We have 18 reviews this month of 18 books by 15 authors. A little bit up from last month which is good but I’m hoping for more next month so get those To Be Read books out and open. Now let’s see what we’ve all been reading in May.
The three authors with two books reviewed each are, not surprisingly, some of our most popular authors whose books have been featured regularly – Deborah Challinor with Tamar and A Tattoed Heart, Kate Forsyth with Bitter Greens and The Beast’s Garden and Alison Stuart with Her Rebel Heart and Sebastian’s Waterloo. You can easily find these reviews by clicking here.
“The amazing story of Australia’s first surgeon and the boy he adopted and a colony at the end of the world” is the subject of Nanberry: Black Brother White by the prolific Jackie French. Brenda at Goodreads writes, “With the little that was recorded in the eighteen hundreds making it hard for any writer and historian to garner facts, the obviously meticulous research of this book kept me enthralled. Written in a way to keep the reader interested, the story of Nanberry is an excellent one.”
Also dealing with indigenous issues is The Secret River by Kate Grenville reviewed by Carolyn at Goodreads. The book has probably been highlighted a number of times but not recently in the historical fiction roundup. Carolyn observes, “Kate Grenville is a very accomplished author and the tells this story of the ignorance and arrogance of the colonialists in invading the land of the traditional owners in simple powerful language.”
With two time frames to keep us on our toes is The Wife’s Tale by Christine Wells. “With her marriage on the rocks, workaholic lawyer Liz Jones agrees to visit Seagrove, a stately home on the Isle of Wight, while she quietly investigates its provenance on behalf of a client.” Brenda at Goodreads is very enthusiastic. “The Wife’s Tale is a fascinating and intriguing novel which I have no hesitation in recommending highly – I’ll be looking for more from this author.”
I generally don’t include my own reviews but I’m making an exception for the very underrated and I feel, neglected Gail Jones. Although I did have some mixed feelings about the book (I blame the blurb on the back) I am very glad I read Sixty Lights about “Lucy Strange, an independent girl growing up in the Victorian world.” I found the prose luminous, the research impeccable and “gradually from the time Lucy arrives in London with her Uncle Neville and her brother Thomas, Sixty Lights evolves into the story I thought I would be reading from the start. It finally becomes the world that Lucy Strange sees, with and without her camera.” See my full review here.
Ice Letters by Susan Errington is a First World War novel of love, peace, violence and Antarctica. Jennifer at Goodreads was ambivalent. “For me, the best part of the novel relates to Daniel’s experience in Antarctica. This part of the novel felt more real to me than Dora’s experience in Adelaide. More real, or perhaps less uncomfortable? I’m really not sure.”
Quite a mix of books. A sweep of timeframes, subject matter and styles. I wonder what I will be rounding up next month.
My name is Debbie Robson and I am a bookcrosser, booklover and author. I love researching the 20th century and finding those small but relevant details that can make the past come alive. You can find me on twitter: lakelady2282.
Glad you included Sixty Lights, Debbie. It has been on my TBR pile for ages. I loved Jones’ Dreams of Speaking. Thanks for another great roundup!
Thanks Elizabeth. I hope to read Berlin soon too.
Oh yes, I want to read Sixty lights too. Nice to see older books being read and reviewed isn’t it.
It definitely is, Sue. There are so many good books out there but the more current ones have a decided advantage.
I just read ice letters. Initially I found the style a bit off putting, for example she kept referring to the central characters by their full names, but by 1/3 in I was finding it very interesting. The depiction of conscientious objectors at that time and of Antarctica were both vivid and absorbing.
Thanks for your comment about Ice Letters. That’s weird about the names. It would have put me off too.