It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This weekly meme, previously hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, is now hosted by 
Kathryn at The Book Date

Spring has arrived with a vengeance in the south east corner of Australia. We have just suffered through the coldest winter in years and were looking for some respite from the weather with the coming of spring, but this was not to be. Now we are in a heat wave. With the hottest start to October on record, it is not looking good for the summer months. The level of our dam has dropped alarmingly and the grass is beginning to turn brown.

My reading and blogging time has been interrupted by the need to be outdoors mowing grass and generally preparing our rural block for the oncoming bush fire season. However, I still managed to remove four novels from my TBR list, but I'm way behind on my book reviews. Lady of the Butterflies was such an enjoyable read that I'm adding two other novels by Fiona Mountain to my reading pile, Cavalier Queen, and her debut novel, Isabella. The Love of a Lifetime was a wonderful story from Mary Fitzgerald, as was Louise Walters' debut novel, Mrs. Sinclair's Suitcase.  The Last Embrace is only the second novel I've read by Pam Jenoff. While a good read, I didn't enjoy it as much as The Winter Guest.

This week I'm reading Noonday by Pat Barker, the sequel to Toby's Room. It is also the final novel of her Life Class Trilogy. I'm also reading Nelly Dean by Alison Case and a novel by an Australian author, Ann Whitehead, entitled Waratah House.

Up next will be one of the novels I've already mentioned by Fiona Mountain, Cavalier or Isabella. I'm also keen to read Through a Glass Darkly by Karleen Koen after taking a peek at the first chapter.

What I Read Last Week

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.

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?

Mrs. Sinclair's Suitcase by Louise Walters

Roberta, a lonely thirty-four-year-old bibliophile, works at The Old and New Bookshop in England. When she finds a letter inside her centenarian grandmother's battered old suitcase that hints at a dark secret, her understanding of her family's history is completely upturned. Running alongside Roberta's narrative is that of her grandmother, Dorothy, as a forty-year-old childless woman desperate for motherhood during the early years of World War II. After a chance encounter with a Polish war pilot, Dorothy believes she's finally found happiness, but must instead make an unthinkable decision whose consequences forever change the framework of her family. The parallel stories of Roberta and Dorothy unravel over the course of eighty years as they both make their own ways through secrets, lies, sacrifices, and love ...

What I'm Reading Today

Nelly Dean by Alison Case

A gripping and heartbreaking novel that reimagines life at Wuthering Heights through the eyes of the Earnshaws' loyal servant, Nelly Dean. Young Nelly Dean has been Hindley's closest companion for as long as she can remember, living freely at the great house, Wuthering Heights. But when the benevolence of the master brings a wild child into the house, Nelly must follow in her mother's footsteps, be called servant and give herself to the family completely. But Nelly is not the only one who must serve. When a new heir is born, a reign of violence begins that will test Nelly's spirit as she finds out what it is to know true sacrifice. Nelly Dean is a wonderment of storytelling, a heartbreaking accompaniment to Emily Bronte's adored work. It is the story of a woman who is fated to bear the pain of a family she is unable to leave, and unable to save.

Waratah House by Ann Whitehead

Waratah House, a beautiful mansion in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, is the only home Marina has ever known. Orphaned at a young age, Marina finds a new family in the colourful characters that occupy the bustling servants' quarters of this stately house.
But not every resident of Waratah House has Marina's best interests at heart and she finds herself forced into exile. Years later, Marina's daughter Emily discovers the past has a way of repeating itself. She must fight for her chance at happiness – a chance that some will do anything to prevent . . .

Noonday by Pat Barker

London, the Blitz, autumn 1940. As the bombs fall on the blacked-out city, ambulance driver Elinor Brooke races from bomb sites to hospitals trying to save the lives of injured survivors, working alongside former friend Kit Neville, while her husband Paul works as an air-raid warden. Once fellow students at the Slade School of Fine Art, before the First World War destroyed the hopes of their generation, they now find themselves caught in another war, this time at home. As the bombing intensifies, the constant risk of death makes all three of them reach out for quick consolation. Old loves and obsessions re-surface until Elinor is brought face to face with an almost impossible choice.

What I Hope to Read Next

Cavalier Queen by Fiona Mountain

It was Charles I's love for his Queen Henrietta Maria which plummeted England into the darkness of the Civil Wars, but it was the love and loyalty of another man that sustained her through days of betrayal, destitution and death. Tall and brave, Harry Jermyn is captivated by the witty French princess, just fourteen years old when she sails with him to Dover, queen of a land she has never seen, of a people whose language she cannot speak, who despise her for her faith - and wife of a king she has never met. Charles grows to love her but rebellion and the threat of execution force her into exile and into the arms of Harry, who risks his life for her sake. Together they work for the royalist cause, pawning the crown jewels, securing men and arms and returning to England to lead an army south. As England is torn apart, Henrietta's heart is torn between the two men she loves, between duty and illicit passion. The subject of dangerous gossip and public scandal, she is powerless to calm the storm which will lead to tragedy.

Isabella by Fiona Mountain

Fletcher Christian and Isabella Curwen are first cousins who grow up together in the Lake District; kindred spirits who, like Heathcliff and Cathy, are bound to fall in love. But Isabella is promised to another cousin, John, and Fletcher, dashing though he is, comes from the poor side of the family. When Isabella, an only child and heir to the Curwen fortune, inherits and John becomes her guardian, he and her relations conspire to prevent her and Fletcher's union. Isabella marries John; Fletcher joins the Navy and later signs on for the Bounty voyage. And the rest, you might think, is history. In fact, it is only the first act in the drama of Fletcher and Isabella...

Through A Glass Darkly by Karleen Koen

Karleen Koen's sweeping saga contains unforgettable characters consumed with passion: the extraordinarily beautiful fifteen-year-old noblewoman, Barbara Alderley; the man she adores, the wickedly handsome Roger MontGeoffry; her grandmother, the duchess, who rules the family with cunning and wit; and her mother, the ineffably cruel, self-centered and licentious Diana. Like no other work, Through a Glass Darkly is infused with intrigue, sweetened by romance and awash in the black ink of betrayal.


  1. For someone who has been outside mowing, etc., you accomplished a lot! LOL I have been meaning to read Pam Jenoff....and Mrs. Sinclair's Suitcase looks very tempting. Enjoy your new week, and here are MY WEEKLY UPDATES

    1. Thanks, Laurel. The Last Embrace and Mrs. Sinclair's Suitcase are short novels, 373 and 296 pages respectively, which made them quick reads and just right to read during coffee breaks.

  2. Good luck with the fire season. I hope they all miss you. Mrs. Sinclair's Suitcase sounds really good. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

    1. Thanks, Kathy. I enjoyed Mrs. Sinclair's Suitcase and I'm looking forward to Louise Walters' next novel.

  3. I LOVED Lady of the Butterflies.

    All of your books look so good.

    Pam Jenoff is awesome.

    ENJOY your reading week. Looks like a good one.

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

    1. Thanks, Elizabeth. I can't see a butterfly now without thinking of Eleanor Glanville. I hope I enjoy Fiona Mountain's other novels as much as Lady of the Butterflies.

  4. Yes I know about your cold winter - I was there in Melbourne for a week in Spring and it was a mean southerly and cold! Felt like I was at home in NZ. However loved visiting all the same. Then I saw the high temps that followed - wow.
    I am a reluctant historical fiction reader, but once I get into one I generally enjoy it very much.

    1. Yes, those southerlies can be bitterly cold. Glad you enjoyed your visit despite Melbourne's weather.
      I very rarely read anything but historical fiction. With so many sub-genres, there is lots of variety for me.

  5. Oh The Last Embrace sounds really good. I love the premise.

    1. That's what drew me to this book and I wasn't disappointed.