WWW Wednesdays – 20th March ‘19

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

hetty's secret warHetty’s Secret War (Women at War #3) by Rosie Clarke (ebook, courtesy of Aria and NetGalley)

In 1939, with the world on the brink of war, one women faces a future more uncertain than she had ever imagined…

Georgie – when the man she has always loved is sent to France on a secret war office mission every knock of the door fills her with dread of it being the feared telegram boy…

Beth – orphaned as a child, Beth is coming of age and determined to do her bit for the war effort. Caught up in a whirlwind romance, she marries only to become a war widow… and one expecting a baby who will never know his brave father. Can she find happiness again?

Hetty – desperately trying to make her way back from Paris to her beloved family in England, a fateful and tragic encounter brings Hetty to Chateau de Faubourg where she joins the resistance and risks both her heart and her life fighting for charismatic resistance leader Stefan Lefarge…

However dark the times, courage, determination and the power of friendship can overcome the hardships of war.

DOLLMAKER_HB_DEMY.inddThe Dollmaker by Nina Allen (eARC, courtesy of Quercus and NetGalley)

Stitch by perfect stitch, Andrew Garvie makes exquisite dolls in the finest antique style. Like him, they are diminutive but graceful, unique, and with surprising depths. Perhaps that’s why he answers the enigmatic personal ad in his collector’s magazine.

Letter by letter, Bramber Winters reveals more of her strange, sheltered life in an institution on Bodmin Moor, and the terrible events that put her there as a child. Andrew knows what it is to be trapped, and as they knit closer together, he weaves a curious plan to rescue her.

On his journey through the old towns of England, he reads the fairy tales of Ewa Chaplin–potent, eldritch stories which, like her lifelike dolls, pluck at the edges of reality and thread their way into his mind. When Andrew and Bramber meet at last, they will have a choice–to break free and, unlike their dolls, come to life.

A love story of two very real, unusual people, The Dollmaker is also a novel rich with wonders: Andrew’s quest and Bramber’s letters unspool around the dark fables that give our familiar world an uncanny edge. It is this touch of magic that, like the blink of a doll’s eyes, tricks our own.

Pre-order The Dollmaker from Amazon UK (link provided for convenience not as part of an affiliate programme)


Recently finished (click on title for review)

The Road to GrantchesterThe Road to Grantchester by James Runcie (eARC, courtesy of Bloomsbury and NetGalley)

The captivating prequel to the treasured Grantchester series follows the life, loves and losses of a young Sidney Chambers in post-war London.

It is 1938, and eighteen-year-old Sidney Chambers is dancing the quickstep with Amanda Kendall at her brother Robert’s birthday party at the Caledonia Club. No one can believe, on this golden evening, that there could ever be another war.

Returning to London from the war seven years later, Sidney has gained a Military Cross, and lost his best friend on the battlefields of Italy. The carefree youth that he and his friends were promised has been blown apart, just like the rest of the world – and Sidney, carrying a terrible, secret guilt, must decide what to do with the rest of his life. But Sidney has heard a call: constant, though quiet, and growing ever more persistent. To the incredulity of his family and the derision of his friends – the irrepressible actor Freddie, and the beautiful, spiky Amanda – Sidney must now negotiate his path to God: the course of which, much like true love, never runs smooth. (Review to follow)

Pre-order The Road to Grantchester from Amazon UK (links provided for convenience not as part of an affiliate programme)

The Saxon WolvesThe Saxon Wolves by Penny Ingham (eARC, courtesy of NetGalley and Random Things Tours)

Britain 455AD. The Roman Empire has fallen. As the daughter of a king and a priestess of the sacred grove, Anya’s life in Germania is one of wealth and privilege – until she dares to speak out against the high priest’s barbaric human sacrifices. Her punishment is exile.

Forced to leave her homeland, she sails to Britannia, to an island that is sliding into chaos and war, as rival kingdoms vie for power. Alone and far from home, Anya must learn to survive amidst the bloodshed, treachery and intrigue of fifth century Britain. Can she find a place to belong – a home, a hearth, a welcome?

The Night TigerThe Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo  (eARC, courtesy of Quercus and NetGalley)

They say a tiger that devours too many humans can take the form of a man and walk among us…

In 1930s colonial Malaya, a dissolute British doctor receives a surprise gift of an eleven-year-old Chinese houseboy. Sent as a bequest from an old friend, young Ren has a mission: to find his dead master’s severed finger and reunite it with his body. Ren has forty-nine days, or else his master’s soul will roam the earth forever.

Ji Lin, an apprentice dressmaker, moonlights as a dancehall girl to pay her mother’s debts. One night, Ji Lin’s dance partner leaves her with a gruesome souvenir that leads her on a crooked, dark trail.

As time runs out for Ren’s mission, a series of unexplained deaths occur amid rumours of tigers who turn into men. In their journey to keep a promise and discover the truth, Ren and Ji Lin’s paths will cross in ways they will never forget. (Review to follow)


What Cathy (will) Read Next

The Path of the KingThe Path of the King by John Buchan (hardcover)

What is the true root of royal blood?

A band of gold belonging to a young Viking prince is passed from generation to generation. Follow this convoluted, yet heroic, path to the making of one of history’s greatest leaders.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Spring 2019 TBR

Top Ten Tuesday new

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

The rules are simple:

  • Each Tuesday, Jana assigns a new topic. Create your own Top Ten list that fits that topic – putting your unique spin on it if you want.
  • Everyone is welcome to join but please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own Top Ten Tuesday post.
  • Add your name to the Linky widget on that day’s post so that everyone can check out other bloggers’ lists.
  • Or if you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment.

This week’s topic is Books On My Spring 2019 TBR.  My list includes books from The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction 2019 Longlist I’m hoping to read, books I need to read for blog tours in the next couple of months and ARCs with publication dates in April and May.  Yikes! Better get reading…

Click on the title to find the book’s entry on Goodreads.  Pre-order links, where relevant, are provided for convenience not as part of any affiliate programme.


Books on The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction 2019 Longlist

Little by Edward Carey

In 1761, a tiny, odd-looking girl named Marie is born in a village in Alsace. After the death of her parents, she is apprenticed to an eccentric wax sculptor and whisked off to the seamy streets of Paris, where they meet a domineering widow and her quiet, pale son. Together, they convert an abandoned monkey house into an exhibition hall for wax heads, and the spectacle becomes a sensation.

As word of her artistic talent spreads, Marie is called to Versailles, where she tutors a princess and saves Marie Antoinette in childbirth. But outside the palace walls, Paris is roiling: The revolutionary mob is demanding heads, and . . . at the wax museum, heads are what they do.

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

It is 1945, and London is still reeling from years of attritional war. 15-year-old Nathaniel and his sister seem to have been abandoned by their parents in a big house in Putney, and the ruined city is a strange Expressionist jungle after the Blitz, which the teenagers use as their playground. The Black Market and petty criminals are thriving and the two children’s eccentric guardians – nicknamed the Moth and the Darter – are busy smuggling munitions through the darkened London streets, or greyhounds from France through the rivers and canals.

When the children discover that their mother has not gone to Singapore as announced, and is actually engaged in perilous work for British Intelligence – and that the Moth and the Darter are protecting them from harm – the novel darkens and deepens into Nathaniel’s search for the truth: for the mother he lost once and may well lose again.

Now We Shall Be Entirely Free by Andrew Miller

One rain-swept February night in 1809, an unconscious man is carried into a house in Somerset. He is Captain John Lacroix, home from Britain’s disastrous campaign against Napoleon’s forces in Spain.

Gradually Lacroix recovers his health, but not his peace of mind – he cannot talk about the war or face the memory of what happened in a village on the gruelling retreat to Corunna. After the command comes to return to his regiment, he sets out instead for the Hebrides, with the vague intent of reviving his musical interests and collecting local folksongs.

Lacroix sails north incognito, unaware that he has far worse to fear than being dragged back to the army: a vicious English corporal and a Spanish officer are on his trail, with orders to kill. The haven he finds on a remote island with a family of free-thinkers and the sister he falls for are not safe, at all.

Books To Read For Blog Tours

Sunwise by Helen Steadman

When Jane’s lover, Tom, returns from the navy to find her unhappily married to his betrayer, Jane is caught in an impossible situation. Still reeling from the loss of her mother at the hands of the witch-finder John Sharpe, Jane has no choice but to continue her dangerous work as a healer while keeping her young daughter safe.

But, as Tom searches for a way for him and Jane to be together, the witch-finder is still at large. Filled with vengeance, John will stop at nothing in his quest to rid England of the scourge of witchcraft.

Inspired by true events, Sunwise tells the story of one woman’s struggle for survival in a hostile and superstitious world.

Pre-order Sunwise from Amazon UK

Pilgrim by Louise Hall

After a major row with his wife, Sarah, Charlie Carthy storms out of the family home. Just hours later he finds out that Sarah has become the victim of a hit and run driver and is in critical condition in hospital. Sarah’s death and Charlie’s self-absorbing grief throws their daughter Jen’s life into turmoil. Will an unwanted pilgrimage to Medjugorje heal Jen and Charlie’s relationship, or, should Jen prepare to lose her remaining parent?

Told with a deep humanity and grace, Pilgrim is a story about a man who feels he has nothing to live for, and a daughter who is determined to prove him wrong.

Dark Sky Island by Lara Dearman

DCI Michael Gilbert is called out to Sark – the world’s first dark sky island – after bones are found on Derrible Bay. He is followed by journalist Jennifer Dorey, driven by a secret in her own past. The remains are decades old, but after a body is discovered Jennifer and Michael fear there may be a killer on the island. Together they follow a dark trail of bad blood and a conspiracy of silence.

Everyone on the island is under suspicion. No one is what they seem. And the murderer could strike again at any time…

Pre-order Dark Sky Island from Amazon UK

Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech

Pregnant Victoria Valbon was brutally murdered in an alley three weeks ago – and her killer hasn’t been caught.

Tonight is Stella McKeever’s final radio show. The theme is secrets. You tell her yours, and she’ll share some of hers.  Stella might tell you about Tom, a boyfriend who likes to play games, about the mother who abandoned her, now back after fourteen years. She might tell you about the perfume bottle with the star-shaped stopper, or about her father…

What Stella really wants to know is more about the mysterious man calling the station… who says he knows who killed Victoria, and has proof.

Tonight is the night for secrets, and Stella wants to know everything…

 

Advance Reader Copies

The Confessions of Frannie Langston by Sara Collins

They say I must be put to death for what happened to Madame, and they want me to confess. But how can I confess what I don’t believe I’ve done?

1826, and all of London is in a frenzy. Crowds gather at the gates of the Old Bailey to watch as Frannie Langton, maid to Mr and Mrs Benham, goes on trial for their murder. The testimonies against her are damning – slave, whore, seductress. And they may be the truth. But they are not the whole truth.

For the first time Frannie must tell her story. It begins with a girl learning to read on a plantation in Jamaica, and it ends in a grand house in London, where a beautiful woman waits to be freed.

But through her fevered confessions, one burning question haunts Frannie Langton: could she have murdered the only person she ever loved?

Pre-order The Confessions of Frannie Langston from Amazon UK

Where the Hornbeam Grows by Beth Lynch

What do you do when you find yourself living as a stranger? When Beth Lynch moved to Switzerland, she quickly realised that the sheer will to connect with people would not guarantee a happy relocation.

Out of place and lonely, Beth knows that she needs to get her hands dirty if she is to put down roots. And so she sets about making herself at home in the way she knows best – by tending a garden, growing things. The search for a garden takes her across the country, through meadows and on mountain paths where familiar garden plants run wild, to the rugged hills of the Swiss Jura. In this remote and unfamiliar place of glow worms and dormice and singing toads she learns to garden in a new way, taking her cue from the natural world. As she plants her paradise with hellebores and aquilegias, cornflowers and Japanese anemones, these cherished species forge green and deepening connections: to her new soil, to her old life in England, and to her deceased parents, whose Sussex garden continues to flourish in her heart.

Where The Hornbeam Grows is a memoir about carrying a garden inwardly through loss, dislocation and relocation, about finding a sense of wellbeing in a green place of your own, and about the limits of paradise in a peopled world. It is a powerful exploration by a dazzling new literary voice of how, in nurturing a corner of the natural world, we ourselves are nurtured.

Pre-order Where the Hornbeam Grows from Amazon UK

The Doll Factory by Elizabeth MacNeal

London, 1850. The Great Exhibition is being erected in Hyde Park and among the crowd watching the spectacle two people meet. For Iris, an aspiring artist, it is the encounter of a moment – forgotten seconds later, but for Silas, a collector entranced by the strange and beautiful, that meeting marks a new beginning.

When Iris is asked to model for pre-Raphaelite artist Louis Frost, she agrees on the condition that he will also teach her to paint. Suddenly her world begins to expand, to become a place of art and love.

But Silas has only thought of one thing since their meeting, and his obsession is darkening . . .

Pre-order The Doll Factory from Amazon UK