Assignment in Brittany by Helen MacInnes (1942)

'Her purpose always was to strike at authoritarian governments. In the genre of highly literate suspense she is considered unrivaled.' Assignment in Brittany is Helen MacInnes’ second book and was published early in World War II not long after the Battle of Dunkirk. It is set in Brittany and captures the bleak atmosphere that must … Continue reading Assignment in Brittany by Helen MacInnes (1942)

Quo Vadis: A Tale in the Time of Nero by Henryk Sienkiewicz (1896)

Quo Vadis is, as its subtitle implies, a work of historical fiction set in Ancient Rome during Nero’s reign. It is the love story and spiritual journey of a young couple - Marcus Vinicius, a Roman tribune from a patrician family, and Lygia, daughter of a Lygian barbarian chief, held as hostage in Rome. It … Continue reading Quo Vadis: A Tale in the Time of Nero by Henryk Sienkiewicz (1896)

Nemesis by Agatha Christie (1971)

Miss Jane Marple was astonished to receive a letter from the solicitors of a Mr Rafiel after his recent death. He and Miss Marple had had a brief but very memorable acquaintance some years back and she thought that perhaps he may have left her some small memento, such as a book from his library. … Continue reading Nemesis by Agatha Christie (1971)

Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens

Barnaby Rudge was published in 1841 and was Charles Dickens’ first historical novel. It is his least read book, which surprised me as the story is very interesting. It is based on a real historical event and includes a murder mystery, a talking raven, two romantic dramas, as well as being a social commentary on … Continue reading Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens

Bookish Destinations 2022

2022 Art Book Reading Challenge Rebecca @ a humble place is hosting a 2022 Art Reading Challenge with seven categories. I've chosen the four options below: A biography of an artist from the 20th century (Beatrix Potter by Linda Lear) A biography of an artist from the 19th century (? Van Gogh by Peter Burra) … Continue reading Bookish Destinations 2022

Love by Elizabeth von Arnim (1925)

This is only the second novel I’ve read by Elizabeth von Arnim, but along with Edith Wharton, she has shot up on my reading radar. Both authors have gotten under my skin with their beautiful literary writing and their sensitive treatment of women’s issues and sometimes difficult themes.In the context of the times in which … Continue reading Love by Elizabeth von Arnim (1925)

Waverley by Sir Walter Scott

In 1805, Walter Scott sat down to write the opening chapters of Waverley, a book that was to usher in an entirely new type of literary genre, the historical novel.In the same year Scott had published his narrative poem, The Lay of the Minstrel, which was received enthusiastically, but when he submitted the first few … Continue reading Waverley by Sir Walter Scott

Ruth by Elizabeth Gaskell (1853)

    Ruth, Elizabeth Gaskell’s second book, was published in 1853 and is the surprisingly compassionate portrayal of a ‘fallen woman.' It contains elements that remind me of several books I’ve read:The Scarlet Letter (1850) with its religious hypocrisy; Tess of the d'Urbervilles (1891), in that a naïve & vulnerable young woman is pressured into … Continue reading Ruth by Elizabeth Gaskell (1853)

The Growth of a Soul: Daniel Deronda by George Eliot (1876)

  Daniel Deronda was George Eliot’s final novel and her most controversial work.The book contains a double plot, which was quite common with Victorian novelists such as Charles Dickens and William Thackeray, but Eliot took an unusual direction in this novel by introducing a Jewish theme. Between 1860 and 1874, the idea of re-establishing a … Continue reading The Growth of a Soul: Daniel Deronda by George Eliot (1876)