Book Review

Summer Book Reviews – Part 1

For the first few months of the year, I was powering my way towards my Goodreads target of 50 novels read in 2019. However, when we discovered I was pregnant at Easter after a long struggle to conceive, I spent so much  time stressing about making it to the 12 week scan that I just couldn’t settle to a single book until I had a fortnight’s holiday after passing the three month mark.

I got through a heap of books while on leave but have since procrastinated like mad on actually reviewing them. As there are 10 to review, I’m going to do two posts of short wee reviews rather than detailed ones. Now if I can only find the motivation to continue reading again.

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Book Review

Book Review: A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee

A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee was this month’s book club read. It was a book I discovered by chance in some ways, being totally out-with my usual periods for historical fiction, and I am so glad I did. At the Granite Noir festival in Aberdeen a couple of months ago, the opening even featured the author being interviewed by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. As my friend is a huge fan of Sturgeon, she was keen to go, and I am always keen to hear about a good historical crime novel.

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Book Review

Book Review: Mauritius Command by Patrick O’Brian

Naval fiction seems to be the theme for all my April reads so far, though this wasn’t a deliberate choice! I’ve been so enjoying this second circumnavigation of Patrick O’Brian’s  masterly series that Mauritius Command wound up jumping a few places up on my reading list. Book four in the series takes place a few years after the events of HMS Surprise and is based on the very real Mauritius campaign of 1810, putting our two protagonists right at the centre of it.

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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

Book Review: Doctor’s Orders by Diane Duane

After some heavy-going historical reading throughout January, I wanted to start the month with something a little more light-hearted in February.

I love Star Trek – for me, best sci-fi series there’s ever been – particularly the Original Series and Next Generation. Dr Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy, CMO of the USS Enterprise is my absolute favourite character; he’s sassy, sarcastic, grumpy, competent, loyal as hell and a perfect foil to Kirk and Spock. So when I was hunting for McCoy or Scotty (another favourite) centric novels, Doctor’s Orders immediately stood out.

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Book Review, History

Book Review: HMS Surprise by Patrick O’Brian

After enjoying Post Captain so much, I couldn’t really wait to get stuck into HMS Surprise, the third in Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin series. It proved to be another excellent piece of Napoleonic naval fiction; rich in action and personal drama alike.

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Book Review, History

Book Review: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

If Titans came in book form, Les Miserables would be the largest and strongest of them all. First published in 1862, it’s 1200 pages long – one of the longest novels ever written in fact – and it’s one of those works that transcends genre. It is, quite frankly, a literary masterpiece and it’s tied in first place with Persuasion as my all-time favourite novel.

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