WWW Wednesdays – 14th November ‘18

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 Monastery MurdersThe Monastery Murders (Stanton & Barling #2) by E. M. Powell (ebook, courtesy of Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours)

Their lives are ones of quiet contemplation—and brutal murder.

Christmas Eve, 1176 – Brother Maurice, monk of Fairmore Abbey, awaits the night prayer bell. But there is only silence. Cursing his fellow brother Cuthbert’s idleness, he seeks him out – and in the darkness, finds him brutally murdered.

Summoned from London to the isolated monastery on the Yorkshire Moors, Aelred Barling, clerk to the King’s justices, and his messenger, Hugo Stanton, set about investigating the horrific crime. They quickly discover that this is far from a quiet monastic house. Instead, it seethes with bitter feuds, rivalries and resentments. But no sooner do they arrive than the killer strikes again – and again.

When Barling discovers a pattern to these atrocities, it becomes apparent that the murderer’s rampage is far from over. With everyone, including the investigators, now fearing for their lives, can Barling and Stanton unmask the culprit before more blood is spilled?

none-so-blindNone So Blind (The Teifi Valley Coroner) by Alis Hawkins (ARC, courtesy of The Dome Press)

West Wales, 1850 – When an old tree root is dug up, the remains of a young woman are found. Harry Probert-Lloyd, a young barrister forced home from London by encroaching blindness, has been dreading this discovery.

He knows exactly whose bones they are.

Working with his clerk, John Davies, Harry is determined to expose the guilty, but the investigation turns up more questions than answers.

The search for the truth will prove costly. Will Harry and John be the ones to pay the highest price?

Pre-order None So Blind from Amazon UK


Recently finished (click on title for review)

The Magick of Mister LillyThe Magick of Master Lilly by Tobsha Learner (ebook, NetGalley)

In 1641, the country of England stands divided. London has become a wasps’ nest of spies, and under the eyes of the Roundheads those who practice magic are routinely sent to hang.

Living in exile in the Surrey countryside is the Master Astrologer and learned magician William Lilly. Since rumours of occult practice lost him the favour of Parliament, he has not returned to the city. But his talents are well-known, and soon he is called up to London once more, to read the fate of His Majesty the King.

What he sees in the stars will change the course of history.

Only Lilly and a circle of learned astrologers – Cunning Folk – know that London is destined to suffer plague and fire before the decade is through, and must summon angel and demon to sway the political powers from the war the country is heading toward. In doing so, Lilly will influence far greater destinies than his own and encounter great danger. But there will be worse to come . . .

An epic telling of the role of magic in the English Civil War, The Magick of Master Lilly is the story of the most influential astrologer in English history.

The Price of CompassionThe Price of Compassion (The Golden City #4) by A. B. Michaels (ebook, courtesy of Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours)

The Golden City is in Peril ….and so is Tom Justice.

April 18, 1906 – San Francisco has just been shattered by a massive earthquake and is in the throes of an even more deadly fire. During the chaos, gifted surgeon Tom Justice makes a life-changing decision that wreaks havoc on his body, mind, and spirit. Leaving the woman he loves, he embarks on a quest to regain his sanity and self-worth. Yet just when he finds some answers, he’s arrested for murder—a crime he may very well be guilty of. The facts of the case are troubling; they’ll have you asking the question: “What would I have done?”

Christmas at WarChristmas at War by Caroline Taggart (proof copy, courtesy of John Blake and Readers First)

No turkey. No fruit to make a decent pudding. No money for presents. Your children away from home to keep them safe from bombing; your husband, father and brothers off fighting goodness knows where. How in the world does one celebrate Christmas?

That was the situation facing the people of Britain for six long years during the Second World War. For some of them, Christmas was an ordinary day: they couldn’t afford merrymaking – and had little to be merry about. Others, particularly those with children, did what little they could.

These first-hand reminiscences tell of making crackers with no crack in them and shouting ‘Bang!’ when they were pulled; of carol-singing in the blackout, torches carefully covered so that no passing bombers could see the light, and of the excitement of receiving a comic, a few nuts and an apple in your Christmas stocking. They recount the resourcefulness that went into makeshift dinners and hand-made presents, and the generosity of spirit that made having a happy Christmas possible in appalling conditions.

From the family whose dog ate the entire Christmas roast, leaving them to enjoy ‘Spam with all the trimmings’, to the exhibition of hand-made toys for children in a Singapore prison camp, the stories are by turns tragic, poignant and funny. Between them, they paint an intriguing picture of a world that was in many ways kinder, less self-centered, more stoical than ours. Even if – or perhaps because – there was a war on. (Review to follow)

Pre-order Christmas at War from Amazon UK

Bells of AvalonBells of Avalon by Libbet Bradstreet (ebook, review copy courtesy of the author)

Thrust into a limelight she never chose, Katie’s been paired with Danny for as long as she can remember.

Films, roadshow tours, and drugstore appearances…post-war Hollywood can’t seem to get enough of the sweetheart team. They’ll even fall in love one day.

But young love seldom survives the fog wake of Los Angeles – a place of dreams and nightmares. (Review to follow)


What Cathy (will) Read Next

So Much Life Left OverSo Much Life Left Over by Louis de Bernières (hardcover)

A sweeping, heartbreaking novel following Daniel in his troubled marriage with Rosie as they navigate the unsettled time between the World Wars.

Rosie and Daniel have moved to Ceylon with their little daughter to start a new life at the dawn of the 1920s, attempting to put the trauma of the First World War behind them, and to rekindle a marriage that gets colder every day. However, even in the lush plantation hills it is hard for them to escape the ties of home and the yearning for fulfilment that threatens their marriage.

Back in England, Rosie’s three sisters are dealing with different challenges in their searches for family, purpose and happiness. These are precarious times, and they find themselves using unconventional means to achieve their desires. Around them the world is changing, and when Daniel finds himself in Germany he witnesses events taking a dark and forbidding turn.

By turns humorous and tragic, gripping and touching, So Much Life Left Over follows a cast of unique and captivating characters as they navigate the extraordinary interwar years both in England and abroad.

Sugar in the Blood HBSugar in the Blood: A Family’s Story of Slavery and Empire by Andrea Stuart (hardcover)

In the late 1630s, lured by the promise of the New World, Andrea Stuart’s earliest known maternal ancestor, George Ashby, set sail from England to settle in Barbados. He fell into the life of a sugar plantation owner by mere chance, but by the time he harvested his first crop, a revolution was fully under way: the farming of sugar cane, and the swiftly increasing demands for sugar worldwide, would not only lift George Ashby from abject poverty and shape the lives of his descendants, but it would also bind together ambitious white entrepreneurs and enslaved black workers in a strangling embrace. Stuart uses her own family story—from the seventeenth century through the present—as the pivot for this epic tale of migration, settlement, survival, slavery and the making of the Americas.

As it grew, the sugar trade enriched Europe as never before, financing the Industrial Revolution and fueling the Enlightenment. And, as well, it became the basis of many economies in South America, played an important part in the evolution of the United States as a world power and transformed the Caribbean into an archipelago of riches. But this sweet and hugely profitable trade – “white gold,” as it was known – had profoundly less palatable consequences in its precipitation of the enslavement of Africans to work the fields on the islands and, ultimately, throughout the American continents.

Interspersing the tectonic shifts of colonial history with her family’s experience, Stuart explores the interconnected themes of settlement, sugar and slavery with extraordinary subtlety and sensitivity. In examining how these forces shaped her own family – its genealogy, intimate relationships, circumstances of birth, varying hues of skin – she illuminates how her family, among millions of others like it, in turn transformed the society in which they lived, and how that interchange continues to this day. Shifting between personal and global history, Stuart gives us a deepened understanding of the connections between continents, between black and white, between men and women, between the free and the enslaved. It is a story brought to life with riveting and unparalleled immediacy, a story of fundamental importance to the making of our world.

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WWW Wednesdays – 7th November ‘18

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 Magick of Mister LillyThe Magick of Master Lilly by Tobsha Learner (ebook, NetGalley)

In 1641, the country of England stands divided. London has become a wasps’ nest of spies, and under the eyes of the Roundheads those who practice magic are routinely sent to hang.

Living in exile in the Surrey countryside is the Master Astrologer and learned magician William Lilly. Since rumours of occult practice lost him the favour of Parliament, he has not returned to the city. But his talents are well-known, and soon he is called up to London once more, to read the fate of His Majesty the King.

What he sees in the stars will change the course of history.

Only Lilly and a circle of learned astrologers – Cunning Folk – know that London is destined to suffer plague and fire before the decade is through, and must summon angel and demon to sway the political powers from the war the country is heading toward. In doing so, Lilly will influence far greater destinies than his own and encounter great danger. But there will be worse to come . . .

An epic telling of the role of magic in the English Civil War, The Magick of Master Lilly is the story of the most influential astrologer in English history.

The Price of CompassionThe Price of Compassion (The Golden City #4) by A. B. Michaels (ebook, courtesy of Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours)

The Golden City is in Peril ….and so is Tom Justice.

April 18, 1906 – San Francisco has just been shattered by a massive earthquake and is in the throes of an even more deadly fire. During the chaos, gifted surgeon Tom Justice makes a life-changing decision that wreaks havoc on his body, mind, and spirit. Leaving the woman he loves, he embarks on a quest to regain his sanity and self-worth. Yet just when he finds some answers, he’s arrested for murder—a crime he may very well be guilty of. The facts of the case are troubling; they’ll have you asking the question: “What would I have done?”

Christmas at WarChristmas at War by Caroline Taggart (proof copy, courtesy of John Blake and Readers First)

No turkey. No fruit to make a decent pudding. No money for presents. Your children away from home to keep them safe from bombing; your husband, father and brothers off fighting goodness knows where. How in the world does one celebrate Christmas?

That was the situation facing the people of Britain for six long years during the Second World War. For some of them, Christmas was an ordinary day: they couldn’t afford merrymaking – and had little to be merry about. Others, particularly those with children, did what little they could.

These first-hand reminiscences tell of making crackers with no crack in them and shouting ‘Bang!’ when they were pulled; of carol-singing in the blackout, torches carefully covered so that no passing bombers could see the light, and of the excitement of receiving a comic, a few nuts and an apple in your Christmas stocking. They recount the resourcefulness that went into makeshift dinners and hand-made presents, and the generosity of spirit that made having a happy Christmas possible in appalling conditions.

From the family whose dog ate the entire Christmas roast, leaving them to enjoy ‘Spam with all the trimmings’, to the exhibition of hand-made toys for children in a Singapore prison camp, the stories are by turns tragic, poignant and funny. Between them, they paint an intriguing picture of a world that was in many ways kinder, less self-centered, more stoical than ours. Even if – or perhaps because – there was a war on.

Pre-order Christmas at War from Amazon UK


Recently finished (click on title for review)

The Word for FreedomThe Word for Freedom ed. by Amanda Saint & Rose McGinty (paperback, review copy courtesy of Random Things Tours)

A collection of 24 short stories celebrating a hundred years of women’ suffrage, from both established and emerging authors, all of whom have been inspired by the suffragettes and whose stories, whether set in 1918, the current day or the future, focus on the same freedoms that those women fought for so courageously.

A clerk of works at the Palace of Westminster encounters Emily Davison in a broom cupboard; a mermaid dares to tread on land to please the man she loves; a school girl friendship makes the suffragette protests relevant to the modern day; a mother leaves her child for a tree; an online troll has to face his target; and a woman caught in modern day slavery discovers a chance for freedom in a newspaper cutting.

These stories and many more come together in a collection that doesn’t shy away from the reality of a woman’s world, which has injustices and inequalities alongside opportunities and hard-won freedoms, but always finds strength, bravery and hope.

Through this anthology Retreat West Books is proud to support Hestia and the UK Says No More campaign against domestic abuse and sexual violence.

Miss MarleyMiss Marley by Vanessa Lafaye (proof copy courtesy of HQ Stories)

Before A Christmas Carol there was… Miss Marley. A seasonal tale of kindness and goodwill.

Orphans Clara and Jacob Marley live by their wits, scavenging for scraps in the poorest alleyways of London, in the shadow of the workhouse. Every night, Jake promises his little sister ‘tomorrow will be better’ and when the chance to escape poverty comes their way, he seizes it despite the terrible price.

And so Jacob Marley is set on a path that leads to his infamous partnership with Ebenezer Scrooge. As Jacob builds a fortress of wealth to keep the world out, only Clara can warn him of the hideous fate that awaits him if he refuses to let love and kindness into his heart…

In Miss Marley, Vanessa Lafaye weaves a spellbinding Dickensian tale of ghosts, goodwill and hope – a perfect prequel to A Christmas Carol.

A Pivotal RightA Pivotal Right (Shaking the Tree #2) by K. A. Servian (ebook, courtesy of the author and Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours)

Florence struggled for breath as she stared into the face of a ghost. “Jack?”

Twenty years after being forced apart Jack and Florence have been offered a second chance at love. But can they find their way back to each other through all the misunderstandings, guilt and pain?

And what of their daughter, Viola? Her plan to become a doctor is based on the belief she has inherited her gift her medicine from Emile, the man she believed was her father. How will she reconcile her future with the discovery that she is Jack’s child?


What Cathy (will) Read Next

Bells of AvalonBells of Avalon by Libbet Bradstreet (ebook, review copy courtesy of the author)

Thrust into a limelight she never chose, Katie’s been paired with Danny for as long as she can remember. Films, roadshow tours, and drugstore appearances…post-war Hollywood can’t seem to get enough of the sweetheart team.

They’ll even fall in love one day.

But young love seldom survives the fog wake of Los Angeles – a place of dreams and nightmares.

Land of the LivingLand of the Living by Georgina Harding (eARC, NetGalley)

Every time the dream came it was different and yet he felt that he had dreamt it exactly that way before. The trees, there were always the trees, and the mist and the shadows and the running.

Charlie’s experiences at the Battle of Kohima and the months he spent lost in the remote jungles of Northern India are now history. Home and settled on a farm in Norfolk with his wife Claire, he is one of the lucky survivors. The soil promises healthy crops and Claire is ready for a family. But a chasm exists between them. Memories flood Charlie’s mind; at night, on rain-slicked roads and misty mornings in the fields, the past can feel more real than the present.

What should be said and what left unsaid? Is it possible to find connection and forge a new life in the wake of unfathomable horror?