One Minute Book Review – Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore

Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore begins and ends with short chapters set in the present. The story proper commences in 1789 with a man burying a woman’s body in an isolated glade in the fading darkness before sunrise. Three years on Lizzie Fawkes begins her story - she is newly married to widower, John Diner … Continue reading One Minute Book Review – Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore

Irish Heritage – Thomas McGrath of Finnahy

The parents of my maternal grandfather, John Daniel ‘Jack’ McGrath (1887-1971), were both born in Ireland. Jack’s mother, Margaret Ryan, was born at Drumgoole, Kilkenny in 1851 and migrated to Australia around 1869. His father, Patrick McGrath, was five and a half when his family arrived in Melbourne, Victoria in 1854. Patrick was born at … Continue reading Irish Heritage – Thomas McGrath of Finnahy

One Minute Book Review – The Muse by Jessie Burton

This dual narrative novel begins in London in 1967 with Odelle Bastien, a young woman from Trinidad who works in a shoe shop while nursing the dream of being a writer. When Odelle finds a new job as a typist at the Skelton Institute, an upmarket art gallery, she is encouraged in her ambitions by … Continue reading One Minute Book Review – The Muse by Jessie Burton

In My Garden – Fuchsia

The fuchsia is one of my favourite plants. They are most commonly grown in suburban gardens as small shrubs or in hanging baskets. The 'hardy fuchsia' (Fuchsia magellanica), though, can grow up to 3 metres in height in a frost-free climate. Most species of fuchsia are native to South America, but a few occur in … Continue reading In My Garden – Fuchsia

One Minute Book Review – Towers in the Mist by Elizabeth Goudge

This delightful novel covers a year in the life of the Leigh family, from the arrival on May Day 1565 of Faithful Crocker, a 14 year old orphaned vagabond, carrying his meagre possessions, a copy of Virgil and of Foxe's Book of Martyrs, and a burning desire to become a scholar, to the visit of … Continue reading One Minute Book Review – Towers in the Mist by Elizabeth Goudge

The Dictionary of Slang; or, the Vulgar Words, Street Phrases, and “Fast” Expressions of High and Low Society.

I have a copy of delightfully titled The Dictionary of Slang; or, the Vulgar Words, Street Phrases, and “Fast” Expressions of High and Low Society. Many with their Etymology, and a Few with their History Traced which was published in London in 1867. This copy is the third edition of the book; the original was … Continue reading The Dictionary of Slang; or, the Vulgar Words, Street Phrases, and “Fast” Expressions of High and Low Society.

One Minute Book Review – The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova

The Swan Thieves is an intriguing story of art and obsession. Its starting point is the attack on a 19th century painting hanging in the National Gallery of Art in Washington. The attacker, Robert Oliver, is a brilliant painter suffering from a psychosis. He is hospitalized under the care of psychiatrist Andrew Marlow who is … Continue reading One Minute Book Review – The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova