Book Review

Book Review: Mr Midshipman Hornblower by C.S. Forester

After last month’s series of Revolutionary/Napoleonic-era biographies, it was back to historical fiction for me as April opened. It’s been a long time since I read the Hornblower books – I think it must have been something like 2005 originally – and I took a notion this week that I wanted to go through both the novels and TV series again.

Although Mr Midshipman Hornblower was not the first book C.S. Forester wrote chronologically to feature the character, it is the book wherein Horatio Hornblower’s career in the navy first begins.

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Book Review, History

Women’s History Month Book Review: Josephine by Kate Williams

As you can probably tell from previous posts on this blog, I have a tremendous interest *cough*obsession*cough* in the life of Napoleon Bonaparte. My bookshelves are packed full of biographies, studies of his campaigns and historical fiction set in the period in which he changed the face of Europe forever.

However, March is Women’s History Month and so this week I’ve been reading about his wife instead, in a fascinating biography by Professor Kate Williams. It made an interesting follower to last week’s biography of Marie Antoinette; containing as it did so many contrasts, similarities and parallels.

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Book Review

Women’s History Month Book Review: Marie Antoinette by Antonia Fraser

March is women’s history month and will be the theme for the rest of my book reviews for this month; a great excuse to get through some fascinating biographies!

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Book Review

Book Review: The Mystery of the Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah

The world’s favourite moustachioed detective is back for a new mystery by Sophie Hannah. I got this book at Christmas time so was well overdue for reading it. (The review will be spoiler free).

Returning home after lunch, Hercule Poirot finds an angry woman waiting outside his front door. She demands to know why Poirot has sent her a letter accusing her of the murder of Barnabas Pandy, a man she has neither heard of nor ever met.

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Book Review, Geekery

Book Review: Victory of Eagles (Temeraire 5) by Naomi Novik

Happy New Year, everyone! After a couple of slightly lax months, it’s back to the book reviews.

My first read of 2019 was the fifth of Naomi Novik’s wonderful Temeraire series. Set during the Napoleonic Wars, they feature an alternate history in which sentient dragons are teamed up with human captains to form the Aerial Corps, a branch of the armed services which exists alongside the army and navy.

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Film Review, Geekery

Film Review: Fantastic Beasts – The Crimes of Grindelwald

It’s been a looong two year wait to finally see the continuation of Newt Scamander’s adventures in the wizarding world. I remember my husband and I coming home from the midnight opening in 2016 absolutely full of excitement and adoration for this new part of the franchise and complaining “I can’t believe we have to wait two whole years to find out what happens next!”

Last night we went to the midnight opening of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (yeah, we’re die-hard geeks; who needs to go to the cinema during civilised hours?!) and all I can say is: it is most assuredly worth the wait. Don’t worry if you haven’t seen it yet though – this review will be completely spoiler free.

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Book Review, Geekery

Books Reviews: Three Sherlock Holmes Pastiches

I have something of a complex relationship with Sherlock Holmes pastiches – sometimes I really enjoy them, sometimes I’m completely ambivalent, sometimes I loathe them – but invariably I pick them apart with the relish of a pedant. Partly it’s because I’m too much of a book snob for my own good, but largely it’s due to the fact that Sherlock Holmes is a series so close to my heart that, although I always want more stories, I have almost unreasonably high standards when it comes to other people playing in the sandpit.

In the last ten days or so, I’ve got through three very different pastiches that between them showcase some of the best elements of Holmes imitations and also some of the reoccurring niggles I have with them. Here is a brief summary of what I thought about them – I will keep it spoiler free for any Holmes fans looking for a new mystery to enjoy.

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Book Review

Book Review: Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley

As I’ve spent the month rereading Jane Austen’s published works, it also seemed appropriate that I should get through the most recent of her many biographies: Jane Austen at Home by the queen of TV historians, Lucy Worsley.

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Book Review

Book Review: Lady Helena Investigates by Jane Steen

LADY HELENA INVESTIGATES
BY JANE STEEN

Publication Date: March 14, 2018
Aspidistra Press
eBook; 359 Pages
ASIN: B079SMGC7S

Series: Scott-De Quincy Mysteries, Book One
Genre: Historical Mystery

A reluctant lady sleuth finds she’s investigating her own family.

Step into Lady Helena Whitcombe’s world with the first novel in a series that will blend family saga and mystery-driven action with a slow-burn romance in seven unputdownable investigations.

1881, Sussex. Lady Helena Scott-De Quincy’s marriage to Sir Justin Whitcombe, three years before, gave new purpose to a life almost destroyed by the death of Lady Helena’s first love. After all, shouldn’t the preoccupations of a wife and hostess be sufficient to fulfil any aristocratic female’s dreams? Such a shame their union wasn’t blessed by children . . . but Lady Helena is content with her quiet country life until Sir Justin is found dead in the river overlooked by their grand baroque mansion.

The intrusion of attractive, mysterious French physician Armand Fortier, with his meddling theory of murder, into Lady Helena’s first weeks of mourning is bad enough. But with her initial ineffective efforts at investigation and her attempts to revive her long-abandoned interest in herbalism comes the realization that she may have been mistaken about her own family’s past. Every family has its secrets—but as this absorbing series will reveal, the Scott-De Quincy family has more than most.

Can Lady Helena survive bereavement the second time around? Can she stand up to her six siblings’ assumption of the right to control her new life as a widow? And what role will Fortier—who, as a physician, is a most unsuitable companion for an earl’s daughter—play in her investigations?

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