WWW Wednesdays – 13th February ‘19

WWWWednesdays

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

Louis  & Louise by Julie Cohen (e-book courtesy of NetGalley)louis & louise

ONE LIFE. LIVED TWICE.

Louis Dee and Louise are the same person born in two different lives. They are separated only by the sex announced by the doctor and a final ‘e’.

They have the same best friends, the same red hair, the same dream of being a writer, the same excellent whistle. They both suffer one catastrophic night, with life-changing consequences.

Thirteen years later, they are both coming home.

A tender, insightful and timely novel about the things that bring us together – and those which separate us.


Recently finished (click on title for review)

The Phoenix of FlorenceThe Phoenix of Florence by Philip Kazan (proof copy courtesy of Allison & Busby)

16th century Italy, deep in the Tuscan countryside, a long-held feud between two aristocratic families ends in tragedy, leaving only one young girl alive. Having barely escaped with her life, she vows to survive at all costs…

Years later, amidst the winding streets and majestic facades of Florence, two murders are not all they seem. As Onorio Celavini, commander of the Medici police force, investigates, he is horrified to find a personal connection to the crimes, and a conspiracy lurking beyond. The secrets of his past threaten to spill out and Celavini is forced to revisit the traumatic memories hidden deep within him to lay the ghosts of history to rest.

Poignant and compelling, The Phoenix of Florence is a richly told and cleverly crafted tale of a  struggle for identity and a battle for justice in an Italy besieged by war.

Pre-order The Phoenix of Florence from Amazon UK (link provided for convenience not as part of an affiliate programme)

99 Nights in Logar99 Nights in Logar by Jamil Jan Kochai (eARC courtesy of Vintage and NetGalley)

A coming-of-age story about one boy’s journey across contemporary Afghanistan to find and bring home the family dog, blending the grit and immediacy of voice-driven fiction like We Need New Names with the mythmaking of One Thousand and One Nights.

Twelve-year-old Marwand’s memories from his previous visit to Afghanistan six years ago center on his contentious relationship with Budabash, the terrifying but beloved dog who guards his extended family’s compound in Logar. Eager to find an ally in this place that’s meant to be “home,” Marwand approaches Budabash the way he would any dog on his American suburban block—and the results are disastrous: Marwand loses a finger and Budabash escapes.

The resulting search for the family dog is an expertly told adventure, a ninety-nine-night quest that sends Marwand and his cousins across the landscape of Logar. Moving between celebrations and tragedies, deeply humorous and surprisingly tender, 99 Nights in Logar is a vibrant exploration of the power of stories—the ones we tell each other, and the ones we find ourselves in.


What Cathy (will) Read Next

The Night TigerThe Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo  (eARC, courtesy of Quercus and NetGalley)

They say a tiger that devours too many humans can take the form of a man and walk among us…

In 1930s colonial Malaya, a dissolute British doctor receives a surprise gift of an eleven-year-old Chinese houseboy. Sent as a bequest from an old friend, young Ren has a mission: to find his dead master’s severed finger and reunite it with his body. Ren has forty-nine days, or else his master’s soul will roam the earth forever.

Ji Lin, an apprentice dressmaker, moonlights as a dancehall girl to pay her mother’s debts. One night, Ji Lin’s dance partner leaves her with a gruesome souvenir that leads her on a crooked, dark trail.

As time runs out for Ren’s mission, a series of unexplained deaths occur amid rumours of tigers who turn into men. In their journey to keep a promise and discover the truth, Ren and Ji Lin’s paths will cross in ways they will never forget.

 

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Book Review: The Phoenix of Florence by Philip Kazan

The Phoenix of FlorenceAbout the Book

15th century Italy, deep in the Tuscan countryside, a long-held feud between two aristocratic families ends in tragedy, leaving only one young girl alive. Having barely escaped with her life, she vows to survive at all costs…

Years later, amidst the winding streets and majestic facades of Florence, two murders are not all they seem. As Onorio Celavini, commander of the Medici police force, investigates, he is horrified to find a personal connection to the crimes, and a conspiracy lurking beyond. The secrets of his past threaten to spill out and Celavini is forced to revisit the traumatic memories hidden deep within him to lay the ghosts of history to rest.

Format: Hardcover (pp.)    Publisher: Allison & Busby
Published: 21st February 2019      Genre: Historical Fiction

Pre-order/Purchase Links*
Amazon.co.uk  ǀ  Amazon.com  ǀ Hive.co.uk (supporting UK bookshops)
*links provided for convenience, not as part of any affiliate programme

Find The Phoenix of Florence on Goodreads


My Review

I absolutely loved Philip Kazan’s The Black Earth (read my review here) and have his previous two books – Appetite and The Painter of Souls  – in my TBR pile. Therefore I approached The Phoenix of Florence with a sense of eager anticipation. I’m happy to report I was not disappointed. Far from it. I loved every compelling page of the book.

Based on the book description, you’d be right in expecting an intriguing historical mystery, an enigmatic central character and an evocative depiction of 15th century Tuscany. However it’s a fair bet that, like me, you won’t be expecting everything that unfolds.

As Onorio Celavini diligently and methodically embarks on the investigation into two deaths, a name is mentioned that triggers very personal and painful memories from the past. Suddenly the story is moving in an entirely different but totally enthralling direction. The reader gains an insight into many of the perplexing facets of Onorio’s character: the source of his disturbing “soldier’s dreams”, his remarkable expertise at fencing, the reason for his decision to live alone and the origin of the scars people cannot fail to notice.

It seems Onorio has much to hide, things he is fearful may be revealed. “Like all things, concealment becomes a habit.” In fact, concealment and imitation are themes that run through the book, whether by necessity, through treachery or by inclination.

The Phoenix of Florence is a compelling, powerful, multi-layered historical mystery that serves up one unexpected delight after another. There are action-packed scenes of battle, insights into the life of a mercenary and the politics of Florence, as well as evocative descriptions of landscape and details of everyday life that really immerse the reader in the period. I absolutely loved it. Historical fiction fans, this is one to look out for when it’s published on 21st February 2019.

My grateful thanks to Allison and Busby for my proof copy.

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In three words: Compelling, immersive, powerful

Try something similar…The Poison Bed by E. C. Fremantle (read my review here)


Philip Kazan GRAbout the Author

PHILIP KAZAN was born in London and grew-up on Dartmoor. He is the author of two previous novels set in fifteenth-century Florence and the Petroc series following a thirteenth-century adventurer. After living in New York and Vermont, Philip is back on the edge of Dartmoor with his wife and three children. (Photo credit: Goodreads author page)

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