#6Degrees 6 Degrees of Separation: From The Bass Rock to Dublin’s Girl

book stack book pile

It’s the first Saturday of the month which means it’s time for the 6 Degrees of Separation meme!

Here’s how it works: a book is chosen as a starting point by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best and linked to six other books to form a chain. Readers and bloggers are invited to join in by creating their own ‘chain’ leading from the selected book.

Kate says: Books can be linked in obvious ways – for example, books by the same authors, from the same era or genre, or books with similar themes or settings. Or, you may choose to link them in more personal or esoteric ways: books you read on the same holiday, books given to you by a particular friend, books that remind you of a particular time in your life, or books you read for an online challenge. Join in by posting your own six degrees chain on your blog and adding the link in the comments section of each month’s post.   You can also check out links to posts on Twitter using the hashtag #6Degrees.


This month’s starting book is winner of The Stella Prize 2021, The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld. Once again, it’s a book I haven’t read but from the blurb I understand it features three women from different periods of time all of whom are linked to the place of the title, a landscape feature off the coast of Scotland.

The Stella Prize is a literary award that celebrates Australian women’s writing. Its UK equivalent is the Women’s Prize for Fiction. This year’s winner won’t be announced until 7th July 2021 but the 2020 winner was Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell.

Hamnet involves the death of the son of a man who is never referred to by name but is clearly William Shakespeare. Martyr by Rory Clements is the first in the author’s historical crime series featuring William Shakespeare’s older brother John, who turns detective to investigate a murder and an assassination plot.

Another character combining their usual occupation – in this case, cleaner – with that of detective is Stella Darnell (yes, another Stella) the protagonist of Lesley Thomson’s ‘The Detective’s Daughter’ crime series. The latest addition to the series is The Distant Dead.

Staying with characters named Stella, Stella by Takis Würger is set in wartime Berlin. Although the story is fictional, Stella herself is based on a real historical character.

A real-life Stella who turned author in later life is Dame Stella Rimington, former head of MI5. Present Danger, the fifth book in her series featuring MI5 intelligence officer Liz Carlyle, sees Liz despatched to Northern Ireland to monitor breakaway Republican groups who never accepted the peace process.

An earlier period in Ireland’s history features in Dublin’s Girl by Eimear Lawlor in which its heroine witnesses events such as Sinn Féin’s victory in the 1918 election, the establishment of an independent parliament (the Dail Eireann) and, eventually, the birth of the Irish Free State.

My chain this month has taken me on a tour of the United Kingdom with a brief detour to Berlin, finishing with a visit to the Emerald Isle. Where did your chain take you?

#6Degrees 6 Degrees of Separation: From Beezus and Ramona to The Final Revival of Opal & Nev

It’s the first Saturday of the month which means it’s time for 6 Degrees of Separation!

Here’s how it works: a book is chosen as a starting point by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best and linked to six other books to form a chain. Readers and bloggers are invited to join in by creating their own ‘chain’ leading from the selected book.

Kate says: Books can be linked in obvious ways – for example, books by the same authors, from the same era or genre, or books with similar themes or settings. Or, you may choose to link them in more personal or esoteric ways: books you read on the same holiday, books given to you by a particular friend, books that remind you of a particular time in your life, or books you read for an online challenge. Join in by posting your own six degrees chain on your blog and adding the link in the comments section of each month’s post.   You can also check out links to posts on Twitter using the hashtag #6Degrees.


This month’s starting book is Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary.

I haven’t read the book (and hadn’t even heard of it before this) but I gather from the blurb that it features nine-year-old Beezus Quimby who has her hands full with her little sister, Ramona. Another character who has her hands full with her sister is Korede, the narrator of My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite.

My Sister, The Serial Killer was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2019. Also on the shortlist that year was Circe by Madeline Miller. The book is a retelling of the legend in which Circe is banished by the god Zeus to a deserted island.

Another book which involves the exile of an individual to a remote island is An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris. In this case, the exile is Alfred Dreyfus, a young Jewish officer, convicted of treason and sentenced to life imprisonment on Devil’s Island.

An Officer and a Spy was the winner of the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction in 2014. The most recent winner of the prize was The Narrow Land by Christine Dwyer Hickey which features the artist Edward Hopper and his wife, Josephine.

Edward Hopper has a walk-on part in Artist, Soldier, Lover, Muse by Arthur D. Hittner which transports the reader to the art world of New York in the 1930s.

Staying in New York but fast forwarding forty years, The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton is set in the New York City’s lively music scene.

My chain this month has comprised sisterhood, exile and the creative muse. Where did your chain take you?