Saturday, April 10, 2021

Songbird by Karen Heenan - a visit to Henry VIII's court

Title: Songbird: The Tudor Court #1
Author: Karen Heenan
Publication: Trade paperback, 2019
Genre: Historical Fiction
Setting: 16th century England
Description: Life in Southwark is hard for Peter Davydd and his family. They lost one child to the sweating sickness. His wife and daughters do washing and ironing for those who can afford it but barely make a living so he brings ten-year-old Bess to Greenwich Palace. Recognizing his child’s exceptional voice and Henry VIII’s love of music, Davydd sells his child to the king, freeing himself of a burdensome mouth to feed and also securing her the training she needs.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Title: The Goldfinch
Author: Donna Tartt
Publication: Little, Brown & Co., hardcover, 2013
Genre: Fiction
Setting: New York, Las Vegas, Amsterdam
Description: On their way to what will be an unpleasant school meeting about Theo’s bad attitude, he and his mother stop at the Met to visit a Dutch Masters exhibit.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Six Degrees of Separation — from Shuggie Bain to Down the Rabbit Hole

It’s time for #6degrees, inspired by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. We all start at the same place, add six books, and see where we end up.   This month’s starting point is Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart, which won the 2020 Booker Prize.

First Degree

Shuggie Bain
is about a boy and his alcoholic mother, living in poverty in public housing in Scotland. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

The Year at Maple Hill Farm by Alice and Martin Provensen - with particular attention to March

Title: The Year at Maple Farm
Authors: Alice and Martin Provensen
Publication: Atheneum, hardcover, 1978
Genre: Picture book
Description: This book chronicles a year on a farm, starting in January during the cold, grey days of winter, through spring and rebirth, the sense of change in the fall air, to the end of the year in December.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

A Snowfall of Silver by Laura Wood - coming of age in Earnest

Title: A Snowfall of Silver
Author: Laura Wood
Publication: Scholastic UK, paperback, 2020
Genre: YA
Setting: 1930s England
Description: Freya, the younger sister of Lou from A Sky Painted Gold, has always wanted to be an actress, so leaves Cornwall dramatically at 18, fortuitously meeting Kit McKay on the train to London.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Do Not Disturb by Claire Douglas – psychological suspense in Wales

Title: Do Not Disturb
Author: Claire Douglas
Publication: Harper Collins, hardcover, 2020
Genre: Suspense
Setting: Present-day Wales
Description: Kirsty Woodhouse and her husband Adrian had always talked about returning to her native Wales to open a guesthouse in the Brecon Beacons, but she accelerated the plan after what happened to Adrian in London.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Mystery on the Isle of Skye by Phyllis A. Whitney

Title: Mystery on the Isle of Skye
Author: Phyllis Whitney
Illustrator: Ezra Jack Keats
Publication: The Westminster Press, hardcover, 1954
Genre: Juvenile Mystery
Setting: Scotland
Description: When a serious illness sends her beloved Grandmother MacLeod to the hospital, Cathy finds herself on the trip of a lifetime to the Isle of Skye with relatives she barely knows – her mother’s brother Jerry, his wife Lila, and two cousins, Don and Punch. Mrs. MacLeod came from Skye and, despite her illness, managed to organize a box of messages and surprises for Cathy to open periodically on her trip, which will help her explore her Scotch heritage and make friends with her cousins.

Friday, March 19, 2021

Death in the Grand Manor by Anne Morice - Reading the Theatre Month

Title: Death in the Grand Manor: Tessa Crichton #1
Author: Anne Morice
Publication: Dean Street Press, April 2021 (originally published in 1970)
Genre: Mystery series
Setting: 20th century England

Description: Actress Tessa Crichton, temporarily between engagements, accepts an invitation to spend a few weeks in the country with her cousin, Toby, and his daughter, Ellen, an observant 11-year-old, while Toby’s second wife Matilda, also an actress, is on tour with a new play.