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

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)

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

Gentian Hill by Elizabeth Goudge (1949)

Gentian Hill is a book that is based partly on history and partly on legend. Anthony, a fifteen year old orphan, became a midshipman in the British Navy after the unexpected death of his grandmother who had brought him up after both his parents died. The British were fighting Napoleon and Anthony, only two months … Continue reading Gentian Hill by Elizabeth Goudge (1949)

A Gentleman in Moscow (2016)

It was 1922 in Moscow and Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov stood before the Emergency Committee of the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs. After a self-imposed exile from his homeland, Rostov had returned to Russia. He was in his early thirties and was accused of returning to the Motherland in order to take up arms against … Continue reading A Gentleman in Moscow (2016)

An Australian Classic: The Fortunes of Richard Mahony by Henry Handel Richardson

The Fortunes of Richard Mahony is a 943 page classic and an Australian one at that. It is also a tragedy. The author relentlessly follows the ‘fortunes’ of both Richard Mahony and his wife, Polly (known as Mary later in the book), the ups and downs of their rollercoaster-like lives, the inevitable sadness of their … Continue reading An Australian Classic: The Fortunes of Richard Mahony by Henry Handel Richardson