My Week in Books – 4th February ’18

MyWeekinBooks

New arrivals  

In Strangers' HousesIn Strangers’ Houses by Elizabeth Mundy (eARC, NetGalley)

There are some crimes you can’t sweep under the carpet . . .

Lena Szarka, a Hungarian cleaner working in London, knows all too well about cleaning up other people’s messes. When her friend Timea disappears, she suspects one of her clients is to blame. However, the police don’t share her suspicions and it is left to Lena to turn sleuth and find her friend.

Searching through their houses as she scrubs their floors, Lena desperately tries to find out what has happened. Only Cartwright, a police constable new to the job, believes that this will lead to the truth – and together they begin to uncover more of Islington’s seedy underbelly than they bargained for.

But Lena soon discovers it’s not just her clients who have secrets. And as she begins to unravel Timea’s past she starts to wonder if she really knew her friend at all.

The Summer Will Come by Soulla Christodoulou (eARC, courtesy of Rachel’s Random Resources)

Set in 1950s Cyprus, EOKA, British rule, the fight for Enosis – unity with Greeve.  Two Cypriot families, living in different villages on the island, are coping with the unpredictability of this fractious time.  Circumstances over a five year period push both families to emigrate to London where, as immigrants, they struggle to settle, face new challenges, trauma and cope with missing their homeland’s traditions and culture.  Both families’ lives cross paths here and it seems that a happier future could be theirs.  But at what cost?

A story of passion for a country in turmoil, family love, loyalty and treachery and how, sometimes, starting over isn’t always as imagined. (Temporary blurb, cover not yet available)

Mrs Saint and the DefectivesMrs. Saint and the Defectives by Julie Lawson Timmer (ebook)

Markie, a fortysomething divorcée who has suffered a humiliating and very public fall from marital, financial, and professional grace, moves, along with her teenage son, Jesse, to a new town, hoping to lick her wounds in private. But Markie and Jesse are unable to escape the attention of their new neighbor Mrs. Saint, an irascible, elderly New European woman who takes it upon herself, along with her ragtag group of “defectives,” to identify and fix the flaws in those around her, whether they want her to or not.

What Markie doesn’t realize is that Mrs. Saint has big plans for the divorcée’s broken spirit. Soon, the quirky yet endearing woman recruits Markie to join her eccentric community, a world where both hidden truths and hope unite them. But when Mrs. Saint’s own secrets threaten to unravel their fragile web of healing, it’s up to Markie to mend these wounds and usher in a new era for the “defectives”—one full of second chances and happiness.


On What Cathy Read Next last week

Blog posts

Monday – I took part in the blog tour for Court of Lions by Jane Johnson, celebrating its publication in paperback.   I also featured The Secret Life of Mrs London by Rebecca Rosenberg, which I’m looking forward to reading as part of the upcoming blog tour.

Tuesday – I shared my Top Ten Tuesday list of books I enjoyed despite them being out of my comfort zone.   I also took part in the blog tour for An Argument of Blood by Matthew Willis & J. A. Ironside, the first part in a duology about William the Conqueror.

WednesdayWWW Wednesday is the opportunity to share what I’ve just finished reading, what I’m reading now and what I’ll be reading next.   I also published my review of The Power-House by John Buchan, the first book in my Buchan of the Month reading project.

Thursday – I took part in the blog tour for Miss Boston and Miss Hargreaves by Rachel Malik, one of my favourite books of 2017.  I shared a fascinating Q&A with Rachel about the book and its inspiration.  My Throwback Thursday post was my review of The Existence of Pity by Jeannie Zokan, a coming-of-age story set in Colombia (Kindle edition currently available for £0.99.)

Friday – I shared my Five Favourite January Reads.

Saturday – I took part in the blog tour for The Renaissance Club by Rachel Dacus, an imaginative time travel romance set in Italy.

Sunday – I published my review of The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar, a wonderful historical romp not without darker undertones.

Challenge updates

  • Goodreads 2018 Reading Challenge – 17 out of 156 books read, 3 more than last week
  • Classics Club Challenge – 9 out of 50 books read, same as last week
  • NetGalley/Edelweiss Reading Challenge 2018 (Silver) – 5 ARCs read and reviewed out of 25, 1 more than last week
  • From Page to Screen– 10 book/film comparisons out of 15 completed, same as last week
  • 2018 TBR Pile Challenge – 3 out of 12 books read, 1 more than last week
  • Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2018 – 10 books out of 50 read, 1 more than last week
  • When Are You Reading? Challenge 2018 – 4 out of 12 books read, same as last week
  • What’s In A Name Reading Challenge – 0 out of 6 books read, same as last week
  • Buchan of the Month – 1 out of 12 books read, same as last week

On What Cathy Read Next this week

Currently reading

Planned posts

  • Buchan of the Month: Introducing John Macnab
  • Review: The Optickal Illusion by Rachel Halliburton
  • Blog Tour/Excerpt: The Once and Future Queen by Nicole Evelina
  • Throwback Thursday: The Somme Legacy by M J Lee
  • Excerpt: The Circumstantial Enemy by John R Bell
  • Blog Tour/Q&A: The Runaway Wife by Rosie Clarke
  • Excerpt: Fred’s Funeral by Sandy Day
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My Week in Books – 28th January ’18

MyWeekinBooks

New arrivals  

The Burning ChambersThe Burning Chambers by Kate Mosse (eARC, NetGalley)

Carcassonne 1562: Nineteen-year-old Minou Joubert receives an anonymous letter at her father’s bookshop. Sealed with a distinctive family crest, it contains just five words: SHE KNOWS THAT YOU LIVE.  But before Minou can decipher the mysterious message, a chance encounter with a young Huguenot convert, Piet Reydon, changes her destiny forever. For Piet has a dangerous mission of his own, and he will need Minou’s help if he is to get out of La Cité alive.

Toulouse: As the religious divide deepens in the Midi, and old friends become enemies, Minou and Piet both find themselves trapped in Toulouse, facing new dangers as sectarian tensions ignite across the city, the battle-lines are drawn in blood and the conspiracy darkens further.  Meanwhile, as a long-hidden document threatens to resurface, the mistress of Puivert is obsessed with uncovering its secret and strengthening her power . . .

The Illumination of Ursula FlightThe Illumination of Ursula Flight by Anne-Marie Crowhurst (eARC, NetGalley)

Born on the night of an ill-auguring comet just before Charles II’s Restoration, Ursula Flight has a difficult future written in the stars.  Against the custom of the age she begins an education with her father, who fosters in her a love of reading, writing and astrology.

Following a surprise meeting with an actress, Ursula yearns for the theatre and thus begins her quest to become a playwright despite scoundrels, bounders, bad luck and heartbreak.

TThe Pharmacist's Wifehe Pharmacist’s Wife by Vanessa Tait (eARC, NetGalley)

Love. Desire. Vengeance. A deadly alchemy.

When Rebecca Palmer’s new husband opens a pharmacy in Victorian Edinburgh, she expects to live the life of a well-heeled gentlewoman. But her ideal is turns to ashes when she discovers her husband is not what he seems. As Rebecca struggles to maintain her dignity in the face of his infidelity and strange sexual desires, Alexander tries to pacify her so-called hysteria with a magical new chemical creation. A wonder-drug he calls heroin.

Rebecca’s journey into addiction takes her further into her past, and her first, lost love, while Alexander looks on, curiously observing his wife’s descent. Meanwhile, Alexander’s desire to profit from his invention leads him down a dangerous path that blurs science, passion, and death. He soon discovers that even the most promising experiments can have unforeseen and deadly consequences…

Friends and TraitorsFriends and Traitors (Inspector Troy #8) by John Lawton (eARC, NetGalley)

It is 1958. Chief Superintendent Frederick Troy of Scotland Yard, newly promoted after good service during Nikita Khrushchev’s visit to Britain, is not looking forward to a Continental trip with his older brother, Rod. Rod was too vain to celebrate being fifty so instead takes his entire family on ‘the Grand Tour’ for his fifty-first birthday: Paris, Sienna, Florence, Vienna, Amsterdam. Restaurants, galleries and concert halls. But Frederick Troy never gets to Amsterdam.

After a concert in Vienna he is approached by an old friend whom he has not seen for years – Guy Burgess, a spy for the Soviets, who says something extraordinary: ‘I want to come home.’ Troy dumps the problem on MI5 who send an agent to de-brief Burgess – but the man is gunned down only yards from the embassy, and after that, the whole plan unravels with alarming speed and Troy finds himself a suspect. As he fights to prove his innocence, Troy finds that Burgess is not the only ghost who returns to haunt him.

Waking IsabellaWaking Isabella by Melissa Muldoon (ebook, review copy courtesy of Rachel’s Random Resources) 

While filming a documentary about Isabella de’ Medici – the Renaissance princess who was murdered by her husband – Nora, an assistant researcher, begins to connect with the lives of two remarkable women from the past. Unravelling the stories of Isabella, the daughter of a fifteenth-century Tuscan duke, and Margherita, a young girl trying to survive the war in Nazi-occupied Italy, Nora begins to question the choices that have shaped her own life up to this point. As she does, hidden beauty is awakened deep inside of her, and she discovers the keys to her creativity and happiness. It is a story of love and deceit, forgeries and masterpieces – all held together by the allure and intrigue of a beautiful Tuscan ghost.


On What Cathy Read Next last week

Blog posts

Monday – I took part in the blog tour for Hattie’s Home by Mary Gibson, publishing a fascinating Q&A with Mary.  Bermondsey, biscuits and ‘bambeaters’ were on the agenda!

Tuesday – I joined the blog tour for The Moral Compass by K. A. Servian and shared my review of this engaging coming-of-age story novel set in 19th century New Zealand.

WednesdayWWW Wednesday is the opportunity to share what I’ve just finished reading, what I’m reading now and what I’ll be reading next.   I also hosted the final stop on the blog tour for Traitor (Mercia Blakewood #3) by David Hingley, publishing my review of this lively historical mystery set in the court of Charles II and featuring a fantastic female protagonist.

Friday – I shared my review of Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout for this month’s New Year, New Author theme of The BookBum Club on Goodreads.

Saturday – As part of my From Page to Screen reading project I published my (spoiler free) comparison of the book and film versions of Carol by Patricia Highsmith.

Sunday – I published my review of The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements, a creepily atmospheric story set in 17th century Yorkshire.

Challenge updates

  • Goodreads 2018 Reading Challenge – 14 out of 156 books read, 5 more than last week
  • Classics Club Challenge – 9 out of 50 books read, 1 more than last week (Yay! Progress…)
  • NetGalley/Edelweiss Reading Challenge 2018 (Silver) – 4 ARCs read and reviewed out of 25, 1 more than last week
  • From Page to Screen– 10 book/film comparisons out of 15 completed, 1 more than last week
  • 2018 TBR Pile Challenge – 3 out of 12 books read, 1 more than last week
  • Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2018 – 9 books out of 50 read, 3 more than last week
  • When Are You Reading? Challenge 2018 – 4 out of 12 books read, 2 more than last week
  • What’s In A Name Reading Challenge – 0 out of 6 books read, same as last week
  • Buchan of the Month – 1 out of 12 books read, 1 more than last week

On What Cathy Read Next this week

Currently reading

Planned posts

  • Blog Tour/Review: Court of Lions by Jane Johnson
  • Blog Tour/Spotlight: An Argument of Blood by Matthew Willis & J. A. Ironside
  • Review: Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman
  • Review: The Power-House by John Buchan
  • Blog Tour/Q&A & Review: Miss Boston and Miss Hargreaves by Rachel Malik
  • Throwback Thursday: The Existence of Pity by Jeannie Zokan
  • My Five Favourite January Reads
  • Blog Tour/Review: The Renaissance Club by Rachel Dacus

My Week in Books – 21st January ’18

MyWeekinBooks

New arrivals  

Jane Semour The Haunted QueenJane Seymour: The Haunted Queen (Six Tudor Queens #3) by Alison Weir (eARC, NetGalley)

Eleven days after the death of Anne Boleyn, Jane is dressing for her wedding to the King. She has witnessed at firsthand how courtly play can quickly turn to danger and knows she must bear a son . . . or face ruin.  This new Queen must therefore step out from the shadows cast by Katherine and Anne – in doing so, can she expose a gentler side to the brutal King?

Acclaimed, bestselling historian Alison Weir draws on new research for her captivating novel, which paints a compelling portrait of Jane and casts fresh light on both traditional and modern perceptions of her. Jane was driven by the strength of her faith and a belief that she might do some good in a wicked world.  History tells us how she died. This spellbinding novel explores the life she lived.

Darkest HourDarkest Hour: How Churchill Brought Us Back From The Brink by Anthony McCarten (paperback, giveaway prize)

May, 1940. Britain is at war, European democracies are falling rapidly and the public are unaware of this dangerous new world. Just days after his unlikely succession to Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, faces this horror – and a sceptical King and a party plotting against him. He wonders how he can capture the public mood and does so, magnificently, before leading the country to victory.

It is this fascinating period that Anthony McCarten captures in this deeply researched, gripping day-by-day (and often hour-by-hour) narrative. In doing so he revises the familiar view of Churchill – he made himself into the iconic figure we remember and changed the course of history, but through those turbulent and dangerous weeks he was plagued by doubt, and even explored a peace treaty with Nazi Germany. It’s a scarier, and more human story, than has ever been told.

Magpie MurdersMagpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz (paperback, gift)

When editor Susan Ryeland is given the manuscript of Alan Conway’s latest novel, she has no reason to think it will be much different from any of his others. After working with the bestselling crime writer for years, she’s intimately familiar with his detective, Atticus Pünd, who solves mysteries disturbing sleepy English villages. An homage to queens of classic British crime such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, Alan’s traditional formula has proved hugely successful. So successful that Susan must continue to put up with his troubling behavior if she wants to keep her job.

Conway’s latest tale has Atticus Pünd investigating a murder at Pye Hall, a local manor house. Yes, there are dead bodies and a host of intriguing suspects, but the more Susan reads, the more she’s convinced that there is another story hidden in the pages of the manuscript: one of real-life jealousy, greed, ruthless ambition, and murder.

Santa_The Music ShopThe Music Shop by Rachel Joyce (hardcover, gift)

It’s 1988.  Frank owns a music shop. It is jam-packed with records of every speed, size and genre. Classical, jazz, punk – as long as it’s vinyl he sells it. Day after day Frank finds his customers the music they need. Then into his life walks Ilse Brauchmann.  Ilse asks Frank to teach her about music. His instinct is to turn and run. And yet he is drawn to this strangely still, mysterious woman with her pea-green coat and her eyes as black as vinyl. But Ilse is not what she seems. And Frank has old wounds that threaten to re-open and a past he will never leave behind…

MunichMunich by Robert Harris (hardcover, gift)

September 1938. Hitler is determined to start a war.  Chamberlain is desperate to preserve the peace.  The issue is to be decided in a city that will forever afterwards be notorious for what takes place there.  Munich.

As Chamberlain’s plane judders over the Channel and the Fürher’s train steams relentlessly south from Berlin, two young men travel with secrets of their own.  Hugh Legat is one of Chamberlain’s private secretaries, Paul Hartmann a German diplomat and member of the anti-Hitler resistance. Great friends at Oxford before Hitler came to power, they haven’t seen one another since they were last in Munich six years earlier. Now their paths are destined to cross again as the future of Europe hangs in the balance.

When the stakes are this high, who are you willing to betray? Your friends, your family, your country or your conscience?

A Mother's SacrificeA Mother’s Sacrifice by Gemma Metcalfe (eARC, NetGalley & Neverland Book Tours)

It was fate that she crossed my path. And that is why I chose her.

The day Louisa and James bring their newborn son home from the hospital marks a new beginning for all of them. To hold their child in their arms makes all the stress and trauma of fertility treatment worth it. Little Cory is theirs and theirs alone. Or so they think…

After her mother’s suicide when she was a child, Louisa’s life took an even darker turn. But meeting James changed everything. She can trust him to protect her, and to never leave her. Even if deep down, she worries that she has never told him the full truth about her past, or the truth about their baby. But someone knows all her secrets – and that person is watching and waiting, with a twisted game that will try to take everything Louisa holds dear.

EcstasyEcstasy by Mary Sharratt (eARC, NetGalley & Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours)

In the glittering hotbed of turn-of-the-twentieth-century Vienna, one woman’s life would define and defy an era.

Gustav Klimt gave Alma her first kiss. Gustav Mahler fell in love with her at first sight and proposed only a few weeks later. Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius abandoned all reason to pursue her. Poet and novelist Franz Werfel described her as “one of the very few magical women that exist.” But who was this woman who brought these most eminent of men to their knees? In Ecstasy, Mary Sharratt finally gives one of the most controversial and complex women of her time the centre stage.

Coming of age in the midst of a creative and cultural whirlwind, young, beautiful Alma Schindler yearns to make her mark as a composer. A brand-new era of possibility for women is dawning and she is determined to make the most of it. But Alma loses her heart to the great composer Gustav Mahler, nearly twenty years her senior. He demands that she give up her music as a condition for their marriage. Torn by her love and in awe of his genius, how will she remain true to herself and her artistic passion?

Part cautionary tale, part triumph of the feminist spirit, Ecstasy reveals the true Alma Mahler: composer, author, daughter, sister, mother, wife, lover, and muse.


On What Cathy Read Next last week

Blog posts

Monday – I took part in the blog tour for Beautiful Star & Other Stories by Andrew Swanston, publishing both my review and a fascinating Q&A with Andrew.

Tuesday – I shared my Top Ten Bookish Goals for 2018, including some of the reading challenges I’ve signed up for.

WednesdayWWW Wednesday is the opportunity to share what I’ve just finished reading, what I’m reading now and what I’ll be reading next.   I also published a round-up of the most popular bookish goals posted by some of the other bloggers taking part in the previous day’s Top Ten Tuesday meme.

Thursday – I shared my review of the wonderful Oliver Loving by Stefan Merrill Block and revisited my review of Miss Treadway and the Field of Stars by Miranda Emmerson for Throwback Thursday.

Friday – I shared my review of The Good Doctor of Warsaw by Elisabeth Gifford, a powerful story based on true accounts of the struggle for survival in the Warsaw ghetto in World War II.  Highly recommended, although not easy reading.

Sunday – I took part in the blog tour for The Start of Something Wonderful by Jane Lambert, publishing an excerpt from the book.  I also published my review of Nucleus by Rory Clements, the second in his Tom Wilde series of historical thrillers, set in 1939.

Challenge updates

  • Goodreads 2018 Reading Challenge – 9 out of 156 books read, 2 more than last week
  • Classics Club Challenge – 8 out of 50 books read, same as last week
  • NetGalley/Edelweiss Reading Challenge 2018 (Silver) – 3 ARCs read and reviewed out of 25, 2 more than last week
  • From Page to Screen– 9 book/film comparisons out of 15 completed, same as last week
  • 2018 TBR Pile Challenge – 2 out of 12 books read, same as last week
  • Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2018 – 6 books out of 50 read, 2 more than last week
  • When Are You Reading? Challenge 2018 – 2 out of 12 books read, same as last week
  • What’s In A Name Reading Challenge – 0 out of 6 books read
  • Buchan of the Month – 0 out of 12 books read

On What Cathy Read Next this week

Currently reading

Olive KitteridgeThe Moral CompassThe Mermaid & Mrs Hancock

Planned posts

  • Blog Tour/Q&A: Hattie’s Home by Mary Gibson
  • Blog Tour/Review: The Moral Compass by K A Servian
  • Blog Tour/Review: Traitor by David Hingley
  • Review: The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar
  • Review: Oliver Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
  • From Page to Screen: Carol

My Week in Books – 14th January ’18

MyWeekinBooks

New arrivals  

The Secrets Between UsThe Secrets Between Us by Laura Madeleine (ebook)

High in the mountains in the South of France, eighteen-year-old Ceci Corvin is trying hard to carry on as normal. But in 1943, there is no such thing as normal; especially not for a young woman in love with the wrong person. Scandal, it would seem, can be more dangerous than war.

Fifty years later, Annie is looking for her long-lost grandmother. Armed with nothing more than a sheaf of papers, she travels from England to Paris in pursuit of the truth. But as she traces her grandmother’s story, Annie uncovers something she wasn’t expecting, something that changes everything she knew about her family – and everything she thought she knew about herself…

The Secret Life of Mrs LondonThe Secret Life of Mrs London by Rebecca Rosenberg (review)

San Francisco, 1915. As America teeters on the brink of world war, Charmian and her husband, famed novelist Jack London, wrestle with genius and desire, politics and marital competitiveness. Charmian longs to be viewed as an equal partner who put her own career on hold to support her husband, but Jack doesn’t see it that way…until Charmian is pulled from the audience during a magic show by escape artist Harry Houdini, a man enmeshed in his own complicated marriage. Suddenly, charmed by the attention Houdini pays her and entranced by his sexual magnetism, Charmian’s eyes open to a world of possibilities that could be her escape.

As Charmian grapples with her urge to explore the forbidden, Jack’s increasingly reckless behavior threatens her dedication. Now torn between two of history’s most mysterious and charismatic figures, she must find the courage to forge her own path, even as she fears the loss of everything she holds dear.

Memento MoriMemento Mori by Muriel Spark (paperback, giveaway prize)

In late 1950s London, something uncanny besets a group of elderly friends: an insinuating voice on the telephone informs each, “Remember you must die.” Their geriatric feathers are soon thoroughly ruffled by these seemingly supernatural phone calls, and in the resulting flurry many old secrets are dusted off. Beneath the once decorous surface of their lives, unsavories like blackmail and adultery are now to be glimpsed. As spooky as it is witty, poignant and wickedly hilarious, Memento Mori may ostensibly concern death, but it is a book which leaves one relishing life all the more.

Our Kind of CrueltyOur Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall (ARC, courtesy of Century) – draft cover shown

Mike knows that most of us travel through the world as one half of a whole, desperately searching for that missing person to make us complete.  But he and Verity are different. They have found each other and nothing and no one will tear them apart.  It doesn’t matter that Verity is marrying another man.  You see, Verity and Mike play a game together, a secret game they call ‘the crave’, the aim being to demonstrate what they both know: that Verity needs Mike, and only Mike.  Verity’s upcoming marriage is the biggest game she and Mike have ever played. And it’s for the highest stakes.  Except this time in order for Mike and Verity to be together someone has to die…

Fred's FuneralFred’s Funeral by Sandy Day (ebook, review copy courtesy of the author)

Fred Sadler has just died of old age. It’s 1986, seventy years after he marched off to WWI, and the ghost of Fred Sadler hovers near the ceiling of the nursing home. To Fred’s dismay, the arrangement of his funeral falls to his prudish sister-in-law, Viola. As she dominates the remembrance of Fred, he agonizes over his inability to set the record straight.

Was old Uncle Fred really suffering from shell shock? Why was he locked up most of his life in the Whitby Hospital for the Insane? Could his family not have done more for him?

Fred’s memories of his life as a child, his family’s hotel, the War, and the mental hospital, clash with Viola’s version of events as the family gathers on a rainy October night to pay their respects.

Getting HomeGetting Home by Wolfe Butler (ebook, review copy courtesy of the author)

Dealing with a past he cannot remember, a future he is not sure he wants and questioning everything from his sanity to his sexuality, Tom Jacobs feels ever more certain that the only solution is to end it all. A high level career, a perfect marriage, a power family – from the outside Tom seems to have everything he could want. Yet, try as he will, he cannot seem to escape a constant need to run. Plagued with nightmares and an ever increasing need to control his life with alcohol, Tom is spinning out of control. What begins as a mission to end it all becomes a twenty year journey to the life he was meant to live. With unexpected turns, heartbreaking revelations and unlikely allies Tom is finally on the road that leads to Getting Home.

On What Cathy Read Next last week

Blog posts

Monday – I published my review of Under an Amber Sky by Rose Alexander, a story of loss, love and starting over set in Montenegro.

Tuesday – I shared my Top Ten Books I Meant To Read in 2017, focussing on books I’ve received from authors that are still languishing in my review stack.

WednesdayWWW Wednesday is the opportunity to share what I’ve just finished reading, what I’m reading now and what I’ll be reading next.   I also published my review of Shadows on the Grass by Misha M. Herwin about three generations of women from a Polish family.

Thursday – I took part in the blog tour for The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen, Vol.1 by Collins Hemingway, an affectionate, witty reimagining of the romantic life of the famous author.

Friday – I published a list of books  – some I’ve read, some I’ve only heard about – that I’d like to see on the longlist for The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction when it’s announced in February.

Saturday – I published my review of Carol by Patricia Highsmith.  Not two but three birds with one stone because as well as being a book on my Classics Club list, it’s also part of my 2018 TBR Pile Challenge and my From Page to Screen reading project.

Challenge updates

  • Goodreads 2018 Reading Challenge – 7 out of 156 books read, 4 more than last week
  • Classics Club Challenge – 8 out of 50 books read, 1 more than last week
  • NetGalley/Edelweiss Reading Challenge 2018 (Silver) – 1 ARCs read and reviewed out of 25, 1 more than last week
  • From Page to Screen– 9 book/film comparisons out of 15 completed, same as last week
  • 2018 TBR Pile Challenge – 2 out of 12 books read, 1 more than last week
  • Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2018 – 4 books out of 50 read, 3 more than last week
  • When Are You Reading? Challenge 2018 – 2 out of 12 books read, 1 more than week
  • What’s In A Name Reading Challenge – 0 out of 6 books read
  • Buchan of the Month – 0 out of 12 books read

On What Cathy Read Next this week

Currently reading

 Planned posts

  • Blog Tour/Review & Q&A: Beautiful Star & Other Stories by Andrew Swanston
  • Review: Oliver Loving by Stefan Merrill Block
  • Review: The Good Doctor of Warsaw by Elisabeth Gifford
  • Review: Nucleus (Tom Wilde #2) by Rory Clements
  • Review: The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar
  • Blog Tour/Extract: The Start of Something Wonderful by Jane Lambert
  • From Page to Screen: Carol

My Week in Books – 7th January ’18

MyWeekinBooks

New arrivals  

The New Mrs CliftonThe New Mrs Clifton by Elizabeth Buchan (ebook)

As the Second World War draws to a close, Intelligence Officer Gus Clifton surprises his sisters at their London home. But an even greater shock is the woman he brings with him, Krista – the German wife whom he has married secretly in Berlin.

Krista is clearly devastated by her experiences at the hands of the British and their allies – all but broken by horrors she cannot share. But Gus’s sisters can only see the enemy their brother has brought under their roof. And their friend Nella, Gus’s beautiful, loyal fiancée, cannot understand what made Gus change his mind about their marriage. What hold does Krista have over their honourable and upright Gus? And how can the three women get her out of their home, their future, their England?

Haunted by passion, betrayal, and misunderstanding these damaged souls are propelled towards a spectacular resolution. Krista has lost her country, her people, her identity, and the ties that bind her to Gus hold more tightly than the sisters can ever understand…

KilledKilled by Thomas Enger (ebook, review copy courtesy of Orenda Books)

Crime reporter Henning Juul thought his life was over when his young son was murdered. But that was only the beginning…

Determined to find his son’s killer, Henning doggedly follows an increasingly dangerous trail, where dark hands from the past emerge to threaten everything. His ex-wife Nora is pregnant with another man’s child, his sister Trine is implicated in the fire that killed his son and, with everyone he thought he could trust seemingly hiding something, Henning has nothing to lose … except his own life.  Packed with tension and unexpected twists, Killed is the long-awaited finale of one of the darkest, most chilling and emotive series you may ever read. Someone will be killed. But who?

Song of Praise for a FlowerSong of Praise for a Flower by Fengxian Chu & Charlene Chu (ebook, review copy courtesy of the author)

For nearly two decades, this manuscript lay hidden in a Chinese bank vault until a long-lost cousin from America inspired 92-year-old author Fengxian Chu to unearth it. Song of Praise for a Flower traces a century of Chinese history through the experiences of one woman and her family, from the dark years of World War II and China’s civil war to the tragic Great Leap Forward, Cultural Revolution, and beyond. It is a window into a faraway world, a sweeping epic about China’s tumultuous transformation and a harrowing yet ultimately uplifting story of a remarkable woman who survives it all and finally finds peace and tranquillity.

Chu’s story begins in the 1920s in an idyllic home in the heart of China’s rice country. Her life is a struggle from the start. At a young age, she defies foot-binding and an arranged marriage and sneaks away from home to attend school. Her young adulthood is thrown into turmoil when the Japanese invade and ransack her village. Later her family is driven to starvation when Mao Zedong’s Communist Party seizes power and her husband is branded a ‘bad element.’ After Mao’s death in the 1970s, as China picks up the pieces and moves in a new direction, Chu eventually finds herself in a glittering city on the sea adjacent to Hong Kong, worlds away in both culture and time from the place she came from.


On What Cathy Read Next last week

Blog posts

Monday – I published my Five Favourite December Reads.

Tuesday – I shared my Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read in 2017 which included five established authors whose books I read for the first time and five debut authors.

WednesdayWWW Wednesday is the opportunity to share what I’ve just finished reading, what I’m reading now and what I’ll be reading next.   I also published my review of Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather, a book on my Classics Club list and, just as importantly, a book from my TBR pile!

Thursday –For Throwback Thursday, I shared my review of 1066: What Fates Impose by G. K. Holloway. As well as clearing another book from my stack of review copies from authors, this was also a book that counts towards my Historical Fiction Reading Challenge and the When Are You Reading? Challenge.

Friday – I published an extract from Kit Sergeant’s fascinating sounding historical fiction, 355: The Women of Washington’s Spy Ring.

Saturday –I introduced the first book in my Buchan of the Month reading project: The Power-House.  It was good to use my extensive collection of books by and about Buchan to research how the book came to be written and its reception at the time.  There’s still time to join me in my Buchan reading project.

Sunday – I published my review of Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon.

Challenge updates

  • Goodreads 2018 Reading Challenge – 3 out of 156 books read, 3 more than last week
  • Classics Club Challenge – 7 out of 50 books read, 1 more than last week
  • NetGalley/Edelweiss Reading Challenge 2018 (Silver) – 2 ARCs read and reviewed out of 25, 2 more than last week
  • From Page to Screen– 9 book/film comparisons out of 15 completed, same as last week
  • 2018 TBR Pile Challenge – 1 out of 12 books read, 1 more than last week
  • Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2018 – 1 book out of 50 read, 1 more than last week
  • When Are You Reading? Challenge 2018 – 3 out of 12 books read, 3 more than last week
  • What’s In A Name Reading Challenge – 0 out of 6 books read

On What Cathy Read Next this week

Currently reading

Planned posts

  • Review: Under an Amber Sky by Rose Alexander
  • Review: Oliver Loving by Stefan Merrill Block
  • Review: Shadows on the Grass by Misha M. Herwin
  • Review: The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen by Collins Hemingway
  • Throwback Thursday/Review: Carol by Patricia Highsmith