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.
Published: August 2019 by Canongate Books
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.
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.
Throwback Thursday this week looks back at Ghost Variations, a story that was based on real people and true events which occurred during their lifetimes.
Author: Ray Celestin
Performed by Christopher Ragland
Published: March 2019 by Whole Story Audiobooks
Category: Historical Fiction, Crime, Suspense, Thriller, Private Detective, Audiobook, Book Review
Fall, 1947. New York City.
Private Investigator Ida Davis has been called to New York by her old partner, Michael Talbot, to investigate a brutal killing spree in a Harlem flophouse that has left four people dead. But as they delve deeper into the case, Ida and Michael realize the murders are part of a larger conspiracy that stretches further than they ever could have imagined.
I really enjoyed the first two books in the series—The Axeman’s Jazz & Dead Man’s Blues—and The Mobster’s Lament was no exception. Set in post war New York where private investigator Ida Davies arrives to help her old friend and mentor, ex Pinkerton Michael Talbot.
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.
Author: Anne Allen
Published: April 2019 by Sarnia Press
Category: Historical, Contemporary, Dual Timeline, Romance, Book Review
1862 Young widow Eugénie is left bereft when her husband dies suddenly and faces an uncertain future in Guernsey.
2012 Doctor Tess Le Prevost, Guernsey born though now living in Exeter, is shocked to inherit her Great-Aunt’s house on the island.