It's Monday! What Are you Reading?

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

Bush fire season is drawing closer and with all the rain we've had this spring, the grass is very long and the weeds are running rampant.  So it has been a busy week for me outside: mowing, exterminating weeds and generally tidying up before summer hits. As a result, reading has not been a priority, but I managed to squeeze in an hour of  bedtime reading every night before nodding off.  

The Last Pearl I'd commenced weeks ago and only had the last two chapters to finish. This is the first book I've read by Leah Fleming. Great characters and an unsual story focusing on pearls made it an enjoyable read. Pearling is not an industry I associate with Scotland, so it was a surprise to learn that this was a lucrative business there in the 19th century.

I also read Andrew Taylor's The American Boy, another great read from this author with  plenty of twists and turns, right to the end. I've loved all the narrators in the Andrew Taylor novels I've read to-date and Thomas Shields is no exception.

This week I'm still reading The Best of Men and I've also read a few chapters of Anna Romer's latest, Beyond the Orchard.

What I hope to read next is the 11th book in the Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries by C.S. Harris. When Falcons Fall will be collected from the library tomorrow. This is the last of the books currently available in the series and I'll have to wait until April, 2017, for the next one.

What I Read Last Week

The Last Pearl by Leah Fleming

The Last Pearl: one magnificent gem; three lives bound together by fate ...
1879, York.Greta Costello must rely on her wits to survive. She finds refuge as a Saturday girl for an old jeweller, Saul Abrahams, and her eye for detail, her long fingers and appreciation of beauty persuade Saul to train her as a pearl stringer. This skill will lead her through hardship and pain towards a new life.
1879, Scotland.Jem Baillie knows the immense power of a perfect pearl. His father was a fisher on a tributary of the Tay river in Perthshire, Scotland, and together they found the rarest of pearls, a great white pearl they call Queenie. When this is stolen from them, Eben vows revenge.
Spanning generations and continents, tracing the rivers of Scotland and the Mississippi, The Last Pearl is a sweeping novel of desire and revenge, of family and freedom, and of one woman's journey to open the shell she has built around herself to reveal the true beauty within.

The American Boy by Andrew Taylor

England 1819: Thomas Shield, a new master at a school just outside London, is tutor to a young American boy and the boy's sensitive best friend, Charles Frant. Drawn to Frant's beautiful, unhappy mother, Thomas becomes caught up in her family's twisted intrigues. Then a brutal crime is committed, with consequences that threaten to destroy Thomas and all that he has come to hold dear. Despite his efforts, Shield is caught up in a deadly tangle of sex, money, murder and lies -- a tangle that grips him tighter even as he tries to escape from it. And what of the strange American child, at the heart of these macabre events, yet mysterious -- what is the secret of the boy named Edgar Allen Poe?

What I'm Reading Today

The Best of Men by Claire Letemendia

It is 1642, and Laurence Beaumont has just returned to England after six long years fighting -- and avoiding fighting -- in the European Wars. Having fled his home to escape the responsibilities of his noble birthright, he has been a lowly infantryman in Spain, a spy for the Germans, and a cardsharp in a Dutch brothel. He has seen horrors visited upon men, women, and children by enemy and ally alike, and he no longer has faith in God, in causes, or even in humankind itself.
As the clashes between King Charles I and his mutinous Parliament come to a crisis and England is thrown into civil war, a reluctant Beaumont is drawn back into the world of warfare and intrigue when he discovers coded letters outlining a plot to assassinate the king. Soon the conspirators -- one of whom is among the most powerful men in the kingdom -- are in hot pursuit, and Beaumont must find proof of their identities before they overtake him. Pressed into service by the secretary of state's ruthless spymaster, Beaumont finds himself threatened on all sides, facing imprisonment, torture, and worse if he makes a single wrong step. The ravishing Isabella Savage, a practiced seducer, wants to help, but may only lead him deeper into the conspiracies within the king's camp. And all the while Beaumont is haunted by a prophecy and by the memory of a devastating betrayal.

Beyond the Orchard by Anna Romer

Lucy Briar has arrived home in turmoil after years overseas. She’s met her fiancĂ© in London and has her life mapped out, but something is holding her back.
Hoping to ground herself and find answers, Lucy settles into once familiar routines. But old tortured feelings flood Lucy’s existence when her beloved father, Ron, is hospitalised and Morgan – the man who drove her away all those years ago – seeks her out.
Worse, Ron implores Lucy to visit Bitterwood Estate, the crumbling historic family guesthouse now left to him. He needs Lucy to find something– an old photograph album, the very thing that drove Ron and his father apart.
Lucy has her own painful memories of Bitterwood, darkness that has plagued her dreams since she was young. But as Lucy searches for the album, the house begins to give up its ghosts and she is driven to put them to rest.
And there, held tightly between the house, the orchard and the soaring cliffs, Lucy uncovers a long-hidden secret that shattered a family’s bond and kept a frightened young girl in its thrall ... and Lucy discovers just how fierce the lonely heart can be.

What I Hope To Read Next

When Falcons Fall by C.S. Harris

Ayleswick-on-Teme, 1813. Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, has come to this seemingly peaceful Shropshire village to honor a slain friend and on a quest to learn more about his own ancestry. But when the body of a lovely widow is found on the banks of the River Teme, a bottle of laudanum at her side, the village’s inexperienced new magistrate turns to St. Cyr for help.
  Almost immediately, Sebastian realizes that Emma Chance did not, in truth, take her own life. Less easy to discern is exactly how she died, and why. For as Sebastian and Hero soon discover, Emma was hiding both her true identity and her real reasons for traveling to Ayleswick. Also troubling are the machinations of Lucien Bonaparte, the estranged brother of the megalomaniac French Emperor Napoleon. Held captive under the British government’s watchful eye, the younger Bonaparte is restless, ambitious, and treacherous.
  Sebastian’s investigation takes on new urgency when he discovers that Emma was not the first, or even the second, beautiful young woman in the village to die under suspicious circumstances. Home to the eerie ruins of an ancient monastery, Ayleswick reveals itself to be a dark and dangerous place of secrets that have festered among the villagers for decades—and a violent past that may be connected to Sebastian’s own unsettling origins. And as he faces his most diabolical opponent ever, he is forced to consider what malevolence he’s willing to embrace in order to destroy a killer.


  1. I'm a bit worried too about the bush fire season here in Western Australia. It has been such a wet winter that everything has gone wild. Fingers crossed it isn't too bad this year.
    That's interesting to find out about the Pearling activities in Scotland, I didn't know that. I'm glad you enjoyed reading your first Leah Fleming book. I have read two of hers, both very good.
    I'm jealous - I am eagerly awaiting Anna Romer's new book. I can't wait. Thornwood House is still one of my all time favourite novels. Enjoy and I look forward to your thoughts.
    Have a lovely week.

    Amanda @ Mrs B's Book Reviews

    1. Summer is not my favourite season. I don't like the heat and those days when the temperature climbs to over 35C with hot and blustery northerly winds make me nervous.

      It's hard to choose which Leah Fleming book I'll read next, but The Lady in the Veil has caught my interest. I love stories about old photographs.

      I was lucky to get a copy of Beyond the Orchard through Net Galley. Thornwood House is a favourite of mine too. I also enjoyed Lyrebird Hill, but liked Thornwood House more.

  2. Beyond the Orchard looks tempting...hope you enjoy your week, but fire season is definitely worrisome. Hope all is well.


    1. Beyond the Orchard is good so far. I hope you get to read it.

      I'm not looking forward to this summer with the increased risk of bush fires. Also the above average rainfall this spring has caused an abundance of frogs (which means more snakes)and I'm sure we'll have a mosquito plague too!

  3. I've read the first two in the Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries and have another one or two on my Kindle. I enjoy the series but have been buried in review books and other new arrivals lately. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

    1. I love the St. Cyr mysteries. Each one is better than the previous book and they are so quick to read. April seems so far away for the next book!

  4. I'd like to read the Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries. They look intriguing. Happy Reading!

    1. I hope you get around to reading them. I know you won't be disappointed.