It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


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

Two books (A Paris Secret and The Paris Time Capsule) that I hadn't intended to read last week bumped up my total for the week to five. Rather than return them to the library tomorrow unread, I decided to make them my weekend reads. These books were inspired by the discovery of a Paris apartment that had been left undisturbed for over 70 years. Two very different imaginings of the story behind this apartment and the treasures it contained, but both very credible and enjoyable reads.

I also enjoyed The Sculthorpe Murder, but not sure I liked the partnership of Lavender and Woods enough to seek out the first two books of the series. The other mystery read last week was Ann Granger's A Better Quality of Murder. I have now read all the books currently available in her Victorian mystery series and hope there is a new one soon.

My final book for the week was Lydia Syson's World War II novel, That Burning Summer. This was a very interesting read as it is told from the perspective of three young people rather than adults.

This week I'm still reading Barnaby Rudge. I don't remember other books by Dickens that I've read being so hard to get into. I can only manage a chapter or two before I set it aside. At this rate it will be marked "currently reading" for quite a while. On the other hand, The Bishop's Girl is off to a great start and I'm racing through it.

Next on my list is Michelle Gable's, A Paris Apartment, because I'm still captivated by that abandoned apartment! Then I'm hoping to read The Currency Lass by Tea Cooper set in Australia and From this Valley by Murray Harvey set in Canada.


What I Read Last Week

The Sculthorpe Murder by Karen Charlton

Northamptonshire, 1810: As a new canal network snakes across the landscape, a vicious mob stakes its claim to the county. Every local constable is out on the hunt for the ruthless Panther Gang. When an elderly man is robbed and murdered in sleepy Middleton, the beleaguered magistrates send for help from London’s Bow Street Police Office.
Detective Stephen Lavender and Constable Ned Woods soon discover there’s more to William Sculthorpe’s demise than meets the eye. Mystery surrounds the old man and his family, and the stench of revenge hangs heavy in the air. Are the Panther Gang really responsible or is something more sinister afoot? As Lavender delves further into long-hidden secrets, Woods has demons of his own to contend with: ghosts from his past that stalk him through the investigation.
Uncovering decades of simmering hatred and deceit, Lavender and Woods must use all their wit and cunning to solve this evil crime.


The Paris Time Capsule by Ella Carey

In 2010, New York photographer Cat Jordan fights against her difficult past. But when a stranger dies in Paris, Cat finds herself the sole inheritor of an apartment in the ninth arrondissement that has been abandoned for seventy years since its mysterious owner, Madame de Florian, fled on the eve of the German invasion in 1940.
A stash of love letters belonging to the owner’s grandmother, the infamous Belle Epoque courtesan Marthe de Florian, and the appearance of the beautiful and mysterious Isabelle de Florian’s grandson, Loic Archer, leads Cat in search of the reasons why Isabelle kept her Paris apartment a secret until her death, and why she left her entire estate to Cat.
As Cat unravels the story, she too embarks on her own journey, realizing that the secrets in the apartment may finally unlock the future…


A Paris Secret by Karen Swan

Somewhere along the cobbled streets of Paris, an apartment lies thick with dust and secrets: full of priceless artworks hidden away for decades.
High-flying Fine Art Agent Flora from London, more comfortable with the tension of a million-pound auction than a cosy candlelit dinner for two, is called in to asses these suddenly discovered treasures. As an expert in her field, she must trace the history of each painting and just who has concealed them for so long.
Thrown in amongst the glamorous Vermeil family as they move between Paris and Antibes, Flora begins to discover that things aren't all that they seem, while back at home her own family is recoiling from a seismic shock. The terse and brooding Xavier Vermeil seems intent on forcing Flora out of his family's affairs - but just what is he hiding?


A Better Quality of Murder by Ann Granger

London is shrouded in a pea-souper fog. Wandering in that fog, for reasons not fully established, was the beautiful Allegra Benedict, wife of an art dealer. When the fog clears, her murdered body is discovered in Green Park. How much does frightened little Miss Marchwood know? Is there any connection with charismatic preacher, Joshua Fawcett? Who - or what - is the River Wraith who preys on the prostitutes working the riverside on foggy nights?
Lizzie Martin and Ben Ross are now married and have set up home near to Waterloo Station. Ben, officially, and Lizzie, unofficially, must investigate.


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.

What I'm Reading Today

Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens

Set against the backdrop of the Gordon Riots of 1780, Barnaby Rudge is a story of mystery and suspense which begins with an unsolved double murder and goes on to involve conspiracy, blackmail, abduction and retribution. Through the course of the novel fathers and sons become opposed, apprentices plot against their masters and Protestants clash with Catholics on the streets. And, as London erupts into riot, Barnaby Rudge himself struggles to escape the curse of his own past. With its dramatic descriptions of public violence and private horror, its strange secrets and ghostly doublings, Barnaby Rudge is a powerful, disturbing blend of historical realism and Gothic melodrama.

The Bishop's Girl by Rebecca Burns

The body had no name. It was not supposed to be there...
Jess is a researcher on a quest to give the one-hundred-year-old skeleton, discovered in the exhumed grave of a prominent bishop, an identity. But she's not sure of her own - her career is stalling, her marriage is failing. She doesn't want to spend hours in the archives, rifling through dusty papers in an endless search for a name. And when a young man named Hayden makes clear his interest in her, Jess has to decide what is most important to her.




What I Hope To Read Next

The Currency Lass by Tea Cooper

As her father's only heir, Catherine Cottingham expects to inherit their sprawling property in the Hunter Valley. What she doesn't understand is why her father is trying to push her into a marriage to the pompous and repulsive Sydney businessman Henry W. Bartholomew.
When the will is read it becomes clear money, or the lack of it, lay behind her father's plans. Catherine is mortified — as a married woman all her possessions will pass to her husband, the overbearing Bartholomew. Her only alternative is to wait until her twenty-first birthday and inherit the property in her own right, but can she elude such a determined man until then?
A chance encounter with a travelling circus and its fiery lead performer, Sergey Petrov, offers the perfect solution and Catherine escapes to the goldfields. But there is more to the circus than spangles and sawdust and Catherine finds herself drawn into a far-reaching web of fraud and forgery...


From This Valley by Murray Harvey

The year is 1876, and Trooper Ryan Price Meade is a deserter from the US Army 7th Cavalry Regiment who strikes north, fleeing the Montana Territory just as Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer closes in on Little Bighorn. A deeply troubled young man, Meade finds himself in Canada’s Northwest Territory, only to be confronted with all he has lost and come face to face with a ghost from the past—one that will alter the course of the rest of his life.




A Paris Apartment by Michelle Gable

When April Vogt's boss tells her about an apartment in the ninth arrondissement that has been discovered after being shuttered for the past seventy years, the Sotheby's continental furniture specialist does not hear the words “dust” or “rats” or “decrepit.” She hears Paris. She hears escape.
Once in France, April quickly learns the apartment is not merely some rich hoarder's repository. Beneath the cobwebs and stale perfumed air is a goldmine, and not because of the actual gold (or painted ostrich eggs or mounted rhinoceros horns or bronze bathtub). First, there's a portrait by one of the masters of the Belle Epoque, Giovanni Boldini. And then there are letters and journals written by the very woman in the painting, Marthe de Florian. These documents reveal that she was more than a renowned courtesan with enviable decolletage. Suddenly April's quest is no longer about the bureaux plats and Louis-style armchairs that will fetch millions at auction. It's about discovering the story behind this charismatic woman.
It's about discovering two women, actually.
With the help of a salty (and annoyingly sexy) Parisian solicitor and the courtesan's private diaries, April tries to uncover the many secrets buried in the apartment. As she digs into Marthe's life, April can't help but take a deeper look into her own. Having left behind in the States a cheating husband, a family crisis about to erupt, and a career she's been using as the crutch to simply get by, she feels compelled to sort out her own life too. When the things she left bubbling back home begin to boil over, and Parisian delicacies beyond flaky p√Ętisseries tempt her better judgment, April knows that both she and Marthe deserve happy finales.

8 comments:

  1. This are all new to me. I have read a number of books by Dickens but not that one. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

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    1. I can see now why Barnaby Rudge is not a popular book by Dickens!

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  2. The Paris books look very tempting. A nice change from my usual reading.

    Enjoy! Here are MY WEEKLY UPDATES

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    1. Both books were quick, easy reads. I'm sure you'll enjoy them.

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  3. I'll be looking for a few of these. Interesting list.

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    1. I hope you enjoy whichever ones you choose to read.

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  4. Hi Yvonne,

    It looks like we have had a similar taste in books this week. I also read The Paris Time Capsule after reading an Eiffel tower themed novel To Cpature What We Cannot Keep. I have The Paris Apartment sitting on my TBR shelf, this story completely fascinates me! The Paris Secret is also waiting to be read on that monster TBR pile of mine. I have a weakness for Paris/French themed books!
    I hope you enjoy The Currency Lass, I an eagerly anticipating its release, The Horse Theif was a lovely tale.
    Enjoy the rest of your books, what lovely reads you have in store for you!

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    1. That apartment fascinates me too. I can't believe it remained intact for 70 years with all those lovely treasures inside, especially through World War II.

      I loved Tea Cooper's The Cedar Cutter. The Horse Thief is in my TBR pile - on my Kindle - and I keep forgetting I have it there. I may have to borrow a hard copy from the library!

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