My Week in Books – 23rd January 2022

MyWeekinBooksOn What Cathy Read Next last week

Monday – I published my review of Red Is My Heart by Antoine Laurain with illustrations by Le Sonneur

Tuesday – This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic was 2021 Releases I Was Excited To Read But Didn’t Get To.

Wednesday – I published my review of Before We Grow Old by Clare Swatman as part of the blog tour. And WWW Wednesday is my weekly opportunity to share what I’ve just read, what I’m currently reading and what I plan to read next… and to take a peek at what others are reading. 

Thursday – Another day, another reading challenge! I published my sign-up post for the Bookbloggers 2022 Fiction Reading Challenge

Friday – I shared my review of Resistance – Book 1 Liberty by Eilidh McGinness as part of the blog tour. 

Saturday – I published my review of historical novel, The Queen’s Lady by Joanna Hickson.

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

New arrivals

Crow CourtCrow Court by Andy Charman (eARC, Unbound)

Spring, 1840. In the Dorset market town of Wimborne Minster, a young choirboy drowns himself. Soon after, the choirmaster – a belligerent man with a vicious reputation – is found murdered, in a discovery tainted as much by relief as it is by suspicion. The gaze of the magistrates falls on four local men, whose decisions will reverberate through the community for years to come.

So begins the chronicle of Crow Court, unravelling over fourteen delicately interwoven episodes, the town of Wimborne their backdrop: a young gentleman and his groom run off to join the army; a sleepwalking cordwainer wakes on his wife’s grave; desperate farmhands emigrate. We meet the composer with writer’s block; the smuggler; a troupe of actors down from London; and old Art Pugh, whose impoverished life has made him hard to amuse.

Meanwhile, justice waits…

The BirdcageThe Birdcage by Eve Chase (eARC, Michael Joseph via NetGalley)

Some secrets need to be set free…

When half-sisters Kat, Flossie and Lauren are unexpectedly summoned to Rock Point, the remote Cornish house where they spent their childhood summers, it is the first time they have been there together since their artist father painted them in the celebrated Girls and Birdcage. Since then they have drifted apart into wildly different lives, each one determined to forget the fateful summer of twenty years ago.

But when they arrive at Rock Point it is clear they are not alone. Someone is lurking in the shadows, watching their every move. Someone who remembers what they did, and has been waiting for their return.

As the events of that summer rise closer to the surface, will the three sisters escape unscathed for a second time? Or are some secrets too powerful to remain under lock and key?

Dark Tides by Philippa Gregory (Simon & Schuster)

Midsummer Eve 1670. Two unexpected visitors arrive at a shabby warehouse on the south side of the River Thames. The first is a wealthy man hoping to find the lover he deserted twenty-one years before. James Avery has everything to offer, including the favour of the newly restored King Charles II, and he believes that the warehouse’s poor owner Alinor has the one thing his money cannot buy – his son and heir.

The second visitor is a beautiful widow from Venice in deepest mourning. She claims Alinor as her mother-in-law and has come to tell Alinor that her son Rob has drowned in the dark tides of the Venice lagoon. Alinor writes to her brother Ned, newly arrived in faraway New England and trying to make a life between the worlds of the English newcomers and the American Indians as they move toward inevitable war. Alinor tells him that she knows – without doubt – that her son is alive and the widow is an imposter.

Set in the poverty and glamour of Restoration London, in the golden streets of Venice, and on the tensely contested frontier of early America, this is a novel of greed and desire: for love, for wealth, for a child, and for home.

Circus of Wonders Dark Tides

Circus of Wonders by Elizabeth Macneal (Picador)

1866. In a coastal village in southern England, Nell picks violets for a living. Set apart by her community because of the birthmarks that speckle her skin, Nell’s world is her beloved brother and devotion to the sea.

But when Jasper Jupiter’s Circus of Wonders arrives in the village, Nell is kidnapped. Her father has sold her, promising Jasper Jupiter his very own leopard girl. It is the greatest betrayal of Nell’s life, but as her fame grows, and she finds friendship with the other performers and Jasper’s gentle brother Toby, she begins to wonder if joining the show is the best thing that has ever happened to her.

In London, newspapers describe Nell as the eighth wonder of the world. Figurines are cast in her image, and crowds rush to watch her soar through the air. But who gets to tell Nell’s story? What happens when her fame threatens to eclipse that of the showman who bought her? And as she falls in love with Toby, can he detach himself from his past and the terrible secret that binds him to his brother?

Moving from the pleasure gardens of Victorian London to the battle-scarred plains of the Crimea, Circus of Wonders is an astonishing story about power and ownership, fame and the threat of invisibility. 

A Terrible KindnessA Terrible Kindness by Jo Browning Wroe (Faber & Faber)

Tonight nineteen-year-old William Lavery is dressed for success, his first black-tie do. It’s the Midlands Chapter of the Institute of Embalmers Ladies’ Night Dinner Dance, and William is taking Gloria in her sequined evening gown. He can barely believe his luck.

But as the gentlemen sip their whiskey and smoke their post-dinner cigarettes a telegram delivers news of a tragedy. An event so terrible it will shake the nation. It is October 1966 and a landslide at a coal mine has buried a school: Aberfan.

William decides he must act, so he stands and volunteers to attend. It will be his first job, and will be – although he’s yet to know it – a choice that threatens to sacrifice his own happiness in his desire to help others.

Latchkey LadiesLatchkey Ladies by Marjorie Grant (ARC, Handheld Press)

Latchkey Ladies was first published in 1921, the first novel by the Canadian writer Marjorie Grant Cook. The novel opens in 1918 in the Mimosa Club, a women’s hostel in central London where young women office workers and ladies on declining incomes find refuge from the tedium of war work and the chilliness of impending poverty.

Anne Carey is twenty-five, and works in an office where she is annoyed by soldiers harrassing her. She is engaged to a young lieutenant in the army, but she is bored of him and bored of the war. Her Mimosa Club friends take her to Bohemian parties where she meets models and artists, and then she meets Dampier. He is unlike anyone she has ever met before, and they begin an affair. Then, when he is holidaying with his wife and children at Easter, Anne realises that she is pregnant. What will she do?

On What Cathy Read Next this week

Currently reading

Planned posts

  • Book Review: The Man in the Bunker (Tom Wilde #6) by Rory Clements
  • Book Review: The Prophets by Robert Jones, Jr.
  • Blog Tour/Book Review: Storytellers by Bjørn Larssen
  • Blog Tour/Book Review: Late City by Robert Olen Butler

#WWWWednesday – 19th January 2022


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 Man in the BunkerThe Man in the Bunker (Tom Wilde #6) by Rory Clements (eARC, Zaffre via NetGalley)

Germany, late summer 1945 – The war is over but the country is in ruins. Millions of refugees and holocaust survivors strive to rebuild their lives in displaced persons camps. Millions of German soldiers and SS men are held captive in primitive conditions in open-air detention centres. Everywhere, civilians are desperate for food and shelter. No one admits to having voted Nazi, yet many are unrepentant.

Adolf Hitler is said to have killed himself in his Berlin bunker. But no body was found – and many people believe he is alive. Newspapers are full of stories reporting sightings and theories. Even Stalin, whose own troops captured the bunker, has told President Truman he believes the former Führer is not dead. Day by day, American and British intelligence officers subject senior members of the Nazi regime to gruelling interrogation in their quest for their truth.

Enter Tom Wilde – the Cambridge professor and spy sent in to find out the truth…

The ProphetsThe Prophets by Robert Jones, Jr. (Quercus)

Isaiah and Samuel are lovers, the barn is their home on the Halifax plantation, the place they go to be alone together away from the prying eyes of Massa Paul and the dutiful Amos. A space of radiance that contains itself and their bond, blurring all around them.

Since finding faith and credence from Paul, Amos has begun to direct suspicion towards the two men and their refusal to bend; their flickering glances, unspoken words and wilful intention. But the others know that there are many ways to hide one’s self from doom and keeping tender secrets between the group is one of them.

Since the fruits of toubabs’ teachings had been bitten into, the blistering sun drenched the Plantation day after day in a stark intruding light. Samuel and Isaiah are all-the-way-to-the-bone tired. When night falls, they are ready to face the darkness, emanating a fire nowhere and from each other.

Recently finished

Finding Edith Pinsent (Netta Wilde #2) by Hazel Ward (Hope St Press)

Before We Grow Old by Clare Swatman (Boldwood Books) 

Resistance: Book 1 Liberty by Eilidh McGinness

What Cathy (will) Read Next

The Manningtree WitchesThe Manningtree Witches by A. K. Blakemore (Granta) 

England, 1643. Parliament is battling the King; the war between the Roundheads and the Cavaliers rages. Puritanical fervour has gripped the nation, and the hot terror of damnation burns black in every shadow.

In Manningtree, depleted of men since the wars began, the women are left to their own devices. At the margins of this diminished community are those who are barely tolerated by the affluent villagers – the old, the poor, the unmarried, the sharp-tongued.

Rebecca West, daughter of the formidable Beldam West, fatherless and husbandless, chafes against the drudgery of her days, livened only by her infatuation with the clerk John Edes. But then newcomer Matthew Hopkins, a mysterious, pious figure dressed from head to toe in black, takes over The Thorn Inn and begins to ask questions about the women of the margins. When a child falls ill with a fever and starts to rave about covens and pacts, the questions take on a bladed edge.