My Week in Books – 18th April 2021


On What Cathy Read Next last week

Blog posts

Tuesday I shared my review of After the Storm by Isabella Muir as part of the blog tour.

WednesdayWWW Wednesday is the opportunity to share what I’ve just read, what I’m currently reading and what I plan to read next…as well as have a good nose around to see what books others have plucked from their shelves.  

Thursday – I shared my publication day review of thriller Don’t Turn Around by Jessica Barry.  

Friday – I published my list for the next Classics Club Spin. I wonder which book will be selected for me to read?

Saturday – I shared my review of The Metal Heart by Caroline Lea.

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

New arrivals

Some fabulous sounding titles have found their way on to my bookshelves (real or virtual) this week

Everything Happens for a ReasonEverything Happens for a Reason by Katie Allen (eARC, courtesy of Orenda Books)

Armed with one broken heart and a (borrowed) sausage dog, Rachel is on a mission to find out why her baby was born sleeping. Because Everything Happens for a Reason… Doesn’t it?

Mum-to-be Rachel did everything right, but it all went wrong. Her son, Luke, was stillborn and she finds herself on maternity leave without a baby, trying to make sense of her loss. When a misguided well-wisher tells her that ‘everything happens for a reason’, she becomes obsessed with finding that reason, driven by grief and convinced that she is somehow to blame. She remembers that on the day she discovered her pregnancy, she’d stopped a man from jumping in front of a train, and she’s now certain that saving his life cost her the life of her son.

Desperate to find him, she enlists an unlikely ally in Lola, an Underground worker, and Lola’s seven-year-old daughter, and eventually tracks him down, with completely unexpected results…

This Is How We Are HumanThis Is How We Are Human by Louise Beech (eARC, courtesy of Orenda Books) 

Sebastian James Murphy is twenty years, six months and two days old. He loves swimming, fried eggs and Billy Ocean. Sebastian is autistic. And lonely.  Veronica wants her son Sebastian to be happy … she wants the world to accept him for who he is. She is also thinking about paying a professional to give him what he desperately wants. Violetta is a high-class escort, who steps out into the night thinking only of money. Of her nursing degree. Paying for her dad’s care. Getting through the dark.

When these three lives collide – intertwine in unexpected ways – everything changes. For everyone.

One Last TimeOne Last Time by Helga Flatland, trans. by Rosie Hedger (eARC, courtesy of Orenda Books) 

Anne’s life is rushing to an unexpected and untimely end. But her diagnosis of terminal cancer isn’t just a shock for her – and for her daughter Sigrid and granddaughter Mia – it shines a spotlight onto their fractured and uncomfortable relationships.

On a spur-of-the moment trip to France the three generations of women reveal harboured secrets, long-held frustrations and suppressed desires, and learn humbling and heartwarming lessons about how life should be lived when death is so close.

The Shadow KingThe Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste

With the threat of Mussolini’s army looming, recently orphaned Hirut struggles to adapt to her new life as a maid in Kidane and his wife Aster’s household. Kidane, an officer in Emperor Haile Selassie’s army, rushes to mobilize his strongest men before the Italians invade. His initial kindness to Hirut shifts into a flinty cruelty when she resists his advances, and Hirut finds herself tumbling into a new world of thefts and violations, of betrayals and overwhelming rage. Meanwhile, Mussolini’s technologically advanced army prepares for an easy victory. Hundreds of thousands of Italians – Jewish photographer Ettore among them – march on Ethiopia seeking adventure.

As the war begins in earnest, Hirut, Aster, and the other women long to do more than care for the wounded and bury the dead. When Emperor Haile Selassie goes into exile and Ethiopia quickly loses hope, it is Hirut who offers a plan to maintain morale. She helps disguise a gentle peasant as the emperor and soon becomes his guard, inspiring other women to take up arms against the Italians. But how could she have predicted her own personal war as a prisoner of one of Italy’s most vicious officers, who will force her to pose before Ettore’s camera?

Mrs EnglandMrs England by Stacey Halls (eARC, courtesy of Bonnier Books via NetGalley) 

West Yorkshire, 1904. When newly graduated nurse Ruby May takes a position looking after the children of Charles and Lilian England, a wealthy couple from a powerful dynasty of mill owners, she hopes it will be the fresh start she needs. But as she adapts to life at the isolated Hardcastle House, it becomes clear there’s something not quite right about the beautiful, mysterious Mrs England.

Ostracised by the servants and feeling increasingly uneasy, Ruby is forced to confront her own demons in order to prevent history from repeating itself. After all, there’s no such thing as the perfect family – and she should know.

Yours CheerfullyYours Cheerfully by A J Pearce (eARC, courtesy of Picador via NetGalley) 

London, November 1941. Following the departure of the formidable Henrietta Bird from Woman’s Friend magazine, things are looking up for Emmeline Lake as she takes on the challenge of becoming a young wartime advice columnist. Her relationship with boyfriend Charles (now stationed back in the UK) is blossoming, while Emmy’s best friend Bunty, still reeling from the very worst of the Blitz, is bravely looking to the future. Together, the friends are determined to Make a Go of It.

When the Ministry of Information calls on Britain’s women’s magazines to help recruit desperately needed female workers to the war effort, Emmy is thrilled to be asked to step up and help. But when she and Bunty meet a young woman who shows them the very real challenges that women war workers face, Emmy must tackle a life-changing dilemma between doing her duty and standing by her friends.

Pathfinders by Cecil Lewis (review copy, courtesy of Imperial War Museum and Random Things Tours) 

Over the course of a single night in 1942, the crew members of a Wellington bomber reflect on the paths of their own lives as they embark on a fateful mission deep in the heart of Nazi Germany. Based on his own experience as a World War I fighter ace, Cecil Lewis’s stunning novel examines the life of each man, rendering a moving account of each as not merely a nameless crew member, but as an individual with a life lived: “A life precious to some, or one. . . . These men with dreams and hopes and plans of things to come.”

Pathfinders Sword of Bone
Sword of Bone by Anthony Rhodes (review copy, courtesy of Imperial War Museum and Random Things Tours) 

It is September 1939. Shortly after World War II is declared, Anthony Rhodes is sent to France, serving with the British Army. His days are filled with the minutiae and mundanities of army life – friendships, billeting, administration – as the months of the “Phoney War” quickly pass and the conflict seems a distant prospect. 

It is only in the spring of 1940 that the true situation becomes clear. The men are ordered to retreat to the coast and the beaches of Dunkirk, where they face a desperate and terrifying wait for evacuation.

On What Cathy Read Next this week

Currently reading

Planned posts

  • Book Review: The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton
  • Blog Tour/Book Review: Lost Property by Helen Paris 
  • Top Ten Tuesday
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • Book Review: The Night Train to Berlin by Melanie Hudson
  • Blog Tour/Book Review: Beyond This Broken Sky by Siobhan Curham
  • Blog Tour/Book Review: Together by Luke Adam Hawker
  • Blog Tour/Book Review: Skelton’s Guide to Suitcase Murders by David Stafford

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