My Week in Books – 3rd October 2021


On What Cathy Read Next last week

Blog posts

Monday – I published my review of House of Beauty by Melba Escobar

Tuesday This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic was a freebie and I chose Books With Titles In Their Title.

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 to have a good nose around what others are reading. I also published my review of historical novel The Shanghai Wife by Emma Harcourt as part of the blog tour.

Thursday – I shared my review of The Redeemed by Tim Pears, the final book in his West Country trilogy.

Friday – I chose My Five Favourite September Reads.

Saturday – I joined in with this month’s #6Degrees of Separation meme forging a chain from The Lottery by Shirley Jackson to The Missing Girl…by Shirley Jackson.

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

New arrivals

An Extra Pair of HandsAn Extra Pair of Hands: A Story of Caring, Ageing and Everyday Acts of Love by Kate Mosse (review copy, Wellcome Collection)

As our population ages, more and more of us find ourselves caring for parents and loved ones – some 8.8 million people in the UK. An invisible army of carers holding families together.

Here, Kate Mosse tells her own personal story of finding herself a carer in middle age: first, helping her heroic mother care for her beloved father through Parkinson’s, then supporting her mother in widowhood, and finally as ‘an extra pair of hands’ for her 90-year-old mother-in-law.

This is a story about the gentle heroism of our carers, about small everyday acts of tenderness, and finding joy in times of crisis. It’s about juggling priorities, mind-numbing repetition, about guilt and powerlessness, about grief, and the solace of nature when we’re exhausted or at a loss. It is also about celebrating older people, about learning to live differently – and think differently about ageing.

But most of all, it’s a story about love.

Lucifer's GameLucifer’s Game by Cristina Loggia (eARC, Lume Books) 

Rome, 1942. Cordelia Olivieri is a young, determined hotel owner desperate to escape Mussolini’s racial persecution. But as Fascist leaders gather in Rome, Cordelia is suddenly surrounded by the world’s most ruthless and powerful commanders.

In an effort to keep her Jewish heritage a secret and secure safe passage out of Italy, Cordelia forms a dangerous alliance with the British army who want to push the Axis out of North Africa once and for all. Going undercover, Cordelia begins obtaining and leaking military intelligence to a British agent, hoping the intel will secure her freedom. But the more Cordelia uncovers, the greater the risks – especially for one handsome German Afrika Korps officer.

How far must Cordelia go to protect her identity and secure passage out of Rome?

Sergeant SalingerSergeant Salinger by Jerome Charyn (eARC, No Exit Press)

J.D. Salinger, mysterious author of The Catcher in the Rye, is remembered today as a reclusive misanthrope. Jerome Charyn’s Salinger is a young American WWII draftee assigned to the Counter Intelligence Corps, a band of secret soldiers who trained with the British. A rifleman and an interrogator, he witnessed all the horrors of the war – from the landing on D-Day to the relentless hand-to-hand combat in the hedgerows of Normandy, to the Battle of the Bulge, and finally to the first Allied entry into a Bavarian death camp, where corpses were piled like cordwood.

After the war, interned in a Nuremberg psychiatric clinic, Salinger became enchanted with a suspected Nazi informant. They married, but not long after he brought her home to New York, the marriage collapsed. Maladjusted to civilian life, he lived like a ‘spook’, with invisible stripes on his shoulder, the ghosts of the murdered inside his head, and stories to tell.

Grounded in biographical fact and reimagined as only Charyn could, Sergeant Salinger is an astonishing portrait of a devastated young man on his way to becoming the mythical figure behind a novel that has marked generations.

Odin's GameOdin’s Game (The Whale Road Chronicles #1) by Tim Hodkinson (review copy, Head of Zeus) 

AD 915. In the Orkney Isles, a young woman flees her home to save the life of her unborn child. Eighteen years later, a witch foretells that evil from her past is reaching out again to threaten her son.

Outlawed from his home in Iceland, Einar Unnsson is thrown on the mercy of his Uncle, the infamous Jarl Thorfinn ‘Skull Cleaver’ of Orkney. He joins forces with a Norse-Irish princess and a company of wolfskin-clad warriors to become a player in a deadly game for control of the Irish sea, where warriors are the pawns of kings and Jarls and the powerful are themselves mere game pieces on the tafl board of the Gods. Together they embark on a quest where Einar must fight unimaginable foes, forge new friendships, and discover what it truly means to be a warrior.

As the clouds of war gather, betrayal follows betrayal and Einar realises the only person he can really trust is himself. Not everyone will survive, but who will conquer all in Odin’s game? 

Born Of No WomanBorn of No Woman by Franck Bouysse, translated by Lara Vergnaud (eARC, Weidenfeld & Nicolson)

Nineteenth-century rural France. Before he is called to bless the body of a woman at the nearby asylum, Father Gabriel receives a strange, troubling confession: hidden under the woman’s dress he will find the notebooks in which she confided the abuses she suffered and the twisted motivations behind them.

And so Rose’s terrible story comes to light: sold as a teenage girl to a rich man, hidden away in a old manor house deep in the woods and caught in a perverse web, manipulated by those society considers her betters.

A girl whose only escape is to capture her life – in all its devastation and hope – in the pages of her diary…

The Writer's CatThe Writer’s Cats by Muriel Barbery, translated by Alison Anderson, with illustrations by Maria Guitart (review copy, Gallic Books)

Internationally acclaimed bestselling author Muriel Barbery, best known for The Elegance of the Hedgehog (10 million copies sold worldwide) is not the sole author of her books, but receives immense editorial input on this and her other titles from an unusual source: her four Chartreux cats.

These elegant grey-furred and amber-eyed felines (who matching Barbery’s exquisite home décor), not only keep the author company as she works from her house in the French countryside, but have a substantial input into her writing, flicking aside sections of manuscript with a disdainful tail here, pointing an approving paw at others, and chewing a page they feel needs reworking. Now Kirin, Ocha, Mizu and Petrus – named after Barbery’s love of all things Japanese and good wine – want royalties and recognition, and to that end have penned their own jaw-dropping tell-all book.

With delicious wit and irony, the international bestselling author of The Elegance of the Hedgehog gives an an entertaining portrait of a writer’s life – and the paws behind the pen. Accompanied by delightful illustrations by Maria Guitart.

On What Cathy Read Next this week

Currently reading

Planned posts

  • Blog Tour/Book Review: To All the Living by Monica Felton
  • Giveaway: Odin’s Game by Tim Hodkinson
  • Top Ten Tuesday
  • WWW Wednesday
  • Book Review: The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
  • Book Review: Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers
  • Henley Literary Festival 2021 Round-Up

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