This Week in Books (July 3)

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 |

London, September 1666. The Great Fire rages through the city, consuming everything in its path. Even the impregnable cathedral of St. Paul’s is engulfed in flames and reduced to ruins. Among the crowds watching its destruction is James Marwood, son of a disgraced printer, and reluctant government informer.

In the aftermath of the fire, a semi-mummified body is discovered in the ashes of St. Paul’s, in a tomb that should have been empty. The man’s body has been mutilated and his thumbs have been tied behind his back.

Under orders from the government, Marwood is tasked with hunting down the killer across the devastated city. But at a time of dangerous internal dissent and the threat of foreign invasion, Marwood finds his investigation leads him into treacherous waters – and across the path of a determined, beautiful and vengeful young woman.

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

As a series of rolling blackouts plunge the city into darkness, Detective Aidan Waits sits on an abandoned hospital ward, watching a mass murderer slowly die. Transferred from his usual night shift duties and onto protective custody, he has just one job…

To extract the location of Martin Wick’s final victim before the notorious mass murderer passes away.

Wick has spent over a decade in prison, in near-total silence, having confessed to an unspeakable crime that shocked the nation and earned him the nickname of TheSleepwalker.

But when a daring premeditated attack leaves one police officer dead and another one fighting for his life, Wick’s whispered last words will send Waits on a journey into the heart of darkness…

Manipulated by a reticent psychopath from his past, and under investigation from his new partner, Detective Constable Naomi Black, Waits realises too late that a remorseless contract killer is at work.

Can Aidan Waits solve his last case before fleeing justice?

Or will his name be next on the hit list?

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

When Lydia and Josh Green walk into Karen’s office one rainy February morning, Karen sees a couple under stress, almost at breaking point. But working with struggling couples, finding out more about their problems, helping to save their marriages, is what Karen does. 

But as Karen spends more time with Lydia and Josh, her sense of unease grows… 

Lydia is something more than just a woman whose marriage is in trouble. She seems frightened for her safety. 

Josh is angry, grief-stricken and seems to be hiding a dark secret. 

And soon Karen herself is afraid – there is something about the behaviour of this couple that recalls traumatic incidents from her own past. There is something there that may be the key to saving them, if Karen can only unlock it in time… 

Wimbledon is seriously messing up my reading plans. I can already tell I won’t be reading 7 books this week. 😂

What are you reading? Do let me know! Happy reading! xx

Weekly Wrap-Up (June 30)

Bye bye, June! You were really cold and then you were really hot so I forgive you for not realising Summer had already started because you sure as heck made up for it!

Obviously, because of this heat, I didn’t do anything much productive. Perfect excuse really, to just lounge around and complain to the other half because he is of course at work in air-conditioning all day. So not fair. Although I did, like a true crazy person, tackle my ironing in 32C heat. As you do. I’m hoping I lost enough calories doing that to balance out all the ice cream I’ve had this past week.

Last night, I abandoned my current book to watch two glorious hours of The Killers headlining Glastonbury. Few things make me drop a book but they will do it every single time. I was lucky enough to see them a few years ago and hope I get another chance at that some time in the future. Love them. ❤️

Anyway, books! That’s why we’re here, right? So, how did I do this week? Let’s see!

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

BOOM!!!! *smug face*

One somewhat disappointing, one absolutely fantastic, the others somewhere in between. Feel free to guess 😉

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

It’s a good thing I read 7 books last week because I may have ordered some*. But since they haven’t arrived yet, you’ll have to wait until next week to see what they are.

*(Only 8)

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

One for review (which actually arrived last week but I forgot to mention it) and one for a blog tour I’m ridiculously excited about! With thanks to Quercus and Michael Joseph.

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Reviewed The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

Tuesday : Shared my review of After The End by Clare Mackintosh

Wednesday : This Week in Books (which I didn’t stick to again 🙄)

Thursday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Don’t Ever Tell by Lucy Dawson

Friday : Shared my review of The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter

Saturday : Took the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Look at that! One blog tour! ONE! Quite obviously a mistake. 😉

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Review | Black Summer by M.W. Craven

Tuesday : Review | The Friend Who Lied by Rachel Amphlett

Wednesday : Blog tour | Review | The Closer I Get by Paul Burston

Thursday : Review | The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Friday : Blog tour | Review | The Reunion by Guillaume Musso

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Read all of them. I feel rather accomplished. Let’s not mention the reviews, shall we? 😳 I’m hoping to do those this afternoon but I’m pretty sure my brain has melted.

Please also note there are only two blog tours. Could it possibly be I finally have that whole thing figured out? Tune in next time 🤣

And that, as they say, is a wrap! Wishing you all a wonderful week and lots of happy reading! Until next time! xx

This Week in Books (June 26)

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 |

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ’80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir is sent to the isolated island of Elliðaey to investigate and soon finds haunting similarities with a previous case – a young woman found murdered ten years ago in the equally desolate Westfjords. 

Is there a patient killer stalking these barren outposts? 

As Hulda navigates a sinister game constructed of smoke and mirrors she is convinced that no one is telling the truth, including those closest to her. 

But who will crack first? And what secrets is the island hiding?

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

‘We lost all three girls that summer. Let them slip away like the words of some half-remembered song and when one came back, she wasn’t the one we were trying to recall to begin with.’

So begins Tikka Molloy’s recounting of the summer of 1992 – the summer the Van Apfel sisters, Hannah, the beautiful Cordelia and Ruth – disappear.

Eleven and one-sixth years old, Tikka is the precocious narrator of this fabulously endearing coming-of-age story, set in an eerie Australian river valley suburb with an unexplained stench. The Van Apfel girls vanish from the valley during the school’s ‘Showstopper’ concert, held at the outdoor amphitheatre by the river. While the search for the sisters unites the small community on Sydney’s urban fringe, the mystery of their disappearance remains unsolved forever.

My next read may still change. I’m in a mood. 😂

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

The Serpent’s Mark by S.W. Perry | @swperry_history @CorvusBooks @annecater | #blogtour #bookreview #RandomThingsTours

Such a pleasure to host a stop on the blog tour for The Serpent’s Mark by S.W. Perry today! My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my fabulous review copy!

Author : S.W. Perry
Title : The Serpent’s Mark
Series : Nicolas Shelby #2
Pages : 424
Publisher : Corvus
Publication date : June 6, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Treason sleeps for no man…

London, 1591. Nicholas Shelby, physician and reluctant spy, returns to his old haunts on London’s lawless Bankside. But, when the queen’s spymaster Robert Cecil asks him to investigate the dubious practices of a mysterious doctor from Switzerland, Nicholas is soon embroiled in a conspiracy that threatens not just the life of an innocent young patient, but the overthrow of Queen Elizabeth herself.

With fellow healer and mistress of the Jackdaw tavern, Bianca Merton, again at his side, Nicholas is drawn into a dangerous world of zealots, charlatans and fanatics. As their own lives become increasingly at risk, they find themselves confronting the greatest treason of all: the spectre of a bloody war between the faiths…

| MY THOUGHTS |

The Serpent’s Mark is the second instalment in the Nicolas Shelby series, featuring Nicolas, a physician and reluctant spy, and Bianca Merton, owner of the Jackdaw tavern and licensed apothecary.

Nicolas finds himself once again engaged by Queen Elizabeth’s spymaster, Robert Cecil. A mysterious doctor has arrived from Switzerland to cure a young boy from the falling sickness. Robert Cecil wants Nicolas to investigate the dubious practices of this doctor. Which is fortuitous, as Nicolas has already been asked by the boy’s father to keep an eye out. Meanwhile, Bianca gets a lovely surprise when her cousin arrives on a ship from Padua. Nothing is at it seems though and soon Nicolas and Bianca find themselves caught up in a thrilling conspiracy from both ends.

Who doesn’t love a good conspiracy? I know I do and this particular one here had me enthralled. I don’t want to give anything away so I won’t mention too much about it but the idea is incredibly cleverly plotted and it’s something that would not just turn the house of Tudor upside down but could quite easily ignite a war between the faiths.

S.W. Perry really brings to life the streets of London during the Elizabethan era. From the smells and the sounds to the danger lurking around every corner, I immediately felt myself transported. As a physician, the character of Nicolas Shelby also shines a light on the way the science of medicine worked in those days. Physicians consulted astrology, for instance, to determine a diagnosis or treatment. A way of doing things that doesn’t always sit right with Nicolas, which often gets him into trouble.

A clever plot, intriguing characters, a conspiracy, the threat of war, a web of deceit … I mean, really, what more could you possibly ask for?! I couldn’t at all figure out how things would end and feared for the fate of these characters. The Serpent’s Mark had me absolutely engrossed from start to finish. I thoroughly enjoyed its predecessor and felt this one was even better. This is one captivating and twisty historical fiction novel full of mystery and suspense and I absolutely can’t wait to read more in this series!

The Serpent’s Mark is available to buy!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

S. W. Perry was a journalist and broadcaster before retraining as an airline pilot. He lives in Worcestershire, England with his wife.

Weekly Wrap-Up (June 16)

Halfway through June and still no sign of Summer. This past week, we had so many thunderstorms I lost count. I have no idea what’s going on but I do not approve.

What’s a girl to do when the weather is crap? Well, in hindsight, I suppose I could have done some ironing. Oops. Instead, I read. There was a bit of a wobble mid-week, when two books made their way onto the DNF pile. One I gave a go twice in the last few months. Seems safe to say it’s not for me. It was one of my 20 Books of Summer too, which means it’ll need replacing.

Anywho! What did I read this week? And did I manage to read more than 3 books this time around? Let’s find out!

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

Well, would you look at that!!!! I’m too impressed with myself to say any more than that 😉. Probably all downhill from here again though. 🤣

Spoiler : one of those is currently my book of the year. It’ll take something special to knock if off that number one spot. Yes, you’re allowed to guess. No, there won’t be a reward. 😜

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

Karin Slaughter!!!!!!! I couldn’t possibly be more excited! It arrived early too (yesterday instead of Monday/Tuesday) so obviously I’m already reading it. It’s SO GOOD! I’m incredibly annoyed that I have to go and be social today or I would have stayed up all night reading it, instead of going to bed and get some sleep in order to look halfway decent today. (Didn’t work, should have just kept reading 😂)

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

Titan Books be spoiling me. A Shroud of Leaves is the second book in a series, which I wasn’t aware of. So naturally, I’m going to have to get the first one first because I just can’t help myself. 🙄

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Shared my review of All That’s Dead by Stuart MacBride

Tuesday : Posted an extract for my stop on the blog tour for What Lies Around Us by Andrew Crofts

Wednesday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for A Modern Family by Helga Flatland and shared my Week in Books

Thursday : Joined the blog tour for Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou

Friday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Without A Trace by Carissa Ann Lynch

Saturday : Took the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Busy, busy. Good thing that reading slump is a tad less hormonal than a few weeks ago 😂

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Blog tour | Review | Death and Other Happy Endings by Melanie Cantor

Tuesday : Blog tour | Forget Me Not by Claire Allan

Wednesday : Blog tour | Review | The Serpent’s Mark by S.W. Perry

Thursday : Review | The Dangerous Kind by Deborah O’Connor

Friday : Blog tour | Review | The Whisper Man by Alex North

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Want to know something? I have read all of those! I know, right? Go me! I do still have two reviews to write but hey, can’t have everything. Besides, that’s not my fault but Karin Slaughter’s 😉

Personally, I think this entire wrap-up is most impressive. If you’d like to shower me with prizes, I won’t say no. 😂

That’s it for this week. I am now going to spend an insane amount of time staring at my wardrobe, trying to figure out what to wear for this lunch I am forced to attend. There will be wine! I’ll be raising a glass to my granddad, who would have turned 100 years old today, if he had still been with us.

Enough babbling. Wishing you all a fabulous week and lots of happy reading! Until next time! xx

This Week in Books (June 12)

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 |

I disappeared on a Tuesday afternoon. I was there one minute and the next I was gone. They’ve never found my body…

It’s six in the morning during the hottest summer on record when Elizabeth O’Loughlin, out walking her dog, comes across Clare, a victim of a horrific knife attack, clinging onto life at the side of the road.

Clare dies minutes later, but not before whispering her haunting last words to Elizabeth.

When it becomes clear that Clare’s killer has more than one murder on his mind, Elizabeth has to take drastic action or face losing everything.

But what if she can’t stop a killer determined never to be forgotten?

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

Early in the morning of Monday 8 July 1895, thirteen-year-old Robert Coombes and his twelve-year-old brother Nattie set out from their small, yellow-brick terraced house in East London to watch a cricket match at Lord’s. Their father had gone to sea the previous Friday, the boys told their neighbours, and their mother was visiting her family in Liverpool. Over the next ten days Robert and Nattie spent extravagantly, pawning their parents’ valuables to fund trips to the theatre and the seaside.

But as the sun beat down on the Coombes house, a strange smell began to emanate from the building. When the police were finally called to investigate, the discovery they made sent the press into a frenzy of horror and alarm, and Robert and Nattie were swept up in a criminal trial that echoed the outrageous plots of the ‘penny dreadful’ novels that Robert loved to read.

In The Wicked Boy, Kate Summerscale has uncovered a fascinating true story of murder and morality – it is not just a meticulous examination of a shocking Victorian case, but also a compelling account of its aftermath, and of man’s capacity to overcome the past.

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

Treason sleeps for no man…

London, 1591. Nicholas Shelby, physician and reluctant spy, returns to his old haunts on London’s lawless Bankside. But, when the queen’s spymaster Robert Cecil asks him to investigate the dubious practices of a mysterious doctor from Switzerland, Nicholas is soon embroiled in a conspiracy that threatens not just the life of an innocent young patient, but the overthrow of Queen Elizabeth herself.

With fellow healer and mistress of the Jackdaw tavern, Bianca Merton, again at his side, Nicholas is drawn into a dangerous world of zealots, charlatans and fanatics. As their own lives become increasingly at risk, they find themselves confronting the greatest treason of all: the spectre of a bloody war between the faiths…

From a psychological thriller to true crime to historical fiction. You won’t be seeing that often 😄

What are you reading this week? Do let me know! I feel like buying some books so I need suggestions 😉. Happy reading! xx

The Wartime Midwives by Daisy Styles | @MichaelJBooks @sriya_v | #blogtour #bookreview

It’s a real pleasure to host a stop on the blog tour for The Wartime Midwives by Daisy Styles today! My thanks to Sriya at Michael Joseph for the opportunity to join and for the lovely review copy!

Author : Daisy Styles
Title : The Wartime Midwives
Pages : 384
Publisher : Michael Joseph
Publication date : May 16, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

1939.

Mary Vale, a grand and imposing Mother and Baby Home, sits on the remote Fylde coast in Lancashire. Its doors are open to unmarried women who come to hide their condition and find sanctuary.

Women from all walks of life pass through Mary Vale, from beautiful waitress Emily, whose boyfriend has vanished without trace, to young Isla, cast out by her wealthy family after her first year at university goes horribly wrong.

Awaiting them is Nurse Ada and Sister Anne who work tirelessly to aid the mothers and safely deliver the babies. But the unforgiving Matron and Head of Governors, Captain Percival, have other, more sinister, ideas.

As war looms the women at Mary Vale must pull together for the sake of themselves and their babies and Ada and Anne must help protect their patients, no matter what the cost.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Author Daisy Styles was completely unfamiliar to me when the invitation to join this tour landed in my inbox. But with a historical fiction story about midwives in the early years of WWII, how could you possibly go wrong?

Mary Vale is a mother and baby home, a place of sanctuary for unmarried mothers-to-be who need to hide away their pregnancies. Women from all walks of life travel to the coast of Lancashire to have their babies in peace. So, we meet Emily, an unmarried waitress whose boyfriend has disappeared. There is also Shirley, a fifteen year old girl who needs protecting in more ways than one, and Isla whose parents kicked her out of her home the minute they discovered she was pregnant. Some of these women will return home with their babies, some will put their children up for adoption. And despite their differences, they may just find friends for life.

But not everything is as perfect as it seems at Mary Vale. Matron is not a very nice person and that’s putting it mildly. She and Sir Percival, Head of Governors, come up with quite the sinister scheme. The women at Mary Vale will need to pull together to keep their babies safe.

I must admit that I tend to like my historical fiction with a bit more depth and bite to it but there is something about these women that just pulled me in. It’s hard to imagine the days that unmarried pregnant women had to hide themselves away aren’t that far behind us and sad to see how parents valued their status above their own daughters, having no qualms but to throw them out of house and home because the shame and disgrace was too hard to handle. Even with a war looming, these women needed a safe space because as one of the characters is fond of saying : life goes on. Babies will not stop being born.

The Wartime Midwives is a heartwarming and moving story about love and friendship during the hardest of times. There are some wonderful moments between mums and their babies, but also some truly emotional ones. These characters will worm their way into your heart and you will root for them every step of the way. If you like your historical fiction a bit more on the lighter side or enjoy tv series like Call The Midwife, then this is definitely for you.

The Wartime Midwives is available to buy!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Daisy Styles grew up in Lancashire surrounded by a family and community of strong women whose tales she loved to listen to. It was from these women, particularly her vibrant mother and Irish grandmother, that Daisy learned the art of storytelling. There was also the landscape of her childhood – wide, sweeping, empty moors and hills that ran as far as the eye could see – which was a perfect backdrop for a saga, a space big enough and wild enough to stage a drama, one about women’s lives during the Second World War.

Weekly Wrap-Up (May 26)

I know I keep complaining about the weather like some old woman but seriously, what is going on? It doesn’t feel like May at all! One day I’m outside in a short-sleeved t-shirt basking in the sunshine and the next I’m having to turn on the heating.

The reading slump, I’m sad to say, continues. When pulling weeds in the garden sounds more appealing than a book, I know I’m definitely in trouble. So, I watched The Hobbit trilogy. Yes, again. And the behind the scenes footage as well. I’m not even sorry!

Am I getting in trouble with my schedule? Why, yes but also no. There’s nothing quite as stressful as finishing a book the evening before your blog tour stop and writing your review the morning of, though, is there?

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

Utterly pathetic 😂. The Slaughter / Child collaboration doesn’t even count. It’s only about 85 pages. At least I’ve not missed a tour stop so far. Yet. I was hoping to add another one to that, which is for tomorrow’s blog tour but I’ve not finished it yet 😳

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

I really enjoyed Alice Feeney’s previous book so I Know Who You Are was a no-brainer. And I’ve been hearing so many good things about The Dangerous Kind that I just had to buy it.

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

One for a blog tour, one a proof copy. With thanks to Michael Joseph and One World Publications.

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Nothing

Tuesday : Joined the blog tour for Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Breakers by Doug Johnstone

Friday : Forgot what I wanted to post here so didn’t post at all 🤣

Saturday : Took the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Anyone else missing the days where I posted every day like a mad woman? Just me? Okay then.

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Blog tour | Review | Your Deepest Fear by David Jackson

Tuesday : Blog tour | Review | The Wartime Midwives by Daisy Styles

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Nothing

Friday : 20 Books of Summer Challenge

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

I have a few busier weeks coming up the next few months but not as particularly crazy as I’ve been known to do. Which is good thing because as you can see from Friday’s post, I will be joining in the 20 Books of Summer Challenge again this year and I will, like last year, be reading those 20 books on top of my other commitments. Nothing like living a bit dangerously, especially in the middle of a reading slump 😂

This afternoon, I shall be finishing the book I’m currently reading for tomorrow’s blog tour. And then I’ll probably not be picking up another book for a few days and try not to worry about that or my schedule. But first, it’s civic duty time and voting.

Question of the week : Another easy one for you this week. What is your favourite book so far this year? I’ll even allow you to split your choices up into genres, if need be.

For me, it would be “The Taking of Annie Thorne” and in the historical fiction genre “Finding Dorothy”. Your turn!

That’s it! Wishing you all a fabulous week and lots of happy reading! xx

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