Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: The Corset (Laura Purcell)

Purcell, Laura - The Corset

★★★★★★☆

Title: The Corset
Author: Laura Purcell
Genre: Fiction/historical fiction/mystery   Pages: 392
First published: 2018
Edition: Hardback, published by Raven Books in 2018

When Dorothea’s charitable work leads her to Oakgate Prison, she is delighted with the chance to explore her fascination with phrenology and test her hypothesis that the shape of a person’s skull can cast a light on their darkest crimes. But when she meets teenage seamstress Ruth, she is faced with another theory: that it is possible to kill with a needle and thread. For Ruth attributes her crimes to a supernatural power inherent in her stitches.

I simply adored the writing of this novel. Despite the fact that I read it at a time I had little space for reading in my day, I looked forward to returning to its pages.

This is a great example of a historical fiction novel that felt well thought out and researched without feeling forced. It is set in the Victorian era and is told from the perspective of two young women, one practically a slave in a mad dressmaker’s household, one a well-to-do 25-year-old spinster trying to find her way in life (and love).

The duel perspective worked very well and I thought both of them were very well done. I felt for the characters and was suitably appalled by the story woven in these pages.

I love how you are not quite sure what to think of seamstress Ruth, but how her harrowing story still pulls at the heart strings. The thread of Dorothea is slightly less strong in parts, but I absolutely loved her spirit.

I was not sure about the ending at first, but after having thought about it, I definitely think it was fitting.

If you enjoy a historical novel or even a mystery novel, I would highly recommend this book. I will be checking out this author’s other work.

6 out of 7 stars

 

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Books

FIVE on FRIDAY: Audio Books I am considering…

I am only a third into The Iliad with plenty of hours (15) still to go, but I have a credit to spend on Audible… and I am starting to think about what I want to listen to next. My first impulse is always a non-fiction book, probably an autobiography, but I would like to try something different…  I was looking around and I have come up with a list of five books I would be interested in.

1. Sadie (Courney Summers) – I have heard a lot of good things about the audio book for this one. The podcast element makes this an interesting option.

2. The Return of the Native (Thomas Hardy) – I have tried to read the physical book a couple of times in the past and found it hard to get into. I found an audio version narrated by Alan Rickman, which I might try.

3. Born a Crime (Trevor Noah) – An autobiography that I have heard so many people talk about. Trevor Noah of course narrates it himself.

4. Storm Front (Jim Butcher) – The first book of the Dresden Files. This series intrigues me. The fact that James Marsters narrates it, makes it very tempting to give a go.

5. Darkdawn (Jay Kristoff) – It’s definitely an option, but the audio book is 21 hours long, so quite a commitment again.

***

Which one would you choose? Or do you have any audio book recommendations in general? I heard that The Poet X is very good, but unfortunately not available on Audible.

I would love to hear your thoughts and recs!

L. xx

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)

Atwood, Margaret - The Handmaid's Tale

★★★★★★★

Title: The Handmaid’s Tale
Author: Margaret Atwood
Genre: Fiction/dystopian/classic   Pages: 324
First published: 1985
Edition: Paperback, published by Vintage Classics in 2010

Offred is a “Handmaid” in the Republic of Gilead. She has only one function: to breed. If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness.

I have been putting off reading this modern classic for so long. I always heard so many great things about it that I was scared it would only disappoint. I now berate myself for not having read this sooner, because I absolutely loved it.

Atwood’s writing is just wonderful. I love how she describes the sights and sounds through Offred observations of the world she sees. The characters are very human and it definitely made me think how I would react myself if my world changed so completely. Would we do anything different from the people in Gilead, described in this novel? It certainly makes you wonder.

In my humble opinion this novel is a masterpiece. It only shows you a small fraction of this world and tells nowhere near the complete story, but that is what makes it so compelling.

A new favourite.

7 out of 7 stars

Books · WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesdays: 9 October 2019

The start of October has been a struggle to be honest. Not just with reading, but with life overall. I am suffering with quite a lot of anxiety at the moment and I can’t quite pinpoint why. Maybe it is simply the change of the seasons. It simply means I am finding it hard to concentrate on anything, including books!

I already skipped last week, so let’s give it a go this week!

IMG_1384-0

WWW Wednesdays is a meme hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words.

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you will read next?

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What am I currently reading?

I am currently reading The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. It has only taken me many years to get to it! I am just over halfway and I am really enjoying it. It’s an excellent read. I had planned to finish it today, but considering that I have not read a single page yet today, I think it is pretty unlikely.

I am also still listening to The Iliad by Homer. I am 7 hours into the audio book with just under 15 hours still to go. I find with listening to it on audio book I don’t take in every single word, but I am getting the gist of it and the flow of the narrative well enough. I still prefer non-fiction audio books, but I do not think I would ever have gotten through The Iliad if I was physically reading it. I am confident I might finish it by the end of the month.

Ware, Ruth - The Death of Mrs WestawayWhat did I recently finish reading?

The only thing I finished was The Death of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware, which I enjoyed quite a bit. It was not perfect, but it was definitely a good read for this time of the year.

What do I think I will be reading next?

I might start Solid State by Kenneth Womack tomorrow as I need to start something new on my Kindle. The subtitle is ‘The Story of Abbey Road and the End of the Beatles‘ which sounds right up my street. I got that one via NetGalley and I am so looking forward to it! It is due to be published on 15 October.

As for my next fiction read, I am not sure. I may go for The Corset by Laura Purcell. Does that one not have the most gorgeous cover?

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: The Death of Mrs Westaway (Ruth Ware)

Ware, Ruth - The Death of Mrs Westaway

★★★★★☆☆

Title: The Death of Mrs Westaway
Author: Ruth Ware
Genre: Fiction/thriller/mystery   Pages: 400
First published: 2018
Edition: Kindle e-book

Hal makes a choice that will change her life for ever. But once she embarks on her deception, there is no going back. She must keep going or risk losing everything, even her life …

Did I enjoy this book? Yes. Did I think it was surprising or very clever? No.

As far as thrillery mysteries go, this one was very readeable, the characters were well enough developed, and the mystery was just about mysterious enough.

I really enjoyed the setting in a big country mansion that has seen better days. It is the perfect gothic location for a story about an estranged family. It also made it feel like an old fashioned mystery novel, which I loved.

The main character did make some iffy decisions and she really did not help herself much, but I did kind of like and understand her. The twists in the story were mostly not that surprising, but tended to have a slight twist on top that made it more interesting.

I have never read any Ruth Ware before, but I did enjoy this one. I liked her writing quite a bit and it read away pretty easily. I am sure I will read more from her in the future.

If you read a lot of mystery thrillers, this one might not be that exciting, but I do not read that many and really enjoyed it.

5 out of 7 stars

TBR

October 2019 TBR

This month I have decided to split my TBR into several sections. I have a few set projects going on!

October Haul 2017/2018

Yesterday I posted my Haul Review and these are the books that I chose to read from my hauls from October 2017 and 2018.

2019 TBR book:

I really need to get on with my 19 for 2019 with only three months left in the year to read them. I want to read at least two, preferrably more.

  • Home Fire (Kamila Shamsie) Leftover from my September TBR
  • A Monster Calls (Patrick Ness) I mean… Why have I not read this yet??

Lingering book:

I will try and read this one this month. I have done well so far with my Lingering Books and I would like to continue making progress.

Victober read: 

Halloween reads:

***

Considering what my reading is like at the moment, it is unlikely I will get to all nine of these books, but I am not going to stress out about it 🙂 The one I am most likely  to push aside would be The Woman in White. I am not sure I will be in the mood for it. I will put it on my TBR anyway, because you just never know and I would actually love to finally read it!

If I (assuming miracles do exist) have time to spare, I will try and knock off some more from my 2019 TBR.

 

 

Book Haul Review · Books

Book Haul Review: October 2017 & 2018

So, a double whammy this time. Let’s have a look at which books I purchased one year ago and two years ago and add a book from each to my October 2019 TBR!

Let’s start by looking at 2017:

OCTOBER 2017

Number of Books Hauled: 12

New: 7
Used: 5

Books read: 4

So that’s about a third, after two years…. Ermm…. Could be worse?

 

Books unread: 8

  • Het Tuinhuis (Hella S Haasse)
  • The Middle East (Bernard Lewis)
  • Rode Sneeuw in December (Simone vd Vlught)
  • The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
  • A Language of Thorns (Leigh Bardugo)
  • Forest of Thousand Lanterns (Julie C Dao)
  • Maigret Travels South (Simenon)
  • The Racehorse That Disappeared (Clare Balding)

⇒ Book pick for October 2019: The Handmaid’s Tale

Yep, hopefully it’s finally happening!

OCTOBER 2018

Number of Books Hauled: 18

New: 8
Used: 10

Books read: 5

So, somewhere between a third and a quarter. Not that pleased with that number, but not too unhappy either. Curiously, I read two of those just this September. The Curious Incident I read ages ago and is due a re-read, but though I did not read it whilst I have had this blog, I have read it! I just finally got myself a copy.

 

Books Unread: 13

  • Moonlit (Jadie Jones)
  • The Corset (Laura Purcell)
  • Nevermoor (Jessica Townsend)
  • Mythos (Stephen Fry)
  • The Summer Queen (Elizabeth Chadwick)
  • Girl With A Pearl Earring (Tracy Chevalier)
  • A Little Learning (Evelyn Waugh)
  • Jane and Prudence (Barbara Pym)
  • The Sweet Dove Died (Barbara Pym)
  • Excellent Women (Barbara Pym)
  • Lord Savile’s Crime and Other Stories (Oscar Wilde)
  • Don’t Look Now (Daphne Du Maurier)
  • Wildwood (Roger Deakin)

⇒ Book pick for October 2019: The Corset 

This one sounds a bit gothic and should be perfect for October!

***

So, The Handmaid’s Tale and The Corset will be start off my October TBR, which I will be putting together and posting tomorrow if nothing comes up.