Book Review – This is Happiness by Niall Williams

This is Happiness begins with the sky clearing and the rain stopping just after 3 o’clock on the Wednesday afternoon of Holy Week in 1958 while the people of Faha in county Clare are at Church. This is a rare occurrence in Faha as rain 'was a condition of living'. Seventeen-year-old Noel Crowe, known as … Continue reading Book Review – This is Happiness by Niall Williams

Book Review – A Slanting of the Sun by Donal Ryan

A Slanting of the Sun is Donal Ryan's first collection of short stories. It is written in the same beautifully crafted poetic and uniquely Irish prose as his novels. All but one of the twenty stories are told in the first person, each with a distinctive voice. The characters cover a range of ages, sex … Continue reading Book Review – A Slanting of the Sun by Donal Ryan

Book Review – Crimen Exceptum: The English Witch Prosecution in Context by Gregory J Durston

Despite years of cool-headed scholarship over several decades, the idea still persists in the popular imagination that during the period known as the 'witch craze' millions of women were rounded up and burned at the stake often for nothing more than their skill with herbal remedies. While thousands of women, and men, believed to be … Continue reading Book Review – Crimen Exceptum: The English Witch Prosecution in Context by Gregory J Durston

Book Review – Fallen Skies by Philippa Gregory

It is 1920 and the Great War ended two years ago. Seventeen-year-old Lily Pears had done her best to ignore it. She is a chorus girl with a beautiful voice, who performs under the stage name Lily Valance. Her widowed mother has poured all her dreams into her daughter. Helen Pears runs a shop on … Continue reading Book Review – Fallen Skies by Philippa Gregory

The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold

Between August and November 1888, five women were killed in Whitechapel, all believed to be the victim of a single killer. The identity and the behaviour of the killer has fascinated multitudes since to the point where the killer has achieved almost mythic status, the women he killed dismissed as prostitutes, mere footnotes to the … Continue reading The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold

Book Review – Murder at Westminster Abbey by Amanda Carmack

Londoners are crowding into the streets, celebrating, watching the river procession as Elizabeth Tudor makes her way by barge to the Tower of London in preparation for her coronation. Meanwhile, in the backstreets of Southwark, a kindhearted prostitute with pale skin and red hair is brutally murdered. Nineteen-year-old Kate Haywood is the daughter of a … Continue reading Book Review – Murder at Westminster Abbey by Amanda Carmack

Book Review – Tombland by C.J. Sansom

1549. Edward VI, the eleven-year-old son of Henry VIII has been on the throne two years. The country is effectively run by the Lord Protector, Edward Seymour. The preceding decade has seen war with Scotland, inflation, unemployment, rising rents and declining wages. A sense of grievance is swelling among the common people against the imposition … Continue reading Book Review – Tombland by C.J. Sansom

Book Review – The Western Wind by Samantha Harvey

Set in the fictional village of Oakham, Somerset, The Western Wind starts on Shrove Tuesday 1491. This is Day 4 of the story as this novel is told backwards over four days from Shrove Tuesday to the previous Saturday. It is the first person narrative of the parish priest, John Reve, a gentle and compassionate man … Continue reading Book Review – The Western Wind by Samantha Harvey

Book Review – The Innocents by C A Asbrey

The Innocents is set in the American West in 1868. 'The Innocents' are Nat Quinn and Jake Conroy, a nephew and uncle team, who rob only banks and railways and are courteous to the ordinary people they may discommode during the course of a robbery. Abigail McKay, a Scottish woman, has spent weeks travelling by … Continue reading Book Review – The Innocents by C A Asbrey

Book Review – The Heir’s Tale by April Munday

The Heir’s Tale is the first book in the series, The Soldiers of Fortune, tracing the fortunes of the sons of the Earl of Somerton following the Battle of Poitiers. In 1357, Ancelin Montfort, the Earl’s second son, returns home bringing with him the news of his elder brother John’s death in that battle. Ancelin … Continue reading Book Review – The Heir’s Tale by April Munday