I decided to look at the rainbow in this occasional series of posts where I take a look at books that are sitting on my bookshelf – and yes I’ve made one!
The eagle-eyed amongst you may notice that these aren’t the usual book-covers but fortunately for this post, proof copies don’t always look like the finished article!
Death at the Priory by James Ruddick, read in June 2014.
This book takes a look at the unsolved Victorian murder of Charles Bravo, a man who died a painful death having ingested antimony in 1876. With three suspects, his wife, Florence, the housekeeper Mrs Fox and Dr Gully who had previously had a relationship with Florence, this book examines why the case wasn’t solved. An interesting well-written book which I thought took a fair and measured look at the evidence. For Agatha Christie lovers, this case was referred to in her novel Ordeal by Innocence
The Secret Place by Tana French, read August 2014
If you haven’t read Tana French’s brilliant novels, you really should!
When a boy is found murdered in the grounds of an exclusive girl’s school the police need to penetrate the secretive world of teenage girls, not a task for the faint-hearted. Not only does this book have all the requisite ingredients for a great read; characters, plot and pace, it is also an enormously fun read, so much so I dubbed it ‘Mallory Towers for Grown Ups’
This book made my Top Ten of 2014 reads, it was in the parlance of some of the characters – amazeballs!
Interlude by Rupert Smith, read November 2014
What book-lover can resist a book about a book? Not me that’s for sure.
In this wonderful novel we meet Helen, a bored wife and mother who decides to do something for herself, she joins an evening class in creative writing. Helen’s grandfather was a literary novelist and she decides to investigate his life – with excerpts from his book Interlude the truth in the past is unveiled. A perfect book for lovers of past and present connections that should have been more widely celebrated.
This book also made my Top Ten list for 2014.
The Moon Field by Judith Allnatt, read November 2013
No list is complete in my view without a good war-time story, this one is set in World War I. A combination of coming of age and the true horrors of war Judith Allnatt spins a convincing and emotional tale which begins with George meets Violet, in the course of his rounds as a postman. At just eighteen, George heads off to war with his friends, on the front-line trying to stop the German advance into France. A great book that was out in time to mark the centenary of the start of WWI.
The Hidden Legacy by G.J. Minett, read October 2015
This book starts with an absolutely riveting piece of writing about a boy who sets fire to two girls in a school playground – but, there is far more to this story than might appear. In a story that spans decades the themes of revenge are obvious but the undercurrent question of what is morally right, and what is wrong is a compelling one. It is a rare book that asks such big questions while still producing a tale full of action and surprises.
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters, read December 2014
One of my favourite reads of last year, and one that has had me determined to re-read all this authors previous books, The Paying Guests is a sumptuous read. In the hands of this author I positively embrace the small details that may seem insignificant but all go towards building a picture of a household, events that culminate in a court case, no less. As well as being an enjoyable read the author is treated to what life was like for women from different classes in England in the 1920s.
The Girl on the Cliff by Lucinda Riley, read December 2011
As you can see I had to go much further back to find an offering for violet, and this is another book with a historical bent, this one has the tale of Grania in modern day Ireland combined with a wartime romance in London. The Ryan family and the Lisles’s have been entangled for a century. With a cast of characters that are appealing including a foundling child, this is a book to get lost in and enjoy!
So that is my trip through the rainbow complete, I do hope you enjoyed it!
More posts from my bookshelf can be found here:
On My Bookshelf
On My Bookshelf – What’s in a Name?
On My Bookshelf – Women’s Lives
18 thoughts on “On My Bookshelf – A Rainbow of Books”
I’m listening to The Paying Guests in my commute to work. I like how she creates the feeling of tension in the house and the class consciousness
I really loved The Paying Guests as you say you can’t doubt the atmosphere in that household!!
Great idea for a post Cleo & intetesting array of books.
The Paying Guests has been on my TBR since the day it came out … it was one of those ‘I MUST read this one’ purchases that somehow hasn’t happened. A definite one for 2016.
I bought it on the day too and decided to read it over Christmas last year – you do need to dig it out in 2016!
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Loved the Paying Guests sdrawn in from first pages,
Oh me too, I didn’t want it to end!
You have some great books there, Cleo! I like the idea of exploring unsolved mysteries, so that one got my attention right away. And I really hope you’ll like The Paying Guests. It’s a really interesting psychological study, and gives a very interesting portrait of 1920s London.
Thank you Margot – The Paying Guests was one of my favourite reads of last year – I hope she writes another soon…
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What a lovely rainbow! I enjoyed The Paying Guests, and hope to read more from this author. I have yet to read Tana French, but I have her book In the Woods on Pippa.
I love the rainbow theme….enjoy!
Thank you Laurel – Tana French is well worth a read.
(But did you sing a rainbow while you preparing the post??) I remember your reviews of lots of these – and yes, yes, I will get around tor eading Tana French someday – soon!
Of course I did but fortunately for you all I didn’t record it as my singing leaves an awful lot to be desired!!
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I read Victorian Murderesses (you’d love it) which had a section on the Bravo case. I read the Tana French and really liked it–but not quite as much as Broken Harbour
I did read The Victorian Murderesses, it was one of my top ten picks for last year – so yes, I loved it! I really like all Tana French’s books but especially this one as it had such a different feel to it.
Fab idea. I’m trying to think of new challenges for myself next year. A fun way of keeping track of reads 🙂
What a lovely idea!
Aw thank you!
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Lovely post Cleo! I’m very excited to read The Paying Guests and The Secret Place, have copies of both just need to find space to read them very soon! 😅