#WWWWednesday – 16th June 2021

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

The Readers' RoomThe Readers’ Room by Antoine Laurain (review copy, courtesy of Gallic Books)

When the manuscript of a debut crime novel arrives at a Parisian publishing house, everyone in the readers’ room is convinced it’s something special. And the committee for France’s highest literary honour, the Prix Goncourt, agrees. 

But when the shortlist is announced, there’s a problem for editor Violaine Lepage: she has no idea of the author’s identity. As the police begin to investigate a series of murders strangely reminiscent of those recounted in the book, Violaine is not the only one looking for answers. And, suffering memory blanks following an aeroplane accident, she’s beginning to wonder what role she might play in the story… 

Yours CheerfullyYours Cheerfully by A. J. Pearce (eARC, courtesy of Picador via NetGalley)

London, September, 1941. Following the departure of the formidable Editor, Henrietta Bird, from Woman’s Friend magazine, things are looking up for Emmeline Lake as she takes on the challenge of becoming a young wartime advice columnist. Her relationship with boyfriend Charles is blossoming, while Emmy’s best friend Bunty, is still reeling from the very worst of the Blitz, but bravely looking to the future. Together, the friends are determined to Make a Go of It.

When the Ministry of Information calls on Britain’s women’s magazines to help recruit desperately needed female workers to the war effort, Emmy is thrilled to be asked to step up and help. But when she and Bunty meet a young woman who shows them the very real challenges that women war workers face, Emmy must tackle a life-changing dilemma between doing her duty, and standing by her friends.


Recently finished

Links from the titles will take you to my review.

Mrs England by Stacey Halls 

The Fort (City of Victory #1) by Adrian Goldsworthy 

Scandalous Alchemy by Katy Moran

Everything Happens for a Reason by Katie Allen (eARC, courtesy of Orenda Books)

Mum-to-be Rachel did everything right, but it all went wrong. Her son, Luke, was stillborn and she finds herself on maternity leave without a baby, trying to make sense of her loss.

When a misguided well-wisher tells her that “everything happens for a reason”, she becomes obsessed with finding that reason, driven by grief and convinced that she is somehow to blame. She remembers that on the day she discovered her pregnancy, she’d stopped a man from jumping in front of a train, and she’s now certain that saving his life cost her the life of her son.

Desperate to find him, she enlists an unlikely ally in Lola, an Underground worker, and Lola’s seven-year-old daughter, Josephine, and eventually tracks him down, with completely unexpected results… (Review to follow for blog tour)

Love and Fury: A Novel of Mary Wollstonecraft by Samantha Silva (eARC, courtesy of Allison & Busby via NetGalley)

‘Now, daughter, I’m to tell you a story to coax you into the world…

London 1797. Mary Wollstonecraft awaits the arrival of the midwife who will help bring her child into the world, and support her through the testing eleven days that follow. After the birth, both mother and daughter fight for survival. Even as Mary’s strength wanes, she urgently weaves the tale of her life to bind her frail Little Bird close. 

Wollstonecraft’s journey to vindicate the rights of women spanned Europe and broke the conventions of the time. Amid the triumph and loss, she blazed a trail and passed that legacy on to her child, the future Mary Shelley.

Love and Fury reclaims the all too brief moment when the stories of mother and daughter overlapped. It is a lyrical and moving tribute to an influential thinker and a remarkable woman. (Review to follow)


What Cathy (will) Read Next

Three Little TruthsThree Little Truths by Eithne Shortall (review copy, courtesy of Corvus and Readers First)

One happy street. Three pretty houses. So many lies.

Martha used to be a force of nature: calm, collected, and in charge. But since moving her husband and two daughters to Dublin under sudden and mysterious circumstances, she can’t seem to find her footing.

Robin was the “it” girl in school, destined for success. Now she’s back at her parents’ with her four-year-old son, vowing that her ne’er-do-well ex is out of the picture for good.

Edie has everything she could want, apart from a baby, and the acceptance of her new neighbors. She longs to be one of the girls, and to figure out why her perfect husband seems to be avoiding their perfect future.

Three women looking for a fresh start on idyllic Pine Road. Their friendship will change their lives, and reveal secrets they never imagined. 

My Week in Books – 13th June 2021

MyWeekinBooks

On What Cathy Read Next last week

Blog posts

Monday – I published my review of Agent Running in the Field by John le Carré. 

Tuesday My take on this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic was New Favourite Authors Discovered Thanks To Blog Tours.  

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 to have a good nose around what others are reading. I also shared my review of This How We Are Human by Louise Beech as part of the blog tour.

Thursday – I shared my publication day review of Mrs England by Stacey Halls.

Friday – I published my review of The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams, one of the books shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction 2021. Later I stuck my neck out with a prediction of the book that might win the prize when it is announced. 

Saturday – I joined the blog tour for The Serpent King by Tim Hodkinson sharing my review of the fourth book in The  Whale Road Chronicles series. 

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


New arrivals

The Book of EchoesThe Book of Echoes by Rosanna Amaka (eARC, courtesy of Doubleday UK and Random Things Tours) 

1981: England looks forward to a new decade. But on the streets of Brixton, it’s hard to hold onto your dreams, especially if you are a young black man. Racial tensions rumble, and now Michael Watson might land in jail for a crime he did not commit.

Thousands of miles away, village girl Ngozi abandons her orange stall for the opportunity to work as a housemaid for a middle-class family.

From dusty tracks to gritty pavements, Ngozi and Michael’s journey towards a better life is strewn with heartache. When they finally collide, their lives will be transformed for ever.

Still Life by Sarah Winman

We just need to know what the heart’s capable of, Evelyn.
And do you know what it’s capable of?
I do. Grace and fury.


It’s 1944 and in the ruined wine cellar of a Tuscan villa, as the Allied troops advance and bombs fall around them, two strangers meet and share an extraordinary evening together.

Ulysses Temper is a young British solider and one-time globe-maker, Evelyn Skinner is a sexagenarian art historian and possible spy. She has come to Italy to salvage paintings from the ruins and relive her memories of the time she encountered EM Forster and had her heart stolen by an Italian maid in a particular Florentine room with a view.

These two unlikely people find kindred spirits in each other and Evelyn’s talk of truth and beauty plants a seed in Ulysses mind that will shape the trajectory of his life – and of those who love him – for the next four decades.

Moving from the Tuscan Hills, to the smog of the East End and the piazzas of Florence, Still Life is a sweeping, mischievous, richly-peopled novel about beauty, love, family and fate.

The Hidden ChildThe Hidden Child by Louise Fein (eARC, courtesy of Head of Zeus)

Eleanor Hamilton is happily married and mother to a beautiful four-year-old girl, Mabel. Her wealthy husband, Edward, a celebrated war hero, is a leading light in the burgeoning Eugenics movement – the very ideas that will soon be embraced by Hitler – and is increasingly important in designing education policy for Great Britain.

But when Edward and Eleanor’s otherwise perfectly healthy daughter develops debilitating epileptic seizures, their world fractures. Mabel’s shameful illness must be hidden or Edward’s life’s work will be in jeopardy and the family’s honor will be shattered.

When Eleanor discovers Edward has been keeping secrets, she calls into question everything she believed about genetic inferiority, and her previous unshakeable faith in her husband disintegrates. Alarmed, distressed, and no longer able to bear the family’s burden, she takes matters into her own hands.

End of SummerEnd of Summer by Anders de la Motte (ARC, courtesy of Zaffre)

You can always go home. But you can never go back…

Summer 1983: Four-year-old Billy chases a rabbit in the fields behind his house. But when his mother goes to call him in, Billy has disappeared. Never to be seen again.

Today: Veronica is a bereavement counsellor. She’s never fully come to terms with her mother’s suicide after her brother Billy’s disappearance.

When a young man walks into her group, he looks familiar and talks about the trauma of his friend’s disappearance in 1983. Could Billy still be alive after all this time? Needing to know the truth, Veronica goes home – to the place where her life started to fall apart. But is she really prepared for the answers that wait for her there?

Plus, I went to drop off some books at my local Oxfam bookshop so of course this happened…

Small Pleasures The Uncommon Reader

Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers

1957, south-east suburbs of London. Jean Swinney is a feature writer on a local paper, disappointed in love and – on the brink of forty – living a limited existence with her truculent mother: a small life from which there is no likelihood of escape.

When a young Swiss woman, Gretchen Tilbury, contacts the paper to claim that her daughter is the result of a virgin birth, it is down to Jean to discover whether she is a miracle or a fraud. But the more Jean investigates, the more her life becomes strangely (and not unpleasantly) intertwined with that of the Tilburys: Gretchen is now a friend, and her quirky and charming daughter Margaret a sort of surrogate child. And Jean doesn’t mean to fall in love with Gretchen’s husband, Howard, but Howard surprises her with his dry wit, his intelligence and his kindness – and when she does fall, she falls hard.

But he is married, and to her friend – who is also the subject of the story she is researching for the newspaper, a story that increasingly seems to be causing dark ripples across all their lives. And yet Jean cannot bring herself to discard the chance of finally having a taste of happiness…

But there will be a price to pay, and it will be unbearable.

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett 

When the Queen in pursuit of her wandering corgis stumbles upon a mobile library she feels duty bound to borrow a book. Aided by Norman, a young man from the palace kitchen who frequents the library, the Queen is transformed as she discovers the liberating pleasures of the written word.


On What Cathy Read Next this week

Currently reading

Planned posts

  • Blog Tour/Book Review: The Fort by Adrian Goldsworthy
  • Blog Tour/Book Review: Scandalous Alchemy by Katy Moran
  • Blog Tour/Extract: Castle Shade by Laurie R King
  • Top Ten Tuesday
  • Blog Tour/Book Review: The High-Rise Diver by Julia von Lucadou
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • Book Review: Love and Fury by Samantha Silva
  • Blog Tour/Book Review: Everything Happens for a Reason by Katie Allen