Book Review: The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang

The Poppy War is the first in a historical–fantasy trilogy, based on the second Sino-Japanese war but with a fictional setting and characters. In the kingdom of Nikara, in the southern Rooster province lives a young orphan Rin in a small village Tikany. Her parents, dead, she is being brought up by foster parents, the…

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Book Review: The Familiars by Stacey Halls

Lancashire 1612: The trial of the ‘Pendle witches’, twelve accused living around Pendle Hill in Lancashire at the time, most from two families the Devices and Chattoxes who apparently also made allegations against each other, besides others including one Alice Grey. The group was alleged to be responsible for the deaths of 10 people through…

Book Review: Black Butterflies by Priscilla Morris

My thanks to Duckworth Books and NetGalley for a review copy of this book. Black Butterflies is a beautiful, powerful, heart-wrenching, and haunting story of a city torn by war, and of its people, coping not only with the adversities of daily living, but also the helplessness and heartbreak of seeing the city they love…

Book Review: In Place of Fear by Catriona McPherson

My thanks to Hodder and Stoughton for an invitation to read this book via NetGalley. In Place of Fear is a piece of historical fiction, and a mystery set in post-World-War-II Edinburgh against the backdrop of the introduction of the NHS. Our protagonist Helen Crowther is a young woman, about to begin a new job…

Book Review: Traitor in the Ice by K.J. Maitland

My thanks to Rachel Quin at Headline for a widget of this book via NetGalley. While a second in series, Traitor in the Ice was my introduction to the Daniel Pursglove series of historical mysteries by K.J. Maitland, a book I found to be an intense and engrossing read with excellent historical detail and atmosphere.…

Book Review: The Second Person from Porlock by Dennis Hamley

My thanks to NetGalley and Fairlight books for a review copy of this one. The Second Person from Porlock is a novel of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, of his life and relationships, and of his poetry (particularly Kubla Khan, the Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Christabel), and also of two young men who embark on…

Book Review: Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann #GermanLitMonth

The delightful, clever and entertaining Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann (translated by Carol Brown Janeway) tells us the stories of two eccentric geniuses—the explorer, geographer and polymath Alexander von Humboldt and mathematician and physicist, Carl Friedrich Gauss. Our story begins in September 1828 when the German Scientific Congress is being held in Berlin, and…

Book Review: The Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver Potzsch #GermanLitMonth

The Hangman’s Daughter is the first in a series of historical mysteries set in seventeenth-century Bavaria, and combines a historical background and characters with a fictional plotline to give us an interesting but intense read. The book takes us to the town of Schongau, where Jakob Kuisl is the hangman/executioner, having taken over the job…

Book Review: Murder at the Savoy by Jim Eldridge

My thanks to Allison and Busby and NetGalley for a review copy of this book. Murder at the Savoy is the second in the Hotel Mysteries series by Jim Eldridge, set in 1940s London in the midst of the blitz. In this historical mystery, we follow Chief Inspector Coburg who is from an aristocratic background,…