This weekly meme is hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.
I loved all the books I read last week: two very intriguing mysteries,The Revelations of Carey Ravine and The Ashes of London, and Maggie's Kitchen, a more light-hearted World War II story than I usually read.
This week my current reads take me away from London: The Sea Change to Holland and various other countries, and The Last Pearl to North America.
Next on my list is The Best of Men by Claire Letemendia. This is a book my librarian came across and thought I would like, given my growing interest in the English Civil War.
What I Read Last Week
The Relevations of Carey Ravine by Debra Dailey
London the 1770s is bursting with opportunity. It's a city fuelled by new ideas and new money, where everything is for sale - including entrée into the ruling class.
Making their way in this buccaneering society are Carey Ravine, a spirited young woman of enigmatic background, and her husband, the charming, endlessly enterprising Oliver Nash. Carey and Nash share a historic connection to India and a desperate ambition to better themselves. But as Nash's plans draw them into a restless association of gamblers and secret societies, Carey begins to question what's really hidden behind the seedy glamour of their lives. Her unease grows with the appearance of a mysterious man whose appearance unearths a troubling secret from the past. Carey finds herself forced to investigate the truth behind the stranger's claims - and to confront her own illusions about herself.
Maggie's Kitchen by Caroline Beecham
Amid the heartbreak and danger of London in the Blitz of WWII, Maggie Johnson finds her courage in friendship and food.
They might all travel the same scarred and shattered streets on their way to work, but once they entered Maggie's Kitchen, it was somehow as if the rest of the world didn't exist.
When the British Ministry of Food urgently calls for the opening of restaurants to feed tired and hungry Londoners during WWII, Maggie Johnson seems close to realising a long-held dream.
Navigating a constant tangle of government red-tape, Maggie's Kitchen finally opens its doors to the public and Maggie finds that she has a most unexpected problem. Her restaurant has become so popular that she simply can't find enough food to keep up with the demand for meals.
With the help of twelve-year-old Robbie, a street urchin, and Janek, a Polish refugee dreaming of returning to his native land, she evades threats of closure from the Ministry. But breaking the rules is not the only thing she has to worry about. . . as Maggie fights to keep her beloved Kitchen open, she discovers that some secrets have the power to change everything.
The Ashes of London by Andrew Taylor
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.
What I'm Reading Today
Sea Change by Robert Goddard
It is January 1721. London is reeling from the effects of the greatest financial scandal of the age, the collapse of the South Sea Bubble. William Spandrel, a penniless mapmaker, is offered a discharge of his debts by his principal creditor, Sir Theodore Janssen, a director of the South Sea Company, on one condition: he must secretly convey an important package to a friend of Janssen's, Ysbrand de Vries, in Amsterdam.
The package safely delivered, Spandrel barely survives an attempt on his life, only to be blamed for the murder of de Vries himself. When de Vries's secretary, his English wife and the package itself go missing shortly afterwards, Spandrel realizes that he has become a pawn in several people's games. British Government agents, and others, are on his trail, believing that the mysterious package contained secret details of the great South Sea scandal - secrets so explosive that their publication could spark a revolution in England.
Spandrel's only chance of survival is to recover the package and place its contents in the right hands. But whose are the right hands? And what exactly are the contents?
The Last Pearl by Leah Fleming
The Last Pearl: one magnificent gem; three lives bound together by fate ...
1879, York.Greta Costello must rely on her wits to survive. She finds refuge as a Saturday girl for an old jeweller, Saul Abrahams, and her eye for detail, her long fingers and appreciation of beauty persuade Saul to train her as a pearl stringer. This skill will lead her through hardship and pain towards a new life.
1879, Scotland.Jem Baillie knows the immense power of a perfect pearl. His father was a fisher on a tributary of the Tay river in Perthshire, Scotland, and together they found the rarest of pearls, a great white pearl they call Queenie. When this is stolen from them, Eben vows revenge.
Spanning generations and continents, tracing the rivers of Scotland and the Mississippi, The Last Pearl is a sweeping novel of desire and revenge, of family and freedom, and of one woman's journey to open the shell she has built around herself to reveal the true beauty within.
What I Hope To Read Next
The Best of Men by Claire Letemendia
It is 1642, and Laurence Beaumont has just returned to England after six long years fighting -- and avoiding fighting -- in the European Wars. Having fled his home to escape the responsibilities of his noble birthright, he has been a lowly infantryman in Spain, a spy for the Germans, and a cardsharp in a Dutch brothel. He has seen horrors visited upon men, women, and children by enemy and ally alike, and he no longer has faith in God, in causes, or even in humankind itself.
As the clashes between King Charles I and his mutinous Parliament come to a crisis and England is thrown into civil war, a reluctant Beaumont is drawn back into the world of warfare and intrigue when he discovers coded letters outlining a plot to assassinate the king. Soon the conspirators -- one of whom is among the most powerful men in the kingdom -- are in hot pursuit, and Beaumont must find proof of their identities before they overtake him. Pressed into service by the secretary of state's ruthless spymaster, Beaumont finds himself threatened on all sides, facing imprisonment, torture, and worse if he makes a single wrong step. The ravishing Isabella Savage, a practiced seducer, wants to help, but may only lead him deeper into the conspiracies within the king's camp. And all the while Beaumont is haunted by a prophecy and by the memory of a devastating betrayal.