The North Water was one of the titles from last year’s Man Booker Prize long list and I was impressed. This is an excellent piece of historical fiction, which crosses the boundaries into the thriller genre. It works equally well in both. Having finished the book, I reflected on why I enjoyed it so much… Read More

This is a departure for Sebastian Barry, a book set entirely in mid to late nineteenth century America. We follow the fortunes of two young men, John Cole and Thomas McNulty, who sign up for the army and end up fighting in the Indian Wars and then the Civil War. I say it is a… Read More

This is a good yarn from a writer who is more familiar for several Russian themed novels such as Gorky Park and Red Square. The Girl from Venice is set in the final days of the Second World War, with Italy on the cusp of defeat as the Americans slowly push north through the country… Read More

I asked to review this book because the storyline caught my attention at once. The events of December 1642 when the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman came to New Zealand and encountered Maori for the first time. The images of this sketchy moment in our history, preserved only in a few small drawings and the logs… Read More

It is great to approach history from a different angle, especially in order to gain a new perspective on events. In this book Anne Sebba forces us to reconsider a momentous decade for France, beginning with the German occupation of Paris in 1940, from the point of view of the women of the city. It… Read More

The Butcher’s Hook is the debut novel of actress and presenter Janet Ellis. Ellis is known in her native England primarily for presenting children’s programme Blue Peter in the mid ’80s. For Ellis’ fans then, The Butcher’s Hook must come as a dark shock – it’s a dark and twisted gothic tale set in 18th… Read More

In Rosalie Ham’s first novel, The Dressmaker, revenge never looked so good in its felt skirt, surrounded by a sewing machine and haberdashery. This charming historical fiction story is set in the Australian outback of the 1950s. The sweltering fictional town of Dungatar with its yellow hills is the embodiment of its inhabitants. Imperfect people… Read More

With sunshine just around the corner and those lovely long evenings to look forward to, it’s time to start putting together a summer reading list for those (brief, possibly illusory and yet still glorious) weekends at the beach or sitting out in the sun. If you enjoy historical fiction, or just want to try something… Read More

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