Published: April 2021 by The Borough Press (paperback edition)
Category: Literary Fiction, Historical, Mystery, Book Review
A missing woman
30 years ago, in the suffocating heat of a Sydney summer, the Greens’ next-door neighbour Mandy disappeared without a trace.
A cold case reopened
In 1997, in a basement flat in Hackney, Isla Green is awakened by a call in the middle of the night: her father is under suspicion of Mandy’s murder.
A devastating secret
How well does Isla know her father? Is he capable of doing something terrible? And is there another secret in their community – a conspiracy of silence which stretches deep into Australia’s past?
After reading FictionFan’s review I knew this would be a book I’d enjoy, and I certainly did! In 1997 Isla Green was living in London and, awakened at 2am one night by a phone call from her father in Australia, she knew immediately something was wrong. Her father never called. He hated the telephone and always wrote letters.
It’s nearly Christmas and the end of another year, one I think we’ll all be glad to say goodbye to. But on a brighter note, it’s also favourite books of the year time.
As always it’s a difficult choice but despite my reading being a little hit and miss this year I’ve read some fabulous books. So in no particular order, and not necessarily published this year, here we go…
Today I’m sharing an extract from Celts and the Mad Goddess, courtesy of P.C. Darkcliff. First of all, let’s see what the book is about…
When the raiders chase her into a swamp, Rawena falls into the furry claws of Goddess Pandemia. Despite her murderous instincts, Pandemia lets Rawena live—and turns her into a pawn in a mad game.
Only Garux, a warrior who has rejected Rawena for her younger sister, knows how deadly the game is. With the cards stacked against him, he must defeat the jealous Rawena and the cunning Pandemia… while fighting foreign invaders and traitors within his tribe.
Will Garux and his allies prevent a disaster that could wipe out everyone in Bohemia and perhaps the whole world? Purchase Celts and the Mad Goddess now to find out.
Category: Based on Fact, Psychological, Historical, Book Review
London 1962. A strict and loveless English children’s home, or the promise of Australian sunshine, sandy beaches and eating fruit straight from the tree. Which would you choose?
Ten-year-old Lucy Rivers and her five-year-old sister Charly are thrilled when a child migrant scheme offers them the chance to escape their miserable past.
But on arrival in Sydney, the girls discover their fantasy future is more nightmare than dream.
The story begins in January 1962 when Lucy and Charly Rivers’ father comes home drunk, as he often does, and a fall leaves him dead at the bottom of the stairs. Their mother, who was out at the time, was charged with his murder and the sisters were sent to Easthaven Home for Girls. The home was run by authoritative and heartless Mrs Mersey, who spared no kindness or pity for the unfortunate girls in her supposed care.
Today I’m delighted to welcome Mitchell James Kaplan with a guest post about how he came to write his latest novel, released today, Into The Unbounded Light.
First of all, let’s see what the book is about…
Into The Unbounded Night follows the lives of five troubled individuals as they struggle for survival and purpose in the first century Roman empire. The story is primarily seen through the eyes of Aislin, a refugee from Albion; other important characters include Yohanan ben Zakkai, Saul of Tarsus, the emperor Vespasian, and Azazel, a doomed angel.
Throughout Into The Unbounded Night, these characters’ lives intertwine in unexpected ways that shed light on colonization and its discontents, the relative values of dominant and tyrannized cultures, the sense of imminent apocalypse, and the holiness of life itself — even the weakest of lives.
Into The Unbounded Night is not only relevant to the world today, it is also a meditation on who we are, the stories we tell, and why we tell them.
Throwback Thursday this week showcases the first in an excellent historical fiction series, based on fact. There are prequels which are just as good but not essential to read first.
The Rise of the Aztecs follows on from the pre Aztec series and the story picks up in 1409 with two boys from vastly differing backgrounds. Coyotl, a Lowlander, first son of the Emperor and Kuini, a Highlander and son of the War Leader from Huexotzinco. The boys meet by chance on Coyotl’s favourite hill which overlooks his altepetl, Texcoco, the capital of the Acolhua people. A growing friendship develops, both expressing interest in the other’s customs and culture. The story is told from each of their perspectives as they begin meeting in secret.
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: April 2014 by William Morrow Paperbacks
Category: Dual Timeline, Historical Fiction, Based on Fact, Contemporary, Book Review
Fourteen members of a small village set sail on RMS Titanic, hoping to find a better life in America. For seventeen-year-old Maggie Murphy, the journey is bittersweet. Though her future lies in an unknown new place, her heart remains in Ireland with Séamus, the sweetheart she left behind. When disaster strikes, Maggie is one of the few passengers in steerage to survive. Waking up alone in a New York hospital, she vows never to speak of the terror and panic of that fateful night again.
My first experience of Hazel Gaynor’s books was The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter, based on the life of Grace Darling, which I loved. I enjoy the fact there’s truth mixed in with fiction and The Girl Who Came Home is no exception. It tells the story of Maggie Murphy from Ballysheen, Ireland, who was travelling with a group of women from the village, bound for New York and booked on the Titanic for the ship’s maiden voyage in 1912. The story was inspired by events surrounding the true story of the Addergoole Fourteen, Irish emigrants from County Mayo.
Category: Historical, Medical, Mystery, Crime, Book Review
Edinburgh, 1850. Despite being at the forefront of modern medicine, hordes of patients are dying all across the city, with doctors finding their remedies powerless. But it is not just the deaths that dismay the esteemed Dr James Simpson – a whispering campaign seeks to blame him for the death of a patient in suspicious circumstances.
In this sequel to The Way of All Flesh, which I really enjoyed, we find Will Raven in Europe, studying and learning, becoming a fully qualified doctor.
Category: Historical Fiction, The Great Depression, Book Review
It’s a boring, hardscrabble life for three sisters growing up on a Michigan farm in the throes of the Great Depression. But, when young Nellie, digging for pirate treasure, discovers the tiny blue-black hand of a dead baby, rumors begin to fly. Narrated by Nellie and her two older sisters, the story follows the girls as they encounter a patchwork of threatening circumstances and take it upon themselves to solve the mystery.
The Great Depression began after the market crashed in late 1929 and drastically affected the world’s economy. Threads tells the story of a farming family in Michigan and is narrated by the three daughters. Flora, the eldest at seventeen. Irene, the middle sister is eleven and Nellie, the youngest, just seven.