As regular followers may remember, I absolutely loved Old Baggage’s Mattie Simpkin. Published as a prequel after Crooked Heart, it provided readers with Mattie’s story in 1928. Crooked Heart, although the first of the two novels, moves forward a decade and Mattie, very sadly, is now suffering with dementia and ‘looking after’ a godson, Noel. … Continue reading Crooked Heart – Lissa Evans
I'm half way through my annual self-imposed task of reading the Booker shortlist - but then this appeared and I had to put everything else aside. I have really enjoyed Osman's first foray into fiction - it was the perfect thing for a rainy weekend and confirmed my feeling that Osman is one of those … Continue reading The Thursday Murder Club – Richard Osman
Literature is full of overbearing or manipulative fathers - Dr Sloper in Henry James' Washington Square springs to mind - and Richard Dodge, the father of this 1931 novel, is up there with the finest. From a young age, Jennifer has looked after and supported her widowed father, typing up his manuscripts and maintaining his … Continue reading Father – Elizabeth von Arnim
I'm a firm believer in every book having its day. I'd started this series of reviews back in June 2018, keen to work my way through Penguin's boxed 70th Birthday collection that doubles up as a doorstop. It's a brilliant set of reads, usually from longer books, that draws upon Penguin's long and varied history … Continue reading 70 Reviews: 8. Nothing Bad Ever Happens in Tiffany’s – Marian Keyes (Pocket Penguins)
Mattie Simpkin is a brilliant character. There’s been so much written on the fight for female emancipation, both in fiction and elsewhere, but Evans’ novel, set in 1928, is a moving and often very funny account of what a woman like Mattie, an ardent suffragette and unflagging campaigner for equality, does next. ‘Mattie wore her … Continue reading Lissa Evans’ Old Baggage – simply marvellous.
Previous centuries, in my head at least, have very distinct identities. The 13th Century is bloody and muddy, the 16th Century is a rip-roaring adventure in all sorts of ways, and the 19th Century is earnestly tedious and a bit worthy. The ‘long’ 18th Century feels like the witty, clever century, and it is in … Continue reading A Right Royal Face-Off by Simon Edge #BlogTour
As in his previous novel, The Things We Learn When We're Dead, Charlie Laidlaw has taken on both the intensely personal and big sweeping ideas about time and space, examining what it is to be human, and situating his narrator’s existence in North Berwick within a much wider cosmic scale. I very much enjoyed The … Continue reading Charlie Laidlaw’s The Space Between Time
This could be a very short review – essentially, I absolutely love this book and everyone should read it – but I thought I’d attempt to prepare for the forthcoming series by re-reading it for the millionth time and then listing my very favourite bits. If I were to do just that, I’d end up … Continue reading Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman – my 10 favourite bits of an all-round bloody marvellous read.
I’m thoroughly enjoying my trawl through my Penguin boxset, and no. 7 is such a joy to read. I’ve been under canvas for much of the summer, relying on shower blocks to maintain a slim sense of personal hygiene and wearing eight items of clothing on rotation, so this was the perfect book to bring … Continue reading 70 Reviews: 7. On Shopping by India Knight (Pocket Penguins) #review
There’s a knowing playfulness with which Angela Carter handles gothic conventions in her collection of tales in The Bloody Chamber. From the virginal bride in the titular story being carried south to her new husband’s castle, ‘the pounding of my heart mimicking that of the great pistons ceaselessly thrusting the train that bore me through … Continue reading Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber – vivid retellings of old tales