It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This weekly meme is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

I did manage to get some reading done this week. Not as much as I would have liked, but two books finished and two started is not too bad a result for the week, plus a number of reviews written just needing some finishing touches before being posted.

What I Read Last Week

Scotland, 1830. Following the death of her husband, Lady Darby has taken refuge at her sister's estate, finding solace in her passion for painting. But when her hosts throw a house party for the cream of London society, Kiera is unable to hide from the ire of those who believe her to be as unnatural as her husband, an anatomist who used her artistic talents to suit his own macabre purposes. Kiera wants to put her past aside, but when one of the house guests is murdered, her brother-in-law asks her to utilize her knowledge of human anatomy to aid the insufferable Sebastian Gage--a fellow guest with some experience as an inquiry agent. While Gage is clearly more competent than she first assumed, Kiera isn't about to let her guard down as accusations and rumors swirl. When Kiera and Gage's search leads them to even more gruesome discoveries, a series of disturbing notes urges Lady Darby to give up the inquiry. But Kiera is determined to both protect her family and prove her innocence, even as she risks becoming the next victim...

Patrick Paniter was James IV's right-hand man, a diplomatic genius who was in charge of the guns at the disastrous battle of Flodden in September 1513 in which the English annihilated the Scots. After the death of his king he is tormented by guilt as he relives the events that led to war. When Louise Brenier, daughter of a rogue sea trader, asks his help in finding out if her brother Benoit was killed in action, it is the least he can do to salve his conscience. Not satisfied with the news he brings, Louise sets off to find out the truth herself, and swiftly falls foul of one of the lawless clans that rule the ungovernable borderlands. After Flodden is a novel about the consequences of the battle of Flodden, as seen through the eyes of several characters who either had a hand in bringing the country to war, or were profoundly affected by the outcome. There have been very few novels about Flodden, despite its significance,and none from this perspective. It's a racy adventure, combining political intrigue and romance, and its readership will be anyone who loves historical fiction, or is interested in the history of Scotland and the turbulent, ungovernable borderlands between Scotland and England.

Reading Today

I read the first chapter of Shirley on my laptop. Not finding this a comfortable way of reading, I've decided to wait for the copy I've ordered to arrive in the mail or borrow a copy from the library.

The Shirley of the title is a woman of independent means; her friend Caroline is not. Both struggle with what a woman's role is and can be. Their male counterparts - Louis, the powerless tutor, and Robert, his cloth-manufacturing brother - also stand at odds to society's expectations. The novel is set in a period of social and political ferment, featuring class disenfranchisement, the drama of Luddite machine-breaking, and the divisive effects of the Napoleonic Wars. But Charlotte Brontë's particular strength lies in exploring the hidden psychological drama of love, loss and the quest for identity. Personal and public agitation are brought together against the dramatic backdrop of her native Yorkshire. As always, Brontë challenges convention, exploring the limitations of social justice whilst telling not one but two love stories.

I didn't intend to start this book as I had others on my week's to read list, but sorting through my reading pile on Saturday, I made the mistake of reading the prologue and now I'm 23 chapters in, roaming the streets of London with Sebastian St. Cyr as he tries to clear his name....

It's 1811, and the threat of revolution haunts the upper classes of King George III's England. Then a beautiful young woman is found savagely murdered on the altar steps of an ancient church near Westminster Abbey. A dueling pistol found at the scene and the damning testimony of a witness both point to one man-Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, a brilliant young nobleman shattered by his experience in the Napoleonic Wars.

Now a fugitive running for his life, Sebastian calls upon his skill as an agent during the war to catch the killer and prove his own innocence. In the process, he accumulates a band of unlikely allies, including the enigmatic beauty Kat Boleyn, who broke Sebastian's heart years ago. In Sebastian's world of intrigue and espionage, nothing is as it seems, yet the truth may hold the key to the future of the British monarchy, as well as to Sebastian's own salvation.

Hoping to Also Read This Week 

Still on my list from last week are Run Them Ashore by Adrian Goldsworthy and The Riddle of the River by Catherine Shaw. However, there is one book that has been in my reading pile for a while, The Winter Guest by Pam Jenoff, so have added this title to my list for the week.

Life is a constant struggle for the impoverished eighteen-year-old twins Helena and Ruth Nowak as they raise their three younger siblings in rural Poland under the shadow of the Nazi occupation. The constant threat of arrest has made everyone in their village a spy, and turned neighbour against neighbour.

Though independent Helena and gentle Ruth couldn't be more different, they are staunch allies in protecting their family from the threats and the hardships the war brings closer to their doorstep.

Then Helena discovers an Allied paratrooper stranded outside their village, wounded, but alive. Risking the safety of herself and her family, she hides Sam—a Jew—but Helena's concern for the American grows into something much deeper and the dream of a life beyond the mountains beckons.

 Defying the perils that render a future together all but impossible, Sam and Helena make plans for the family to flee. But Helena is forced to contend with the jealousy her choices have sparked in Ruth, culminating in a singular act of betrayal that endangers them all—and setting in motion a chain of events that will reverberate across continents and decades.


  1. I haven't read Shirley read but I've read others by the Bronte sisters. :) I'll have to get around to it one of these days. :)

    1. The only other Bronte book I've read is Wuthering Heights. I hope to read more of their books this year. Shirley is the first.

  2. Wow - a bit of variety there Yvonne! Enjoy this week's reading!

  3. Shirley is on my TBR pile too - I hope to get to it this year :-)

    Good luck

    1. Thanks, Brona. Shirley is on a lot of reading lists this year. I decided to read it because it's set during one of my favourite time periods - the Napoleonic Wars.

  4. Love all of these books.

    The Anatomist's Wife looks good. I read The Winter Guest....loved it.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I hope you get to read Bette Lee Crosby's books. They are all amazing.

    Silver's Reviews
    My It's Monday, What Are You Reading

    1. I've just started The Winter Guest. Great so far. I've put both Bette Crosby's books on my reading wish list. Hopefully I'll get to read them soon.

    2. Will be looking forward to what you think about The Winter Guest. Pam Jenoff's books are always so good.

      Great on Bette's books. She is a wonderful author.

      Have a good day, Yvonne.