It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

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

I had an excellent reading week due to having some time off work and hot weather keeping me indoors. Four books finished, two historical mysteries, one historical romance and one paranormal romance/timeslip novel. The latter two were short, a combined total of 500 pages, making them quick reads.

Once again I enjoyed the Georgian world of Crowther and Westerman, Imogen Robertson's sleuths. Now I'm eagerly awaiting book number six in this excellent series.

I also enjoyed The Morning Gift by Diana Norman. I'm making my way through her back list of books, many of which are out of print. As yet I've not read any of her Mistress in the Art of Death medieval mystery series written under her pseudonym of Ariana Franklin.

My final book for the week was Alison Stuart's Secrets in Time. I've read a couple of her books and found them entertaining and easy reads. Secrets in Time was no exception.

Skylarking, Kate Mildenhall's debut novel, is what I'm currently reading and nearing the end. It is a sad story, based on a true one, about two girls growing up in an isolated community and how their relationship changes as they become young women.

I'm not sure what I'll be reading next. I'm finding it hard to make a selection from my TBR pile, but I keep coming back to two titles, That Burning Summer by Lydia Syson and The Crown Spire by Catherine Curzon and Willow Winsham.

What I Read Last Week

Circle of Shadows by Imogen Robertson

Death at the Carnival: riddle, ritual and murder.
Shrove Tuesday, 1784. While the nobility dance at a masked ball, beautiful Lady Martesen is murdered. Daniel Clode is found by her body, his wrists slit and his memories nightmarish. What has he done? Harriet Westerman and Gabriel Crowther race to the Duchy of Maulberg to save Daniel from the executioner's axe. There they find a capricious Duke on the point of marriage, a court consumed by luxury and intrigue, and a bitter enemy from the past. After another cruel death, they must discover the truth, no matter how horrific it is. Does the answer lie with the alchemist seeking the elixir of life? With the automata makers in the Duke's fake rural idyll? Or in the poisonous lies oozing around the court as the elite strive for power?

Theft of Life by Imogen Robertson

London, 1785. When the body of a West Indies planter is found pegged out in the grounds of St Paul's Cathedral, suspicion falls on one of the victim's former slaves, who was found with his watch on the London streets. But it seems the answer is not that simple. The impact of the planter's death brings tragedy for Francis Glass, a freed slave now working as a bookseller and printer in the city, and a painful reminder of the past for William Geddings, Harriet Westerman's senior footman. Harriet is reluctant to be drawn in to the difficult and powerful world of the slave trade, but she and her friend, reclusive anatomist Gabriel Crowther, begin to understand the dark secrets hidden by the respectable reputation of London's slave owners. Together, they negotiate the interests of the British government, the secrets of the plantation owners, and a network of alliances stretching across the Atlantic. And they must confront the uncomfortable truth that some people are willing to do great evil when they believe their cause to be just.

The Morning Gift by Diana Norman

A Norman heiress was a chattel to be sold in marriage to the highest bidder. If one husband died she was up for sale again. Only the first of Matilda de Risle's husbands gives her anything back. His is the customary Saxon morning gift - the present to a wife if her lord finds her sexually pleasing on their wedding night. Matilda's morning gift was Dungesey in the Fens ... "a bolt hole, my dear, somewhere to hide should trouble come." And come it does. As the war between King Stephen and Empress Matilda in the 1140s tears England apart, Matilda de Risle has to fight for her land, her son's safety and her own life.

Secrets in Time by Alison Stuart

England 1995: Dr. Jessica Shepherd's peaceful summer afternoon is shattered by the abrupt arrival of a wounded soldier claiming to be from the seventeenth century.
If he is to be believed, Nathaniel Preston has crossed three hundred years bringing with him the turmoil of civil war and a request for help that Jess can’t ignore.
Falling in love with this dashing cavalier is destined to end in heartbreak as Jess discovers the price of his love is the knowledge that he will die in battle in just a few short days.
Can their love survive a bloody battle…and overcome time?

What I'm Reading Today

Skylarking by Kate Mildenhall

Kate and Harriet are best friends, growing up together on an isolated Australian cape in the 1880s. As daughters of the lighthouse keepers, the two girls share everything, until a fisherman, McPhail, arrives in their small community. When Kate witnesses the desire that flares between him and Harriet, she is torn by her feelings of envy and longing. But one moment in McPhail’s hut will change the course of their lives forever.

What I Hope To Read Next

That Burning Summer by Lydia Syson

Romney Marsh, July 1940. When invasion threatens, you have to grow up quickly. Sixteen-year-old Peggy has been putting on a brave face since the fall of France, but now the enemy is overhead, and the rules are changing all the time. Staying on the right side of the law proves harder than she expects when a plane crash-lands in the Marsh: it's Peggy who finds its pathetic, broken pilot; a young Polish man, Henryk, who stays hidden in a remote church, secretly cared for by Peggy. As something more blossoms between the two, Peggy's brother Ernest's curiosity peaks and other secrets come to light, forcing Peggy and Henryk to question all the loyalties and beliefs they thought they held dear.

The Crown Spire by Catherine Curzon and Willow Winsham

Scotland, 1795. When the coach carrying Alice Ingram and her niece, Beth, to Edinburgh is attacked, they're grateful for the intervention of two mysterious highwaymen who ride to their rescue. Beth is thrilled by the romance of it all, but Alice, fleeing her brutish husband, has had more than enough drama in her life.
As the women find sanctuary in a tavern on the Great North Road, Beth is thrilled to meet Edward Hogan, the roguish publican. Despite the difference in ages and backgrounds, the couple have instant chemistry and when Ed invited Beth to visit his Edinburgh tavern, she resolves to get to know him even better. Yet Beth is also taken with the highwayman who rescued her; after all, there's something irresistible about a rogue.
Shaken from the attack, Alice grudgingly allows herself to be seen by Doctor James Dillingham, Ed's best friend. Though Dillingham sees the telltale signs of physical abuse on Alice, she refuses to speak of it. Dillingham is dour and Alice frosty, and the two take an instant dislike to each other, so why does their shared coach journey to Edinburgh the following day seem to sizzle?
Once in Edinburgh, Beth starts secretly spending time with Ed, who she begins to think might know more about those highwaymen than he is letting on. By day, Alice sorts Dillingham's paperwork at the charity hospital he runs yet by night she sneaks off to meet her own highwayman, travelling the backroads of the city with the masked figure. Slowly, Alice is coming back to life. But will the husband she is fleeing find her out? And will her highwayman come to her rescue again?