Month: October 2016

The Changing of the Leaves – Part Five

Missed the last instalment? The Changing of the Leaves – Part Four Maria barely slept that night. She lay on her bed, listening for a while to Celine weeping in the bedroom above that she shared with Daniel, to Daniel’s soft placations as he apologised for upsetting his wife. When Celine gave in and forgave him she buried her head in the pillow, blocking … Read More The Changing of the Leaves – Part Five

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

By the time this book was published in the UK it had built up quite an anticipation. My copy came with a promotional bookmark that listed quotes from Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, the New York Times. It was an Oprah Book Club Pick and a NYT bestseller. Quite a lot to live up to, but for the most part I felt this novel lived … Read More The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

The Changing of the Leaves – Part Four

The husbands arrived back late on a Wednesday, their arrival heralded by Celine’s happy laughter as she ran downstairs to greet Daniel. Maria had not thought to bother going downstairs but did not want David to look upon her with that look of his. Her husband’s valet was far too overfamiliar with him, and thought himself worse off to have saddled himself with such … Read More The Changing of the Leaves – Part Four

Paul Robeson (1898-1976)

Paul Robeson rose from near obscurity to become a blip on the radar once more two years ago when famed director Steve McQueen announced that he planned to make a biopic of the actor’s life. Like his fellow countryman, Ira Aldridge, Robeson was an African American actor who worked often in Britain, even working with Aldridge’s daughter Amanda. Robeson was born in Princeton, New Jersey, … Read More Paul Robeson (1898-1976)

The Printer’s Coffin by M.J. Carter

A few weeks ago I reviewed the first of the Blake and Avery novels (The Strangler Vine – M.J. Carter) and I finally had a chance to follow up with the second. In contrast to the first novel, the action in The Printer’s Coffin moves from India to London. It is now 1841 and Captain William Avery has returned to England with his wife. … Read More The Printer’s Coffin by M.J. Carter

The Changing of the Leaves – Part Three

Missed the beginning of this story? The Changing of the Leaves – Part One ‘Can you imagine it? Every day the same for the rest of our lives?’ Maria put down her tapestry and addressed Celine. Like every other morning that week they were sitting quietly in the morning room. ‘Well, it won’t be, will it?’ Celine pointed out. ‘You will have the baby … Read More The Changing of the Leaves – Part Three

Mary Seacole (1805-1881)

From the depths of historical obscurity, Mary Seacole has risen to great prominence in recent years. With fame often comes controversy, and there have been several attempts to play down the influence of Mrs Seacole’s endeavours. Certainly her autobiography, Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands, was the first to be published by a black woman in Britain, an achievement in itself. However, … Read More Mary Seacole (1805-1881)

All That Man Is by David Szalay

  There has been debate surrounding the inclusion of this title, not regarding the quality of the writing but because it could be seen as a short story collection rather than a novel. However, it has been marketed as a novel, and Jonathan Cape submitted it to the Man Booker Prize on that basis, for it is in the rules (as per their website) … Read More All That Man Is by David Szalay

The Changing of the Leaves – Part Two

  The sun was shining over Piccadilly as the carriage transported Maria towards her rendezvous. Not a soul knew where she was going excepting one, and she had asked to be dropped at Fortnum and Mason, though that wasn’t her final destination. Descending to the pavement, Maria let the doorman do his duty and waited until the coachman, Peter, had driven off before slipping … Read More The Changing of the Leaves – Part Two

Krabi and Phi Phi

From Elephant Hills it took about 3 hours in total to get from the rainforest camp back to the pier, then onto our road transfer down to Krabi. Our home for the last two nights of the trip was the 5* Centara Grand Beach Krabi. Although not far from the main tourist town of Ao Nang, the resort is set on a quiet bay, … Read More Krabi and Phi Phi

His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet

Presented as if it were true crime (though the title page does make it clear that this is a work of fiction), His Bloody Project is a new take on the historical crime novel. This is the story of Roderick Macrae, a seventeen year old crofter who has confessed to the brutal murder of three people in his village in the highlands of Scotland. … Read More His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet

The Changing of the Leaves – Part One

How Papa would laugh if he could see his daughter now, Maria thought, wincing as her maid, Sally, tightened the strings of her stays, her swelling stomach protesting. He could never know how unhappy she was. Not that he ever wanted to see her again anyway. ‘Ma,am, did you want the blue or the pink today?’ Sally held two dresses in her arms. ‘Oh, … Read More The Changing of the Leaves – Part One