Updated: Nov 2, 2020
There are only three books featured for this month: The Diabolical Bones by Bella Ellis, Hamnett by Maggie O'Farrell and Cancer Daily Life by Carola Schmidt.
To order any of the books listed, please visit my bookshop.org.
The Diabolical Bones by Bella Ellis
Expected publication date February 16th 2021 by Berkley Books
Haworth Parsonage, February 1846: The Bronte sisters-- Anne, Emily, and Charlotte--are busy with their literary pursuits. As they query publishers for their poetry, each sister hopes to write a full-length novel that will thrill the reading public. They're also hoping for a new case for their fledgling detecting enterprise, Bell Brothers and Company solicitors. On a bitterly cold February evening, their housekeeper Tabby tells them of a grim discovery at Scar Top House, an old farmhouse belonging to the Bradshaw family. A set of bones has been found bricked up in a chimney breast inside the ancient home.
I stayed up night after night reading just a little bit more! It was just so exciting! I wasn't sure how the writer was going to fulfil my expectations because the premise was so ambitious...a novel featuring three of the most famous Victorian female writers, the Bronte sisters. The book needed to have well rounded characters that had to feel accurate, not just in terms of both the place and period, but also according to what is known historically about the family and also a compelling plot that lived up to it's dramatic gothic title. I was not disappointed! I loved the plot in itself, but the little hints of how their adventure and detective work then inspired the Brontes novels was such fun. The tone and language was just right, a nod to the period but with a contemporary feel that made it very easy to read. I loved it...not sure what to read now, feeling bereft!
Hamnett by Maggie O’Farrell
Published March 31st 2020 by Tinder Press
Drawing on Maggie O'Farrell's long-term fascination with the little-known story behind Shakespeare's most enigmatic play, HAMNET is a luminous portrait of a marriage, at its heart the loss of a beloved child. Warwickshire in the 1580s. Agnes is a woman as feared as she is sought after for her unusual gifts. She settles with her husband in Henley street, Stratford, and has three children: a daughter, Susanna, and then twins, Hamnet and Judith. The boy, Hamnet, dies in 1596, aged eleven.
Four years or so later, the husband writes a play called Hamlet.
I spent most of the book waiting to feel moved in some way, but it didn't happen. Maybe because it was slow and meandering, with so many flash backs and also maybe because of the narrating style. It might have been more impactful if written in first person present tense as Philippa Gregory does, and I may have felt less removed and more engaged as a result. I wish I hadn't been expecting such an emotional journey and then I think I would have enjoyed it more for what it is.
Cancer Daily Life is a bittersweet collection of single and double-frame strips that only readers who are highly involved with the C world could relate to. It’s sometimes cute and sweet, sometimes acid, sometimes trivial, sometimes funny, just like daily life.
Simple, moving and inspiring. I think this could be valuable for all ages both for those going through cancer treatment and those supporting their loved ones.
Thank you to the author for an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.