‘Tomorrow’ by Damian Dibben

Tomorrow

★★★★

Who does not want to read about an immortal dog? Especially as clever and brave a dog as Tomorrow? When we meet our canine protagonist, he has been waiting for his master in Venice for 127 years. His owner told him that if they were separated, they would meet up on the St. Marco steps, but his owner never came! Did he really abandon Tomorrow? The man was immortal himself, but is it possible that he somehow died? Tomorrow decides that the time of waiting has ended and the time of action has come. As the Napoleon Wars rage across Europe, Tomorrow wanders, searching for his best friend.

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‘The Absolutist’ by John Boyne

The Absolutist

★★★★★

After having read Boyne’s children’s novel Stay Where You Are And Then Leave set during WW1, I felt like reading his WW1 novel for adults. You really feel the difference; this book deals with some seriously depressing themes. Specifically tells the story of those men who were not killed by enemy fire or illness, but killed by their own side for refusing to fight.

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‘Mind on Fire: A Memoir of Madness and Recovery’ by Arnold Thomas Fanning

Bilderesultat for man on fire arnold fanning

★★★★

Fanning writes so openly about depression and shame that it almost hurts to read his book, but it is so worth it! Fanning has bipolar disorder. Today he is able to manage the illness, but there was a ten year period after he was diagnosed in which he was constantly severely depressed or in the midst of psychosis. He tells us absolutely everything about that period – relationships, madness, homelessness and family life.

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‘The Memoirs of Harriette Wilson’ by Harriette Wilson

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★★★

I had never heard of Harriette Wilson before I came across this very interesting blog post about her and her siblings. She was a courtesan in the late 18th and early 19th century London. The daughter of a shopkeeper, but became the mistress of some of the most powerful men in Regency London. The voices of women of the past are not as loud or as noticeable of that of men’s, but here we get the perspective of a woman who was accepted into high society but always remained an outsider – a demimonde in the truest sense of the word!

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‘Stay Where You Are And Then Leave’ by John Boyne

Stay Where You Are And Then Leave

★★★★

Here is a voice that is not often heard in WW1 literature – the voices of the children who grew up with father’s at the front and childhoods that had to end far too quickly. Alfie is a boy who understands that secrets are being kept from him. That the secrets are about the father he has not seen since he was five. He also understands that he has to use all of his brains if he wants to save the family.

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‘Under The Wide And Starry Sky’ by Nancy Horan

★★★★

A nuanced and engaging portrait of the marriage between Robert Louis Stevenson and his older wife Fanny Van Der Grift. That Stevenson was such a brilliant author is mostly a side note in this book. Sure, we follow how he came up with his ideas (Treasure Island came about from playing with his stepson apparently), but the focus of this book is on a marriage and a family that somehow survived the strains of poverty, physical and mental illnesses, and developing resentments. It is a realistic and thought-full tale that I absolutely loved reading.

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‘Blood and Sugar’ by Laura Shepherd-Robinson

Blood & Sugar

★★★★

This is one of the better historical crime novels I have read in a long time. I am not generally a person that becomes thoroughly engaged in who-done-it mysteries and usually skim-read crime novels only to pause at the bits about the detective’s private life. But Shepherd-Richardson’s story engaged my interest and although I figured out the outline of the murderer’s motive at the beginning I was kept guessing until the very end as to his identity. Perhaps the story succeeds so well because of its gruesome theme: the trade, torture and murder of African slaves in 18th century England.

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‘Jacob’s Folly’ by Rebecca Miller

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★★★★

The premise of the story does sound a bit bizarre and whimsical, but it works superbly! It is about man called Jacob who died in 18th century Paris, and finds himself reincarnated as a fly on modern day Long Island New York. He can of course be a fly on the wall and observe people, but Jacob also finds that he has the ability to enter the minds of humans now and can manipulate them as he wishes. There are two people in particular that catch his interest: Masha and Leslie. What are Jacob’s plans for these two? Are they good or bad? How will their lives change?

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Characters you should hate but whom you actually love: A guide to the best anti-heros out there

You know those characters that do the right thing, are kind to those they meet? And who always end up winning the day? Don’t you just hate them? When a person in a novel becomes too saintly, too perfect, too much that-person-you-can-never-be, that person becomes just distasteful and you actually find yourself cheering for the bad guys!!

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