My Week in Books – 23rd February 2020

MyWeekinBooks

On What Cathy Read Next last week

Blog posts

Monday – I shared an extract from The Caroline Paintings by Arthur D. Hittner.

TuesdayThis week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic was Book Hangovers.  I also published my review of Real Life by Adeline Dieudonne 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…and have a good nose around to see what other bloggers are reading.

Thursday – I published my review of Stasi Winter by David Young.

Friday – I shared my thoughts on some historical fiction novels published in 2019 that might make the longlist for The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction 2020

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


New arrivals

Another enticing crop of goodies this week including books for blog tours and an ARCs from NetGalley I’m particularly thrilled about.

The+Widow's+Mite+By+Allie+CresswellThe Widow’s Mite by Allie Cresswell (e-book, courtesy of Rachel’s Random Resources)

Minnie Price lives in an impressive, gated mansion on a superior street in an affluent area of town. But in spite of the apparent comfort of her surroundings she has barely enough to keep body and soul together. She has retreated to a single room where she subsists on things bought as cheaply as possible or – better still – picked up for nothing. Her friends and neighbours are oblivious to her plight, too occupied with their do-goodery to see the need underneath their noses, while her unfeeling step-children do all they can to wrest from Minnie the little that she has.

Then one day, a caller arrives with what seems to be a life-line; a fund of money left behind by Minnie’s late husband of which her step-children know nothing. It is hers – legitimately hers – if only she can jump through the complex logistical hoops to release it.

FB_IMG_1582298166464A Wedding in the Olive Garden by Leah Fleming (eARC, courtesy of Head of Zeus and NetGalley)

Sara Loveday ditches her cheating fiancé at the altar and flees with her best friend to the beautiful island of Santaniki. Here, amid the olive groves, the sun-drenched fishing villages and the glittering Mediterranean sea, Sara vows to change her life. Spotting a gap in the local tourist market, she sets up a wedding planning business specializing in “second time around” couples.

Griff becomes manager of an artist’s retreat owned by a famous novelist. After the failure of his business back in London he is determined to make this new venture a success. But when Griff loans the retreat’s olive garden to Sara for her first big wedding, things do not go to plan: family feuds, rowdy guests and resentful locals derail her carefully prepared event. When a stranger from Sara’s past arrives on the island spreading vicious lies, will Griff and Sara’s new found closeness survive?

This gorgeous, warm-hearted and uplifting novel conjures the local color, traditions and close bonds of island life.

cover185432-mediumSummer in Provence by Lucy Coleman (eARC, courtesy of Boldwood Books and Rachel’s Random Resources)

Is a change as good as a rest?

When married couple Fern and Aiden have a windfall, their reactions could not be more different. While Fern is content to pay off their mortgage and build a nest egg before starting a family, her husband is set on traveling the world.

Fern’s not much of a back-packer so, before she knows it, the idea of a ‘marriage gap year’ takes shape. And, as Aiden heads off to the wilds of Australia, Fern chooses the more restful Provence for her year out.

Set amidst the glorious French scenery, Château de Vernon offers a retreat from the hustle and bustle of normal life, and Fern agrees to help out in return for painting lessons from the owner – renowned, but rather troubled, painter Nico.

As their year unfolds in very different ways, will the time apart transform their marriage, or will it drive Fern and Aiden even further apart…

A Thousand MoonsA Thousand Moons by Sebastian Barry (eARC, courtesy of Faber & Faber and NetGalley)

Even when you come out of bloodshed and disaster in the end you have got to learn to live.

Narrated by Winona – the young Lakota orphan adopted by soldiers Thomas McNulty and John Cole in Days Without End – A Thousand Moons continues Sebastian Barry’s extraordinary fictional exploration of late nineteenth century America.

Living with Thomas and John on the farm they work in 1870s Tennessee, educated and loved, Winona is employed by the lawyer Briscoe in the nearby town of Paris, as she tries to forge a life for herself beyond the violence and dispossession of her past. But the fragile harmony of this shared world, in the aftermath of the Civil War, is soon threatened by a further traumatic event, one which Winona struggles to confront let alone understand.

Told in Sebastian Barry’s gorgeous, lyrical prose, A Thousand Moons is a powerful, moving study of one woman’s journey, about her determination to write her own future, and about the enduring human capacity for love.


On What Cathy Read Next this week

Currently reading

Planned posts

  • Book Review: Improvement by Joan Silber
  • Blog Tour/Book Review: Wild Spinning Girls by Carol Lovekin
  • Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I’d Follow on Social Media
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • Audiobook Review: Heaven, My Home by Attica Locke
  • Book Review: John Burnet of Barns by John Buchan

The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction 2020: Some Contenders?

WalterScottPrizeThe deadline for publishers to submit books published in 2019 for The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction 2020 passed on 20th December 2019 (a little earlier than in previous years).

Like other historical fiction fans, I shall be eagerly awaiting the announcement of the longlist and the ‘Academy Recommends’ list in March. Last year, I only managed to read five of the twelve longlisted novels but those five represented all but one of the six shortlisted novels.  You can find links to my reviews hereThis year I’ll try to read as many as possible of the longlisted novels that I haven’t read already and all those that make it on to the shortlist.

There were some fantastic historical fiction novels published in 2019 and listed below are some I’ve read that I’d love to see make the longlist (subject to them meeting all the eligibility criteria).  (Links from the titles will take you to my reviews.)

In addition, there are some books in my TBR pile I haven’t got around to reading yet but which, judging from reviews, may well deserve a place.  Finally, there are a few others that I’m yet to acquire but which also look like possible contenders for inclusion. (Links from the titles will take you to the book description on Goodreads.)

Check back when the longlist is announced to see how my picks match the judges’ choices – if at all!


Books I read and loved in 2019 

Once Upon A River  by Diane Setterfield

The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott

The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins

Blackberry and Wild Rose by Sonia Velton

Blood & Sugar by Laura Shepherd-Robinson

The Phoenix of Florence by Philip Kazan

Nemesis (Tom Wilde #3) by Rory Clements

The Glittering Hour by Iona Grey

The Photographer of the Lost by Carolyn Scott

The Mathematical Bridge by Jim Kelly

The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea

The Familiars by Stacey Halls

The Road to Grantchesterby James Runcie

The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo

Fled by Meg Keneally

The Mermaid’s Call by Katherine Stansfield

This Mortal Boy by Fiona Kidman

Books in my TBR pile

The Hiding Game by Naomi Wood

Things in Jars by Jess Kidd

Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver

The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal

The Binding by Bridget Collins

Books ‘on my RADAR’

The Offing by Benjamin Myers

Are any of your favourites on my list?  What other historical fiction novels published in 2019 do you think deserve to be nominated?