest Days by Joan E. Histon (e-book, courtesy of John Hunt Publishing)

40AD. Despite the threat of bloodshed, Senator Vivius Marcianus travels to Jerusalem to investigate the delay in erecting the Emperor’s statue in the temple. Failure is not an option. When Vivius is wounded and imprisoned, it is left to Dorio to rescue his heavily pregnant sister and her children and set about proving Vivius’s innocence. The thrilling sequel to The Senator’s Assignment.

EXu9kKLWAAMtUAnA Quiet Death in Italy by Tom Benjamin (e-book, courtesy of Constable and Rachel’s Random Resources)

Bologna: city of secrets, suspicion – and murder…

When the body of a radical protestor is found floating in one of Bologna’s underground canals, it seems that most of the city is ready to blame the usual suspects: the police. But when private investigator Daniel Leicester, son-in-law to a former chief of police, receives a call from the dead man’s lover, he follows a trail that begins in the 1970s and leads all the way to the rotten heart of the present-day political establishment.

Beneath the beauty of the city, Bologna has a dark underside, and English detective Daniel must unravel a web of secrets, deceit and corruption – before he is caught in it himself.

On What Cathy Read Next this week

Currently reading

Planned posts

  • Book Review: The Last Secrets by John Buchan
  • Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Give Off Summer Vibes
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • Blog Tour/Book Review: Patrol by Fred Majdalany
  • Book Review: The Bell in the Lake by Lars Mytting
  • My Five Favourite May Reads
  • 6 Degrees of Separation

5 thoughts on “My Week in Books – 31st May 2020

  1. Hey Cathy, as always you’ve done lots of reading and posting, and that looks like a great haul of new books. I haven’t read it myself, but I have heard good things about Business As Usual by Jane Oliver and Ann Stafford, and I really like the sound of The Bridled Tongue by Catherine Meyrick. Happy reading! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve not found Allende to my taste so far – I had to abandon the last one I picked up by her. It’s not her clearly since she has so many fans…..


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