Month: November 2016

An Almond for a Parrot by Wray Delaney

My obsession with historical fiction continued this week with this, the first adult novel from Sally Gardner. Gardner is an award-winning children’s novelist and, under the pseudonym Wray Delaney, has come up with, a fabulous tour of eighteenth century England in the company of a courtesan. This is the tale of Tully Truegood. We meet her first in Newgate prison, awaiting trial for murder. … Read More An Almond for a Parrot by Wray Delaney

A New Life – Part Four

Celine looked out to see Daniel on the street, arguing with another man. The dark blue uniform marked him out as a policeman and her heart sank. ‘What on earth is going on here?’ Maria strode forward and interrupted the shouting men. ‘I’m being accused of theft!’ Daniel blurted. ‘Not theft exactly, ma’am. He has paid for these goods but at a reduced price … Read More A New Life – Part Four

Ignatius Sancho (1729-1780)

Ignatius Sancho had the misfortune to be born on a slave ship, or at least this is what his official biography states. It is more likely that he was born in Africa and then taken onto a ship with his parents. His mother died when he was very young, and his father committed suicide, unable to reconcile himself to a life of slavery. When … Read More Ignatius Sancho (1729-1780)

The Devil’s Feast by M.J.Carter

The Devil’s Feast is the third book in the Blake and Avery series. The year is 1842 and our intrepid duo have a brand new investigation, this time involving politics and celebrity chefs. Carter again weaves fiction with real life, populating her murder mystery with expertly researched and utilised historical figures. We begin not long after the second book finished, and all is not … Read More The Devil’s Feast by M.J.Carter

A New Life – Part Three

It was Maria McCarthy who stood at the door. ‘Come in,’ Celine stood back to admit her friend. ‘I apologise for the bareness of it all. We are still a way from having this set up as a proper home.’ ‘No matter.’ Maria hung her cloak from the stand in the hallway. ‘I was just passing and I thought I would see if you … Read More A New Life – Part Three

NW by Zadie Smith

  I wanted to read this book before watching the TV adaptation that was broadcast this week on the BBC. Also, it seemed fitting to catch up in the week that Smith’s latest novel, Swing Time, is published. I have yet to catch up with the TV version, but here are my thoughts on the source novel. NW follows four Londoners – Leah, Natalie (previously … Read More NW by Zadie Smith

A New Life – Part Two

By the day of Ruth Simpson’s arrival, the Gower Street house was looking like a home. There were curtains hanging in the dining room and the matrimonial bedroom, nets in the attic room designated for Ruth. She had a bed as well, an old cast iron bedstead that Daniel had bought at auction. In the kitchen was a fine big wooden table, a dresser … Read More A New Life – Part Two

The Curious Tale of the Lady Caraboo by Catherine Johnson

  Shortlisted for the YA Book Prize 2016, this is an unusual tale of a very lost young woman. Set in 1819 near Bristol, a village is fascinated when a strange girl is found on the road. Although she wears recognisably English dress, her skin is too dark for her to be anything but foreign, at least that is what the locals surmise. She speaks … Read More The Curious Tale of the Lady Caraboo by Catherine Johnson

Serious Sweet – A.L. Kennedy

Longlisted for this year’s Man Booker prize, Serious Sweet is a ‘novel of our times.’ Taking place over a twenty four hour period in London, we follow two main characters around the city. Jon is divorced, almost sixty and contemplating retirement from his civil servant job. Having recently escaped from an unhappy marriage in which it seems his wife had many sexual encounters with … Read More Serious Sweet – A.L. Kennedy

A New Life – Part One

On the first frosty morning of November, Celine and Daniel Johnson moved into their new house on Gower Street. The house looked nothing special, was rented at a rate that Daniel worried would be a burden, but it was theirs. The only furniture they had was a bed donated from their good friends Sam and Maria, a sofa liberated from the Olympia Theatre, and … Read More A New Life – Part One

The Lonely Londoners by Sam Selvon

First published in 1956, The Lonely Londoners is about the burgeoning Caribbean population in London. Post-Windrush, we follow Trinidadian immigrant Moses and his friends and acquaintances as they adjust to life in a new country that alternately loves and despises them. Now part of London’s rich history, this is a period that is cemented firmly in the past, with its references to Lyons Corner … Read More The Lonely Londoners by Sam Selvon