It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This weekly meme is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Not a very exciting week for me reading-wise. One novel completed, two started and more added to my reading pile.

What I Read Last Week

A Fine Summer's Day by Charles Todd

On a fine summer's day in June, 1914, Ian Rutledge pays little notice to the assassination of an archduke in Sarajevo. An Inspector at Scotland Yard, he is planning to propose to the woman whom he deeply loves, despite intimations from friends and family that she may not be the wisest choice. To the north on this warm and gentle day, another man in love-a Scottish Highlander-shows his own dear girl the house he will build for her in September. While back in England, a son awaits the undertaker in the wake of his widowed mother's death. This death will set off a series of murders across England, seemingly unconnected, that Rutledge will race to solve in the weeks before the fateful declaration in August that will forever transform his world .........

This is the first novel I've read by Charles Todd. I enjoyed it and am now looking forward to reading the first book in the series.

Reading Today

The French Executioner by C.C. Humphreys  (The French Executioner Series #1)

It is 1536, and the expert swordsman, Jean Rombaud, has been brought over from France by Henry VIII to behead his wife, Anne Boleyn. But on the eve of her execution Rombaud swears a vow to the ill-fated queen - to bury her six-fingered hand, symbol of her rumoured witchery, at a sacred crossroads. Yet in a Europe ravaged by religious war, the hand of this infamous Protestant icon is so powerful a relic that many will kill for it...From a battle between slave galleys to a black mass in a dungeon, through the hallucinations of St Anthony's Fire to the fortress of an apocalyptic Messiah, Jean seeks to honour his vow.

Shores of Darkness by Diana Norman

For Martin Millet of the Dragoons it began on the turbulent summer day in 1706 when he returned from the French wars to find his Aunt Effie murdered and himself sole inheritor of her lodging house and her serving girl Bratchet, neither of which he wanted. For Daniel Defoe, political hack, failed merchant and debtor, it had begun a little earlier, on the equally inauspicious day when they put him in the pillory for seditious libel and he was accosted by an enormous orange-haired Highlander. The Scotsman is seeking a young kinswoman, Anne Bard, and offers Defoe money to help him find her. Then, surprisingly, a Minister of State does the same, for Anne Bard may be able to answer the question that is tearing the country apart. The ageing Queen Anne is childless, leaving the future king to be chosen between a Protestant Hanoverian and a Catholic Jacobite, neither of whom is popular. What, however, if there were a third choice: another true Stuart, but a Protestant? Defoe, the threat of Newgate hanging over him, can hardly refuse. And since Anne Bard's last known address was Aunt Effie's lodging house, Defoe employs two even more unlikely spies to help him: Millet and his troublesome legacy, the Bratchet. Followed by the mysterious Highlander, their search takes them to Flanders where the Duke of Marlborough is fighting the French, to the court of the Sun King Louis XIV himself, into piracy and finally, unwillingly, into the world of the darkest trade of all. Yet all the time, had they but known it, the answer lies at home, dangerously close to Queen Anne herself.

Once again I have set aside one book for another. I had started The French Executioner and was enjoying the tale, but then I collected Diana Norman's novel Shores of Darkness from the library, read the prologue and now I'm more than halfway through this book and unable to put it down.

What I Hope to Read Next

Blood Ties by C.C. Humphreys (The French Executioner #2)

Years have gone by since the events surrounding the death of Anne Boleyn. But her missing hand and all that it represents to the dark world of 16th-century Europe still draws the powerful to seek it out. Jean Rombaud - the French executioner of the first novel - has grown old, both in age and spirit. Wearied by the betrayal of a son and the scorn of a wife, he fights in the seemingly never-ending siege of Siena. Meanwhile, Gianni Rombaud has forsaken everything his ageing father stands for and now kills heathen for the Inquisition in Rome. Then he is summoned by Cardinal Carafa himself. His masters no longer merely want his dagger in the hearts of Jews, they want the hand of the dead queen...But only three people know where it is buried, and one of them is Gianni's father...

Gallipoli Street by Mary Anne O'Connor

An Anzac tale of three families whose destinies are entwined by war, tragedy and passion.
At 17, Veronica O’Shay is happier running wild on the family farm than behaving in the ladylike manner her mother requires, and she despairs both of her secret passion for her brother’s friend Jack Murphy and what promises to be a future of restraint and compliance. 
But this is 1913 and the genteel tranquillity of rural Beecroft is about to change forever as the O’Shay and Murphy families, along with their friends the Dwyers, are caught up in the theatre of war and their fates become intertwined.
From the horrors of Gallipoli to the bloody battles of the Somme, through love lost and found, the Great Depression and the desperate jungle war along the Kokoda Track, this sprawling family drama brings to life a time long past… a time of desperate love born in desperate times and acts of friendship against impossible odds.
A love letter to Australian landscape and character, Gallipoli Street celebrates both mateship and the enduring quality of real love. But more than that, this book shows us where we have come from as a nation, by revealing the adversity and passions that forged us.
A stunning novel that brings to life the love and courage that formed our Anzac tradition.

My Dear, I Wanted to Tell You by Louisa Young

A letter, two lovers, a terrible lie. In war, truth is only the first casualty. 'Inspires the kind of devotion among its readers not seen since David Nicholls' One Day' The Times While Riley Purefoy and Peter Locke fight for their country, their survival and their sanity in the trenches of Flanders, Nadine Waveney, Julia Locke and Rose Locke do what they can at home. Beautiful, obsessive Julia and gentle, eccentric Peter are married: each day Julia goes through rituals to prepare for her beloved husband's return. Nadine and Riley, only eighteen when the war starts, and with problems of their own already, want above all to make promises - but how can they when the future is not in their hands? And Rose? Well, what did happen to the traditionally brought-up women who lost all hope of marriage, because all the young men were dead? Moving between Ypres, London and Paris, My Dear I Wanted to Tell You is a deeply affecting, moving and brilliant novel of love and war, and how they affect those left behind as well as those who fight.


  1. Gallipoli Street is coming up on my reading list soon, I hope you enjoy it.

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

    1. Thanks Shelleyrae. It looks like it will be an excellent read.

  2. I'm so glad to hear you're enjoying Shores of Darkness. I look forward to your report after you're done. Just rereading the blurb reminds me of how much I loved that book.

    Gallipoli Street is now on my wishlist. I'm guessing I'll have to buy it from overseas but it sounds like it will be worth it.

    1. Diana Norman's writing style makes for an effortless read. I'm so glad you recommended Shores of Darkness. I'm still trying to obtain a copy of Fitzempress' Law.

      I hope you manage to get a copy of Gallipoli Street. I'm looking forward to reading it.

    2. I just found a copy of Gallipoli Street at Fishpond (free postage to the US helps!) and placed an order. It looks like my type of book.

      Hope Fitzempress' Law is obtainable somehow. It would be nice if her older books were all brought back into print!

    3. Well done! Free postage is always a deal sweetener!

      My library is usually good with older books, but for some reason they didn't have a copy of Fitzempress' Law. I'll keep looking. May be a copy will come along at the right price!