It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

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

I missed posting last week, so this post will cover what I've been up to over the past two weeks. As the weather has been quite mild for autumn, most afternoons were spent in the garden, pruning trees, raking leaves and having a general tidy up before winter arrives.

Last week ended on a high note. I welcomed my third grandchild, Samuel Edward, into the world on Saturday. He weighed in at 4.35 kg (9lbs 10 oz) and arrived on his due date, for which his mother was very thankful!

On the reading front I finally finished a book started in February,  Mary Anerley: A Yorkshire Tale by R.D. Blackmore.  I also read two by Susanna Kearsley in quick succession, The Splendour Falls and Named of the Dragon. I enjoyed them both, but I prefer her more historical dual time frame novels. I also finished Dark Angels by Karleen Koen. This is the final novel in her Tamworth trilogy, though it is the prequel to the first book, Through A Glass Darkly. 

In the mix of books read was a review copy of The King's Shadow by Cheryl Sawyer. This is the third and final book in her English Civil War trilogy and is due for release later this year. It deals with a period in history that I haven't read much about: the events leading up to the restoration of the monarchy. It is also a romance.

My current reads, Past Encounters by Davina Blake and The Blood On My Hands by Shannon O'Leary are progressing well and I've also picked up The Narrative of  Deserter Burman by Greg Pyers. Burman's story begins in Canada and eventually he ends up in colonial Australia, but I haven't got that far yet.

Next on my list to read is Caroline Lea's debut novel, When the Sky Fell Apart, set during World War II on the Channel Island of Jersey.

What I Read Over the past Two Weeks

Dark Angels by Karleen Koen

Alice Verney is a young woman intent on achieving her dreams. Having left Restoration England in the midst of a messy scandal, she has been living in Louis XIV's Baroque, mannered France for two years. Now she is returning home to England and anxious to re-establish herself quickly. First, she will regain her former position as a maid of honor to Charles II's queen. Then she will marry the most celebrated duke of the Restoration, putting herself in a position to attain power she's only dreamed of. As a duchess, Alice will be able to make or break her friends and enemies at will. But all is not as it seems in the rowdy, merry court of Charles II. Since the Restoration, old political alliances have frayed, and there are whispers that the king is moving to divorce his barren queen, who some wouldn't mind seeing dead. But Alice, loyal only to a select few, is devoted to the queen, and so sets out to discover who might be making sinister plans, and if her own father is one of them. When a member of the royal family dies unexpectedly, and poison is suspected, the stakes are raised. Alice steps up her efforts to find out who is and isn't true to the queen, learns of shocking betrayals throughout court, and meets a man that she may be falling in love with--and who will spoil all of her plans. With the suspected arrival of a known poison-maker, the atmosphere in the court electrifies, and suddenly the safety of the king himself seems uncertain. Secret plots are at play, and war is on the horizon--but will it be with the Dutch or the French? And has King Charles himself betrayed his country for greed?

Named of the Dragon by Susanna Kearsley

The charm of spending the Christmas holidays in South Wales, with its crumbling castles and ancient myths, seems the perfect distraction from the nightmares that have plagued literary agent Lyn Ravenshaw since the loss of her baby five years ago.Instead, she meets an emotionally fragile young widow who's convinced that Lyn's recurring dreams have drawn her to Castle Farm for an important purpose--and she's running out of time. With the help of a reclusive, brooding playwright, Lyn begins to untangle the mystery and is pulled into a world of Celtic legends, dangerous prophecies, and a child destined for greatness.

The Splendour Falls by Susanna Kearsley

Emily Braden has stopped believing in fairy tales and happy endings. When her fascinating but unreliable cousin Harry invites her on a holiday to explore the legendary own of Chinon, and promptly disappears--well, that's Harry for you. As Emily makes the acquaintance of Chinon and its people, she begins to uncover dark secrets beneath the charm. Legend has it that during a thirteenth-century siege of the castle that looms over the city, Queen Isabelle, child bride of King John, hid a "treasure of great price." And in the last days of the German occupation during World War II, another Isabelle living in Chinon, a girl whose love for an enemy soldier went tragically awry. As the dangers of the past become disastrously real, Emily is drawn ever more deeply into a labyrinth of mystery as twisted as the streets and tunnels of the ancient town itself. 

The King's Shadow by Cheryl Sawyer

Charles. The name of a king not yet on the throne. Until New Year’s Day 1660, few believe he ever will be. But on this icy morning, an army sets out from Coldstream to march on London. Is it marching to bring back the king?
Mark Denton, colonel of cavalry, is the most rigorous parliamentarian in York and the scourge of royalist conspirators across the North. He must find out what his commander, General George Monck, intends to achieve in London.
Lucinda Selby, in secret revolt against Parliament and its army, allies herself with a brilliant member of the exiled court and goes to London also—with a risky mission on the king’s behalf.
In an England riven by factions, the desires of the most powerful players are the more deadly for being concealed. Meanwhile, amongst the danger and mystery moves the King’s Shadow, the most enigmatic of them all.

What I'm Reading Today

Past Encounters by Davina Blake

From the moment Rhoda Middleton opens one of her husband’s letters and finds it is from another woman, she is convinced he is having an affair. But when Rhoda tracks her down, she discovers the mysterious woman is not his lover after all, but the wife of his best friend, Archie Foster. There is only one problem - Rhoda has never even heard of Archie Foster. Devastated by this betrayal of trust, Rhoda tries to find out how and why her husband, Peter, has kept this friendship hidden for so long. Her search leads her back to 1945, but as she gradually uncovers Peter’s wartime secrets she must wrestle with painful memories of her own. For if they are ever to understand each other, Rhoda too must escape the ghosts of the past. Taking us on a journey from the atmospheric filming of Brief Encounter, to the extraordinary Great March of prisoners of war through snow-bound Germany, this is a novel of friendship, hope, and how in the end, it is the small things that enable love to survive.

The Blood On My Hands by Shannon O'Leary

Set in 1960s and '70s Australia, "The Blood on My Hands" is the dramatic tale of Shannon O'Leary's childhood years. O'Leary grew up under the shadow of horrific domestic violence, sexual and physical abuse, and serial murder. Her story is one of courageous resilience in the face of unimaginable horrors.
The responses of those whom O'Leary and her immediate family reach out to for help are almost as disturbing as the crimes of her violent father. Relatives are afraid to bring disgrace to the family's good name, nuns condemn the child's objections as disobedience and noncompliance, and laws at the time prevent the police from interfering unless someone is killed.
"The Blood on My Hands" is a heartbreaking-yet riveting-narrative of a childhood spent in pain and terror, betrayed by the people who are supposed to provide safety and understanding, and the strength and courage it takes, not just to survive and escape, but to flourish and thrive.

The Narrative of Deserter Burman by Greg Pyle

In 1834 Private Benjamin Burman is on the run to a new life in America. But the British Army does not suffer deserters; Benjamin is captured and banished to Van Diemen’s Land. Yet even when his sentence is over, his punishment is not done, for he is forever to be reminded of his disgrace by a thick, black D tattooed into his ribcage.
It will take the greatest tragedy of his life, awaiting him still in the gold-mining town of Daylesford, to set him free.

What I Hope to Read Next

When the Sky Fell Apart by Caroline Lea

June 1940. The black cloud of warn brewing in Europe remains far from the rustic, sea-swept Channel Island of Jersey. That's until ten-year-old Claudine sees the burning man on the beach. Within weeks, 12,000 German troops have landed, bringing with them a terrifying regime led by the brutal Commandant. In the midst of the occupation, Claudine is taken under the wing of Edith, the island's brilliant herbalist. Together with local fisherman Maurice and the English doctor, Carter, they form an unlikely yet powerful friendship. But as the Germans' iron grip on Jersey tightens, an unforeseen event forces them to make a most difficult-and perilous-decision.


  1. Congratulations on the new addition to your family! Hope you have a great week.

  2. Congrats on the new baby! I hope you get lots of cuddles in the next few weeks! :)

    When The Sky Fell Apart sounds really good. I hope you enjoy it!

    1. Thank you. I'll make sure I do!

      When The Sky Fell Apart caught my eye because of its Jersey Island setting during World War II.