Joan: The Remarkable Life of Joan Leigh Fermor by Simon Fenwick (2017)

I honestly didn’t know much about Joan Leigh Fermor when I asked for this book for Christmas last year, but I knew a little about her travel writer husband Paddy,  and the blurb intrigued me. I decided to take the book in holiday with me to Devon, where I read it in two days, mostly [...]

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I Love You Too Much by Alicia Drake (2018)

This gorgeous little book appeared somewhere on Twitter (or Instagram?) recently, and the yellow cover caught my eye. It intrigued me. The cover, the title, the fact that it was a debut novel - all things that interested me. I was in Blackwell's in the Oxford the other day (the new branch!) buying Mother's Day [...]

Men Explain Things to Me and Other Essays by Rebecca Solnit (2014)

Like most people, I am familiar with the term 'mansplaining'. I've also heard a fair bit of excitement about Rebecca Solnit as an interesting writer. Her essay Men Explain Things to Me is the origin of the term, something I only learned seeing the word in circulation - when it first became a thing there [...]

The Women of the Castle by Jessica Shattuck (2017)

[A side note: in the US, the title is The Women in the Castle.] I’ve always been interested in the literature of the Second World War, ever since a course on the Literatures of Genocide at university. I’ve read history books, personal accounts, and novels such as Alone in Berlin and City of Women; so, [...]

Gone: A Girl, A Violin, A Life Unstrung by Min Kym

This book was one of the few review copies I have been accepting recently, and I'm glad I decided to read and review it, because it's something a little different - but once I got into it I realised it actually is the sort of thing I like. Gone: A Girl, A Violin, A Life [...]

The Witchfinder’s Sister by Beth Underdown

I have read a couple of books about English witch trials, and the history of why they happened, so this book wasn't entirely new ground for me - but is certainly an original take on the period the events. The Witchfinder's Sister gives the infamous Matthew Hopkins a fictional sister in the form of Alice, [...]

The Good People by Hannah Kent

Like many readers I loved Hannah Kent's first novel Burial Rites (2013), so I had high expectations for The Good People. Like its predecessor it is set in the first half of the 19th century, this time in 1820s Ireland. Also like Burial Rites, it features unhappy women as its central characters. The blurb dedicates [...]

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

My Name is Lucy Barton has been included on the longlist for the Man Booker Prize 2016, and so understandably it’s quite popular at the moment generating a bit of hype. Almost every review I have read (both in newspapers/magazines and online) has been favourable, mentioning the beauty of the writing and the emotional depth [...]

Best of 2012: After Such Kindness by Gaynor Arnold

In August I wrote my first review for Fiction Uncovered (my only so far but there will hopefully be more!) - the book in question was After Such Kindness by Gaynor Arnold. I hadn't heard of it until Fiction Uncovered sent it to me, and I'm so glad they did. The novel is 'inspired by [...]

Best of 2012: When Nights Were Cold by Susanna Jones

I've decided not to write about my best books of 2012 in any sort of order - though I have one or two that stand out as favourites I've decided not to do a Top 10, or to write chronologically. However, by chance, the first book in my Best of 2012 series was published in [...]