Man With A Seagull On His Head

Title: Man With A Seagull On His Head Writer: Harriet Paige Publishing House: Biblioasis Date of Publication:  February 2017 Rating: 5 stars ”The fibrous contents of her shop – so much wool and linen and cotton – seemed a dry and tangled trap around her. But here was a face that opened up a space above her head that was…

Birdsong

Title: Birdsong Writer: Sebastian Faulks Publishing House: Vintage International Date of Publication: June 2nd 1997 (first published September 27th 1993) Rating: 5 stars “But you must live your own life eventually. You have one chance only.” A poetic, heart-breaking novel, about the atrocities of war and the hope that springs even under the most harrowing circumstances. Sebastian Faulks…

The Harpy

Title: The Harpy Writer: Megan Hunter Publishing House: Grove Press Date of Publication: September 17th 2020 Rating: 5 stars ”Three. I’d said it out loud, after he did. It made a kind of neat sense, something religious about its structure. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Peter betrayed Jesus three times. A familiar number, for a good Christian girl like…

The Bass Rock

Title: The Bass Rock Writer: Evie Wyld Publishing House: Pantheon Date of Publication: September 1st 2020 (first published February 4th 2020) Rating: 2 stars ”The crow takes off and flies to the top branches of the monkey puzzle tree. It yells at me from there.” Three women, three different eras. Sarah, Ruth, Viviane. Witchcraft, abusing relationships, loss, depressions, danger…

The Voice In My Ear

Title: The Voice In My Ear Writer: Frances Leviston Publishing House: Random House UK Date of Publication:  March 19th 2020 Rating: 2 stars ”…asking tough questions of schools and other institutions, but you’re not questioning the institution you represent, which is the family, which is mothers and fathers. What role do parents play in a child’s abuse?” Ten stories centered…

The Animals at Lockwood Manor

Title: The Animals At Lockwood Manor Writer: Jane Healey Publishing House: Mantles Date of Publication: March 10th 2020 Rating: 5 stars ”Lockwood had too many empty rooms. They sat there, hushed and gaping, waiting for my mind to fill them with horrors – spectres and shadows and strange creeping creatures. And sometimes what was already there was frightening enough: empty…

Elmet

Title: Elmet Writer:Fiona Mozley Publishing House: JM Originals Date of Publication: August 10th 2017 Rating: 3 stars ”I spend an evening laid out on a moor, watching the wind, the crows, the distant vehicles caught in memories of this same land, further south; earlier, another time; then likewise caught in memories of home, of family, of the shifts…

The Foundling

Title: The Foundling Writer: Stacey Halls Publishing House: Manilla Press Date of Publication:  February 18th 2020 (paperback edition published April 7th 2020) Rating: 5 stars ”People tossed all sorts into the river, including themselves.” London, 1754. Bess is one of the unfortunate mothers who have to leave their children in the Foundling Hospital, with the desperate hope that…

Dear Mrs Bird

Title: Dear Mrs Bird Writer: A.J.Pearce Publishing House: Picador Date of Publication: April 5th 2018 Rating: 4 stars ”Μrs Bird says if people get themselves into a silly pickle, they’ve only themselves to blame.” London is trying to survive in the middle of the Blitz. The Londoners are doing their best to go on with their lives, amidst the…

At Freddie’s

Title: At Freddie’s Writer: Penelope Fitzgerald Publishing House: Fourth Estate Date of Publication: March 7th 2013 (first published 1982) Rating: 5 stars ”Although Freddie usually began by saying something gracious, the caller’s first instinct was that of self-preservation, or even to make sure that the door, now to the rear, could be reached in a hurry. Yet in fact, no…

Lancelot

Title: Lancelot Writer: Giles Kristian Publishing House: Random House UK Date of Publication: May 31st 2018 Rating: 5 stars ”I smell the rising fog of the crowd’s breath. It warms my feathers against the thin dawn air and I watch. I feel, too. More than a bird should feel. The sorrow which lies over the assembly like a shroud….

Devil’s Day

Title:Devil’s Day Writer: Andrew Michael Hurley Publishing House: John Murray Date of Publication: October 19th 2017 Rating: 4 stars ”Oh, the day is done, the honest’s won- The apples and the hay, The leaves will wither on the bough, And all will fall by Devil’s Day.” Decades ago, the Endlands were attacked by the Blizzard. Livestock and residents fell…

Gossip From The Forest

Title: Gossip From the Forest Writer: Sara Maitland Publishing House: Granta Books Date of Publication: November 1st 2012 Rating: 1 star I won’t write an elaborate (and boring…) Introduction about how much I longed to read this book. It was one of my most coveted treasures from the moment I bought it and I wanted to savour it and…

Orkney Folk Tales

Title: Orkney Folk Tales (Folk Tales from the British Isles_) Writer: Tom Muir Publishing House: The History Press Date of Publication: May 1st 2014 Rating: 5 stars ”Sometimes, during the summer months, you can see phantom islands floating on the sea where there shouldn’t be land at all. There were said to be the summer abodes of the fin folk,…

Sisters

Title: Sisters Writer: Daisy Johnson Publishing House: Random House UK Date of Publication: July 2nd 2020 Rating: 5 stars ”My sister is a black hole. My sister is a tornado. My sister is the end of the line my sister is the locked door my sister is a shot in the dark. My sister is waiting for me. My…

Alan Turing (Little People, Big Dreams)

Title: Alan Turing (Little People, Big Dreams) Writer:  Mª Isabel Sánchez Vegara (illustrated by Ashling Lindsay) Publishing House:Frances Lincoln Children’s Books Date of Publication:April 7th 2020 Rating:5 stars ”Even a broken clock is right twice a day.” (quote from the 2014 film The Imitation Game) Alan was a shy boy. His brain could work in such mysterious,…

The Ninth Child

Title:The Ninth Child Writer:Sally Magnusson Publishing House:John Murray Press Date of Publication:March 19th 2020 Rating: 4 stars ”’Tis thin, this place of water and stone and tree. Here meet north and south, Highland and Lowland, Gael and Scot. Here are mountains made too thin for awe; burns that idle over-prettily, the maist o’them, for the making…

The Doll Factory

Title:The Doll Factory Writer:Elizabeth Macneal Publishing House:Picador Date of Publication:May 2nd 2019 Rating:5 stars ”When the streets are at the darkest and quitest, a girl settles at a small desk in the cellar of a dollmaker’s shop. A bald china head sits in front of her and watches her with a vacant stare. She squeezes…

The Book Collector

Title: The Book Collector Writer: Alice Thompson Publishing House: Salt Publishing Date of Publication:November 5th 2015 Rating:5 stars ”Once I have owned a book I am longing for the next one. Collecting is a creative act. One of perpetual longing and desire. One is never fully fulfilled. Collections live in dread of satisfaction. There is that brief,…

Magical Folk: British and Irish Fairies – 500 AD to the Present

Title: Magical Folk: British and Irish Fairies – 500 AD to the Present Writer: Simon Young, Ceri Houlbrook Publishing House: Gibson Square Date of Publication: November 22nd 2017 Rating: 5 stars ”Why is it that so many fairy sightings occur while we are in bed? Why do so many children see fairies? Is it significant that several of…