The Kiss of the Concubine by Judith Arnopp. A Kindle freebie telling the fictionalised story of Ann Boleyn.
28th January 1547.
It is almost midnight and the cream of the English nobility hold their breath as King Henry VIII prepares to face his God. As the royal physicians wring their hands and Archbishop Cranmer gallops through the frigid night, two dispossessed princesses pray for their father’s soul and a boy, soon to be king, snivels into his velvet sleeve.
Time slows, and dread settles around the royal bed, the candles dip and something stirs in the darkness … something, or someone, who has come to tell the king it is time to pay his dues.
The Damage Done by James Oswald. The latest (no. 6) in the Inspector McLean series. Review copy obtained via NetGalley ahead of publication on 25th Feb.
No good deed shall go unpunished. . .
When an Edinburgh Police Vice Squad raid goes embarrassingly awry, Inspector Tony McLean is confronted by something he had thought long buried.
Haunted by the echoes of an old case, the memories won’t fade as McLean struggles to piece together the elusive connections between a series of strange and gruesome deaths shocking the city.
The investigation draws him ever deeper into the upper echelons of Edinburgh society. Powerful people who do not take kindly to being asked the wrong questions.
McLean never was one to toe the line, and his stubborn refusal to do so brings into play shadowy forces that put not only his career but his life in grave danger.
In chasing the monsters of the present, McLean must also confront shadows of the past – but at what cost? Is it too late to undo the damage that has been done . . .?
The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon. Have been hearing lots about this book so was lucky to get a review copy this week via NetGalley.
England, 1976. Mrs. Creasy is missing and the Avenue is alive with whispers. The neighbors blame her sudden disappearance on the heat wave, but ten-year-olds Grace and Tilly aren’t convinced. As the summer shimmers endlessly on, the girls decide to take matters into their own hands. Inspired by the local vicar, they go looking for God—they believe that if they find Him they might also find Mrs. Creasy and bring her home.
Spunky, spirited Grace and quiet, thoughtful Tilly go door to door in search of clues. The cul-de-sac starts to give up its secrets, and the amateur detectives uncover much more than ever imagined. As they try to make sense of what they’ve seen and heard, a complicated history of deception begins to emerge. Everyone on the Avenue has something to hide, a reason for not fitting in.
In the suffocating heat of the summer, the ability to guard these differences becomes impossible. Along with the parched lawns and the melting pavement, the lives of all the neighbors begin to unravel. What the girls don’t realize is that the lies told to conceal what happened one fateful day about a decade ago are the same ones Mrs. Creasy was beginning to peel back just before she disappeared.
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. One from my wishlist and I managed to pick up a pristine unread copy for 20p in my local charity shop.
The novel tells the story of the rise and fall of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the family. It is a rich and brilliant chronicle of life and death, and the tragicomedy of humankind. In the noble, ridiculous, beautiful, and tawdry story of the family, one sees all of humanity, just as in the history, myths, growth, and decay of Macondo, one sees all of Latin America.
Love and lust, war and revolution, riches and poverty, youth and senility — the variety of life, the endlessness of death, the search for peace and truth — these universal themes dominate the novel. Whether he is describing an affair of passion or the voracity of capitalism and the corruption of government, Gabriel Garcia Marquez always writes with the simplicity, ease, and purity that are the mark of a master.
Alternately reverential and comical, One Hundred Years of Solitude weaves the political, personal, and spiritual to bring a new consciousness to storytelling. Translated into dozens of languages, this stunning work is no less than an accounting of the history of the human race.
The Kind Worth killing by Peter Swanson. One of the books frequently being discussed and mentioned on the book forums I frequent. Charity shop bargain at 20p.
On a night flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets the mysterious Lily Kintner. Sharing one too many martinis, the strangers begin to play a game of truth, revealing intimate details about themselves. Ted talks about his marriage and his wife Miranda, who he’s sure is cheating on him. But their game turns dark when Ted jokes that he could kill Miranda for what she’s done. Lily, without missing a beat, says calmly, “I’d like to help.”
From there, Ted and Lily’s twisted bond grows stronger as they plot Miranda’s demise, but soon these co-conspirators are embroiled in a game of cat-and-mouse–one they both cannot survive–with a shrewd and very determined detective on their tail.
Clover’s Child by Amanda Prowse. Charity shop bargain 10p.
A love affair between a British girl and a West Indian soldier in 1960s London has heart-wrenching consequences When 18-year-old Dot meets Sol, she feels that love has arrived at last. Solomon Arbuthnott is a man who can bring color and warmth to her drab life in 1960s London—and what’s more, he is a young, handsome soldier with excellent prospects. He is someone who wants to give her everything she has dreamed of; someone who can promise her blue skies, laughter, sun, and love. And for a while, life is truly like a song. They stroll hand-in-hand by the Serpentine, dance cheek-to-cheek in Soho’s smoky bars, and begin to plan their idyllic future, growing old together in Sol’s ancestral home on the island of St. Lucia. But this is 1961, and East End girls don’t date West Indian boys, let alone fall in love with them and leave the country. They stay at home and live the life their parents planned for them. Even if it leaves them lonelier than they ever thought possible. Even if it rips their heart in two.
The Winter Children by Lulu Taylor. An author and title that seemed to crop up quite a lot when fellow forumites were swapping Christmas/Winter themed books. On offer for Nook for 71p.
Behind a selfless act of kindness lies dark intentions . . .
Olivia and Dan Felbeck are blissfully happy when their longed-for twins arrive after years of IVF. At the same time, they make the move to Renniston Hall, a huge, Elizabethan house that belongs to absent friends. Living rent-free in a small part of the unmodernised house, once a boarding school, they can begin to enjoy the family life they’ve always wanted. But there is a secret at the heart of their family, one that Olivia does not yet know. And the house, too, holds its darkness deep within it . . .
Another good (or bad for the tbr list) week for freebies on Amazon for Kindle. Here’s a pictorial round up of this week’s additions.