The Turn of the Screw

Title: The Turn of the Screw Writer: Henry James Publishing House: Penguin Popular Classics Date of Publication: 1994  (first published October 1898) Rating: 5 stars “I seemed to float not into clearness, but into a darker obscure, and within a minute there had come to me out of my very pity the appalling alarm of his perhaps being innocent. It…

Bellman & Black

Title: Bellman & Black Writer: Diane Setterfield Publishing House: Atria Date of Publication: November 5th 2013 Rating: 5 stars ‘’In the few minutes since the boys had left the place, rooks had come. They circled above the oak, fifteen or twenty of them. More were arriving from all directions. They stretched across the sky, loose skeins of dark marks, converging…

Things In Jars

Title: Things in Jars Writer: Jess Kidd Publishing House: Canongate Books Date of Publication: April 4th 2019 Rating: 5 stars ‘’Below her, streets and lanes, factories and workhouses, parks and prisons, ground houses and tenements, roofs, chimneys and tree tops. And the winding, sometimes shining, Thames- the sky’s own dirty mirror. The raven leaves the river behind and charts a…

Useless Magic

Title: Useless Magic Writer: Florence Welch Publishing House: Fig Tree Date of Publication: July 5th 2018 Rating: 5 stars I mean, look at the endpapers!   ‘’Songs can be incredibly prophetic, like subconscious warnings or messages to myself, but I often don’t know what I’m trying to say till years later. Or a prediction comes true and I couldn’t do…

The Haunted Dolls’ House

Title: The Haunted Dolls’ House Writer: M.R.James Publishing House: Penguin Classics Date of Publication: 2008 (first published March 1923) Rating: 5 stars My first ‘’meeting’’ with M.R.James was through the marvelous Classic Ghost Stories series narrated by the living legend that answers to the name Robert Powell. The strange thing is that for some unknown reason I hadn’t actually read…

I Am Heathcliff

Title: I Am Heathcliff: Stories Inspired by Wuthering Heights Writer: Various curated by Kate Mosse Publishing House: The Borough Press Date of Publication: July 26th 2018 Rating: 5 stars ‘’Archetypes. Stories that seem bigger than the books that contain them. Wuthering Heights is such a book. Cathy and Heathcliff are such characters.’’ I have longed and dreaded to read this…

The Poison Bed

Title: The Poison Bed Writer: Elizabeth Fremantle Publishing House: Penguin UK Date of Publication: June 14th 2018 Rating: 4 stars ‘’Whether we fall by ambition, blood, or lust Like diamonds, we are cut with our own dust.’’             The Duchess of Malfi, John Webster May I just say that this is one of the most intriguing front covers I’ve ever seen?…

Cosy: The British Art of Comfort

Title: Cosy: The British Art of Comfort Writer: Laura Weir Publishing House: HarperOne Date of Publication: November 5th 2019 Rating: 1 star How does each one of us define coziness? For me, it’s comfort and warmth regardless of the season. A mug of chocolate, a book and the caramel glow of a dimly lit room reflecting on the window. Others…

Wakenhyrst

Title: Wakenhyrst Writer: Michelle Paver Publishing House: Head of Zeus Date of Publication: April 11th 2019 Rating: 5 stars ‘’The reeds stood tall and dead: I had the oddest feeling they wanted me gone. The light was failing. I caught a swampy smell of decay. Behind me something rustles and I saw the reeds part for some unseen creature. I…

Under the Rock: Stories Carved from the Land

Title: Under the Rock: Stories Carved from the Land Writer: Benjamin Myers Publishing House:  Elliott & Thompson Date of Publication: April 25th 2019 (first published May 17th 2018) ‘’Let things settle. Let tress reach downwards, their curling roots grasping deep into the underworld. Let weeds wander, and life crawl and colonise and entangle.  Let the seasons set the pace….

The Disappeared

Title: The Disappeared Writer: Amy Lord Publishing House: Unbound Digital Date of Publication: May 2nd 2019 Rating: 2 stars ‘’They didn’t want us to remember, to get ideas outside of their control.’’ Books are a threat. Books have always been a threat in totalitarian states. The Nazis and the Communists loathe the very existence of book because they signify knowledge…

A Column of Fire

Title: A Column of Fire Writer: Ken Follett Publishing House: Viking Date of Publication: September 12th 2017 Rating: 4 stars ‘’People should hear Bible stories from their parish priest. If they start reading for themselves, they’re sure to get the wrong idea.’’ Some things never change… 1558, Kingsbridge. Europe is once again in disarray, torn by trivial religious differences. The…

Madame Zero

Title: Madame Zero Writer: Sarah Hall Publishing House: Faber & Faber Date of Publication: July 4th 2017 Rating: 4 stars ‘’The morning is clear, a few high clouds banking on the horizon. Dawn has come and gone, but it still feels fresh and damp and clean. You cycle through the hospital grounds, past the crematorium and across a small…

The Bookshop

Title: The Bookshop Writer: Penelope Fitzgerald Publishing House: HarperCollins Date of Publication: January 30th 2014 (first published 1978) Rating: 5 stars ”A good book is the precious lifeblood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life,” and as such it must surely be a necessary commodity. ” Sometimes you have to fight against…

Occult London

Title: Occult London Writer: Merlin Coverley Publishing House: Oldcastle Books Date of Publication: May 1st 2018 (first published June 1st 2007) Rating: 4 stars ‘’London is a city whose origins remain obscure and whose identity remains bound up with the mythical and the legendary, the hidden and the occult.’’ One of my most beloved semi-urban myths/ modern fables/ occult instances/…

Μystical Britain and Ireland

Title: Mystical Britain and Ireland Writer: Richard Jones (photography by John Mason) Publishing House: New Holland Australia Date of Publication: August 10th 2006 (first published 2003) Rating: 5 stars ‘’Those who pace its lanes and squares may yet hear the echoes of their footsteps on the sounding stones and read upon its gates…’’Who enters here leaves noise behind.’’ Charles Dickens…

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-…