A Prince and a Spy by Rory Clements

A Prince and a Spy was published this year (2021) by Pegasus Books. It is set during World War II and the basis of the story is an actual historical event. In 1942, Prince George, Duke of Kent and Queen Elizabeth II’s uncle, died when his military plane crashed in Scotland on its way to … Continue reading A Prince and a Spy by Rory Clements

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim

The Enchanted April, published in 1922, was written by the Australian-born British novelist, Elizabeth von Arnim (1866-1941). She left Sydney as a young child, moved to London and then to Europe, and never returned to Australia. The delicate and delicious fragrance of the freesias came in through the door and floated round Mrs. Wilkins's enraptured … Continue reading The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim

The Power of Geography by Tim Marshall

The Power of Geography: Ten Maps That Reveal the Future of Our World was published this year (2021) and is a sequel to Prisoners of Geography which I wrote about here.In that book Tim Marshall focused on the fact that geography has played a major role in history. In this new book he explores ten … Continue reading The Power of Geography by Tim Marshall

Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery

Rilla of Ingleside was published in 1921 and is the eighth book in the Anne Series which began with Anne of Green Gables in 1908.Rilla is Anne’s youngest daughter and the story begins just prior or the start of WWI when Rilla is fifteen years of age.The tone of this book is more sombre than … Continue reading Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery

Vesper Flights by Helen Macdonald

Helen Macdonald is a British writer, poet, naturalist and historian of science. Vesper Flights was published in 2020 and is a collection of forty-one of short essays that point the reader to ways of seeing the world from a different perspective to their own.Hard science gives us evidence of the harm that results from our … Continue reading Vesper Flights by Helen Macdonald

Crooked House by Agatha Christie (1949)

Crooked House is one of Agatha Christie’s special favourites - she said that writing it was pure pleasure and she considered this book one of her best. “I saved it up for years, thinking about it, working it out, saying to myself: ‘one day, when I’ve plenty of time, and want to really enjoy myself- … Continue reading Crooked House by Agatha Christie (1949)

Half Lives by Lucy Jane Santos

Half Lives: The Unlikely History of Radium by Lucy Jane Santos takes the reader through a cultural history of radium. As she points out, radioactivity is everywhere - in the Earth’s crust, in our homes and even in us. It is ubiquitous and that troubles us; but this was not the case in the late … Continue reading Half Lives by Lucy Jane Santos

In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park

In Order to Live is an astonishing story of endurance, courage, and love. Yeonmi Park was thirteen years old when she and her mother escaped from North Korea. In Order to Live tells their incredible story of survival, suffering, and eventual freedom. I’ve always had a fascination with the Cold War and Communism in general, … Continue reading In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park

An Episode of Sparrows

An Episode of Sparrows is another perceptive and sensitive novel by Rumer Godden. Godden’s writing is spare and unsentimental with a gritty realism, but also much beauty. In the preface to this book she wrote: 'Finally the time came when I had to tell myself miserably, “You have squandered, muddled, and wasted everything, everything from opportunity … Continue reading An Episode of Sparrows