It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

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

Last week I spent a lot of time out in the garden and I thought my reading had suffered as a result, but I realised that four books had gone from my TBR pile: two regency romances and two novels set in mid-19th century Australia. The Georgette Heyer book was a re-read, but as I'd read it back in the 1970s and didn't remember the plot, it felt like a new read. The other regency romance, Parthena's Promise, was short, but entertaining, and both Australian books were very good.

I'm still reading The Revelations of Carey Ravine this week and I'm a few chapters into Maggie's Kitchen, a different kind of World War II story than I usually read, but I'm enjoying it.

Devil of a Fix was supposed to be up next, but as it's an ebook and I haven't sorted out my tablet problem, I've bumped it down the list. Prompted by a news story about a wooden replica of London set on fire to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London, I'm hoping to read The Ashes of London next.

What I Read Last Week

Dust on the Horizon by Tricia Stringer

1881. Joseph Baker works hard on his pastoral lease at Smith's Ridge, in the beautiful but harsh land of the Flinders Ranges. For Joseph this lease, lost to his family in the early days of settlement, offers a future for his young family and that of his Aboriginal friend, the loyal and courageous Binda. Joseph is a clever man, but it is a hard land to work and drought is once more upon the country.
New arrivals to the small rural town of Hawker, Henry Wiltshire and young wife Catherine, open a general store and commission business. Unscrupulous but clever, Henry has plans to prosper from the locals' fortunes, and quickly makes powerful friends, but when he throws Binda's family out of his shop, his bigotry makes an immediate enemy of Joseph and a die is cast... Then the dark force of Jack Aldridge, a man torn between two worlds, crosses their path. Outcast and resentful, he wants what Henry and Joseph have and will stop at nothing to take it. As the drought widens and the burning heat exhausts the land, Joseph, Henry and Jack's lives become intertwined in a way that none could have predicted. In their final confrontation not all will survive. This sweeping historical saga takes us into the beautiful and brutal landscape of the Flinders Ranges and through the gold rush, following the fate of three men and the women they love. Men and women whose lives become intertwined by love and deceit until nature itself takes control and changes their destinies forever.

Parthena's Promise by Valerie Holmes

England, 1815. London barrister and gentleman, Jerome Fender, has just returned to England after five years as a Captain in the killing fields of the Napoleonic Wars. With the harrowing scenes of battle still haunting his every thought, he sets out to start a new life and to find a wife who will share it with him. Meanwhile recently orphaned 21-year-old Miss Parthena Munro has also arrived at a North Yorkshire market town.She has been sent away by her scheming sole relative, cousin Bertram, to be governess to a local family, only to find that the family has already moved away from the area. Left stranded far from home with no job and no place to stay, Parthena encounters Mr Fender outside an inn, where she takes a chance to steal his money in a witless moment of desperation. She whispers a promise to return the money one day and makes off across the wild Yorkshire moors. But it’s not long before Fender catches up with her. However, on learning of her plight they set out on a plan to seek justice against the wrongs plotted by Bertram. With Jerome’s help, Parthena returns to her home to the great surprise of Bertram, who, thinking that Parthena, the rightful heir to the estate, was now out of the way, was about to clear his debts by selling the family estate. Jerome endeavours to hatch a new plan to thwart Bertram, but Parthena’s rightful inheritance can only fall to her if she marries within the month. Parthena and Jerome discover the flame of love has been kindled between them, but is it already too late? 

The Cedar Cutter by Tea Cooper

Wollombi: 1855. When Roisin Ogilvie moves to Wollombi her thoughts are only of protecting her illegitimate son, Ruan, from the grasps of his powerful and dangerous father. Posing as an impoverished widow, she settles into a quiet existence as a local dressmaker. She doesn’t expect to catch the attention of Irish champion cedar cutter Carrick O’Connor, or any other man for that matter. Carrick O’Connor may have won the coveted Wollombi Wood Chop, but his mind is on the beautiful seamstress and her son. Or rather, on who they remind him of. Determined to exact revenge for the horrors of his past, Carrick plans to return to Ireland to seek revenge on the land agent who was responsible for the death of his wife and child, and his transportation. Then, hopefully, he can return to Wollombi to start life afresh. But a murder charge, a kidnapping, a growing attraction, and a past that refuses to stay silent will turn both his and Roisin’s lives upside down and will lead them to a hard choice. Redemption? Or cutters’ justice? 

The Nonesuch by Georgette Heyer

When they learned that Sir Waldo Hawkridge was coming, the village gentry were thrown into a flurry. The famed sportsman himself! Heir to an uncounted fortune, and a leader of London society! The local youths idolized "the Nonesuch"; the fathers disapproved; and the mothers and daughters saw him as the most eligible--and elusive--man in the kingdom.
But one person remained calm. When she became a governess, Ancilla Trent had put away romance, and at first she could only be amused at the fuss over Sir Waldo. But when he ignored the well-born beauties of the district, a shocking question began to form: could the celebrated gentleman be courting her?

What I'm Reading Today

The Relevations of Carey Ravine by Debra Dailey

London the 1770s is bursting with opportunity. It's a city fuelled by new ideas and new money, where everything is for sale - including entrée into the ruling class.
Making their way in this buccaneering society are Carey Ravine, a spirited young woman of enigmatic background, and her husband, the charming, endlessly enterprising Oliver Nash. Carey and Nash share a historic connection to India and a desperate ambition to better themselves. But as Nash's plans draw them into a restless association of gamblers and secret societies, Carey begins to question what's really hidden behind the seedy glamour of their lives. Her unease grows with the appearance of a mysterious man whose appearance unearths a troubling secret from the past. Carey finds herself forced to investigate the truth behind the stranger's claims­­ - and to confront her own illusions about herself.

Maggie's Kitchen by Caroline Beecham

Amid the heartbreak and danger of London in the Blitz of WWII, Maggie Johnson finds her courage in friendship and food.
They might all travel the same scarred and shattered streets on their way to work, but once they entered Maggie's Kitchen, it was somehow as if the rest of the world didn't exist.
When the British Ministry of Food urgently calls for the opening of restaurants to feed tired and hungry Londoners during WWII, Maggie Johnson seems close to realising a long-held dream.
Navigating a constant tangle of government red-tape, Maggie's Kitchen finally opens its doors to the public and Maggie finds that she has a most unexpected problem. Her restaurant has become so popular that she simply can't find enough food to keep up with the demand for meals.
With the help of twelve-year-old Robbie, a street urchin, and Janek, a Polish refugee dreaming of returning to his native land, she evades threats of closure from the Ministry. But breaking the rules is not the only thing she has to worry about. . . as Maggie fights to keep her beloved Kitchen open, she discovers that some secrets have the power to change everything.

What I Hope To Read Next

Devil of a Fix by Marcus Palliser

1702 in the lawless Caribbean Sea.
Young Matthew Loftus has high hopes for the future of his ship, the Cornelius. Voted captain by his crew to keep the vessel legal by seeking profitable, honest trade, Matthew is determinedly against allowing the Cornelius to be used for piracy and plunder. However, his crew lusts after the spoils that their fast, well-armed ship can win, and when Matthew fails to obtain the promised gold for their goods, discontent begins to rumble. But the threat of mutiny is the least of his worries…
Matthew is wanted by the English Navy for the false charges of piracy and murder; his Navigator, Adam Pyne, is likewise desired on the false charge of desertion. With no wish to fall into the hands of the Admiralty without a chance to prove his innocence, Matthew takes his ship, renamed the Saskia, and her crew and begins a cat-and-mouse game with the English Navy across the Caribbean sea. The English Navy is not the only force to be reckoned with as Matthew must also evade the French and escape the attention of ruthless privateers. His only chance of pardon — the only way he will ever be able to stop running — rests with a secret almanac that promises that great prize: to solve the Longitude. But is the almanac what it seems? As Matthew chases the almanac through wild gales and fierce sea battles, uprisings and reversals of fortune, he never lets go of the belief that everything will be worth it once that almanac is in his hands… 

The Ashes of London by Andrew Taylor

London, September 1666. The Great Fire rages through the city, consuming everything in its path. Even the impregnable cathedral of St. Paul’s is engulfed in flames and reduced to ruins. Among the crowds watching its destruction is James Marwood, son of a disgraced printer, and reluctant government informer.
In the aftermath of the fire, a semi-mummified body is discovered in the ashes of St. Paul’s, in a tomb that should have been empty. The man’s body has been mutilated and his thumbs have been tied behind his back. Under orders from the government, Marwood is tasked with hunting down the killer across the devastated city. But at a time of dangerous internal dissent and the threat of foreign invasion, Marwood finds his investigation leads him into treacherous waters – and across the path of a determined, beautiful and vengeful young woman.


  1. You have had a busy reading week. Revelations of Carey Ravine sounds interesting.

    1. I'm enjoying this book. The further I get into it the more engrossing it becomes.

  2. I really loved Maggie's Kitchen, I hope you enjoy it too! I'm a big fan of Tricia Stringer, have you read any other of her books? I have the Cedar Cutter on my shelf to read too. I enjoyed The Horse Thief by Tea Cooper last year.
    Have a fantastic reading week!
    Amanda @ Mrs B's Book Reviews

    1. I am enjoying Maggie's Kitchen. The food/cooking aspect is a different background to what I usually read in a World War II novel.

      The Cedar Cutter is the first book I've read by Tea Cooper. I have the ebook of The Horse Thief to read, which I'd forgotten I had. Looks like I'll be in for a treat with this one too as i really enjoyed The Cedar Cutter.

  3. If I recall correctly, The Nonesuch was the first book by Heyer that I ever read. It led to me to all the rest. Come see what I accomplished last week here. Happy reading!

    1. I've decided that I need to re-read a few more of Heyer's books. I'd forgotten how delightful they are!

  4. Maggie's Kitchen looks enticing. Enjoy your reading and your week, and here are MY WEEKLY UPDATES

    1. I'm enjoying Maggie's Kitchen. The head of each chapter has tips from the Ministry of Food's War Cookery Leaflets and various other World War II publications, which is an added bonus.

  5. I loved Georgette Heyer when I was younger, she was one of the authors that helped get me into historical fiction, which has become one of my favourite genres!

    1. I have to credit her with that too! Even though I loved history in primary school most of the fiction books I read then were about the Romans and Saxons etc. It wasn't until I read my first Heyer novel at 13 that I really fell in love with historical fiction.

  6. Your current reads both sound good! I guess you are getting your London fix this week. :)

    Happy reading!

  7. That's a lot of reading. Maggie's Kitchen sounds very interesting.

    1. World War II is one of my favorite eras, but I've never read a book that focuses on the food/rationing etc. An unusual approach, but I'm enjoying it.