Anna of Kleve : Queen of Secrets by Alison Weir

Author : Alison Weir
Title : Anna of Kleve : Queen of Secrets
Series : Six Tudor Queens #4
Pages : 485
Publisher : Headline
Publication date : May 2, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Newly widowed and the father of an infant son, Henry VIII realizes he must marry again to insure the royal succession. Now forty-six, overweight and unwell, Henry is soundly rejected by some of Europe’s most eligible princesses, but Anna of Kleve—a small German duchy—is twenty-four and eager to wed.

Henry requests Anna’s portrait from his court painter, who enhances her looks, painting her straight-on in order not to emphasize her rather long nose. Henry is entranced by the lovely image, only to be bitterly surprised when Anna arrives in England and he sees her in the flesh. She is pleasant looking, just not the lady that Henry had expected.

What follows is a fascinating story of this awkward royal union that had to somehow be terminated tactfully. Alison Weir takes a fresh and surprising look at this remarkable royal marriage by describing it from the point of view of Queen Anna, a young woman with hopes and dreams of her own, alone in a royal court that rejected her from the day she arrived. 

| MY THOUGHTS |

The Six Tudor Queens series continues with the fourth of Henry VIII’s wives, Anna of Kleve. This is one I’d been looking forward to, happy to move even further away from the Great Matter, and also because I didn’t know much about Anna herself.

Anna hailed from Germany and to all intents and purposes seemed to have lived quite the sheltered life under the watchful eye of her mother. Until the day Henry VIII, King of England, decides he needs another wife and preferably another heir. With Spain and France joining forces against him, an alliance with the Duke of Kleve would be quite an advantage. Henry asks his court painter for a portrait of Anna. He likes what he sees. Until Anna finally arrives in England. Despite the marriage going ahead, it quickly becomes clear Henry isn’t happy and when Henry isn’t happy, heads roll. But will it be Anna’s?

There is quite the controversial storyline running through Anna of Kleve. As always, Alison Weir takes facts and builds her story around those. In this case, the reasons Henry listed for his marriage to Anna to remain unconsummated. By that time, he was nearing 50, massively overweight and unfit, and quite possibly impotent. But of course, that’s not something he would ever have admitted. In his attempts to have his marriage to Anna annulled, Henry shows a side of himself we’ve not really seen before. At times he managed to come across as likeable even.

Now imagine Anna. A young woman sent off to England to marry a King. She spoke no English, knew nothing of the culture or customs but did know the stories about what happened to Henry’s previous wives. How incredibly frightening is that? Unable to please Henry, through no fault of her own, her life at the court must have been spent in sheer fear and anxiety.

I mentioned the controversial path Alison Weir takes with this story. Up to a certain point, I was quite willing to follow it. It explained a lot, it made sense while keeping Henry’s words in the back of my mind. But as the years went on, I must admit that that particular fictional part of the story lost me a little bit. I’m being deliberately vague here because I want the readers to experience this for themselves. If you do read this novel, and you definitely should, I’d be incredibly interested in knowing your thoughts.

I absolutely adore the Six Tudor Queens series and boy, do those hardcovers look amazing on my bookshelf. As always, Alison Weir’s research is immaculate and her descriptions are fabulously vivid. From the various palaces and their furnishings to the food served to the gorgeous clothes, she brings this era to life like no other. While I enjoyed Anna of Kleve, it wasn’t my favourite of the series though. It’s a bit hard to explain but for the first time in this series, I really felt like I was reading fiction. Which it is for the most part, of course, but some of it just didn’t quite work for me. Nevertheless, putting those misgivings aside, Anna of Kleve is another fantastic addition to this series and I can’t wait for the next one.

Anna of Kleve : Queen of Secrets is available to buy in ebook and hardcover.

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

Weekly Wrap-Up (May 12)

The May weather is not playing nice. Dark days, wet and miserable, hail and random thunderstorms … what is this fudgery? All I see when I look out of the window is a garden that is slowly starting to resemble a jungle but I can’t get out there to do anything about it.

Luckily, I have books! Which came in especially handy when I was suddenly confronted with an hour long power cut. I was determined to get ahead of schedule again because my Line of Duty box set is on its way so guess what I’ll be doing next week! Somehow, I have still managed to remain completely spoiler free. It’s an absolute miracle!

So yes, getting ahead of schedule. How did that work out for you, Eva? Well, not so good because for some reason, I ended up with a bunch of books in a row that went over 400 pages and I may also have squeezed in one of my own TBR because … why not?

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

I’ll take that. That’s not too shabby at all! Now if only I could get the reviews written 🙄

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

I love the Six Tudor Queens series and had Anna of Kleve on preorder for what felt like forever. So obviously, when it finally arrived, I dropped everything to read it. The Doll Factory … I’ve been going back and forth on that one for ages but ultimately, it was sprayed edges envy that won out 😂

| ARC’s RECEIVED VIA NETGALLEY |

As you know, I don’t normally read on kindle anymore these days but I was sent a widget for this one by the publisher and by golly, I just couldn’t resist. It’s Tammy Cohen! I love her books! Why yes, I did already read it too.

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

What a week! Sure, these are all for blog tours because I just can’t help myself but whatever. Look at The Whisper Man! One of my most anticipated books of this year and it’s finally arrived! I can’t wait to read this one. May need to turn my schedule upside down again. 🤔 (With thanks to Headline, Orion, No Exit and Michael Joseph)

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Joined the blog tour for The Lost Letters of William Woolf by Helen Cullen with a guest post.

Tuesday : Took the day off

Wednesday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Night By Night by Jack Jordan and shared My Week in Books

Thursday : Reviewed With Our Blessing by Jo Spain

Friday : Took the day off

Saturday : Joined the blog tour for In Two Minds by Alis Hawkins

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Blog tour | Review | Never Be Broken by Sarah Hilary

Tuesday : Blog tour | Review | The Evidence Against You by Gillian McAllister

Wednesday : Blog tour | Review | Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly

Thursday : Blog tour | Review | Tell Me Where You Are by Moira Forsyth

Friday : Review | Anna of Kleve by Alison Weir

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

See the blog tour on Thursday? Yep, still have to read that 😳🤣

In other news, I am having some technical difficulties lately which are extremely annoying. My mornings are usually spent on my laptop, where things works relatively normal. Not all of it, but I found a way around it so that’s okay. But for the rest of the day, I am on my iPad and for some reason WordPress does not play nicely. This means, I am constantly logged out and despite numerous attempts to log in, it just won’t let me. So I have to visit blogs via the WordPress Reader and like/share from there. However, being logged out means I can’t comment! In case you thought I was ignoring your wonderful posts, I’m really not.

Guess what I’m doing today! If you think it’s lounging on the sofa with a good book, accidentally having a nap … you’re wrong! Bloody stupid socialising crap for me again. There should be a law against this stuff. I’m so tired, I feel as if I haven’t slept for a week and I worry I’ll end up with my face in a bowl of soup. I can’t even get the tiniest bit excited about there being wine. Oh dear.

Anyway, I should probably try to write a review of two (five) before I have to get ready. So, that’s it for another week. Hope you all have a great one and lots of happy reading! xx

In Two Minds by Alis Hawkins | @Alis_Hawkins @DomePress @emily_glenister | #blogtour #bookreview #giveaway

It’s such a pleasure to host a stop on the blog tour for In Two Minds by Alis Hawkins today! My thanks to Emily at Dome Press for the opportunity to join and for the wonderful review copy! Read on for the bookish information, my review and a fab giveaway.

Author : Alis Hawkins
Title : In Two Minds
Series : Teifi Valley Coroner #2
Pages : 455
Publisher : Dome Press
Publication date : May 2, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Harry Probert-Lloyd, a young barrister forced home from London by encroaching blindness, has begun work as the acting coroner of Teifi Valley with solicitor’s clerk John Davies as his assistant.

When a faceless body is found on an isolated beach, Harry must lead the inquest. But his dogged pursuit of the truth begins to ruffle feathers. Especially when he decides to work alongside a local doctor with a dubious reputation and experimental theories considered radical and dangerous. Refusing to accept easy answers might not only jeopardise Harry’s chance to be elected coroner permanently but could, it seems, implicate his own family in a crime.

| MY THOUGHTS |

In Two Minds is the second instalment in the Teify Valley Coroner series featuring Harry Probert-Lloyd and John Davies. After his success in solving a murder in the previous book, Harry is now the acting coroner and John continues to work as his assistant.

A faceless body is found on a beach and Harry is called up to lead the inquest. Everyone would like a quick resolution. After all, inquests cost money. But Harry doesn’t work like that and is determined to find out exactly what happened and who is responsible. Will his dogged determination ruin his chance at being elected coroner permanently?

As with the previous book, Alis Hawkins manages to combine an interesting historical fact with the fictitious investigation run by Harry and John. This time, the topic is emigration and we find a multitude of characters who have been saving up money for years to try and get onto a boat that will take them to a, hopefully, better life in America.

This is one of those times where I feel the title is incredibly apt and well chosen. Lots of characters are in two minds throughout the story, as they try to figure out what the future holds in store for them. Those who must decide between carrying on with their lives in Wales or taking a gamble on a new life in America, for instance. But also, Harry and John themselves. If you’ve read the previous book, then you know Harry’s life seems to be all planned out. Even more so when his father falls ill. Harry constantly finds himself torn between his duty and what he actually really wants to do. And John is determined to improve his situation, not content with being a solicitor’s clerk forever. I really liked that he was given the opportunity to prove himself in this story, showing his intelligence and diligence, making decisions on his own without being prompted by Harry.

I can’t wrap up this review without mentioning doctor Rickett. Harry’s decision to involve him ruffles quite a lot of feathers. Rickett’s thoughts on medicine must have sounded somewhat like voodoo in those days but to us, many of them come across as perfectly reasonable. In order to make advancements in medicine, Rickett is a big fan of autopsies. He doesn’t just want to help sick people, he wants to learn how they got sick in the first place and possibly find out how to prevent the same thing happening to someone else. I found his character truly fascinating and I do so hope he appears in future instalments.

Set in Wales, In Two Minds oozes atmosphere and combines two of my favourite things : historical fiction and crime. Who is this faceless body? Were they murdered and if so, by whom and why? I couldn’t find an answer to these questions at all and Alis Hawkins kept me guessing right up until the quite devastating conclusion. With lots of well-crafted and intriguing characters, twists and turns and an interesting investigation, In Two Minds is a gripping, compelling read and a brilliant addition to this series. I shall impatiently await the next book and very much look forward to seeing what happens to Harry and John next.

In Two Minds is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

| GIVEAWAY |

ONE lucky winner will receive ONE paperback copy of In Two Minds!

Enter the giveaway by clicking this Rafflecopter link

This giveaway is UK ONLY!

You must of course be willing to give me your details to be passed on to the publisher. Good luck!

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Alis Hawkins grew up on a dairy farm in Cardiganshire. Her inner introvert thought it would be a good idea to become a shepherd and, frankly, if she had, she might have been published sooner. As it was, three years reading English at Corpus Christi College, Oxford revealed an extrovert streak and a social conscience which saw her train as a Speech and Language Therapist.

She has spent the subsequent three decades variously bringing up two sons, working with children and young people on the autism spectrum and writing fiction, non-fiction and plays.

She writes the kind of books she likes to read: character-driven historical crime and mystery fiction with what might be called literary production values. 

This Week in Books (May 8)

Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.

| LAST BOOK I FINISHED READING |

Harry Probert-Lloyd, a young barrister forced home from London by encroaching blindness, has begun work as the acting coroner of Teifi Valley with solicitor’s clerk John Davies as his assistant.

When a faceless body is found on an isolated beach, Harry must lead the inquest. But his dogged pursuit of the truth begins to ruffle feathers. Especially when he decides to work alongside a local doctor with a dubious reputation and experimental theories considered radical and dangerous.

Refusing to accept easy answers might not only jeopardise Harry’s chance to be elected coroner permanently but could, it seems, implicate his own family in a crime.

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

Newly widowed and the father of an infant son, Henry VIII realizes he must marry again to insure the royal succession. Now forty-six, overweight and unwell, Henry is soundly rejected by some of Europe’s most eligible princesses, but Anna of Kleve—a small German duchy—is twenty-four and eager to wed.

Henry requests Anna’s portrait from his court painter, who enhances her looks, painting her straight-on in order not to emphasize her rather long nose. Henry is entranced by the lovely image, only to be bitterly surprised when Anna arrives in England and he sees her in the flesh. She is pleasant looking, just not the lady that Henry had expected.

What follows is a fascinating story of this awkward royal union that had to somehow be terminated tactfully. Alison Weir takes a fresh and surprising look at this remarkable royal marriage by describing it from the point of view of Queen Anna, a young woman with hopes and dreams of her own, alone in a royal court that rejected her from the day she arrived. 

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

Renée Ballard is working the night beat again, and returns to Hollywood Station in the early hours only to find a stranger rifling through old file cabinets. The intruder is retired detective Harry Bosch, working a cold case that has gotten under his skin. Ballard kicks him out, but then checks into the case herself and it brings a deep tug of empathy and anger.

Bosch is investigating the death of fifteen-year-old Daisy Clayton, a runaway on the streets of Hollywood who was brutally murdered and her body left in a dumpster like so much trash. Now, Ballard joins forces with Bosch to find out what happened to Daisy and finally bring her killer to justice.

Not entirely sure why all the books I’m reading lately are so long. These are all over 400 pages, one even 485. It’s not that I mind. I like big books (and I can not lie) but it makes staying ahead of my schedule just that little bit harder. 😄

What are you reading this week? Let me know! Happy reading! xx

This Week in Books (May 1)

Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.

| LAST BOOK I FINISHED READING |

When London journalist, Mark Roberts, is found battered to death, the police quickly arrest petty thief, Nick Connor. Criminal defence lawyer, Dan Grant, along with investigator Jayne Brett, are called to represent him – but with bloody footprints and a stolen wallet linking him to the scene, this is one case they’re unlikely to win. 

Until help comes from an unlikely source…when the murder victim’s mother says that Connor is innocent, begging Dan and Jayne to find the real perpetrator. 

Unravelling the complex case means finding the connection between Mark’s death and a series of child murders in Yorkshire over twenty years ago. Father of two, Rodney Walker, has spent years in prison after being convicted of killing of 6-year-old William and 7-year-old Ruby back in 1997. 

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

Spring, 1543. King Henry VIII is wooing Catherine Parr, whom he wants for his sixth wife. Archbishop Cranmer and the embattled Protestant faction at court are watching keenly, for Lady Catherine is known to have reformist sympathies.

Matthew Shardlake, meanwhile, is working on the case of a teenage boy who has been placed in the Bedlam insane asylum, and fears that the boy’s terrifying religious mania could lead to him being burned as a heretic.

When an old friend is horrifically murdered, Shardlake promises his widow that he will bring the killer to justice. His search leads him to Cranmer and Catherine Parr – and to the dark prophecies of the Book of Revelation.

As London’s Bishop Bonner prepares a purge of Protestants, Shardlake, together with Jack Barak and his physician friend, Guy Malton, investigates a series of horrific murders which soon bring talk of witchcraft and demonic possession – for what else would the Tudor mind make of a serial killer … ?

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

It’s the day her father will be released from jail. Izzy English has every reason to feel conflicted – he’s the man who gave her a childhood filled with happy memories. But he has also just served seventeen years for the murder of her mother.

Now, Izzy’s father sends her a letter. He wants to talk, to defend himself against each piece of evidence from his trial. But should she give him the benefit of the doubt? Or is her father guilty as charged, and luring her into a trap?

What do you think? Anything here you’ve read and enjoyed? Anything you want to read? What are you reading this week? Let me know! Happy reading! xx

This Week in Books (April 24)

Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.

| LAST BOOK I FINISHED READING |

Children are dying on London’s streets. Frankie Reece, stabbed through the heart, outside a corner shop. Others recruited from care homes, picked up and exploited; passed like gifts between gangs. They are London’s lost. 

Then Raphaela Belsham is killed. She’s thirteen years old, her father is a man of influence, from a smart part of town. And she’s white. Suddenly, the establishment is taking notice.

DS Noah Jake is determined to handle Raphaela’s case and Frankie’s too. But he’s facing his own turmoil, and it’s becoming an obsession. DI Marnie Rome is worried, and she needs Noah on side. Because more children are disappearing, more are being killed by the day and the swelling tide of violence needs to be stemmed before it’s too late.

[My review won’t be posted until May 13th on the blog tour but here’s a clue : WOW!!!!]

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

Rejected by her family and plagued by insomnia, Rose Shaw is on the brink. But one dark evening she collides with a man running through the streets, who quickly vanishes. The only sign he ever existed – a journal dropped at Rose’s feet.

She begins to obsessively dedicate her sleepless nights to discovering what happened to Finn Matthews, the mysterious author of the journal. Why was he convinced someone wanted to kill him? And why, in the midst of a string of murders, won’t the police investigate his disappearance?

Rose is determined to uncover the truth. But she has no idea what the truth will cost her…

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

Harry Probert-Lloyd, a young barrister forced home from London by encroaching blindness, has begun work as the acting coroner of Teifi Valley with solicitor’s clerk John Davies as his assistant.

When a faceless body is found on an isolated beach, Harry must lead the inquest. But his dogged pursuit of the truth begins to ruffle feathers. Especially when he decides to work alongside a local doctor with a dubious reputation and experimental theories considered radical and dangerous.

Refusing to accept easy answers might not only jeopardise Harry’s chance to be elected coroner permanently but could, it seems, implicate his own family in a crime.

I’ve actually not read anything since Saturday. Silly Easter weekend and all that overrated socialising. But I’m very excited to get stuck in to Jack Jordan’s latest book this afternoon.

What are you reading this week? Let me know! Happy reading! xx

Weekly Wrap-Up (April 21)

Happy Easter!

It feels like Summer and I’m loving every single second of it! Gorgeous blue skies, glorious sunshine, weeds popping up all over the place and hay fever kicking my arse. Okay, wait, those last two aren’t fun but we’ll take the good with the bad and enjoy it while it lasts.

Of the bad, all that sunshine made me realise how dirty my windows were, mostly due to an inconsiderate other half. So of course I had to clean them. Again! I swear my house would be so much cleaner if I were single 😂

Reading-wise. Hoo boy! What a week it’s been! Let’s have a look at what I read.

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

Best week EVER! There are four 5 star reads on that list! The books I’ll be reading next week have a lot to live up to!

I’m not even worried about “only” reading 6 books because the books in that C.J. Sansom series are just getting bigger and bigger. 650 pages, devoured in less than two days. If you love crime fiction and historical fiction and the Tudor era, this series NEEDS to be on your shelf! SO GOOD!

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

Nada! Zip! My other half is pleased. Little does he know I fully intend to catch up at some point 😉

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

Just the one but what a corker it is. Enormously pleased.

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Took the day off

Tuesday : Joined the blog tour for The Passengers by John Marrs and shared a guest on the blog tour for White Leaves of Peace by Tracey Iceton

Wednesday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe and shared My Week in Books

Thursday : Joined the blog tour for The Garden of Lost and Found by Harriet Evans

Friday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Liberation Square by Gareth Rubin

Saturday : Joined the blog tour for Perfect Crime by Helen Fields

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

And breathe! What a fun week that was! Thank you for all the shares on Twitter. I lost track of my notifications at some point and may have missed some people. Apologies! The glorious sunshine made me do it 🤣

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Blog tour | Review | Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech

Tuesday : Blog tour | Review | Fallen Angel by Chris Brookmyre

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Blog tour | Extract | Envy by Amanda Robson

Friday : Blog tour | Review | Picture of Innocence by T.J. Stimson

Saturday : Blog tour | Review | Sleep by C.L. Taylor

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

So much for slowing down, huh? Have to say though, I do so love being this busy. And I’m even ahead of schedule. I have one review left to write for this upcoming week but as far as reading the books is concerned, I’m reading for May. I feel quite accomplished. 😊

Question of the week. Which I totally stole from the lovely Kate at Portable Magic. If you have blog tours scheduled, do you ever read out of order?

Take me for instance and the books I read this past week. First I read one for a blog tour on May 27th, then I read one due May 2nd, to be followed by one due May 13th. One isn’t even for a blog tour at all (hello, Sovereign!). All the while I seem to be skipping over the one that’s due May 1st. 😂

Is that something you do as well? Or do you stick to your schedule and just basically try not to panic?

Friendly reminder that voting is still open for the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards

Feel free to ignore the other 64 names on the list and vote for me (Novel Deelights, in case you wondered) 😂

That’s it for another week. I have a few reviews to tackle before my mother-in-law arrives for a fun afternoon of board games, sunshine and stuffing our faces full of chocolate. Or ice cream. Or hell, both! Diet? What diet?

Hope everyone has a fabulous week! Until next time! Happy reading! xx

The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe | @EburyPublishing @Tr4cyF3nt0n | #blogtour

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe. My thanks to Tracy Fenton for the opportunity to join and to the publisher for my review copy.

Author : Antonio Iturbe (translated by Lilit Zekulin Thwaites)
Title : The Librarian of Auschwitz
Pages : 432
Publisher : Ebury Publishing
Publication date : April 4, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious books the prisoners have managed to smuggle past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the secret librarian of Auschwitz, responsible for the safekeeping of the small collection of titles, as well as the ‘living books’ – prisoners of Auschwitz who know certain books so well, they too can be ‘borrowed’ to educate the children in the camp.

But books are extremely dangerous. They make people think. And nowhere are they more dangerous than in Block 31 of Auschwitz, the children’s block, where the slightest transgression can result in execution, no matter how young the transgressor…

| MY THOUGHTS |

Decades after the second World War has ended, so many stories remain untold and this is one of them. The Librarian of Auschwitz is based on the true story of Dita Kraus. At the age of fourteen, she and her parents find themselves in Auschwitz and Dita will become the secret librarian. Block 31 is where the children gather and one way or another, eight precious books have been accumulated. But books are dangerous because they make people think and if the Nazi’s were to find out about them, it would put everyone in danger. It’s up to Dita to make sure the books are kept safe at all cost.

No matter how many books you read about this incredibly disturbing era, it remains highly unsettling and heartbreaking. Life in the camp is harsh and almost impossible to fathom. Yet in the midst of all this despair, many held their heads up high, fought for survival, held on to hope and even tried to give children some kind of education. Obviously this was not allowed but the children kept this secret to themselves, singing silly songs when German soldiers were near and they even put on a show for the vile and despicable Josef Mengele.

This wasn’t the easiest of books to read. Apart from the topic, it jumps around quite a bit between different characters and time frames so it requires your full attention. The line between fiction and non-fiction is quite blurry but I enjoyed that the author added dates and facts throughout the story. Dita is an amazing young girl. She’s determined, brave and perceptive and sometimes makes you forget she was barely fourteen years old. But the character that stood out for me to most was Fredy Hirsh but you’ll have to read the novel to learn more about him.

I love a novel that makes me think and makes me google. Because despite having read quite a few WWII stories over the years, I had never heard of Block 31. Although it’s not quite clear what the reasoning from the Nazi’s was to have a family camp and this particular Block 31, it did “good things”. Many children were somewhat more protected from the even more severe realities of the rest of the camp and they were given slightly more food which meant not one child died from malnutrition.

Sadly, it’s not surprising to know many of them will not live to see the end of the war. As Dita’s story about life in Auschwitz reaches its conclusion, it becomes increasingly more devastating. Do make sure you also read the author’s afterword and learn more about what became of some of the other characters/people. The Librarian of Auschwitz is a powerful, unforgettable and touching novel and Dita’s story will stay with me forever.

The Librarian of Auschwitz is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Antonio Iturbe lives in Spain, where he is both a novelist and a journalist. In researching The Librarian of Auschwitz, he interviewed Dita Kraus, the real-life librarian of Auschwitz.

Lilit Zekulin Thwaites is an award-winning literary translator. After thirty years as an academic at La Trobe University in Australia, she retired from teaching and now focuses primarily on her ongoing translation and research projects.

Weekly Wrap-Up (April 14)

First things first! Many, many thanks for all the positive vibes you guys sent my way here and over Twitter regarding my doggie. The news was altogether pretty positive and she’s out of the woods for now. Unfortunately, it looks like it might turn into a recurring problem. She’s old after all. But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. For now, she’s being spoilt rotten … erm, even more so than before.

Yohi would very much like to point out she looks amazing for her age

What the hell happened to Spring?! It’s been so cold this past week, with a few nights even going below freezing point again and I do NOT approve! Still, that does mean I can ignore my garden for a little longer and stay nice and warm on my sofa, surrounded by books.

So, what have I been reading this week, I hear you ask.

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

Another six off the shelf! I’m happy with that amount because that C.J. Sansom series is one doorstop after the other. This one was a mere 576 pages, although it didn’t feel like it.

I also finished an audiobook but since I started it weeks ago, I didn’t feel it should count 🤣

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

I’m continuing with my collection of Harlan Coben books, of which I apparently read more than I thought 🙄. I also went ahead and bought the three books in the James Marwood series by Andrew Taylor because of Kate. If you love historical fiction, you should definitely follow her!

These are the April 4th preorders that finally arrived. Why yes, I have already read two of them.

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

Lucky, lucky blogger. With thanks to Orenda Books and Penguin!

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Reviewed The Bridal Party by J.G. Murray

Tuesday : Shared my review for My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Shared an extract from Suddenly Single by Carol Wyer on the blog tour

Friday : Nothing

Saturday : Took the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

I didn’t get any reminder emails so it’s safe to say I didn’t forget to write anything down in my schedule and at least I managed to fill in some of the gaps. Let’s just call it the quiet before the storm. 😂

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Nothing planned

Tuesday : Blog tour | Review | The Passengers by John Marrs
Tuesday : Blog tour | Guest Post | White Leaves of Peace by Tracey Iceton

Wednesday : Blog tour | Review | The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe
Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Blog tour | Review | The Garden of Lost and Found by Harriet Evans

Friday : Blog tour | Review | Liberation Square by Gareth Rubin

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Told you things would get back to normal soon 😂. Still ahead of schedule though. I’ve read all of them, I just need to write one more review.

In other news, voting is now open in the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards. I’ve been nominated for Best Book Blog, alongside 64 other amazing book bloggers. I don’t stand a chance of winning but if you feel so inclined to cast a vote my way, please do. I don’t know if they rank everyone but if they do, I’d quite like to avoid coming last 😂 . You can vote here

Question of the week : Short versus long books. Yes, of course this was prompted by the Shardlake series by C.J. Sansom. Does a high amount of pages put you off starting a book? What is your cut-off point, if you have one?

I personally don’t care. I mean, I read the Game of Thrones series. Some of those went over a thousand pages and it didn’t bother me at all. Obviously I’d need more time in my schedule to tackle something like that than I do now. And preferably someone to hold the book up and flip the pages for me. 😂

Speaking of Game of Thrones, the final series starts tonight/tomorrow, depending on where you are. I will be disappearing off social media every Monday until I’ve had the chance to watch the episode myself so don’t worry if I’m late with sharing your posts or just not interacting. Should probably say, interacting even less. I just know the second I go online, there will be spoilers and I will do anything to avoid that. I so can’t wait!

Right, enough babble for this week. Hope you’re all having a wonderful weekend. Have a great week and I’ll see you next time. Happy reading! xx

This Week in Books (April 10)

Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.

| LAST BOOK I FINISHED READING |

Summer, 1540. Matthew Shardlake, believing himself out of favour with Thomas Cromwell, is busy trying to maintain his legal practice and keep a low profile. But his involvement with a murder case, defending a girl accused of brutally murdering her young cousin, brings him once again into contact with the King’s chief minister – and a new assignment . . .

The secret of Greek Fire, the legendary substance with which the Byzantines destroyed the Arab navies, has been lost for centuries. Now an official of the Court of Augmentations has discovered the formula in the library of a dissolved London monastery. When Shardlake is sent to recover it, he finds the official and his alchemist brother brutally murdered – the formula has disappeared.

Now Shardlake must follow the trail of Greek Fire across Tudor London, while trying at the same time to prove his young client’s innocence. But very soon he discovered nothing is as it seems . . .

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

Pregnant Victoria Valbon was brutally murdered in an alley three weeks ago – and her killer hasn’t been caught.

Tonight is Stella McKeever’s final radio show. The theme is secrets. You tell her yours, and she’ll share some of hers.

Stella might tell you about Tom, a boyfriend who likes to play games, about the mother who abandoned her, now back after twelve years. She might tell you about the perfume bottle with the star-shaped stopper, or about her father …

What Stella really wants to know is more about the mysterious man calling the station … who says he knows who killed Victoria, and has proof.

Tonight is the night for secrets, and Stella wants to know everything…

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

All Anna wants is to be able to sleep. But crushing insomnia, terrifying night terrors and memories of that terrible night are making it impossible. If only she didn’t feel so guilty…

To escape her past, Anna takes a job at a hotel on the remote Scottish island of Rum, but when seven guests join her, what started as a retreat from the world turns into a deadly nightmare.

Each of the guests have a secret, but one of them is lying – about who they are and why they’re on the island. There’s a murderer staying in the Bay View hotel. And they’ve set their sights on Anna.

Seven strangers. Seven secrets. One deadly lie.

Someone’s going to sleep and never wake up…

I fully expect this week’s reading to knock my socks off! What’s on your list this week? Let me know! Happy reading! xx