It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


This weekly meme is hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

Definitely not a good reading week for me. I only managed to finish one book and that was a short one, though the end is in sight for two of the other books I am currently reading (A Civil Contract and The Flight of the Heron). If I'd put a little more effort into my reading I would have finished these two as well, but hot weather, air conditioning, lack of sleep and my brain do not go well together.

Last week's book, Too Few for Drums by R.F. Delderfield, is a quick read (212 pages) and very different from the family sagas this author is famous for. It is a great tale of a young man totally unprepared for command who is stranded behind enemy lines with a small band of men and his attempts to get them all to safety, helped by his seasoned Sergeant and a Welsh camp-follower.


I'm also re-discovering E.V. Timms, an Australian author famous for his romantic historical series set in colonial Australia, The Great South Land Saga. I didn't realise that the book I read by this author years ago was actually the third of a twelve book series. The first book, Forever to Remain was published in 1948. I also have the next two books in my reading pile courtesy of the library. An interesting fact about this series is that E.V. Timms died before he could finish the eleventh book. His wife went on to finish it. She also wrote the twelfth and final book of the series.

What I hope to read next hasn't changed from last week. I'm still eager to read Napoleon's Last Island but I'm not in the mood for lengthy books at the moment. So this one will have to wait, as will The Lake House by Kate Morton and Now Face to Face by Karleen Koen.

What I Read Last Week

Too Few For Drums by R.F. Delderfield

After the British victory at Busaco during the Peninsula campaigns of the Napoleonic Wars, Ensign Keith Graham finds himself cut off from the army, along with a sergeant and seven privates. This ill-assorted, tattered band is joined by a Welsh campfollower, Gwyneth and she and Sergeant Fox help nineteen-year-old Graham achieve both manhood and leadership. Struggling through strange, often hostile country, with insufficient food and sometimes mutinous men, his one aim is to reach the coast and, hopefully, safety ...



What I'm Reading Today

The Flight of the Heron by D.K. Broster

1745. When Bonnie Prince Charlie lands in Scotland, the mountains and glens of the Highlands ring to the pipes and drums of the clans who flock to his banner. Charged with excitement, heroism and romance, this stirring tragic adventure that is the unforgettable story of the 'King Over the Water', has never been better told.





A Civil Contract by Georgette Heyer

Adam Deveril, the new Viscount Lynton and a hero at Salamanca, returns from the Peninsula War to find his family on the brink of ruin and the broad acres of his ancestral home mortgaged to the hilt. It is Lord Oversley, father of Adam's first love, who tactfully introduces him to Mr Jonathan Chaleigh, a City man of apparently unlimited wealth with no social ambitions for himself, but with his eyes firmly fixed on a suitable match for his one and only daughter.



Forever to Remain by E.V.Timms

In 1831 the London Lass sets sail for Australia, the Great South Land, with a shipload of settlers eager to start new lives in a new land. Among them is the elegant and beautiful Eleanor, travelling to Australia's hot, dry sun for the sake of her sick brother's fading health. And, seeking the adventure and challenge of the young colony, there is Simon, Eleanor's childhood sweetheart, whom she once jilted but can never forget. Reunited by chance, both are alarmed by this turn of events but they are still attracted to one another - as all on board can see, especially the brutal Captain Lush, who desires the lovely Eleanor for himself; and the vivacious young Penelope, who is determined to win Simon's heart before the end of the voyage ...


What I Hope to Read Next


Napoleon's Last Island by Tom Keneally

When Tom Keneally discovered by chance at the National Gallery of Victoria that Betsy Balcombe, a young girl living on St Helena while the Emperor Napoleon was exiled there, had become the Emperor's ‘intimate friend and annoyer', and had then emigrated with her family to Australia, he was impelled to begin another extraordinary novel, exploring the intersection between the ordinary people of the world and those we deem exceptional.
Betsy Balcombe moved as a child with her family to St Helena, ‘that high mid-Atlantic rock of exile'. Ten years later her family befriended, served and were ruined by their relationship with Napoleon. To redeem their fortunes William Balcombe, Betsy's father, betrayed the Emperor and accepted a job as the colonial treasurer of New South Wales, taking his family with him. After enduring a profound tragedy on the voyage out, and never quite recovering from the results of his association with Napoleon, William's life deteriorated; however, his family struggled and survived in Australia.
Tom Keneally recreates Betsy's friendship with The Great Ogre, her enmities and alliances with his court, and her dramatic coming of age during her years with them on the island. With his ability for bringing historical stories to life in the most brilliant and surprising ways, Keneally vividly shares this remarkable tale and the beginning of an Australian dynasty.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This weekly meme is hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

I missed posting last week so my reading update today is for two weeks. I've not been overly busy just keeping on top of usual household tasks and lamenting the state of my garden. Not much gardening has been done as the weather has been hot. Despite watering it is still dry and very untidy with the gum trees shedding their leaves at a great rate. It's a battle to keep the ground clear around the house. Rabbits have also been nibbling at a few plants, as have the wallabies. What the wallabies don't eat they break by dragging their tails around. My thoughts often turn to the early settlers who had a much harder life in this harsh country. At least we have town water, even though it is unfit to drink, and should my meagre tomato crop fail, there are always some available from the supermarket.

I thought I was in a reading slump, but when I look back on the books I've read over the last two weeks I found that I'd read more than I thought.

Following on from Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, I read the sequel Rose Under Fire. Of the two, Code Name Verity had the greater impact, but Rose Under Fire is also memorable, dealing with life in Ravensbruck, a concentration camp for women, and the atrocities that took place there.

My children's/young adult fiction reading continued with a novel by Hester Burton entitled Time of Trial for which she received the Carnegie Medal back in 1963. It is set during the early nineteenth century when England was involved in the Napoleonic Wars and revolves around a bookseller, who is charged with writing seditious material, and his daughter.

I also finished The Royalist by S.J. Deas. This is the first of a series set during the English Civil War and introduces William Falkland, whose reputation as an investigator earns him a reprieve from execution. I'm not sure whether I wish to pursue another series at the moment so I'm not diving straight in to the next book, The Protector, though it is earmarked for future reading.

Alison Stuart's paranormal historical, Gather the Bones, was a great read, taking only one day from start to finish. I have recently discovered this Australian author and I'm looking forward to reading her other paranormal historical set during the English Civil War, Secrets in Time. I also have my eye on her Guardians of the Sword Trilogy, also set around the time of the English Civil War.

I'm still reading The Flight of the Heron, the first in the D.K.Broster Jacobite trilogy, and A Civil Contract by Georgette Heyer. The latter is a re-read saved for bedtime reading.

Once again I'm reading a novel first published in the 1960s. Too Few for Drums by R.F. Delderfield was first printed in 1964 and has been reprinted a few times since. I've read a few other novels by this author, but this particular one, set during the Peninsular Wars, I'd overlooked.

What I'd like to read next is Tom Keneally's latest novel Napoleon's Last Island, which was inspired by a chance discovery at the National Gallery of Victoria.

What I Read Over the Last Two Weeks

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

The thrilling story of one young ATA pilot's unforgettable journey through World War Two. This is Rose Under Fire. Rose Justice is a young American ATA pilot, delivering planes and taxiing pilots for the RAF in the UK during the summer of 1944. A budding poet who feels most alive while flying, she discovers that not all battles are fought in the air. An unforgettable journey from innocence to experience from the author of the best-selling, multi-award-nominated Code Name Verity. From the exhilaration of being the youngest pilot in the British air transport auxiliary, to the aftermath of surviving the notorious Ravensbruck women's concentration camp, Rose's story is one of courage in the face of adversity.

The Royalist by S.J. Deas

William Falkland is a dead man. A Royalist dragoon who fought against Parliament, he is currently awaiting execution at Newgate prison. Yet when he is led away from Newgate with a sack over his head, it is not the gallows to which they take him, but to Oliver Cromwell himself. Cromwell has heard of Falkland's reputation as an investigator and now more than ever he needs a man of conscience. His New Model Army are wintering in Devon but mysterious deaths are sweeping the camp and, in return for his freedom, Falkland is despatched to uncover the truth. With few friends and a slew of enemies, Falkland soon learns there is a dark demon at work, one who won't go down without a fight. But how can he protect the troops from such a monster and, more importantly, will he be able to protect himself?

Gather the Bones by Alison Stuart

In the shadow of the Great War, grieving widow, Helen Morrow and her husband's cousin, the wounded and reclusive Paul, are haunted not only by the horrors of the trenches but ghosts from another time and another conflict. As the desperate voice of the young woman reaches out to them from the pages of a coded diary, Paul and Helen are bound together in their search for answers, not only to the old mystery but also the circumstances surrounding the death of Helen's husband at Passchandaele in 1917. As the two stories become entwined, Paul and Helen will not find peace until the mysteries are solved.

Time of Trial by Hester Burton

The time, 1801; the place, Holly Lane, in the dark little bookshop in the shadow of St.Paul's. This bookshop, with its musty smell of old leather bindings and parchment and ink, is Margaret Pargeter's home; and her father's books and his book selling are her life - or so they were, until one day disaster struck Holly lane. It was a disaster that unleashed a tide of anger against the social conditions of the time, and a flood of trouble for the Pargeter family. The life of each member was changed completely and Margaret found herself banished to Suffolk with the faithful old housekeeper, Mrs. Neech, separated from her father who lay in prison, and from her friend Robert Kerridge, the medical student who used to lodge with them in Holly Lane. The winter in Suffolk was a hard one, a "time of trial" indeed, but it was also a time of discovery, of growing up, and a time that ends with a surprise for Margaret and a new beginning for all the family

What I'm Reading Today

The Flight of the Heron by D.K. Broster

1745. When Bonnie Prince Charlie lands in Scotland, the mountains and glens of the Highlands ring to the pipes and drums of the clans who flock to his banner. Charged with excitement, heroism and romance, this stirring tragic adventure that is the unforgettable story of the 'King Over the Water', has never been better told.





A Civil Contract by Georgette Heyer

Adam Deveril, the new Viscount Lynton and a hero at Salamanca, returns from the Peninsula War to find his family on the brink of ruin and the broad acres of his ancestral home mortgaged to the hilt. It is Lord Oversley, father of Adam's first love, who tactfully introduces him to Mr Jonathan Chaleigh, a City man of apparently unlimited wealth with no social ambitions for himself, but with his eyes firmly fixed on a suitable match for his one and only daughter.




Too Few For Drums by R.F. Delderfield

After the British victory at Busaco during the Peninsula campaigns of the Napoleonic Wars, Ensign Keith Graham finds himself cut off from the army, along with a sergeant and seven privates. This ill-assorted, tattered band is joined by a Welsh campfollower, Gwyneth and she and Sergeant Fox help nineteen-year-old Graham achieve both manhood and leadership. Struggling through strange, often hostile country, with insufficient food and sometimes mutinous men, his one aim is to reach the coast and, hopefully, safety ...


What I Hope to Read Next

Napoleon's Last Island by Tom Keneally

When Tom Keneally discovered by chance at the National Gallery of Victoria that Betsy Balcombe, a young girl living on St Helena while the Emperor Napoleon was exiled there, had become the Emperor's ‘intimate friend and annoyer', and had then emigrated with her family to Australia, he was impelled to begin another extraordinary novel, exploring the intersection between the ordinary people of the world and those we deem exceptional.
Betsy Balcombe moved as a child with her family to St Helena, ‘that high mid-Atlantic rock of exile'. Ten years later her family befriended, served and were ruined by their relationship with Napoleon. To redeem their fortunes William Balcombe, Betsy's father, betrayed the Emperor and accepted a job as the colonial treasurer of New South Wales, taking his family with him. After enduring a profound tragedy on the voyage out, and never quite recovering from the results of his association with Napoleon, William's life deteriorated; however, his family struggled and survived in Australia.
Tom Keneally recreates Betsy's friendship with The Great Ogre, her enmities and alliances with his court, and her dramatic coming of age during her years with them on the island. With his ability for bringing historical stories to life in the most brilliant and surprising ways, Keneally vividly shares this remarkable tale and the beginning of an Australian dynasty.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This weekly meme is hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

Monday comes around very quickly and I can't believe Christmas is only 25 days away. I'm having a quiet Christmas this year. Preparations are low key so thankfully the stress levels aren't rising.

On the reading front, I only finished one book last week and what a great read it was. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein is a cleverly constructed novel with several plot twists and an emotional ending. I understand now why reviewers mentioned they couldn't divulge much of the story without spoiling the reading experience for others. This is one of the best YA fiction novels I've read this year. The sequel, Rose Under Fire, is all ready in my TBR pile.

I'm still reading The Flight of the Heron and started two more, The Royalist by S.J. Deas and A Civil Contract by Georgette Heyer. The latter is a re-read. I've read all the Heyer novels, admittedly a long time ago, but a review I came across on Goodreads hinted that Heyer was trying to deviate from her normal style when she wrote this one. I don't remember anything about this novel other than the basic plot, so I was intrigued enough to read it once again.

I have several books to collect from the library today which may overturn my reading plans, but I'm determined to read Rose Under Fire next followed by Alison Stuart's Gather the Bones.

What I Read Last Week

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

I have two weeks. You'll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.
That's what you do to enemy agents. It's what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine - and I will do anything, anything to avoid SS-Hauptsturmf├╝hrer von Linden interrogating me again. He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I'm going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France - an Allied Invasion of Two. We are a sensational team.


What I'm Reading Today

The Flight of the Heron by D.K. Broster

1745. When Bonnie Prince Charlie lands in Scotland, the mountains and glens of the Highlands ring to the pipes and drums of the clans who flock to his banner. Charged with excitement, heroism and romance, this stirring tragic adventure that is the unforgettable story of the 'King Over the Water', has never been better told.





The Royalist by S.J. Deas

William Falkland is a dead man. A Royalist dragoon who fought against Parliament, he is currently awaiting execution at Newgate prison. Yet when he is led away from Newgate with a sack over his head, it is not the gallows to which they take him, but to Oliver Cromwell himself. Cromwell has heard of Falkland's reputation as an investigator and now more than ever he needs a man of conscience. His New Model Army are wintering in Devon but mysterious deaths are sweeping the camp and, in return for his freedom, Falkland is despatched to uncover the truth. With few friends and a slew of enemies, Falkland soon learns there is a dark demon at work, one who won't go down without a fight. But how can he protect the troops from such a monster and, more importantly, will he be able to protect himself?

A Civil Contract by Georgette Heyer

Adam Deveril, the new Viscount Lynton and a hero at Salamanca, returns from the Peninsula War to find his family on the brink of ruin and the broad acres of his ancestral home mortgaged to the hilt. It is Lord Oversley, father of Adam's first love, who tactfully introduces him to Mr Jonathan Chaleigh, a City man of apparently unlimited wealth with no social ambitions for himself, but with his eyes firmly fixed on a suitable match for his one and only daughter.




What I Hope to Read Next

Gather the Bones by Alison Stuart

In the shadow of the Great War, grieving widow, Helen Morrow and her husband's cousin, the wounded and reclusive Paul, are haunted not only by the horrors of the trenches but ghosts from another time and another conflict. As the desperate voice of the young woman reaches out to them from the pages of a coded diary, Paul and Helen are bound together in their search for answers, not only to the old mystery but also the circumstances surrounding the death of Helen's husband at Passchandaele in 1917. As the two stories become entwined, Paul and Helen will not find peace until the mysteries are solved.

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

The thrilling story of one young ATA pilot's unforgettable journey through World War Two. This is Rose Under Fire. Rose Justice is a young American ATA pilot, delivering planes and taxiing pilots for the RAF in the UK during the summer of 1944. A budding poet who feels most alive while flying, she discovers that not all battles are fought in the air. An unforgettable journey from innocence to experience from the author of the best-selling, multi-award-nominated Code Name Verity. From the exhilaration of being the youngest pilot in the British air transport auxiliary, to the aftermath of surviving the notorious Ravensbruck women's concentration camp, Rose's story is one of courage in the face of adversity.