It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

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

My reading last week was slow and steady. After finishing Heart of the Country by Tricia Stringer, the first in her new historical Australian saga, I continued on with The Orphan Gunner by Sara Knox. Last week, after only having read the first chapter, I said it was too early to form an opinion of it and I'm finding that even now when I'm half way through my feelings are mixed. The relationship between the two friends is a strange one, but I'm liking the story enough to keep reading.

The other book I began last week was the classic Mary Anerley: A Yorkshire Tale by R.D. Blackmore. I was reading this on my tablet when disaster struck. My charger decided it had had enough and until the replacement charger arrives Mary Anerley must wait. I could continue reading it on my lap top, but as my preferred reading positions are to curl up comfortably on the sofa or in bed I'll just wait for the charger.

Oliver Twist Investigates by G.M. Best was the other book I picked up last week. I've only read the preface so far, but that in itself is intriguing. The author explains how the book is an old manuscript found in a trunk full of Victorian documents he purchased at an auction "on the off-chance that they might contain something of interest". He divided the manuscript into chapters and amended the spelling and punctuation. Of interest also was a letter attached to the manuscript which "purports to have been written by Fagin".

Waiting for me at the library is Anna Funder's debut fictional novel, All That I Am. This novel won various awards in 2012, including the Miles Franklin Literary Award. Anna Funder is another Australian author I have recently discovered. My plan is to read this book next.

What I Read Last Week

Heart of the Country by Tricia Stringer

1846. Newly arrived from England, Thomas Baker is young, penniless and alone. Eager to make his mark on this strange new place called South Australia, he accepts work as an overseer on a distant sheep property, believing this will be the opportunity he seeks. But when Thomas’s path crosses that of ex-convict, Septimus Wiltshire — a grasping con man hell bent on making a new life for himself and his family at any price — trouble is on the horizon.
But Thomas is made of stern stuff and his fortunes take a turn for the better when he meets spirited farmer’s daughter Lizzie Smith, and soon he envisages their future together.
But this land is like no other he has encountered: both harsh and lovely, it breaks all but the strongest. When his nemesis intervenes once more and drought comes, Thomas finds himself tested almost beyond endurance with the risk of losing everything he and Lizzie have worked for… even their lives.

What I'm Reading Today

The Orphan Gunner by Sara Knox

The Orphan Gunner is an unconventional romance set in bomber command in Lincolnshire during the Second World War. Evelyn and Olive grew up together in the Canabolas Valley near Orange. They are in England at the outbreak of war: Evelyn as a pilot in the Air Transport Auxiliary, Olive in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force. They're joined by Evelyn's brother Duncan, a novice gunner in Lancaster L-Love, flying bombing raids over Germany. The raids take their toll on the crew, and the two women are drawn into a plot involving disguise and mistaken identity, to get the exhausted Duncan out of service. The Orphan Gunner explores the seductions of passing, the licence granted by risk, and the selflessness - and selfishness - of sacrifice. The relationship between the two women is portrayed with subtlety and warmth, and an extraordinary sense of historical detail which brings its wartime setting vividly to life.

Mary Anerley: A Yorkshire Tale by R.D. Blackmore

An early 19th century romance set in Yorkshire. Mary Anerley falls in love with smuggler Robin Lyth, but the relationship is discouraged by Mary's family due to Robin's obscure beginnings and his occupation as  a smuggler.

Oliver Twist Investigates by G.M. Best

Who killed Nancy? Did Charles Dickens frame Bill Sykes and if so, why? As an adult, Oliver Twist receives deeply unsettling information written years earlier by Fagin while he was awaiting execution. It convinces Oliver that Dickens did not tell the entire truth about the events leading to Nancy's death. Now Oliver must embark on a complex investigation that takes him into the worst slums of London as he seeks out the whereabouts of some of the most memorable figures from his past—Betsy, Noah Claypole, Mr Bumble, and Charley Bates—not forgetting, of course, the Artful Dodger. Oliver's life is set to change dramatically as he uncovers not only what happened to Nancy, but also the astonishing truth about his own identity.

What I Hope to Read Next

All That I am by Anna Funder

All That I Am is a masterful and exhilarating exploration of bravery and betrayal, of the risks and sacrifices some people make for their beliefs, and of heroism hidden in the most unexpected places.When eighteen-year-old Ruth Becker visits her cousin Dora in Munich in 1923, she meets the love of her life, the dashing young journalist Hans Wesemann, and eagerly joins in the heady activities of the militant political Left in Germany. Ten years later, Ruth and Hans are married and living in Weimar Berlin when Hitler is elected chancellor of Germany. Together with Dora and her lover, Ernst Toller, the celebrated poet and self-doubting revolutionary, the four become hunted outlaws overnight and are forced to flee to London. Inspired by the fearless Dora to breathtaking acts of courage, the friends risk betrayal and deceit as they dedicate themselves to a dangerous mission: to inform the British government of the very real Nazi threat to which it remains willfully blind. All That I Am is the heartbreaking story of these extraordinary people, who discover that Hitler's reach extends much further than they had thought.Gripping, compassionate, and inspiring, this remarkable debut novel reveals an uncommon depth of humanity and wisdom. Anna Funder has given us a searing and intimate portrait of courage and its price, of desire and ambition, and of the devastating consequences when they are thwarted.


  1. The Orphan Gunner sounds interesting, an interesting time and I suspect different kind of relationships.

    1. This is an unusual story with lots of historical detail.

  2. I have never heard of any of your books. I hope you enjoy them.

    Theresa (The Truth About Books)
    See my answers here

  3. When I was 10 years old my grandfather bought me a copy of Oliver Twist for my birthday, and I couldn't have been more disappointed - it was so big! I never actually got around to reading it, so I don't know if I'd be able to follow along with Oliver Twist Investigates too easily, since I think I only know the story through the musical movie...!

    1. I think the musical has all the elements of the main story, so I think you would be able to follow Oliver Twist Investigates. Worth a try.

  4. The Orphan Gunner sounds great. I haven't heard of it yet, but I'm definitely going to check it out.

    1. This book was first published in 2007. I only came across it recently.

  5. These all look tempting...I love the cover and sound of Mary Anerley: A Yorkshire Tale.

    Enjoy your week, and here are MY WEEKLY UPDATES

    1. The cover of Mary Anerley is the 1880 edition. A sweet cover that gives no hint of what the book is about.

  6. Looks like a good week...I hope this week has been good too.

    Mary Anerley looks good.

    Have a good rest of the week.

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