The Citadel by A.J. Cronin

The Citadel by A.J. Cronin tells the story of Andrew Manson, a young Scottish medical doctor, who began his career in a Welsh mining town in 1924.Manson was ardent and idealistic and was appalled to discover the general condition of health care in the small community.He hadn’t been there long when an outbreak of typhoid … Continue reading The Citadel by A.J. Cronin

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

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

A Lopsided Education

‘Education is an atmosphere, a discipline and a life’ is a well-known idea to those who are familiar with the Charlotte Mason Method of Education. This idea didn’t originate with her but with Matthew Arnold, a British poet and critic of Victorian times. In Chapter XIV of School Education, Charlotte Mason shows how neglecting any … Continue reading A Lopsided Education

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)