It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This weekly meme is hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

I missed posting last week so my reading update today is for two weeks. I've not been overly busy just keeping on top of usual household tasks and lamenting the state of my garden. Not much gardening has been done as the weather has been hot. Despite watering it is still dry and very untidy with the gum trees shedding their leaves at a great rate. It's a battle to keep the ground clear around the house. Rabbits have also been nibbling at a few plants, as have the wallabies. What the wallabies don't eat they break by dragging their tails around. My thoughts often turn to the early settlers who had a much harder life in this harsh country. At least we have town water, even though it is unfit to drink, and should my meagre tomato crop fail, there are always some available from the supermarket.

I thought I was in a reading slump, but when I look back on the books I've read over the last two weeks I found that I'd read more than I thought.

Following on from Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, I read the sequel Rose Under Fire. Of the two, Code Name Verity had the greater impact, but Rose Under Fire is also memorable, dealing with life in Ravensbruck, a concentration camp for women, and the atrocities that took place there.

My children's/young adult fiction reading continued with a novel by Hester Burton entitled Time of Trial for which she received the Carnegie Medal back in 1963. It is set during the early nineteenth century when England was involved in the Napoleonic Wars and revolves around a bookseller, who is charged with writing seditious material, and his daughter.

I also finished The Royalist by S.J. Deas. This is the first of a series set during the English Civil War and introduces William Falkland, whose reputation as an investigator earns him a reprieve from execution. I'm not sure whether I wish to pursue another series at the moment so I'm not diving straight in to the next book, The Protector, though it is earmarked for future reading.

Alison Stuart's paranormal historical, Gather the Bones, was a great read, taking only one day from start to finish. I have recently discovered this Australian author and I'm looking forward to reading her other paranormal historical set during the English Civil War, Secrets in Time. I also have my eye on her Guardians of the Sword Trilogy, also set around the time of the English Civil War.

I'm still reading The Flight of the Heron, the first in the D.K.Broster Jacobite trilogy, and A Civil Contract by Georgette Heyer. The latter is a re-read saved for bedtime reading.

Once again I'm reading a novel first published in the 1960s. Too Few for Drums by R.F. Delderfield was first printed in 1964 and has been reprinted a few times since. I've read a few other novels by this author, but this particular one, set during the Peninsular Wars, I'd overlooked.

What I'd like to read next is Tom Keneally's latest novel Napoleon's Last Island, which was inspired by a chance discovery at the National Gallery of Victoria.

What I Read Over the Last Two Weeks

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

The thrilling story of one young ATA pilot's unforgettable journey through World War Two. This is Rose Under Fire. Rose Justice is a young American ATA pilot, delivering planes and taxiing pilots for the RAF in the UK during the summer of 1944. A budding poet who feels most alive while flying, she discovers that not all battles are fought in the air. An unforgettable journey from innocence to experience from the author of the best-selling, multi-award-nominated Code Name Verity. From the exhilaration of being the youngest pilot in the British air transport auxiliary, to the aftermath of surviving the notorious Ravensbruck women's concentration camp, Rose's story is one of courage in the face of adversity.

The Royalist by S.J. Deas

William Falkland is a dead man. A Royalist dragoon who fought against Parliament, he is currently awaiting execution at Newgate prison. Yet when he is led away from Newgate with a sack over his head, it is not the gallows to which they take him, but to Oliver Cromwell himself. Cromwell has heard of Falkland's reputation as an investigator and now more than ever he needs a man of conscience. His New Model Army are wintering in Devon but mysterious deaths are sweeping the camp and, in return for his freedom, Falkland is despatched to uncover the truth. With few friends and a slew of enemies, Falkland soon learns there is a dark demon at work, one who won't go down without a fight. But how can he protect the troops from such a monster and, more importantly, will he be able to protect himself?

Gather the Bones by Alison Stuart

In the shadow of the Great War, grieving widow, Helen Morrow and her husband's cousin, the wounded and reclusive Paul, are haunted not only by the horrors of the trenches but ghosts from another time and another conflict. As the desperate voice of the young woman reaches out to them from the pages of a coded diary, Paul and Helen are bound together in their search for answers, not only to the old mystery but also the circumstances surrounding the death of Helen's husband at Passchandaele in 1917. As the two stories become entwined, Paul and Helen will not find peace until the mysteries are solved.

Time of Trial by Hester Burton

The time, 1801; the place, Holly Lane, in the dark little bookshop in the shadow of St.Paul's. This bookshop, with its musty smell of old leather bindings and parchment and ink, is Margaret Pargeter's home; and her father's books and his book selling are her life - or so they were, until one day disaster struck Holly lane. It was a disaster that unleashed a tide of anger against the social conditions of the time, and a flood of trouble for the Pargeter family. The life of each member was changed completely and Margaret found herself banished to Suffolk with the faithful old housekeeper, Mrs. Neech, separated from her father who lay in prison, and from her friend Robert Kerridge, the medical student who used to lodge with them in Holly Lane. The winter in Suffolk was a hard one, a "time of trial" indeed, but it was also a time of discovery, of growing up, and a time that ends with a surprise for Margaret and a new beginning for all the family

What I'm Reading Today

The Flight of the Heron by D.K. Broster

1745. When Bonnie Prince Charlie lands in Scotland, the mountains and glens of the Highlands ring to the pipes and drums of the clans who flock to his banner. Charged with excitement, heroism and romance, this stirring tragic adventure that is the unforgettable story of the 'King Over the Water', has never been better told.

A Civil Contract by Georgette Heyer

Adam Deveril, the new Viscount Lynton and a hero at Salamanca, returns from the Peninsula War to find his family on the brink of ruin and the broad acres of his ancestral home mortgaged to the hilt. It is Lord Oversley, father of Adam's first love, who tactfully introduces him to Mr Jonathan Chaleigh, a City man of apparently unlimited wealth with no social ambitions for himself, but with his eyes firmly fixed on a suitable match for his one and only daughter.

Too Few For Drums by R.F. Delderfield

After the British victory at Busaco during the Peninsula campaigns of the Napoleonic Wars, Ensign Keith Graham finds himself cut off from the army, along with a sergeant and seven privates. This ill-assorted, tattered band is joined by a Welsh campfollower, Gwyneth and she and Sergeant Fox help nineteen-year-old Graham achieve both manhood and leadership. Struggling through strange, often hostile country, with insufficient food and sometimes mutinous men, his one aim is to reach the coast and, hopefully, safety ...

What I Hope to Read Next

Napoleon's Last Island by Tom Keneally

When Tom Keneally discovered by chance at the National Gallery of Victoria that Betsy Balcombe, a young girl living on St Helena while the Emperor Napoleon was exiled there, had become the Emperor's ‘intimate friend and annoyer', and had then emigrated with her family to Australia, he was impelled to begin another extraordinary novel, exploring the intersection between the ordinary people of the world and those we deem exceptional.
Betsy Balcombe moved as a child with her family to St Helena, ‘that high mid-Atlantic rock of exile'. Ten years later her family befriended, served and were ruined by their relationship with Napoleon. To redeem their fortunes William Balcombe, Betsy's father, betrayed the Emperor and accepted a job as the colonial treasurer of New South Wales, taking his family with him. After enduring a profound tragedy on the voyage out, and never quite recovering from the results of his association with Napoleon, William's life deteriorated; however, his family struggled and survived in Australia.
Tom Keneally recreates Betsy's friendship with The Great Ogre, her enmities and alliances with his court, and her dramatic coming of age during her years with them on the island. With his ability for bringing historical stories to life in the most brilliant and surprising ways, Keneally vividly shares this remarkable tale and the beginning of an Australian dynasty.


  1. Really enjoyed reading about your gardening struggles. I thought I was bad enough, but no rabbits or wallabies! And not as dry most likely, but still have to water and the water sort of bounces off my potatoes. I have for the first time put down pea straw as a means to keeping the soil from losing moisture around tomatoes. Don't know how it will work yet.
    You got great reading done over the two weeks.

    1. I use sugar cane mulch to keep the moisture in, on garden beds and pots. The garden would be in a much worse state without it.

  2. Thanks for the information on Code Name Verity. I see it all the time, but I wasn't sure about it.

    I hope your week has been good.

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

    1. I really liked Code Name Verity. It is a great reading experience.