The Dollmaker

Title: The Dollmaker Writer: Nina Allan Publishing House: Quercus Books Date of Publication: April 4th 2019 Rating: 5 stars ‘’In 21 cases there was death but no burial; in 10, funerals but no burials; in 8, funerals but no death.’’ Dolls never found a top spot in my favourite toys list. My mum didn’t like them at all but my…

Dylan Thomas – The Collected Stories

Title: The Collected Stories by Dylan Thomas Writer: Dylan Thomas Publishing House: New Directions Date of Publication: October 17th 1986 (first published June 1st 1983) Rating: 5 stars ‘’He would think that love fails on such nights, and that many of its children are cut down.’’ Dylan Thomas is the writer who made me love poetry with his dark imagery…

Lakeland Folk Tales for Children

Title: Lakeland Folk Tales For Children Writer: Taffy Thomas Publishing House: The History Press Date of Publication: January 1st 2017 Rating: 5 stars ‘’I’m a teller of tales, a spinner of yarns, A weaver of dreams and a liar. I’ll teach you some stories to tell to Your friends, While sitting at home by the fire.’’ ‘’The Storyteller’’ by Mike…

Sping: An Anthology for the Changing Seasons

Title: Spring: An Anthology for the Changing Seasons Writer: edited by Melissa Harrison Publishing House: Elliott & Thompson Date of Publication: February 18th 2016 Rating: 5 stars ‘’It is Spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black, the cobblestreets silent and the hunched courters’ – and rabbits’ wood limping invisible down to the shoe-black, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboat-…

The Conviction of Cora Burns

Title: The Conviction of Cora Burns Writer: Carolyn Kirby Publishing House: Dzanc Books Date of Publication: March 21st 2019 Rating: 5 stars ‘’Cora Burns. Born to crime.’’ A young woman, named Cora Burns, hears the gates of Birmingham Gaol closing behind her. She is free from her incarceration but not from her past. A horrible dead has been haunting her…

Dark Quartet

Title: Dark Quartet Writer: Lynne Reid Banks Publishing House: Sapere Books Date of Publication: June 26th 2018 (first published January 1st 1976) Rating: 1 star ‘’You know, Charlotte, I sometimes think – don’t laugh, will you?- that Emily’s strength comes from the moors. She’s like a tree, planted tree, and if she’s uprooted it won’t matter how tough her…

The Snakes

Title: The Snakes Writer: Sadie Jones Publishing House: Random House UK Date of Publication:March 7th 2019 Rating: 4 stars ‘’We were a family and now we’re not any more. We’re the wrong number. It’s all wrong. I can’t cry. I can’t.’’ The times we live in are uncertain, turbulent, obscure. Financial insecurity, fear caused by leaders who dream of…

A Cat, A Hat and a Piece of String

Title: A Cat, A Hat and A Piece Of String Writer: Joanne Harris Publishing House: Black Swan Date of Publication: January 16th 2014 (first published November 8th 2012) Rating: 4 stars ‘’I see now that there can be no leaving. I am a broken clock, frozen forever at an impossible hour. Let others move on, if they must, if they…

The Familiars

Title: The Familiars Writer: Stacey Halls Publishing House: MIRA Date of Publication: February 19th 2019 (first published February 7th 2019) Rating: 5 stars ‘’Justice means fairness. Luck of prejudice.’’ I’ve always loved Pendle Hill and the stories of the women who were accused of witchcraft during one of the darkest moments in the history of Europe. The fascinating legends found…

Once Upon A River

  Title: Once Upon A River Writer: Diane Setterfield Publishing House: Penguin Random House UK Date of Publication: January 24th 2019 (first published December 4th 2018) Rating: 5 stars ‘’Around Radcot they grow the watercress, harvest it, crate it up and send it to the towns in barges, but they don’t eat it. It’s bitter, they complain, so bitter it…

Blackberry and Wild Rose

Title: Blackberry and Wild Rose Writer: Sonia Velton Publishing House: Quercus Date of Publication: January 10th 2019 Rating: 3 stars ‘’But there are no secrets in London. Even the houses lean across the narrow alleys towards each other and offer up their scandals in the blink of an open curtain.’’ A woman is trying to break the norms of…

The Light In The Dark

Title: The Light In The Dark Writer: Horatio Clare Publishing House:  Elliott & Thompson Date of Publication: November 1st 2018 Rating: 5 stars ‘’Winter in the mountains is arresting in its drama, the light melting over the Brecon Beacons as though it carries cold in it, not heat. There are the lakes of mist, too, the sun riding high…

Cornish Short Stories: A Collection of Contemporary Cornish Writing

Title: Cornish Short Stories: A Collection of Contemporary Cornish Writing Writer: Edited by Emma Timpany and Felicity Notley Publishing House: The History Press Date of Publication: April 2nd 2018 Rating: 4 stars ‘’It was an Indian summer. Everyone said so. She enjoyed the sound of the words. In her mind they conjured a burning orange sky over parched hillsides and…

Dusk: Stories and Poems from Solstice Shorts Festival

Title: Dusk: Stories and Poems from Solstice Shorts Festival 2017 Writer: Edited by Cherry Potts Publishing House: Arachne Press Date of Publication: 2018 Rating: 5 stars ‘’On he ambles, down the avenue where the bark of the beech trees traits silvery, lichen beards. Their dark, wind-sculpted branches reach out for the sky, wild as the hair of Macbeth’s crones.’’…

Winter: An Anthology for the Changing Seasons

Title: Winter: An Anthology for the Changing Seasons Writer: edited by Melissa Harrison Publishing House: Elliott & Thompson Date of Publication: October 20th 2016 Rating: 5 stars ‘’Quickly, days short, somehow we all adjust and welcome the dark, for it is neither threatening nor smothering. Darkness becomes a thing of joy and vivid beauty in its own right. When early…

Christmas Days

Title: Christmas Days: 12 Stories and 12 Feasts for 12 Days Writer: Jeanette Winterson Publishing House: Random House UK Date of Publication: November 1st 2018 (first published November 2016) Rating: 5 stars It’s Jeanette Winterson, people. I could read her shopping list and still be a happy reader. In Christmas Days we have her impeccable style and stories about Christmas. What could…

The Sing of the Shore

Title: The Sing of the Shore Writer: Lucy Wood Publishing House: 4th Estate Date of Publication:  April 5th 2018 Rating: 5 stars ‘’Winters are when people disappear. One minute you’re elbow on the street, the next you walk along sidestepping nothing but the wind. Cafes put down their blinds. Houses are locked and dark. The car parks slowly empty and…

House of Glass

Title: House of Glass Writer: Susan Fletcher Publishing House: Virago Date of Publication: November 1st 2018 Rating: 5 stars ‘’This was the time of day my mother had warned me against, years before. The half-light, she explained, can change how things appear so that distances may seem less. Our eyes might detect movement when in fact there is none; a…

How To Be Human

Title: How To Be Human Writer: Paula Cocozza Publishing House: Metropolitan Books Date of Publication: May 9th 2017 Rating: 5 stars ‘’Focus, Mary. Don’t let him go now. So what if you’re tired and hungry. So what if you’ve crawled to the end of another miserable day in a job you hate, and tomorrow will bring only more of the…

Girl, Balancing and Other Stories

Title: Girl, Balancing & Other Stories Writer: Helen Dunmore Publishing House: Hutchinson Books Date of Publication: June 28th 2018 Rating: 5 stars ”Outside, the fog that had hung over the city for days had blown away, and there was a cold, wild look to the sky.” I found out about Helen Dunmore’s passing not long after I read her final…