Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I discovered in 2022

This week’s topic for Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) is “New-to-Me Authors I Discovered in 2022”. There were lots of authors I tried for the first time last year, but the ten I’m listing below are all authors I enjoyed and am hoping to read again.

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1. Catriona McPhersonIn Place of Fear, a mystery set in 1940s Edinburgh, was my first book by Scottish author McPherson. I think I might try one of her Dandy Gilver mysteries next.

2. Nevil Shute – I finally got round to reading Pied Piper last year and enjoyed it. A Town Like Alice is probably going to be the next book I read by Shute.

3. Frances Quinn – Frances Quinn’s That Bonesetter Woman was one of my books of the year in 2022, so I’m looking forward to reading her previous novel, The Smallest Man.

4. F. Tennyson Jesse – I had wanted to read A Pin to See the Peepshow, Jesse’s retelling of the Thompson/Bywaters murder case, for years and was finally able to with this new British Library edition. Her other books seem to be more difficult to find.

5. Tom Mead – I loved Death and the Conjuror, a new mystery series set in the 1930s and featuring retired magician Joseph Spector. The next book, The Murder Wheel, is out in July!

6. Karen Joy Fowler – Another book I enjoyed last year was Booth, Karen Joy Fowler’s fictional biography of the theatrical Booth family. Her books had never appealed to me before, but I obviously need to look at them again,

7. Patricia Wentworth – I chose Fool Errant as my first Patricia Wentworth novel for last year’s 1929 Club. I didn’t love it but it was entertaining and I’m hoping to try another of her books soon, maybe one of her Miss Silver mysteries.

8. William Boyd – Another of my books of the year for 2022 was my first William Boyd novel, The Romantic. He has a very extensive backlist which I’m looking forward to exploring.

9. Jill Dawson – I enjoyed The Bewitching, based on the true story of the Witches of Warboys. Her previous books seem to cover a wide range of topics and settings – the problem will be deciding which one to try next!

10. ETA Hoffmann – I read The Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr for last year’s German Literature Month. It’s a very unusual and original novel and was a good introduction to his work!

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Have you read any of these authors? Which new (or new-to-you) authors did you discover last year?

Top Ten Tuesday: History and Geography!

This week’s topic for Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by Jana of That Artsy Reader Girl, is “Books with Geographical Terms in the Title” (for example: mountain, island, latitude/longitude, ash, bay, beach, border, canyon, cape, city, cliff, coast, country, desert, epicenter, hamlet, highway, jungle, ocean, park, sea, shore, tide, valley, etc).

I haven’t taken part in Top Ten Tuesday for a few months, so thought I would join in with this one. The topic was suggested by Lisa, who blogs at Hopewell’s Public Library of Life.

The ten books I’ve listed below are all historical novels with geographical terms in the title and they are all books that I’ve reviewed on my blog. They are also all written by female authors, although I didn’t do that intentionally!

1. Hungry Hill by Daphne du Maurier – This is a family saga following five generations of the Brodrick family of Clonmere Castle in Ireland. A curse placed on the family by a feuding neighbour seems to come true as each generation experiences tragedy, unhappiness and bad luck. Du Maurier is one of my favourite authors and although I did like this one, it was certainly bleak and miserable!

2. The Child from the Sea by Elizabeth Goudge – The first Goudge novel I read, this is a beautifully written book telling the story of Lucy Walter, a Welsh girl from Pembrokeshire who later becomes a mistress of King Charles II.

3. The Country of Others by Leïla Slimani – This book was originally written in French and is available in an English translation by Sam Taylor. It’s the story of a young woman from France who marries a Moroccan soldier in the 1940s and goes to live with him in Morocco, but finds that settling into life in a new country is much more difficult than she’d expected.

4. The Girl on the Cliff by Lucinda Riley – A multiple timeline novel which moves between wartime London, 1970s Ireland and modern day New York. Unusually, I found all of the storylines equally interesting to read about; normally I find myself drawn to one or the other.

5. The Romance of the Forest by Ann Radcliffe – This 1791 classic is set in 17th century France. It’s not Radcliffe’s best, but it’s still an entertaining read with all the elements you would expect in a Gothic novel, including dark forests, ruined buildings and gloomy weather.

6. Islands of Mercy by Rose Tremain – This novel set in the 19th century follows two very different characters: a young nurse from Bath and an eccentric Englishman living on the island of Borneo. It should have been fascinating but I found it disjointed and it’s the only Rose Tremain novel I’ve read so far that I haven’t enjoyed.

7. The Light Between Oceans by ML Stedman – I loved this book about a young couple living in a lighthouse on an island off the coast of Australia in 1926. When a boat with a baby girl in it is washed up on the shore, they have different opinions over whether to keep the child to raise as their own. A moving and thought-provoking read.

8. In a Dark Wood Wandering by Hella S Haasse – I read this in an English translation by Lewis C Kaplan as it was originally published in Dutch in 1949. It’s set in France during the Hundred Years’ War and written from the perspective of Charles of Orléans. A beautifully written novel and one that I loved.

9. City of God by Cecelia Holland – Cecelia Holland is a very prolific author whose books cover a wide range of time periods and topics. This one is set in Rome at the time of the Borgias and follows the story of a secretary in the Florentine embassy who becomes drawn into Borgia conspiracies.

10. River of Destiny by Barbara Erskine – I’ve tried a few Erskine novels now and am not really a fan, but they do all have interesting settings. This book has three storylines, one set in Anglo-Saxon England, one in the Victorian period and the other in the present day, all linked by sightings of a ghostly Viking ship.

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Have you read any of these? Which other books with geographical terms in the title can you think of?

Top Ten Tuesday: Upcoming releases

This week’s topic for Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by Jana of That Artsy Reader Girl, is “Most Anticipated Books Releasing In the Second Half of 2022”.

Here are ten books due to be published in the second half of this year that I’m looking forward to reading. Publication dates were correct for the UK as of today, but could change.

1. The Blood Flower by Alex Reeve (7 July) – The fourth book in the Leo Stanhope series, one of my current favourite historical mystery series.

2. The Bewitching by Jill Dawson (7 July) – A novel about the 16th-century case of the witches of Warboys. I have a copy of this one from NetGalley and have just started reading it.

3. The House of Fortune by Jessie Burton (7 July) – Has it really been eight years since The Miniaturist was released? I hope the sequel will be just as good!

4. The Twist of a Knife by Anthony Horowitz (18 August) – The next book in the Horowitz and Hawthorne mystery series. I’ve enjoyed all of the previous three (my review of the third one should be up in the next few weeks).

5. The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell (30 August) – I didn’t love Hamnet as much as most people did, but I thought it was beautifully written and would like to try Maggie O’Farrell’s new book, set in Renaissance Italy.

6. Act of Oblivion by Robert Harris (1 September) – Robert Harris is one of my favourite authors, so a new book by him is always something to look forward to!

7. Ithaca by Claire North (6 September) – This Greek myth retelling about Penelope, Odysseus’ wife, is another book I have from NetGalley and will read nearer the publication date.

8. The Hidden Palace by Dinah Jefferies (15 September) – I’ve read all of Dinah Jefferies’ books and this one will be the second in her new World War II trilogy, which began last year with Daughters of War.

9. Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson (27 September) – Kate Atkinson is another author I always look forward to reading. I don’t know much about her new book but I’m sure it will be great.

10. Blue Water by Leonora Nattrass (20 October) – I enjoyed the debut novel by Leonora Nattrass, Black Drop, so I’m interested in reading this sequel.

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Will you be reading any of these? Which new releases are you looking forward to in the second half of 2022?

Top Ten Tuesday: A Journey Through Time

This week’s topic for Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by Jana of That Artsy Reader Girl, is “Books With a Unit of Time In the Title (seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, eternity, etc.) (Submitted by RS @ The Idealistic Daydream)”.

I decided to make things more interesting by starting with a very short period of time and becoming gradually longer! All of the titles on my list are books that I’ve read and reviewed on my blog.

1. The Second Sleep by Robert Harris – I’m starting with a title which includes the word ‘second’. Robert Harris is a favourite author of mine and I usually love his books, but I found this one a bit disappointing. It seems at first to be a conventional historical novel set in rural England in the year 1468, but it turns out to be something very different! A fascinating idea, but not what I had expected.

2. Ten-Second Staircase by Christopher Fowler – I don’t seem to have reviewed any books with ‘minute’ in the title, so I’m going with something longer than a second but not as long as an hour. This is the fourth novel in Fowler’s Bryant and May series which follows the investigations of two octogenarian detectives working for London’s Peculiar Crimes Unit.

3. The Distant Hours by Kate Morton – I’ve read most of Kate Morton’s books, although this isn’t one of my favourites. Moving between the 1990s and 1940s, the novel has lots of gothic elements from crumbling castles to family secrets and I did find it entertaining, but much longer than it really needed to be.

4. The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham – I don’t read a lot of science fiction, but I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by John Wyndham. In The Day of the Triffids, after an unusual display of meteors throws the world into chaos, an aggressive species of tall and vicious plants begin to dominate. A fascinating, but unsettling read.

5. A Week in Paris by Rachel Hore – In this dual timeline novel, the ‘modern’ storyline is set in 1961 and follows music student Fay Knox who is spending a week in Paris trying to discover the truth about her childhood. The other narrative tells the story of Fay’s mother during the occupation of Paris during World War II. I enjoyed this book, but much preferred the wartime storyline to the 1960s one.

6. The Nine Day Queen by Ella March Chase – Lady Jane Grey lasted slightly longer than a week on the throne of England. Her nine day reign in July 1553 is the subject of this historical novel which also gives plenty of attention to the stories of Jane’s two younger sisters, Katherine and Mary.

7. Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne – I didn’t have any books with ‘month’ in the title, so am skipping ahead to ‘eighty days’ instead. This classic adventure novel follows the journey of Phileas Fogg who attempts to travel around the world in eighty days in order to win a bet. It’s an entertaining story, but it seemed such a waste to pass through so many countries without having time to explore them!

8. The Year Without Summer by Guinevere Glasfurd – This fascinating novel is set in 1816, the year after the eruption of Mount Tambora, an Indonesian volcano. Glasfurd tells the stories of six people, some real and some fictional, whose lives were affected by the extreme weather that followed the eruption.

9. Twenty Years After by Alexandre Dumas – This is the second book in Dumas’ d’Artagnan series and, as the title suggests, takes place twenty years after the events of The Three Musketeers. I loved this one every bit as much as the first book and I think it’s a shame it’s so much less well known.

10. Like This, For Ever by Sharon Bolton – For the final title on my list, I couldn’t decide between this one and Sebastian Barry’s Days Without End. Which is the longer period of time? They’re both the same, surely. Anyway, I settled on this one, which is the third novel in Bolton’s wonderful Lacey Flint crime series and one of my favourites!

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Have you read any of these? Which other books with units of time in the title can you think of?

Top Ten Tuesday: Famous Authors in Fiction

This week’s topic for Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by Jana of That Artsy Reader Girl) is “Bookish Characters (these could be readers, writers, authors, librarians, professors, etc.)”

There were lots of ways to approach this topic, but I’ve decided to list ten historical fiction novels about the lives of real authors. I have read all of them apart from the last one, which I’m reading now. Let me know if you can think of any more!

1. Daphne du MaurierDaphne by Justine Picardie
I’m starting with one of my favourite authors, who is being celebrated this week in a Reading Week hosted by Heavenali. Picardie’s novel follows Daphne through the period when she was working on her biography of Branwell Brontë, while in the modern day we meet a PhD student who is writing a thesis on Daphne and the Brontës.

2. Charles Dickens and Wilkie CollinsDrood by Dan Simmons
This Gothic mystery is supposedly narrated by Wilkie Collins as he and Dickens (the two authors were good friends in real life) search Victorian London for a mysterious figure known only as Drood. There were some things I loved about the book – the setting, atmosphere and biographical information – but I was disappointed by the negative portrayal of Collins, who I confess to liking more than Dickens!

3. Charlotte, Emily and Anne BrontëA Taste of Sorrow by Jude Morgan
I’ve read a few other books about the Brontë sisters (and their brother Branwell), but didn’t enjoy any of them as much as Jude Morgan’s beautifully written novel. He captures the personalities of the three sisters so well.

4. William ShakespeareThe Tutor by Andrea Chapin
I’ve read other fictional portrayals of Shakespeare too – including one by Jude Morgan, in fact – but I decided to feature this one, in which Andrea Chapin explores a possible theory to explain what Shakespeare was doing during his ‘lost years’ of 1585-1592.

5. DH LawrenceZennor in Darkness by Helen Dunmore
Zennor is a village on the coast of Cornwall and this novel is set during the period when DH Lawrence and his wife Frieda lived there towards the end of World War I. I loved the way Dunmore wrote about life in a small village during wartime, but found the parts of the book about the Lawrences less interesting.

6. EM ForsterArctic Summer by Damon Galgut
This novel follows Forster’s visits to India and Egypt and the relationships he forms there that will influence his novels. Although I found a lot to admire about this book, I think I would probably have enjoyed it more if I’d read more of Forster’s own work first.

7. Jakob and Wilhelm GrimmThe Wild Girl by Kate Forsyth
This book takes a fascinating look at the inspiration behind the Brothers Grimms’ well-known fairy tales. Forsyth writes the novel from the perspective of Dortchen Wild, a young woman who grows up next door to the Grimm family in the small German state of Hessen-Cassel.

8. Bram StokerShadowplay by Joseph O’Connor
The Irish author Bram Stoker’s story unfolds alongside the lives of English stage actors Henry Irving and Ellen Terry in this epistolary novel written in the form of diary entries, letters and transcripts of recordings. O’Connor weaves lots of allusions to Dracula into the plot and shows how Stoker could possibly have drawn on his own experiences to help write his most famous novel.

9. Geoffrey Chaucer and John GowerA Burnable Book by Bruce Holsinger
We’ve all heard of Chaucer, author of The Canterbury Tales, but his friend, the poet John Gower, is much less well-known. The two of them team up to solve some intriguing mysteries in A Burnable Book and its sequel The Invention of Fire.

10. Thomas MannThe Magician by Colm Tóibín
I don’t have much to say about this one as I’m only a few chapters into it, but I’m already learning a lot about the life of Thomas Mann. This is one of the shortlisted titles for this year’s Walter Scott Prize and is maybe not a book I would have chosen to read otherwise.

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Have you read any of these? Which other novels featuring famous authors can you recommend?

Top Ten Tuesday: One-word reviews

This week’s topic for Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) is “One-Word Reviews for the Last Ten Books I Read”.

The ten books I’m listing below are not technically the last ten I read, but they are ten that I haven’t yet reviewed on my blog. Full reviews for most of these should appear over the next few weeks, but for now I have chosen one word to represent each book:

1. Infuriating
The Trial of Lotta Rae by Siobhan MacGowan

2. Sadness
The Night Ship by Jess Kidd

3. Adventure
Winchelsea by Alex Preston

4. Dickensian
The Second Sight of Zachary Cloudesley by Sean Lusk

5. Immersive
The Fugitive Colours by Nancy Bilyeau

6. Surprises
The Vanished Days by Susanna Kearsley

7. Freedom
Privilege by Guinevere Glasfurd

8. Secrets
In Place of Fear by Catriona McPherson

9. Complex
All the Seas of the World by Guy Gavriel Kay

10. Insightful
The Rebecca Notebook: and Other Memories by Daphne du Maurier

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Are you interested in reading any of these? Which would you like to know more about?

Top Ten Tuesday: Incoming Books

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) is a ‘freebie’, meaning we can choose our own topic.

It’s been a few months since I highlighted any of my new acquisitions, so I’m listing below ten books that have recently been added to my TBR.

1. The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn – I loved my first Kate Quinn novel, The Rose Code. Her new book, The Diamond Eye, is out now and I’m hoping to read it very soon.

2. All the Seas of the World by Guy Gavriel Kay – This is set in the same world as Kay’s previous two novels, Children of Earth and Sky and A Brightness Long Ago, both of which I’ve read and enjoyed, so I was pleased to receive a review copy from NetGalley.

3. The Toll-Gate by Georgette Heyer – I’ve just started reading this in preparation for the upcoming 1954 Club hosted by Karen and Simon. There’s nearly always a Heyer book to read, whichever year is chosen (and an Agatha Christie as well).

4. The House of the Deer by DE Stevenson – I receive the daily Lume Books newsletter which offers a selection of their titles free or at reduced prices. This DE Stevenson novel was on offer a few weeks ago, but it looks like I’ll need to read Gerald and Elizabeth first.

5. Death on Gokumon Island by Seishi Yokomizo – I’ve enjoyed two of the previous books in the Kosuke Kindaichi mystery series and this one, said to be inspired by And Then There Were None, is the latest to be translated into English.

6. Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe – I signed up to read this via Pigeonhole in fifteen daily instalments. I’ve had mixed experiences with 18th century literature in the past, but will see how I get on with this one!

7. Yes, Giorgio by Anne Piper – I’ve never heard of this 1961 novel, but it was another special offer from Lume Books. It’s described as a ‘classic comic romance’ and was made into a film starring Pavarotti.

8. In Place of Fear by Catriona McPherson – I’ve been interested in trying Catriona McPherson’s books for a while, as I keep seeing them on other blogs I follow. This is her new book, set in 1940s Edinburgh, and I hope it will be a good one to start with.

9. Winchelsea by Alex Preston – This ‘adventure novel for adults’, about smugglers in the 1740s, sounds as though it could be my sort of book. We’ll soon find out!

10. A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting by Sophie Irwin – I’m not at all sure whether I’ll like this one, but it was a ‘Read Now’ title on NetGalley last week and is getting mainly good reviews, so I thought I’d give it a try.

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Have you read any of these? Are you tempted by them? Which new books have been added to your TBR recently?