This Week's Library Borrowings

My borrowings this week are a bit of a mixture, all except one from authors I've not read before.

 The Widow's Confession by Sophia Tobin

I enjoyed Sophia Tobin's first novel, The Silversmith's Wife, so when I spied this in the library it was a must read for me. Plus I was taken with the cover. Who was the woman signalling to?

 Broadstairs, Kent, 1851. Once a sleepy fishing village, now a select sea-bathing resort, this is a place where people come to take the air, and where they come to hide...

Delphine and her cousin Julia have come to the seaside with a secret, one they have been running from for years. The clean air and quiet outlook of Broadstairs appeal to them and they think this is a place they can hide from the darkness for just a little longer. Even so, they find themselves increasingly involved in the intrigues and relationships of other visitors to the town.

But this is a place with its own secrets, and a dark past. And when the body of a young girl is found washed up on the beach, a mysterious message scrawled on the sand beside her, the past returns to haunt Broadstairs and its inhabitants. As the incomers are drawn into the mystery and each others' lives, they realise they cannot escape what happened here years before.....

Loxley by Sally Wragg 

When I first read this title I thought it was a novel about Robin Hood, but I was so wrong.

When Harry Loxley, the 11th Duke, is called away to the Western Front, he leaves behind his young wife Bronwyn to run the estate and cope alone with her formidable mother-in-law, Katherine the Dowager. Aware her marriage is already in trouble, Bronwyn finds herself increasingly drawn to the life of Nell, the 5th Duchess of Loxley and guardian of its ancient walls, at a time when the country is engaged in a bloody civil war. What is Nell's secret, and why is her tortured ghost said to haunt the hall? Bronwyn's search for answers reveals parallels with her own that she could never have imagined.

The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford

I've not read any novels by Ford Maddox Ford, but know of Parade's End due to the mini-series shown on television recently.

Before the First World War, two wealthy and sophisticated couples - one English, one American - travel, socialise and take the waters in the spa towns of Europe. They are 'playing the game' in style. That game has begun to unravel, however. With compelling attention to the comic and the tragic results, the American narrator reveals his growing awareness of the social intrigues and emotional betrayals that lie behind its facade...
The Two Hotel Francforts by David Leavitt

It is the summer of 1940, and Lisbon is the only neutral port left in Europe. it is a city overcrowded with exiles, forced there by Hitler's invasion of France; a city filled with spies, with refugees of every nationality, tipping back absinthe to while away the time until they can escape.

In this precarious atmosphere, both glamourous and seedy, two couples awaiting safe passage to New York on the SS Manhattan meet. The Winters, Julia and Pete, are middle-class expatriate Americans fleeing their sedate life in Paris; the Frelengs, Edward and Iris, are elegant, independently wealthy, bohemian. Both are beset by all the social and sexual anxieties of their age.

As Europe sinks inexorably into war, the hidden threads which bind these four characters begin to unravel.

The Norfolk Mystery by Ian Sansom 

This novel looked like a fun read, especially when it was pitched to those who love Miss Marple. I've read a few Miss Marple novels, but I'm a great fan of the Miss Marple series on television.

The Norfolk Mystery  is the first of a new detective series where every county is a crime scene. As there are 39 counties, this series will go on forever!

It is 1937 and disillusioned Spanish Civil War veteran Stephen Sefton is stony broke. So when he sees a mysterious advertisement for a job where 'intelligence is essential', he applies. Thus begins Sefton's association with Professor Swanton Morley, an omnivorous intellect. 

Morley's latest project is a history of traditional England, with a guide to every county. They start in Norfolk, but when the vicar of Blakeney is found hanging from his church's bellrope, Morley and Sefton find themselves drawn into a rather more fiendish plot. Did the Reverend really take his own life, or was it - murder? 


  1. I'll be interested to hear what you think of Widow's Confession. I love a good gothic mystery, and the cover is certainly enticing. The Silversmith's Wife was a book I bought earlier this year and am looking forward to reading.

    1. I really enjoyed The Silversmith's Wife, so I'm hoping The Widow's Confession is just as good or even better.