It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

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

The past week was not a good one for me. After the euphoria of the previous two weeks (the arrival of another grandchild and celebrating my father's 90th birthday) I found I'd brought home an unwelcome souvenir of my trip: a bad head cold.

Feeling miserable, with the weather to match, reading didn't interest me. Instead I settled on the couch with my doona and box of tissues and watched 20 episodes of Dickensian, 6 episodes of Law & Order UK4 episodes of Vera, and Testament of Youth, a film based on Vera Brittain's memoir.

I loved Dickensian though at the time I couldn't remember in which Dicken's novel the characters of the Barbary sisters and Captain James Hawdon appeared. It looks like Bleak House will be a future re-read. I'm disappointed that there won't be another series made. To have Dickens' characters interact with one another was a great idea.

No books were finished last week, but I'm pleased to say I'm reading again. The end is in sight for both my current reads, The Blood On My Hands by Shannon O'Leary and When the Sky Fell Apart by Caroline Lea. After these I'm delving into a book by one of my favourite authors, Blake's Reach by Catherine Gaskin and hope to follow this with To Name Those Lost by Rohan Wilson.

What I'm Reading Today

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.

When the Sky Fell Apart by Caroline Lea

June 1940. The black cloud of war 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.

What I Hope to Read Next

Blake's Reach by Catherine Gaskin

Tavern-bred English girl seeks to restore shabby manor house with the profits from smuggling along the Kentish coast, during the French Revolution.

Born illegitimately, Jane Howard inherits nothing but the fiery hair and indomitable spirit of her mother's family, the Blakes. When Anne Blake dies, it is Jane who disposes of the debt-ridden London household. Then Charles Blake returns, fleeing the French Revolution, to claim his inheritance.

To Name Those Lost by Rohan Wilson

Summer 1874, and Launceston teeters on the brink of anarchy. After abandoning his wife and child many years ago, the Black War veteran Thomas Toosey must return to the city to search for William, his now motherless twelve-year-old son. He travels through the island's northern districts during a time of impossible hardship - hardship that has left its mark on him too. Arriving in Launceston, however, Toosey discovers a town in chaos. He is desperate to find his son amid the looting and destruction, but at every turn he is confronted by the Irish transportee Fitheal Flynn and his companion, the hooded man, to whom Toosey owes a debt that he must repay.
To Name Those Lost is the story of a father's journey. Wilson has an eye for the dirt, the hardness, the sheer dog-eat-doggedness of the lives of the poor. Human nature is revealed in all its horror and beauty as Thomas Toosey struggles with the good and the vile in himself and learns what he holds important.


  1. I hope you're feeling better and get to do some more reading this week :)

  2. I hope you are feeling better - sometimes when you are feeling sick and yucky binge watching television is the only cure. :) Dickensian sounds interesting! I don't think I have heard of it before.

    1. I am, thank you. I don't often binge watch TV but it was the ideal thing to do. I think I enjoyed Dickensian more because I watched all 20 episodes at once rather than numerous 30-minute episodes over the course of 2 months.

  3. Some interesting picks that are new to me. Happy Reading!

  4. At least you powered through some shows while nursing the horrible cold. Enjoy the reading now you are back to the books!

    1. I certainly did - enough to last me for a while. So glad to be back to reading!

  5. Oooh, I really want to read "When the Sky Fell Apart"!

    1. I finished reading it this morning. A different World War II story with the focus on the characters and how they deal with the German occupation of their tiny island. Well worth the read.