name of the family

Meanwhile at Shiny…

…I’ve had several reviews published recently. In the Name of the Family by Sarah Dunant Sarah Dunant’s latest novel chronicles the last year of Pope Alexander VI’s life. He was, of course, head of the Borgia family in Renaissance Italy. His mad and vicious soldier son Cesare, and daughter about to be thrice-married Lucrezia complete Read More

fatal-tree

Meanwhile, over at Shiny…

I have two reviews from the past couple of weeks, I haven’t shared here yet… The Fatal Tree by Jake Arnott Jake Arnott’s novels are moving back in time. He started in the 1960s and 1970s with his Long Firm trilogy, (the first of which I reviewed here), then he moved back to WWII followed Read More

Flintoff

The story of a novel and how I got a quote inside it…

What If the Queen Should Die? by John-Paul Flintoff Today, my special subscriber’s copy of another Unbound book arrived. Unbound are a crowd-funding publisher – read my interview with them for Shiny New Books here to find out more. Once you’ve pledged to one book, it’s very tempting to pledge to another… and another. This is the fourth Read More

dunant venus

A Florentine treat

The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant I used to have all four of Sarah Dunant’s Italian Renaissance novels on my shelves. I liked the idea of them, as I love Italy, its art and architecture and so on but, I’m not a big reader of historical fiction, so they got forgotten and late last Read More

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Losing myself in the Lymond Chronicles

The Game Of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett I reported on my experiences about reading the first half of The Game of Kings, the first volume in Dorothy Dunnett’s saga of 16th century life in the Scottish border country, here.  A month later I’ve finished the book and thus the first leg of my plans to read the series. Read More

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Richard III – Dastardly murderer or totally misunderstood?

The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey  Most people if asked, including me, would think of Richard III as the hunchback who murdered the princes in the tower. Our information generally comes from Sir Thomas More’s hatchet-job of him by way of Shakespeare and Laurence Olivier or Anthony Sher with a crutch capering around the stage. Read More

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She sells sea shells by the sea shore

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier This is the story of two women in the early 1800s – fossil hunters who played an important part in the beginnings of the evolutionary debate. Elizabeth Philpott and her younger sisters have to move after their brother marries; not being able to afford to live in Brighton, they choose Read More

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Superstition and fear – Your worst enemies in Puritan times…

Witch Child by Celia Rees Right at the beginning of this remarkable novel, Mary’s grandmother is tortured, tried and dies for being branded a ‘witch’. Rees lets you know exactly what was in store for the poor women who as healers, herbalists and midwives, were routinely denounced as witches when something went wrong in the Read More

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Vive le livre! Long live the book!

The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner is a dazzling historical novel for older children and young adults – and fair blew this forty-something adult away too. I absolutely loved it! This is the Paris of the late 1780s, just before the revolution. Yann, a gypsy youth who has second sight, assists his friend and mentor, Read More

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Stevenson Under the Palm Trees by Alberto Manguel

An odd little novella about Robert Louis Stevenson; this edition is lushly produced with posh covers and illustrated with some of Stevenson’s own woodcuts (at 105 pages of big text it needs to justify its £7.99 price tag!). It’s a story based on Stevenson’s last days in Samoa as he is dying of tuberculosis. After Read More

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The Sonnets by Warwick Collins

This is an ambitious novel. The author has taken Shakespeare’s sonnets and created a novel around them, selecting those that fit this narrative – 32 in all, reproduced in full within the text. Although I love Shakespeare’s plays, I’ve never read the sonnets, just knowing a couple of the famous quotes. This novel was a Read More