WWW Wednesdays – 19th June ‘19


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

Birdie & JudeBirdie & Jude by Phyllis H. Moore (ebook, courtesy of Rachel’s Random Resources)

A serendipitous meeting on a beach in Galveston before a hurricane forces two strangers to take shelter with each other. Birdie, an older woman, and Jude, a young woman and lone survivor of a fatal accident are destined to spend time together during a strengthening storm. Their lives couldn’t be any different. However, they recognize something in the other that forges a friendship between them. As their relationship solidifies, they share glimpses of their past.

Birdie is a product of the ’60’s, an aging hippie, with a series of resentments hovering over her present life. She had a sheltered childhood in an upper class family. Her parents longed to see her make the Texas Dip at their krewe’s Mardi Gras ball. Jude, however, entered foster care as an infant. Her parents, victims of a murder/suicide, left her and her siblings orphans and separated into different homes.

Their backgrounds couldn’t have been more different, but there is something about their connection that strikes Birdie as familiar. Can souls know each other in different lives? Birdie struggles with the awareness that she has had regrets and hasn’t lived an authentic life, while Jude faces an uncomfortable truth about her own life.

20190607_101841The Dancing Floor by John Buchan (paperback)

Vernon Milbourne, orphaned since childhood and haunted by a recurring dream, is friends with the protective lawyer and MP, Sir Edward Leithen.

An Aegean cruise takes them to the mysterious island of Plakos, where Vernon is fascinated by the island’s myths.

Local superstitions turn to menace as Vernon’s encounter with a beautiful woman results in obsession and adventure.

Recently finished

A Long Way From HomeA Long Way From Home by Peter Carey (audiobook)

Irene Bobs loves fast driving. Her husband is the best car salesman in rural south eastern Australia. Together with Willie, their lanky navigator, they embark upon the Redex Trial, a brutal race around the continent, over roads no car will ever quite survive.

A Long Way from Home is a thrilling high speed story that starts in one way, then takes you to another place altogether. Set in the 1950s in the embers of the British Empire, painting a picture of Queen and subject, black, white and those in-between, this brilliantly vivid novel illustrates how the possession of an ancient culture spirals through history – and the love made and hurt caused along the way.

Monopoli BluesMonopoli Blues by Tim Clark & Nick Cook (ebook, courtesy of Unbound and Random Things Tours)

In November 1944, Sub Lt Bob Clark, a twenty-year old agent with Britain’s top-secret Special Operations Executive, parachuted into northern Italy. He left behind the girl he had fallen in love with, Marjorie, his radio operator.

Captured by the enemy, Bob’s fate hangs in the balance and Marjorie won’t know for six months whether he is alive or dead.

Monopoli Blues recounts the story of Tim Clark’s journey to uncover the story of his parents’ war – and the truth behind the betrayal of his father’s Clarion mission to the Nazis…

the serpent's markThe Serpent’s Mark by S. W. Perry (hardcover, courtesy of Corvus and Readers First)

Treason sleeps for no man…

London, 1591. Nicholas Shelby, physician and reluctant spy, returns to his old haunts on London’s lawless Bankside. But, when the queen’s spymaster Robert Cecil asks him to investigate the dubious practices of a mysterious doctor from Switzerland, Nicholas is soon embroiled in a conspiracy that threatens not just the life of an innocent young patient, but the overthrow of Queen Elizabeth herself.

With fellow healer and mistress of the Jackdaw tavern, Bianca Merton, again at his side, Nicholas is drawn into a dangerous world of zealots, charlatans and fanatics. As their own lives become increasingly at risk, they find themselves confronting the greatest treason of all: the spectre of a bloody war between the faiths… (Review to follow as part of blog tour)

What Cathy (will) Read Next

The Body LiesThe Body Lies by Jo Baker (ebook, courtesy of Transworld and Random Things Tours)

When a young writer accepts a job at a university in the remote countryside, it’s meant to be a fresh start, away from the big city and the scene of a violent assault she’s desperate to forget. But despite the distractions of a new life and single motherhood, her nerves continue to jangle. To make matters worse, a vicious debate about violence against women inflames the tensions and mounting rivalries in her creative writing group.

When a troubled student starts sending in chapters from his novel that blur the lines between fiction and reality, the professor recognises herself as the main character in his book – and he has written her a horrific fate.

Will she be able to stop life imitating art before it’s too late?

A Modern FamilyA Modern Family by Helga Flatland (ebook, courtesy of Orenda and Random Things Tours)

When Liv, Ellen and Håkon, along with their partners and children, arrive in Rome to celebrate their father’s seventieth birthday, a quiet earthquake occurs: their parents have decided to divorce.

Shocked and disbelieving, the siblings try to come to terms with their parents’ decision as it echoes through the homes they have built for themselves, and forces them to reconstruct the shared narrative of their childhood and family history.

A bittersweet novel of regret, relationships and rare psychological insights, A Modern Family encourages us to look at the people closest to us a little more carefully, and ultimately reveals that it’s never too late for change…


Blog Tour/Book Review: Monopoli Blues by Tim Clark & Nick Cook

Monopoli Blues BT Poster

I’m delighted to be hosting today’s stop on the blog tour for  Monopoli Blues by Tim Clark & Nick Cook which recounts a son’s journey to uncover the story of his parents service in war-time special forcesThanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for inviting me to participate and to Unbound for my review copy.

Watch the trailer for Monopoli Blues here

Praise for Monopoli Blues:

‘Lucidly written, deeply researched and extremely well-structured … a remarkable act of imagination and filial homage’ William Boyd, New Statesman

‘Powerful … this is the reality of war behind the headlines’ Jonathan Dimbleby

‘A gripping tale of wartime exploits, an unlikely love story, and a son’s journey to discover his father’s secret war’ Joshua Levine, author of Dunkirk

Monopoli BluesAbout the Book

In November 1944, Sub Lt Bob Clark, a twenty-year old agent with Britain’s top-secret Special Operations Executive, parachuted into northern Italy.

He left behind the girl he had fallen in love with, Marjorie, his radio operator. Captured by the enemy, Bob’s fate hangs in the balance and Marjorie won’t know for six months whether he is alive or dead…

Monopoli Blues recounts the story of Tim Clark’s journey to uncover the story of his parents’ war – and the truth behind the betrayal of his father’s Clarion mission to the Nazis.

Format: Paperback (288 pp.)    Publisher: Unbound
Published: 13th June 2019  Genre: History, Non-Fiction

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 Monopoli Blues on Goodreads

My Review

The book is clearly the product of painstaking research involving the piecing together of facts from a myriad of sources: contemporary accounts, personal interviews, archive records and historical works. And an unexpected treasure trove that provides a touching insight into the relationship between Tim Clark’s mother and father. I found the accounts of the trips made by Tim in an effort to recreate his father’s journeys particularly compelling.

Along the way, there are portraits of remarkable and colourful characters who served with the SOE; singular individuals whose former experiences ranged from big-game fishing, managing a rubber plantation manager or competing as a world-class athlete. Often the success of operations seems to have been determined by nothing more than charm, ingenuity and bravado – along with, of course, remarkable courage. There’s also fascinating information about the setting up of the SOE and the training of its operatives.

The authors create a compelling picture of the contrast between periods of boredom whilst waiting for operations to commence and intense moments of danger once they’d begun. Often these took place under cover of darkness never very far from the possibility of running into enemy troops and with dire consequences if captured. Not to mention the very chaotic situation they often found on the ground with rival factions of partisans competing for supplies. And one can’t forget the information vacuum endured by those waiting for news of their loved ones.

Monopoli Blues is a touching portrait of a loving relationship, a compelling account of wartime bravery and a fitting commemoration of, as Paddy Ashdown writes in his foreword to the book, ‘perfectly ordinary people’ who did extraordinary things. In its detailed account of SOE operations in Italy the book makes fascinating reading for anyone with an interest in military history and the events of WW2. However, the personal nature of the story makes it accessible to anyone.

I received a review copy courtesy of publishers, Unbound, and Random Things Tours.

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In three words: Painstakingly-researched, inspiring, compelling

Tim Clark and Nick CookAbout the Authors

Tim Clark spent a large part of his career working as a lawyer at one of the world’s leading firms specialising in M+A and corporate work in the UK and internationally, ultimately becoming Senior Partner. Since retiring as a lawyer, Tim has taken on board positions on a number of corporate, arts and charitable organisations, and senior advisory roles at a number of international think tanks.

Nick Cook is an author, journalist, broadcaster and entrepreneur. In 1986, he joined the world-renowned Jane’s Defence Weekly, initially as a reporter, rising quickly to become Aviation Editor, a position he held until 2005. His first novel, Angel, Archangel, was published in 1989 to critical acclaim. In 2001, Cook’s first non-fiction title, The Hunt For Zero Point, was published, reaching Number 1 in Amazon’s Non-Fiction charts. He has also written, hosted and produced two documentaries about the world of aerospace and defence – Billion Dollar Secret and an Alien History of Planet Earth . He lives and works with his wife and two children in London.