Month: January 2017

Black and British: A Forgotten History by David Olusoga

Published in conjunction with the BBC series, this brilliant book aims to dispel the myth that black British history began with the arrival of the Empire Windrush in 1948. We can all acknowledge that the post World War II period marked the greatest influx of immigration from non-white countries, but the story of black Britons goes back much further. The first known black Briton is … Read More Black and British: A Forgotten History by David Olusoga

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

I was given a proof of this novel back in August and came across it in my TBR pile this week, just in time for its publication date. This isn’t my usual choice of book but I was pleasantly surprised. It is a very gentle novel but with an engaging story and I read the entire thing in a couple of sittings. I was … Read More The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee

I actually bought this book a few months ago and it’s been in my TBR pile ever since, shifted to the top after being longlisted for the inaugural Jhalak Prize. This is the first in a series of books featuring Captain Sam Wyndham and set in early twentieth century India, still under British rule. Here’s the blurb: Captain Sam Wyndham, former Scotland Yard detective, … Read More A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee

The Somnambulist by Essie Fox

Named after the Millais painting, but also featuring a sleepwalking character, Essie Fox’s novel takes us back to later Victorian London (1880s) and is rooted in the gothic, reminding me greatly of Wilkie Collins who has inspired my own writing as well as Fox’s. Published in 2011, for any readers familiar with the genre there is a lot within this book which is familiar. … Read More The Somnambulist by Essie Fox

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

I’m not sure why it took me so long to get around to reading Toni Morrison’s first novel, originally published back in 1970. Morrison’s reputation goes without saying, and I had to remind myself that this was her debut, a book that is so accomplished, so expertly structured in a non-traditional way that works to enhance the book rather than being just a gimmick. … Read More The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

The Silk Merchant’s Daughter by Dinah Jefferies

I had often seen Dinah Jefferies’ novels in bookshops and supermarkets, and wondered if they would be my cup of tea. I love Asia, and historical fiction, but I wasn’t sure if they would be a bit ‘Mills and Boon-like’. The title of her last two novels have also acted as a slight deterrent (The Tea Planter’s Wife, The Silk Merchant’s Daughter – why … Read More The Silk Merchant’s Daughter by Dinah Jefferies

Marking Time by Elizabeth Jane Howard

I loved The Light Years (Cazalet book 1) so much that I immediately checked out book 2 from the library. Marking Time has slightly less of a light hearted feel compared to its predecessor – set in 1939-1941 we are immediately into World War II and seeing its impact on the family. Although there are several sections which focus on the family as a … Read More Marking Time by Elizabeth Jane Howard

Windrush: The Irresistible Rise of Multi-Racial Britain by Mike Phillips and Trevor Phillips

Published in 1998 to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the most famous voyage undertaken by the Empire Windrush, this book is a brilliant resource for anyone interested discovering how Britain became the multicultural society it is today. I originally only checked this book out of the library to fact check a few details for a short story that I was writing, but I found myself … Read More Windrush: The Irresistible Rise of Multi-Racial Britain by Mike Phillips and Trevor Phillips

Golden Hill by Francis Spufford

As I was reading the last pages of Golden Hill it was announced as this year’s winner of the Costa First Novel Award, a much deserving winner in my opinion. I had come across this book through word of mouth (or word of Twitter I should say). People were raving about how good it is and I do love my historical fiction… New York, … Read More Golden Hill by Francis Spufford