Published: February 2020 by Hatchette Books Ireland
Category: Dual Timeline, Historical, Contemporary, Book Review
For almost fifty years, Katie Carroll has kept a box tucked away inside her wardrobe. It dates from her time working as a nurse in a west of Ireland mother and baby home in the 1960s. The box contains a notebook holding the details of the babies and young women she met there. It also holds many of the babies’ identity bracelets.
The Paper Bracelet is inspired by true events, namely the harsh way unmarried mothers were treated, not only in Ireland where this story is set, but further afield as well. For a long time nothing was known about the injustices and heartbreak women suffered in mother and baby homes, run by nuns for women, and sometimes including young abused girls, whose families didn’t want the shame or stigma of an unmarried and pregnant daughter. Rachael English tells this heartbreaking story extremely well and with empathy.
Published: February 2018 by The British Library Publishing Division
Category: Classic Crime, Police Procedural, Historical, Book Review
The Second World War is drawing to a close. Nicholas Vaughan, released from the army after an accident, takes refuge in Devon renting a thatched cottage in the beautiful countryside at Mallory Fitzjohn. Vaughan sets to work farming the land, rearing geese and renovating the cottage. Hard work and rural peace seem to make this a happy bachelor life.
The first few chapters build characterisations, mostly through dialogue, giving a good indication of people’s personalities and viewpoints. This approach means the main point of the story is reached with fairly well fleshed out characters, which worked well.
Category: Contemporary, Romance, History, Book Review
An explosive yearning that can’t be denied
Disturbing visions from an ancient past
A mysterious stranger that somehow feels familiar
On the night of her fiftieth birthday, the comfortable ride of Toscana’s life takes an alarming plunge. Haunted by seductive visions, she tries to push aside the desire and focus on the husband who adores her.
Toscana Blake has an organised, if not perfect, life. She’s content in her marriage to Jackson. Acknowledging the fact it may not be a passionate union, Toscana feels a deep affection for her husband and appreciates the life they have.
Ahead of my review for the third book in the City Blues Quartet, The Mobster’s Lament, I’m revisiting the second instalment, Dead Man’s Blues, a historical novel based on fact. It was released in audio format in August 2016 by Wholestory Audiobooks and narrated superbly by Christopher Ragland.
In a landscape of pre-history, a time of ancestor worship, young Druid priests Owayne and Nial, are tasked to travel and learn all they can of rite and rule in a world of competing tribes, unsettling technologies and priest power.
Category: Fiction, Contemporary, Historical, Family Drama, Book Review
The mystery of Elizabeth Keane’s father is one that has never been solved by the people of Buncarragh – not for lack of speculation.
Now, as Elizabeth returns to the village after her mother’s funeral, bringing with her own regrets and wounds, she finds a thin pile of ribbon-bound letters at the back of a wardrobe that may at last hold the key to her past.
It was the first week in January and Elizabeth Keane had flown from New York to Buncarragh after the death of her mother. Someone had to put her affairs in order and, while Elizabeth didn’t have particularly fond memories of Buncarragh, she felt guilty knowing she’d been all her mother had.
Category: Contemporary, Historical, Fiction, Dual Timeline, Book Review
Norfolk, 1940: Sylvia’s husband Howard has gone off to war, and she is struggling to raise her two children alone. Her only solace is her beach hut in Wells-Next-The-Sea, and her friendship with Connie, a woman she meets on the beach. The two women form a bond that will last a lifetime, and Sylvia tells Connie something that no-one else knows: about a secret lover… and a child.
Canada, present day: When Martha’s beloved father dies, he leaves her two things: a mysterious stash of letters to an English woman called ‘Catkins’ and directions to a beach hut in the English seaside town of Wells. Martha is at a painful crossroads in her own life, and seizes this chance for a trip to England – to discover more about her family’s past, and the identity of her father’s secret correspondent.Continue reading →
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Category: Historical Fiction based on a true story, Love Story, WWII, Auschwitz, Holocaust, Book Review
The incredible story of the Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist and the woman he loved.
Lale Sokolov is well-dressed, a charmer, a ladies’ man. He is also a Jew. On the first transport from Slovakia to Auschwitz in 1942, Lale immediately stands out to his fellow prisoners. In the camp, he is looked up to, looked out for, and put to work in the privileged position of Tätowierer– the tattooist – to mark his fellow prisoners, forever. One of them is a young woman, Gita, who steals his heart at first glance.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz is incredibly powerful and moving, all the more so for being the true story of Lale and Gita Sokolov.
Category: 17th Century Historical Fiction, Book Review
Violence, greed and betrayal threaten the remote communities of East Anglia in the seventeenth century, when ruthless and unscrupulous speculators steal their common lands, while fanatic Puritans bring accusations of heresy and witchcraft.
I love fictional stories set against true historical facts. Flood tells the story of Fenlanders in 17th century East Anglia whose hard working but peaceful way of life is compromised by those who believe they are entitled to profit by whatever means necessary.