It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

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

I hope all mothers had a wonderful Mother's Day yesterday. Unable to share the day with family, mine was spent quietly with a box of chocolates watching War & Peace (the latest BBC series). I have the book in my TBR pile. It has been there for a while as  I'm loathe to devote the time needed to read such a long book.

Last week I finished The Virgin of the Wind Rose: A Christopher Columbus Mystery Thriller by Glen Craney and All That I Am by Anna Funder. Two very different books, but both very interesting.

I have a few more chapters to read of Mary Anerley: A Yorkshire Tale by R.D. Blackmore, I'm halfway through Dark Angel by Karleen Koen, the final book in her trilogy, and I've just started Past Encounters by Davina Blake.

My next book is a little different to what I usually read. It is an autobiography by Shannon O'Leary entitled The Blood On My Hands.

What I Read Last Week

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.

The Virgin of the Wind Rose by Glen Craney

While investigating the murder of an American missionary in Ethiopia, rookie State Department lawyer Jaqueline Quartermane becomes obsessed with a magical word square found inside an underground church guarding the tomb of the biblical Adam. Drawn into a web of esoteric intrigue, she and a roguish antiquities thief named Elymas must race an elusive and taunting mastermind to find the one relic needed to resurrect Solomon's Temple. A trail of cabalistic clues leads them to the catacombs of Rome, the crypt below Chartres Cathedral, a Masonic shaft in Nova Scotia, a Portuguese shipwreck off Sumatra, and the caverns under the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
Intertwined with this modern mystery-thriller, a parallel duel is waged: The year is 1452. One of the most secretive societies in history, Portugal's Order of Christ, is led by a reclusive visionary, Prince Henry the Navigator. He and his medieval version of NASA merged with the CIA scheme to foil their archenemies, the Inquisitor Torquemada and Queen Isabella of Castile, who plan to bring back Christ for the Last Judgment by ridding the world of Jews, heretics, and unbelievers. Separated by half a millennium, two conspiracies to usher in the Tribulations promised by the Book of Revelation dovetail in this fast-paced thriller to expose the world's most explosive secret: The true identity of Christopher Columbus and the explorer's connection to those now trying to spark the End of Days.

What I'm Reading Today

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.

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.

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?

What I Hope to Read Next

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.


  1. Hi Yvonne, I'm visiting from It's Monday, What Are You Reading at the Book Date!

    Those are some exciting books you are reading and have read! I may just have to put all of them on my TBR. :O)

    1. An unusual, but interesting mix for me. I hope you get to read some of them.

  2. These all look so good....I think Past Encounters is reaching out to grab me. Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog. Enjoy your week!

    1. I've only read a couple of chapters, but I'm enjoying it so far. I hope you get to read it.

  3. "Past Encounters" sounds really good! Have you read "Letters to the Lost" by Iona Grey? It's a WWII story and Judging from the books you listed, I think it's one you might like! :)

    1. I read Letters to the Lost last year and loved it so much that it is one of my "keepers"!

  4. Al That I Am and Past Encounters look good.

    ENJOY all of your books and your reading week.

    Silver's Reviews
    My It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

    1. All That I Am was very interesting from a political point of view. Just started Past Encounters and liking it so far. Thanks Elizabeth.