Tag Archives: historical fiction

The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin. Review. 

Thank you to Netgalley, Hodder and Stoughton and Laura Carlin for my ARC of The Wicked Cometh in exchange for an honest review. 

I’m really cheering Laura on as an author since I found out that like me, she lives in Derbyshire! It’s always great to discover an author from your own area, but anyway, I digress, on to the review! 

The Wicked Cometh is the debut novel from author Laura Carlin. Set in 1831 during the short reign of William IV and people are going missing. But only poor people, so it doesn’t really matter right? But somebody has noticed, and somebody cares. Thrown together by chance, Hester White a young woman whom fortune has dealt a difficult hand, and Rebekah Brock a young woman fighting to be heard and respected in a man’s world, begin their own investigation into what is happening on the murky streets of London’s underworld. 


I loved the character of Hester right away. She’s down on her luck and in a position that she doesn’t deserve to be in, but there’s no sense of entitlement or ‘woe is me’ with her. She sees improving her position as working her way up there her dreams reach as far as becoming a ladies’ maid or a dairy maid, never does she think she deserves to be in some elevated status. I also liked Rebekah who is a fiesty feminist who clearly wants to be recognised for her intelligence and personality. Definitely not your typical woman. 


I loved the way the romance was handled too. I’m not going to say who it was between as I don’t like giving spoilers but I will say that for the time period this was set, it was so well written. It didn’t feel obligatory, or forced, it fitted into the story as a side story to the main event and played out perfectly. Happening naturally and with plenty of shipping from me, the reader. 


The writing style is impeccable and the storyline kept me engaged throughout, I didn’t feel it was ever losing my attention, it was very clearly well thought out and I loved the twists! I didn’t see a lot of what is coming which is rare for me lately. 

Overall a fantastic debut and I’ll be looking out for more from Laura. 

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The Lost Village by Neil Spring. Review 

I’m not really one for horror/ghost stories because I’m quite pathetic and scare really easily! But the premise of this novel just intrigued me, a Lost Village in Wiltshire, taken over by the army in 1914 at the start of WW1 and a promise to the villagers broken when the army decided to keep it. 

Not only that but this place; Imber is actually real! While the story itself is fictional I love supernatural realism and I was really intrigued. Intrigue that was well rewarded. I could NOT put this book down. It was so creepy in places but the story was perfect leading me along and having me pulled forward on to the edge of my seat. 


The tale was absolutely haunting, the characters believable and well written, the research well done. The twists were fantastic and I did not see them coming, a true mystery of rare calibar. The main character Sarah is wrapped up in all the mysteries without even knowing it herself, all she knows is that people are keeping things from her and that every medium or psychic she meets is warning her against something. 


In parts it was also truly scary (or maybe that’s just my chicken spirit coming out) but still enjoyable, I found myself desperate to know more and it was well worth it in the end where all questions were answered. I happen to hate books which make the ending a mystery so this was a pleasant surprise for me! 

Thank you to Netgalley, Quercus publishing and the author Neil Spring for my ARC of this novel. 

Wonder Woman Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo. Review 

Eeeeesh! This was so good. I love Wonder Woman and also Greek mythology so obviously a book about the Amazon Wonder Woman was always going to be on my TBR. Anyway, I finally got round to reading it today after buying it in September and here is my review! 

Wonder Woman is such a powerful novel. It’s the first book I’ve read by Leigh Bardugo although I have all her other novels on my tbr. I was expecting in all honesty for the storyline to follow that of the film (I never read synopsis’) but it was a little different and equally as brilliant! 

Diana lives on the island of Themyscira with her Amazon sisters, desperate to prove herself as a true Amazon she intends to win the annual race, but things go awray when she disobeys one of the fundamental rules of the Amazons and rescues a girl from a shipwreck. Soon she embarks on an adventure which takes her to New York and into the World of Man.


An epic journey unfolds as Diana discovers that Alia is a warbringer, descended from Helen of Troy and destined to bring war and destruction to the world. That is if Diana can’t get her to a sacred spring where her Warbringer tendencies can be cured. But first she gets dragged into New York society, parties, drugstores and dirty motel rooms. 


I love how Diana is portrayed as both incredibly fierce and incredibly vulnerable. I love that the main characters are not just female but fiesty, kick ass females with great attitude. Nim was easily one of my favourite characters. And of course Diana is extra badass when she discovers her own abilities. 


This is the first novel I’ve truly been engrossed in, in a while! I almost missed my stop on the train! 

September 2017 wrap up! 

It’s that time again! Yay! I really love doing the wrap up and getting the chance to look back on what I’ve read this month, what I’ve enjoyed etc. This month I read 22 books at a total of 8,149 pages which is less books but more pages than usual so still a win. I’m very competitive with myself in terms of how many books I read each month, but I seem to be averaging at around 20-25 books a month which is really good. Anyway, to the books! I won’t write a long post about each as there’s just too many but reviews for pretty much all of them can be found on my blog or goodreads if you’d like to know more. 

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden  












Nostalgic Reads Feature. The Sally Lockhart Series by Philip Pullman 

I remember oh too well receiving this 5 book series around my 10th or 11th birthday. It was the first series which really got me interested in crime and detective series’ and probably the first series which interested me in feminism as well. I’ve recently re-read the whole series and loved it just as much as the first time. 


Main Characters: 

Sally Lockhart – a young woman fighting for emancipation, a dab hand with a pistol and a brain for numbers. 

Fredrick Garland – a photographer and dear friend of Sally’s, who ends up assisting her in the adventures she gets wrapped up in. 

Jim Burrows –  a young man who started out as a porter’s boy in Sally’s father’s offices and ends up embroiled in the mystery with the rest of the gang. 

There are other minor and major characters of importance but I’m not going to name them all here as a) I don’t want to give away spoilers, and b) they don’t all feature heavily in every single book. 

Plot: 

The Ruby in the Smoke – following the death of her father, Sally becomes involved in a mystery which puts her life at risk. This is the novel where we find out all about Sally’s character and she meets her friends Frederick and Jim. 

The Shadow in the North – Sally is now set up with her own financial advisory business and is also a partner in Fred’s photographic business now named Garland and Lockhart. She is even more fiercely independent that in the first novel as she investigates financial corruption which leads her down a dark and dangerous path. 

The Tiger in the Well – Sally is still reeling from the devastating events of The Shadow in the North when she receives a court summons, someone is suing her for divorce and threatens to take everything she has built for herself, as well as something so precious she would never give it up. With her friends travelling the world Sally is truly alone, penniless and terrified for the first time. 

The Tin Princess – this is probably my least favourite because it doesn’t feature Sally very heavily, instead it is an adventure for Jim which takes him to a small and unknown country between Germany and Austria-Hungary. It’s still a very exciting book but I love Sally best! It often makes me wonder if Philip Pullman had planned to continue the series featuring Jim and some new characters but it never happened! 

I hope you’ve enjoyed my feature and feel encouraged to give this rather awesome series a go! 

The Crow Garden by Alison Littlewood. Review 

The Crow Garden is the first novel I have read from author Alison Littlewood and it was a rare treat! I love the idea of novels about madness but it is rare that I find one so well written, most I have found dance around with innuendo and mystery and I find that quite frustrating. Not so with The Crow Garden with echoes of Shutter Island Alison Littlewood builds tension with a novel where everything is evident to the reader and not to the characters themselves! 


Nathaniel Kerner is determined to become an Alienist or ‘mad-doctor’ treating patients in an asylum to atone for his father’s suicide, for which he blames himself. Soon he finds himself in his first position at Crakethorn, an old Manor House and now asylum where he meets the beautiful yet damaged Mrs Harleston. But as tension builds between the characters the lines between madness and sanity become blurred. 


Spotted with the poetry of Browning and Byron, the story tells of a terrible love story woven with insanity, in a time when it really was unclear who was mad and who was not. A time when Doctors were allowed free will to carry out barbarous treatments and patients could be admitted purely for being epileptic. The setting on the Yorkshire Moors and the time which is perceived to be Victorian times only add to the dark and cryptic storyline. 


Alison Littlewood’s writing reminds me a lot of the writing of Daphne Du Maurier and I feel that is the biggest complement I can afford the author of The Crow Garden a fantastic novel and highly recommended! 

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry. Review 

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry seems to have been the most talked about book of the year, people who I know are not regular readers have even read and raved about it. As usual I am a little late to the party thanks to my enormous reading pile, but I’ve finally read it. 

In all honesty I found it a little slow paced, while the writing is beautiful I often find that beautiful writing makes you read much slower. When I first started my own studies in writing I remember scoffing at the idea that people prefer to read speech, conversations etc. Rather than description and the narrator telling the story. Show don’t tell. It’s the first rule of writing school isn’t it? And this book I felt, does a lot more telling than showing which I guess is why I found it slow paced. 


There’s no denying that Sarah Perry is a great writer, her prose is beautiful and the story is interesting as it looks to a time when scientific discovery begins to battle not only religious piety but myth and legend as well. Not only this, the novel explores the human psyche, emotions and relationships in minute detail, and the way that as humans we blunder on breaking relationships and not knowing or even perhaps caring how we effect other people. In particular the character of Cora Seaborne who sees herself so much as a woman empowered, taking back her identity that she fails to see how her actions and words effect others. 


I thought that this book explored the concept of feminism very well, in believing in herself and her own rights to do as she pleased, Cora destroyed friendships and relationships completely unaware of the fact and somewhat resentful when she became so. 

It was weird in places but as I say, well explored and what are people if not a little on the strange side?