#6Degrees of Separation From The Quiet People to The Illumination of Ursula Flight

background book stack books close up
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Pexels.com

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.


The Quiet People CoverThis month we’re starting with the book that finished our chain last month, so in my case that’s The Quiet People by Paul Cleave.  In the book a husband and wife crime-writing team find themselves suspected of involvement in the disappearance of their young son.

A real life husband and wife team, writing under the pen name Ambrose Parry, is behind the Raven, Fisher and Simpson historical mystery series, the latest instalment of which is A Corruption of Blood.  In the book, Sarah Fisher has her sights set on becoming a doctor but just about everyone seems intent on putting obstacles in her way.

In That Bonesetter Woman by Frances Quinn, Endurance ‘Durie’ Proudfoot has a similar ambition – to follow her father and grandfather into the family business of bonesetting. However it’s not thought a suitable job for a woman.

Another woman whose medical ambitions seem doomed to failure features in The Physician’s Daughter by Martha Conway. Vita Tenney has harboured a lifelong dream of becoming a country doctor like her father but he believes marriage and motherhood should be her chosen path.

The Language of Food by Annabel Abbs features another woman whose ambitions fall outside expected social norms. Eliza Acton dreams of seeing her poetry in print but when she takes a manuscript to a publisher, she’s told that ‘poetry is not the business of a lady’ and instead is asked to write a cookery book. As it turns out, it’s a recipe for success.

A woman who defied society’s expectations in order to achieve success in her chosen career is the subject of The Improbable Adventures of Miss Emily Soldene by Helen Batten. Subtitled ‘Actress, Writer and Rebel Victorian’, the book tells the true story of a woman who rose from humble beginnings to become a leading lady of the London stage and an impresario with her own opera company.

Staying with the theatre, in the historical novel The Illumination of Ursula Flight by Anne-Marie Crowhurst the eponymous heorine embarks on a  quest to become a playwright in Restoration England but finds her ambitions thwarted when she is promised in marriage to a rich nobleman.

My chain has taken me from present day New Zealand to Restoration England. Where did your chain take you?

#6Degrees of Separation From The Book of Form and Emptiness to The Quiet People

background book stack books close up
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Pexels.com

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.


The Book of Form and EmptinessThis month’s starting book is The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki, winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2022.  As is often the case, it’s a book I haven’t read but according to the blurb it concerns a fourteen-year-old boy who begins to hear voices and takes refuge in the silence of a public library.

Another book set around a library is The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams which starts with the discovery of a crumpled reading list tucked inside a tattered library book.

Another kind of list features in The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle. If you could name five people – living or dead – to have dinner with, who would you choose? In the book Sabrina arrives at her 30th birthday dinner to find her best friend, three significant people from her past… and Audrey Hepburn.

Audrey Hepburn starred in the 1961 film adaptation of Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote who also wrote In Cold Blood. It tells the story of the real life murders of the Clutter family in Kansas in 1959 and is considered by many to be the first true crime ‘non-fiction novel’.

The Fortune Men by Nadifa Mohamed is another book which is a fictionalized account of an actual crime, in this case the murder of a shopkeeper in 1950s Cardiff. It’s also a story of a miscarriage of justice.

This Mortal Boy by Fiona Kidman also has as its subject a possible miscarriage of justice. Set in Auckland in 1955, it describes the trial and conviction for murder of Albert ‘Paddy’ Black, a young Belfast man and recent immigrant to New Zealand.

New Zealand is also the setting for crime novel The Quiet People by Paul Cleave in which the young son of two successful crime writers disappears. Suspicion falls on them not least because they have frequently joked that, since they write about it for a living, no one knows how to get away with crime like they do.

My chain has taken us from the peace and quiet of a library to the clamour of press attention. Where did your chain take you?