It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This weekly meme is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey

E-books dominated my reading last week. This was a momentous occasion for me, as I very rarely read in this format.

The first of the three e-books I read was Salamanca Cottage by Mary Fitzgerald. The reason I chose this book was the title. Salamanca hinted at a connection to the Napoleonic Wars, although the actual setting is World War II. This was a great introduction to an author I hadn't read before and I will certainly read more books by Mary Fitzgerald.

I continued with the next two books in Ashley Gardner's Regency mysteries featuring Captain Lacey, A Regimental Affair and The Glass House. Ten books, plus some novellas and short stories, make up this series and will keep me entertained for a while.

Homeland by Clare Francis proved a very interesting read, dealing with a subject not often used as the basis of a novel.

This week I'm still reading The Dead Secret by Wilkie Collins, but so far it has not grabbed my interest as I hoped it would. However, the first few chapters have introduced the main characters and I'm anticipating that now this has been done the pace will pick up.

I'm also reading another e-book, TimeStorm by Steve Harrison. This is an unusual time slip/time travel story: an 18th century convict ship sails into Sydney Harbour in 2017. I've read two-thirds so far and can't read fast enough to find out what happens to the crew and the convicts, and if they make it back to their own time.

I'm not sure what my next read will be. My library borrowings this week include two novels by Fiona Mountain, Lady of the Butterflies/Rebel Heiress and Pale as the Dead, Christina Courtney's The Silent Touch of Shadows and Judith Cutler's The Keeper of Secrets, the first book of her Tobias Campion mysteries. All look like great reads.

What I Read Last Week

Homeland by Clare Francis

It is 1946, and the eve of the harshest winter for a hundred years. Servicemen are pouring home from the war to a Britain beset by stringent shortages and a desperate housing crisis. Anxieties are heightened by the unexpected arrival of the soldiers of the Second Polish Corps, whose refusal to go back to Poland is regarded with impatience and suspicion. As anti-Polish propaganda reaches its height, newly demobbed Billy Greer reluctantly agrees to take on a young Polish veteran named Wladyslaw Malinowski as a labourer on his uncle's withy farm in the heart of the Somerset wetlands. Stella, the local schoolteacher, has been waiting for the return of Lyndon Hanley, a hero of the Burma Campaign, but increasingly finds herself drawn to the beguiling Wladyslaw. As the country is brought to its knees by blizzards and hardships, the tensions of post-war life lead to mistrust, accusation and ultimately death. 

Salamanca Cottage by Mary Fitzgerald (E-book)

Grief can overwhelm and Aurelia Smith, a young, newly widowed, nurse, retreats to a country cottage in order to find peace and hug to herself the memory of her soldier husband. 

But Salamanca Cottage is not all that it seems and soon she finds that she is not alone. Then she has decide if the being she talks to and finds herself becoming fond of is real or merely a manifestation of her grief and longing.

A Regimental Murder by Ashley Gardner (#2 Captain Lacey Regency Mysteries)(E-book)

Returning home through a sticky London night in July 1816, Captain Gabriel Lacey is surprised to see a well-dressed, elegant woman stride to the middle of an unfinished bridge. Following her in curiosity, Lacey is on hand to rescue her from an attack by a footpad. As grateful as she is for the help, the lady refuses to give her name and direction, and so Lacey takes her to his own rooms in a street off Covent Garden to rest. He discovers that she is one Lydia Westin, wife of Colonel Roehampton Westin, who has recently been accused of murdering an English officer in Portugal during the Peninsular War. Before he could come to trial, however, Colonel Westin was found dead at the foot of the staircase in his own house. Lydia Westin, to Lacey's surprise, declares he was murdered and that she knows the culprits' identities. Intrigued, Lacey begins to investigate, and soon finds himself mired in scandals past and present, with a journalist dogging his footsteps, eager to print Lacey's latest adventure ...

The Glass House by Ashley Gardner (#3 Captain Lacey Regency Mysteries)(E-book)

On a cold January night in 1817, former cavalry officer Captain Gabriel Lacey is summoned to the banks of the Thames to identify the body of a young woman. When Lacey looks at the pretty, dead young woman, cut down too soon, he vows to find her murderer.
Lacey's search takes him to the Glass House, a sordid gaming hell that played a large part in the victim's past, as well as to gatherings of the haut ton and the chambers of respectable Middle Temple barristers. Lacey uncovers secrets from the highborn and the low, finds himself drawn deeper into the schemes of a crime lord, and explores his tentative new friendship with Lady Breckenridge.

What I'm Reading Today

The Dead Secret by Wilkie Collins

... Like much of Collins's work, "The Dead Secret" explores the consequences of a single, hidden act. The Cornish mansion Porthgenna harbors the secret of such an act, one that has ruined the life of the servant girl Sarah Leeson. This same secret lies hidden for fifteen years until the heiress to Porthgenna, Rosamund Treverton, returns and exposes it. Her detective work may reveal the truth, but her revelation of a long-forgotten crime could mean disaster for her and the entire estate ...

TimeStorm by Steve Harrison (E-book)

In 1795 a convict ship leaves England for New South Wales in Australia. Nearing its destination, the vessel miraculously survives a savage storm and limps into Sydney Harbour, where the convicts rebel and escape.

But the year is now 2017...

What I Hope to Read Next

Lady of the Butterflies by Fiona Mountain

Born into a world seething with treachery and suspicion, Eleanor Goodricke grows up on the Somerset Levels just after the English Civil Wars, heiress to her late mother's estates and daughter of a Puritan soldier who fears for his brilliant daughter with her dangerous passion for natural history - and for butterflies in particular. Her reckless courage will take her to places where no woman of her day ever dared to go. Her fearless ambition will give her a place in history for all time. But it is her passionate heart which will lead her into a consuming love - and mortal peril.

Pale as the Dead by Fiona Mountain

Natasha Blake is a detective with a difference. She's an ancestor detective, an ambitious young genealogist with a passion for history, whose choice of career is partly driven by the mystery of her own roots. Natasha's investigations are a matter of life and death, involving secrets, scandals and supernatural happenings; forgotten tragedies and buried crimes. The trails she must follow lead her from her Cotswold home to ancient houses, deserted chapels, overgrown graveyards and into cyberspace. Her clients could be anyone for whom the past affects the present - the haunted, the hopeful, or the just plain curious. The disappearance of a young girl, Bethany, appears to be linked in some way to Lizzie Siddall, the haunting, ethereal Pre-Raphaelite model and artist, wife of painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Lizzie's tragic life was cut short by an overdose of laudanum. Was it accident or suicide? Why is Bethany so obsessed with her, and at the same time so determined to put herself beyond the reach of her lover, Adam?

The Silent Touch of Shadows by Christina Courtenay

Professional genealogist Melissa Grantham receives an invitation to visit her family’s ancestral home, Ashleigh Manor. From the moment she arrives, life-like dreams and visions haunt her. The spiritual connection to a medieval young woman and her forbidden lover have her questioning her sanity, but Melissa is determined to solve the mystery.
Jake Precy, owner of a nearby cottage, has disturbing dreams too, but it’s not until he meets Melissa that they begin to make sense. He hires her to research his family’s history, unaware their lives are already entwined. Is the mutual attraction real or the result of ghostly interference?
A haunting love story set partly in the present and partly in fifteenth century Kent.

 The Keeper of Secrets by Judith Cutler

England, 1810: Young Parson Tobias Campion is excited and nervous to be starting at the small parish of Moreton Priory. But his first night in the village brings excitement of the wrong kind when he has to intervene in the attempted rape of housemaid Lizzie Woodman. Even in the normal course of events life in the village is far from quiet, as soon Tobias has to deal with both violent and suspicious deaths which put his character and ministry to the test. But matters come to a head when Lizzie disappears from her employers. What has become of the girl and who is responsible? As Tobias searches for answers they find themselves delving into the dark secrets that haunt Lizzie's past. A perfect blend of historical novel and sophisticated thriller, "The Keeper of Secrets" is a treat for crime lovers everywhere.

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