In a modest Stratford house, in the late sixteenth century, a boy is searching for help. His twin sister, Judith, has fallen ill, and he has no idea what to do. His mother will come, carrying kind words, herbal remedies, and fear in her heart. The plague should not be here - the playhouses in London may close, but here in Stratford, far away, they are supposed to be safe. Heedlessly, the sickness has arrived from another world, crept into their home, and waits with insatiable power to shatter a family beyond recognition.
Whenever I travel around my home country of the UK, I'm always keeping my eyes open for the best independent bookshops to explore. However much I love regularly browsing my local favourites, there is just something special about entering a never-before-visited bookstore and discovering what it has to offer.
It is one of the most famous conflicts of all time, a war that defined three generations and shook the ancient world. The fates and circumstances that would trigger such unprecedented bloodshed were whispered on the wind decades before the first of Agamemnon's ships set sail. In this epic tale, Stephen Fry delves into the lives of gods and mortals, men and women, warriors and priests, as they are thrown into the cataclysm of the Trojan War.
There's nothing quite like a new year for getting me excited about reading. Twelve whole months stretch ahead, ready to be spent devouring new releases and tantalising backlist paperbacks alike. With that in mind, I've put together a list of the top 10 books I'm looking forward to reading in 2022...
2021 has been quite the year! I graduated university, set up my own business as a freelance writer, and just generally entered the daunting world of adulthood. Books have been there through it all to provide a reassuring sense of constancy and plenty of opportunities to escape reality. So without further ado, in no particular order (because I am extremely indecisive!) here are my top 10 favourite books of 2021...
Rating: 4.5 stars Genre: Literary, Historical Fiction Summary: When Ada fails to conceive a child with her new husband, she becomes increasingly desperate. Barren women in her village are often hanged as witches. Fearing that she is cursed, neighbours start refusing to let her attend their births, meaning she can no longer put her expertise as a midwife to use. Frustrated and afraid, Ada runs away to find refuge with a band of outlaws and their charismatic leader known only as the Kid. In this makeshift and marginalised family, women like Ada are finding power beyond the status of their wombs - and taking revenge on the society that has rejected them.
In 1980, Elise follows her lover Connie from London to LA, where Connie’s novel is being adapted into a major film. Their stormy love affair will leave its mark on the city. Three decades later, Rose is on the trail of the mother who left when she was a baby. The only clue she has is a book by elusive novelist Constance Holden, who may hold the key to why her mother left everything behind.
Rating: 4 stars Genre: Literary fiction, magical realism Summary: When David sets out in his fishing boat from the island of Black Conch, on a morning that seems the same as any other, the last thing he expects is to come face-to-face with a mermaid. He always thought such creatures existed only in rumour and legend, but here one stares at his boat in the vulnerable reality of flesh and blood, and he must step in to protect her when American tourists arrive for a hunting trip like no other. David nurtures trust and then love between himself and the mermaid, desperate to carve out a life for them among the richness and darkness of his island home. Yet it remains to be seen whether this fusion of woman and myth can ever be his to hold onto.