Anne Bonny Top 5 #Victorian Era #Historical Picks from the TBR pile @JessKiddHerself @storyjoy @claireevans113 @paraicodonnell @And_Hughes @canongatebooks @BloomsburyRaven @wnbooks @BooksSphere @TransworldBooks

***Some titles I am DYING to read from the mammoth TBR pile, in no particular order***

things in jars
Things In Jars by Jess Kidd
Available in HB/Ebook/Audible
Synopsis ~

London, 1863. Bridie Devine, the finest female detective of her age, is taking on her toughest case yet. Reeling from her last job and with her reputation in tatters, a remarkable puzzle has come her way. Christabel Berwick has been kidnapped. But Christabel is no ordinary child. She is not supposed to exist.

As Bridie fights to recover the stolen child she enters a world of fanatical anatomists, crooked surgeons and mercenary showmen. Anomalies are in fashion, curiosities are the thing, and fortunes are won and lost in the name of entertainment. The public love a spectacle and Christabel may well prove the most remarkable spectacle London has ever seen.

Things in Jars is an enchanting Victorian detective novel that explores what it is to be human in inhumane times.

the anarchists club
The Anarchists’ Club by Alex Reeve – Leo Stanhope #2
Available in HB/Ebook/Audible – PB in March 2020
Synopsis ~

It’s been a year since Leo Stanhope lost the woman he loved, and came closing to losing his own life. Now, more than ever, he is determined to keep his head down and stay safe, without risking those he holds dear. But Leo’s hopes for peace and security are shattered when the police unexpectedly arrive at his lodgings: a woman has been found murdered at a club for anarchists, and Leo’s address is in her purse. When Leo is taken to the club by the police, he is shocked to discover there a man from his past, a man who knows Leo’s birth identity. And if Leo does not provide him with an alibi for the night of the woman’s killing, he is going to share this information with the authorities.

If Leo’s true identity is unmasked, he will be thrown into an asylum, but if he lies… will he be protecting a murderer?

the fourteenth letter
The Fourteenth Letter by Claire Evans
Available in HB/Ebook/Audible/PB
Synopsis ~

Phoebe Stanbury was killed in the summer of secrets…

One balmy June evening in 1881, Phoebe Stanbury stands before the guests at her engagement party: this is her moment, when she will join the renowned Raycraft family and ascend to polite society.

As she takes her fiancé’s hand, a stranger holding a knife steps forward and ends the poor girl’s life. Amid the chaos, he turns to her aristocratic groom and mouths:
‘I promised I would save you.’

The following morning, just a few miles away, timid young legal clerk William Lamb meets a reclusive client. He finds the old man terrified and in desperate need of aid: William must keep safe a small casket of yellowing papers, and deliver an enigmatic message: The Finder knows.

With its labyrinth of unfolding mysteries, Claire Evans’ riveting debut will be adored by fans of Kate Mosse, Carlos Ruiz Zafon and Jessie Burton.

the house on vesper sands
The House On Vesper Sands by Paraic O’Donnell
Available in HB/Ebooks/Audible/PB
Synopsis ~

‘Ladies and gentlemen, the darkness is complete.’

It is the winter of 1893, and in London the snow is falling.

It is falling as Gideon Bliss seeks shelter in a Soho church, where he finds Angie Tatton lying before the altar. His one-time love is at death’s door, murmuring about brightness and black air, and about those she calls the Spiriters. In the morning she is gone.

The snow is falling as a seamstress climbs onto a ledge above Mayfair, a mysterious message stitched into her own skin. It is falling as she steadies herself and closes her eyes.

It is falling, too, as her employer, Lord Strythe, vanishes into the night, watched by Octavia Hillingdon, a restless society columnist who longs to uncover a story of real importance.

She and Gideon will soon be drawn into the same mystery, each desperate to save Angie and find out the truth about Lord Strythe. Their paths will cross as the darkness gathers, and will lead them at last to what lies hidden at the house on Vesper Sands.

the convictions of john delahunt
The Convictions Of John Delahunt by Andrew Hughes
Available in HB/Ebook/PB
Synopsis ~

On a cold December morning in 1841, a small boy is enticed away from his mother and his throat savagely cut. But when the people of Dublin learn why John Delahunt committed this vile crime, the outcry leaves no room for compassion. His fate is sealed, but this feckless Trinity College student and secret informer for the authorities in Dublin Castle seems neither to regret what he did nor fear his punishment. Sitting in Kilmainham Gaol in the days leading up to his execution, Delahunt tells his story in a final, deeply unsettling statement . . .

Dublin in the mid-19th century was a city on the edge – a turbulent time of suspicion and mistrust and the scent of rebellion against the Crown in the air, Beautifully written, brilliantly researched and with a seductive sense of period and place, this unnervingly compelling novel boasts a colourful assortment of characters: from carousing Trinity students, unscrupulous lowlifes and blackmailers to dissectionists, phrenologists and sinister agents of Dublin Castle who are operating according to their own twisted rules. And at its heart lie the doomed John Delahunt and Helen, his wife. Unconventional, an aspiring-writer and daughter of an eminent surgeon, she pursued Delahunt, married him and thereby ruined her own life. And as for Delahunt himself, we follow him from elegant ballrooms and tenement houses to taverns, courtrooms and to the impoverished alleyways where John Delahunt readily betrays his friends, his society and ultimately, himself.

Anne Bonny #BookReview Perfect Liars by @RebeccaCNReid 4* #Psychological #Thriller #DebutNovel @TransworldBooks ‘You certainly wouldn’t want these three as your enemies. . .’

cover
Perfect Liars by Rebecca Reid
Review copy
Synopsis:

They have it all. And they’ll do anything to keep it that way.

For fans of The Girlfriend and Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies as well as TV hits Doctor Foster and The Replacement.

Sixteen years ago, at an elite boarding school secluded in the English countryside, best friends Nancy, Georgia and Lila did something unspeakable.

Their secret forged an unbreakable bond between them, a bond of silence. But now, in their thirties, one of them wants to talk.

One word and everything could be ruined: their lives, their careers, their relationships. It’s up to Georgia to call a crisis dinner. – she knows there’s nothing that can’t be resolved by three courses in her immaculate kitchen.

But the evening does not go as planned.

Three women walk in to the dinner, but only two will leave.

Murder isn’t so difficult the second time around…

My Review:

Perfect Liars is a thoroughly modern psychological thriller, with a thoroughly modern cast of female characters. The three friends Nancy, Georgina and Lila have been friends since their childhood days at an elite boarding school. Now 16yrs later and older they are reuniting, only for one of them it’ll be the last time ever!

Each of the individual characters is carrying their own personal baggage (aren’t we all). But for one of the trio; their past is simply too much to bear and they wish to relinquish their guilt.

The novel has flashback scenes to their boarding school days. We learn that as teenagers the girls were not particularly known for being ‘nice’. Which raises the question, do spiteful teenage girls grow into spiteful women?
You certainly wouldn’t want these three as your enemies. . .

The women’s different backgrounds and future aspirations are explored and despite not particularly liking the women, you grow to understand why they are as they are.
At the dinner party (which the adult reunion revolves around) the claws come out and we see that none of these women have fully matured.

There are strong and emotive themes, mainly the repercussions of carrying guilt and the way in which that will taint your future life choices. The ending left much food for thought over the beginning and middle parts of the novel.

The perfect novel for people whom enjoy being in the heads of characters that may act/behave completely different to ourselves. If you love character based psychological thrillers, then Perfect Liars is perfect for you! 4*

RR
Rebecca Reid
Twitter

Anne Bonny #BookReview Resin by @AuthorAneRiel #NewRelease #Literary #Thriller @TransworldBooks Protected Treasured Trapped . . .

cover
Resin by Ane Riel
Review Copy
Synopsis:

The multi-award-winning international bestseller.
Suspenseful and heart-breaking, Resin is the story of what can happen when you love someone too much – when your desire to keep them safe becomes the thing that could irrevocably harm them.
*
Liv died when she was just six years old. At least, that’s what the authorities think.
Her father knew he was the only one who could keep her safe in this world. So one evening he left the isolated house his little family called home, he pushed their boat out to sea and watched it ruin on the rocks. Then he walked the long way into town to report his only child missing.
But behind the boxes and the baskets crowding her Dad’s workshop, Liv was hiding. This way her Dad had said, she’d never have to go to school; this way, she’d never have to leave her parents.
This way, Liv would be safe.

My Review:

WOW! Where to start with this one!!!!!!
The whole novel can be summarised with one word: disturbing!
Which I do not mean in a derogatory manner. The novel focuses around one of possibly the most disturbing families I have ever read! Straight from the opening sentence, you know you’re in for a treat with this one. . . .

‘The white room was completely dark when my dad killed my granny’ – Liv

Meet Liv, your strange, awkward child protagonist. She tells us about the home-made Christmas presents and family hoarding. Even her granny being smothered, set alight and buried is all too nonchalant for Liv. . .
‘After all, none of us is meant to suffer’

The family live on ‘The Head’ a small isolated island, which is linked to the larger island Korsted. But the family are the only occupants at The Head. They steal what they need from others and this is a routine father/daughter night time activity.

‘In time I learned we weren’t like other people’ – Liv

Throughout the novel there are a series of letters from Liv’s mother written to Liv. To be completely honest, they only add to the whole strange/weirdo vibe of the whole family. . .
‘I don’t know whether to call our life a family story or horror story’ – Mum
Even further alarming with words like. . . ‘He may kill me’

This is a family in desperate need of some social services involvement. Immediately!

Liv’s father is Jen Horder and through the novel we learn his backstory and family history. Prepare yourselves!
We also learn how he met and fell in love with Liv’s mother. His mother Else wasn’t too keen on the union between the pair and considering she dies in the opening scenes, I don’t think she was far from wrong!

When Granny Else plans to take Liv away to the mainland for schooling. A premeditated plan is hatched.
One that will see Liv disappear!

‘Live knew that not being seen was a mater of life and death’

This novel is dark, disturbing and yet I could NOT look away from the pages. The scene for which the title gets its name, is beyond my understanding. The last 20/30 pages make for intense reading! I am absolutely HOOKED!

Brilliantly disturbing 4.5*

AR
Ane Riel
Twitter

Anne Bonny #BookReview Call Of The Curlew by @ManxWriter Elizabeth Brooks #HistoricalFiction #Literary #ww2Fiction #NewRelease @TransworldBooks ‘This novel is simply beautiful’

cover
Call Of The Curlew by Elizabeth Brooks
Review copy
Synopsis:

Virginia Wrathmell has always known she will meet her death on the marsh.

One snowy New Year’s Eve, at the age of eighty-six, Virginia feels the time has finally come.

New Year’s Eve, 1939. Virginia is ten, an orphan arriving to meet her new parents at their mysterious house, Salt Winds. Her new home sits on the edge of a vast marsh, a beautiful but dangerous place. War feels far away out here amongst the birds and shifting sands – until the day a German fighter plane crashes into the marsh. The people at Salt Winds are the only ones to see it.

What happens next is something Virginia will regret for the next seventy-five years, and which will change the whole course of her life.

My Review:

Call Of The Curlew is another novel released this year with phenomenal characterisation. The character of Virginia Wrathmell slowly captivates your heart, as you turn the pages. It is quite tricky to explain, as we don’t just meet the 86yr old Virginia, but we meet her at 11yrs old and watch her come of age in difficult circumstances.

The novel opens with Virginia in the present day. It is New Years Eve and she is waiting for a sign. A sign of her death…… on the marsh. When it arrives in the unusual fashion of the skull of a Curlew. I didn’t grasp the significance straight away. But it becomes very clear as the novel progresses and on the last few pages.

December 1939, saw Virginia’s arrival from Sinclair house a local orphanage to Salt Winds. Where she is finally brought to live with her adopted parents Clem and Lorna Wrathmell. Virginia doesn’t instantly bond with Lorna, that will come much later. But her instant love and affection for Clem, is beautiful to see. She meets Bracken the dog and Mrs Hill the cook. Life at Salt Winds, seems to be one of luxury, Virginia has previously unknown. Clem is sure to issue a stark warning to Virginia about the dangers of the marsh. . .

“Tollbury Marsh is good for birds but bad news for people, so you must promise me that you’ll not set foot on it. Never ever’ – Clem

With every great story comes a great villain and this novels villain is Max Deering. He is rude, obnoxious and full of self-righteousness. Virginia took an instant dislike to him and she isn’t the only one. However, this being 1939 people weren’t so quick to ignore or distance themselves from their neighbours. They relied upon them intensely during the war and the home front effort was evident throughout history. So, the Wrathmell’s find it increasingly difficult to keep Max from their door. As he continues to darken it.

There is a particular incident with Mr Rosenthal, a German Jew is belittled by Max and spoken of as though he is unworthy. I suppose due to Virginia’s upbringing in an orphanage this strikes a chord with her.
It becomes something she will never forgive Max Deering for.

Back to the modern-day 2015 and Virginia sees the arrival of an uninvited guest at Salt Winds. Sophie is a young woman claiming to be lost upon the marsh paths. Something Virginia knows to be untrue and yet serves to make her further grumpy. She reluctantly invites in her new guest.

‘The Curlew has reminded her how to hate’ – Virginia

In June 1940 Max Deering suffers a personal loss when the train carriage carrying his daughter Juliet is bombed. Leaving Max alone with son Theodore. This pushes the Deering’s closer to Salt Winds, much to Virginia’s disgust!
She is invited to Theodore’s 11th birthday party and sets off on the walk with her father Clem. When he spots an enemy plane fallen down upon the marsh. Despite the great risk to himself, Clem decides to attempt to save the enemy. Clem is never seen again. A search party is organised. Yet no sight of Clem can be seen. An optimistic Virginia remains adamant he will return.

It is at this point Virginia and her adoptive mother begin to bond. It is a relationship that is beautiful to watch develop but is not without its dangers from outside predators.

“We cannot afford to make an enemy of Max Deering” – Lorna

As Mrs Hill begins to lose her patience with Lorna, old secrets are brought to the surface. Virginia learns more and more about her adoptive parents and their pasts. Then the women must unite as they rescue Mr Rosenthal. They hide Jozef Rosenthal in the attic, away from Max’s prying eyes. But is Jozef who he says he is?

In the modern-day Sophie makes some confessions about her own ancestry when she spots her grandfather on a photo in Virginia’s house. It would appear young Sophie has a tie to Virginia’s past too.

This novel is simply beautiful 4*

Elizabeth Brooks Twitter

Anne Bonny #BookReview City Of Sinners by @aadhand 5* Genius #CrimeFiction #HarryVirdee #Series #Thriller #Bradford #NewRelease @TransworldBooks No one is safe. . .

cover
City Of Sinners by A.A. Dhand – Harry Virdee #3
Review copy
Synopsis:

It is an ordinary Yorkshire morning, cold and miserable.

The streets are not yet busy. Police cars hurriedly pull up in the centre of town, but none of their lights are flashing and the sirens are silent.

A body has been found, elaborately and painstakingly positioned to send a message. But what message? And to who?

It’s DCI Harry Virdee’s job to find out. But Harry doesn’t know that the killer is watching him, that the killer is coming for him.

Because this is personal.

A DI Harry Virdee Thriller

My Review:

I am a huge fan of the DI Harry Virdee series and I definitely believe this to be the best yet! It has something unique this time round, with added creepy moments. With all honesty, there were moments I had twitchy restless legs and actually hide my head inside my hoodie!!!! Be warned, this case is seriously creepy!!!
The novels are best read in order so that you grasp the full background of Harry’s marriage, family and family feud. The backstory adds co much depth to the series and is a fascinating insight into multicultural Britain and the issues it faces.

Straight of the first page of the prologue you are aware of the killer’s hatred for Harry. He has a female victim present and promises
‘The start of Bradford’s darkest week begins’.

When Harry arrives at the crime scene of murder victim Usma Khan, he is horrified. The body has been posed theatrically within Bradford’s Waterstones. I don’t want to spoil the scene as it is the authors finest scenes to date. But it is worthy in a comparison of the writing of Thomas Harris and his Hannibal Lector series! Dhand has really gone for the gritty shocking crime scene and it terrified this reader!

Across Bradford at the city hospital, Saima (Harry’s wife) is in the middle of her nursing shift. When her father-in-law Ranjit Virdee, is rushed into A&E. This is far from any form of happy reunion. But this is best left explored within the novel. Especially if you are new to the series. Saima continues to be quite a big character within the series and it really works. I love to see Harry’s happy home life with Saima and their son, in comparison to the crime scene’s he witnesses.
It also adds a sense of realism to the novels too.

At the autopsy of Usma Khan, a note is discovered on the body with the inscription ‘This is only the beginning Harry’. This is the first time the police discover there maybe a connection to Harry and Harry is desperate to uncover what links him to the death of Usma Khan. Then the daughter of a prominent Bradford figure goes missing and hell breaks loose…..

The novel explores Harry’s enemies and the cases that caused the individuals to despise Harry so much. This offers an interesting insight into Harry’s background and we learn things we never knew before. Harry also ponders if this could have any relation to his brother Ronnie criminal enterprise. Harry is the only police officer to know of Ronnie’s history with alcohol and life of crime. There are some interesting passages on racism and the challenges faced in various communities. Dhand shows us that Bradford can be both a cultural minefield, and a community that has worked hard; to heal from the previous race riots of the past.

‘In his opinion, brown-on-brown racism was as toxic as it got’ – Harry Virdee

The killer begins to taunt Harry personally and publicly.
‘Do you see the sinner, Harry?’
‘I see you Harry Virdee. . . I see all the sinners’

This is an intense read from start to finish. The last 25% I was having heart palpitations! This novel has it all a dark and sinister killer, grotesque crime scenes whilst also offering a unique perspective on racial prejudice.
Don’t miss A.A. Dhand’s phenomenal series!

AAD
A.A. Dhand
Twitter
Website