Katherine by Anya Seton (1954)

Katherine is a fictionalised account of Katherine Swynford (1349-1403) the woman who was John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster's mistress for twenty years. Gaunt was the fourth son of Edward III and the Tudor dynasty descended from their illegitimate children. Katherine and her older sister Philipa, daughters of a knight, in what is now … Continue reading Katherine by Anya Seton (1954)

My Brother Michael by Mary Stewart (1959)

‘The result of my own visit to Greece and the impact of that wonderful country on a mind steeped in the classics. ‘My Brother Michael’ was my love affair with Greece.’ - Mary Stewart Camilla Haven had broken with Philip her fiancée of six years, and now at twenty-five years of age, she had come … Continue reading My Brother Michael by Mary Stewart (1959)

Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart (1958)

Linda Martin was back in Paris after an absence of nine years. With an English father and a French mother, she had grown up in France during the Second World War. When she was fourteen both of her parents were killed in a plane crash and she was sent to an orphanage in England where … Continue reading Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart (1958)

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)

Madam, Will You Talk? by Mary Stewart (1955)

Mary Stewart is my most recent new author discovery, and what a delightful author she is! Madam, Will You Talk? was her first book and it is a cracker. Set in Southern France, it is a suspenseful story that doesn’t waste any time in plunging the reader into murder and mystery. When I wrote that … Continue reading Madam, Will You Talk? by Mary Stewart (1955)

The Riddle of the Sands

The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers (subtitled, A Record of Secret Service) was published in 1903 and is considered to be the first modern spy thriller.Childers had an interesting background; he was raised in Ireland, educated at Cambridge, and was a clerk in the House of Commons for fifteen years. During the First … Continue reading The Riddle of the Sands

The Unconquerable (While Still We Live) by Helen MacInnes (1944)

Twenty-three year old Sheila Matthews had been living with her Uncle Matthews in London after her parents died when she was very young. As this story begins, she is visiting the Aleksander family in Poland. Andrew Aleksander had met her when he had visited her Uncle in London and had gone home and talked about … Continue reading The Unconquerable (While Still We Live) by Helen MacInnes (1944)

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

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 … Continue reading The Citadel by A.J. Cronin