It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This weekly meme is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Last week I picked up  The Lost Child by Caryl Phillips with mixed feelings. This book piqued my interest by the blurb's reference to the Wuthering Heights character, Heathcliffe. I hoped that the first chapter or two would entice me to keep reading, but sadly the vibe wasn't there. For the time being, I've set this one aside.

However, two other books in my reading pile that did grab my attention were The Misbegotten by Katherine Webb and Letters to the Lost by Iona Grey. Not intending to read them as I was engrossed in Lady of the Butterflies, I was drawn to their covers and couldn't resist a peek inside. Both were very quick reads and I enjoyed them though they were vastly different. 

Letters to the Lost  is a dual time frame narrative about a World War II romance and a young woman's determination, in the present day, to fulfill a dying man's wish. This was a very emotional read, but a lovely one. 

Katherine Webb's The Misbegotten is an unusual mystery. It is set in 1821 with flashbacks to the years leading up to the disappearance of Alice, betrothed to Jonathan and loved as a sister by Starling. Lots of twists in this one before what happened to Alice is revealed.

Last week I also read Rachel Ray by Anthony Trollope, The Silent Tide by Rachel Hore and a book of short stories by Elizabeth Gaskell, Curious, if True.

My aim this week is to finish Lady of the Butterflies and The Last Embrace before moving on to The Love of a Lifetime  by Mary Fitzgerald. At the moment I seem to be gravitating towards novels set during World War II. 

What I Read Last Week

Rachel Ray by Anthony Trollope

Luke Rowan has inherited a share of the Bengall and Tappitt Brewery in Baselhurst, Devon. He travels there from London and is welcomed into the home of the Tappitts. He meets Rachel Ray, a friend of the Tappitt daughters, and falls in love. Luke and Rachel become engaged, but the relationship causes controversy in the town. When Luke returns to London after a dispute with Mr. Tappitt over the brewery, rumours circulate that he has not behaved in a gentlemanly fashion and Rachel is advised to break off the engagement ...

The Silent Tide by Rachel Hore

When Emily Gordon, editor at a London publishing house, commissions an account of great English novelist Hugh Morton, she finds herself steering a tricky path between Morton's formidable widow, Jacqueline, who's determined to protect his secrets, and the biographer, charming and ambitious Joel Richards. But someone is sending Emily mysterious missives about Hugh Morton's past and she discovers a buried story that simply has to be told… One winter's day in 1948, nineteen year old Isabel Barber arrives at her Aunt Penelope's house in Earl's Court having run away from home to follow her star. A chance meeting with an East European refugee poet leads to a job with his publisher, McKinnon & Holt, and a fascinating career beckons. But when she develops a close editorial relationship with charismatic young debut novelist Hugh Morton and the professional becomes passionately personal, not only are all her plans put to flight, but she finds herself in a struggle for her very survival. Rachel Hore's intriguing and suspenseful new novel magnificently evokes the milieux of London publishing past and present and connects the very different worlds of two young women, Emily and Isabel, who through their individual quests for truth, love and happiness become inextricably linked.

The Misbegotten by Katherine Webb

Bath, England, 1821. Rachel Crofton escapes the binds of her unhappy employment as a governess by marrying a charming self-made businessman. She sees a chance to create the family and home she has so long been without, but her new life soon takes an unexpected turn. Through her new husband's connections, Rachel is invited to become the companion of the reclusive Jonathan Alleyn, a man tortured by memories of the Peninsula War, and tormented by the disappearance of his childhood sweetheart, Alice. Starling, foundling servant to the Alleyn family, is convinced that Alice, the woman she loved as a sister, was stolen from her. Did Alice run away? Or did something altogether more sinister occur? Starling is determined to uncover the truth. Others want only to forget, and will go to extreme lengths to do so. Rachel's arrival has an unsettling effect on the whole Alleyn household, and suddenly it seems that the dark deeds of the past will no longer stay contained.Shattering truths lurk behind Bath's immaculate facades, but the courage Rachel and Starling need to bring these truths to light will come at a very high price.

Letters to the Lost by Iona Grey

Late on a frozen February evening, a young woman is running through the streets of London. Having fled from her abusive boyfriend and with nowhere to go, Jess stumbles onto a forgotten lane where a small, clearly unlived in old house offers her best chance of shelter for the night. The next morning, a mysterious letter arrives and when she can't help but open it, she finds herself drawn inexorably into the story of two lovers from another time. In London 1942, Stella meets Dan, a US airman, quite by accident, but there is no denying the impossible, unstoppable attraction that draws them together. Dan is a B-17 pilot flying his bomber into Europe from a British airbase; his odds of survival are one in five. In the midst of such uncertainty, the one thing they hold onto is the letters they write to each other. Fate is unkind and they are separated by decades and continents. In the present, Jess becomes determined to find out what happened to them. Her hope--inspired by a love so powerful it spans a lifetime--will lead her to find a startling redemption in her own life in this powerfully moving novel.

What I'm Reading Today

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.

The Last Embrace by Pam Jenoff

August 1940 and 16-year-old refugee Addie escapes Fascist Italy to live with her aunt and uncle in Atlantic City. As WW2 breaks, she finds acceptance and love with Charlie Connelly and his family. But war changes everything: secrets and passions abound, and when one brother's destructive choices lead to the tragic death of another, the Connelly family is decimated, and Addie along with them. Now 18, she flees, first to Washington and then to war-torn London where she is swept up with life as a correspondent. But when Charlie, now a paratrooper, re-appears, Addie discovers that the past is impossible to outrun. Now she must make one last desperate attempt to find within herself the answers that will lead the way home.

What I Hope to Read Next

The Love of a Lifetime by Mary Fitzgerald

From the moment she arrives to live on his family's farm in Shropshire, Richard Wilde is in love with Elizabeth Nugent. And as they grow up, it seems like nothing can keep them apart. But as World War II rages, Richard goes to fight in the jungles of Burma, leaving Elizabeth to deal with a terrible secret that could destroy his family. Despite the distance between them, though, Richard and Elizabeth's love remains constant through war, tragedy and betrayal. But once the fighting is over, will the secrets and lies that Elizabeth has been hiding keep them apart for ever?


  1. Oh, not that Rachel Ray! Ha! Didn't realize the chef wasn't the original RR.

    Enjoy your reads this week.

    Here's my It's Monday!

    1. I didn't know this American chef existed until I did a search for Anthony Trollope's Rachel Ray. Some of her recipes look very tempting and some are quick to make. Good for those times when I'm so engrossed in the book I'm reading that putting dinner on the table becomes a rush job!