It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This weekly meme is hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date and is a place to share what you've been reading over the past week, what you are currently reading and what you hope to read next.

I'm super late with my post this week due to internet problems and was in two minds whether to post it or not, but as it was written and ready to go, here it is.

Another slow reading week for me, so there has not been much change since last week. No books finished and only a few chapters read of each of my current reads. I definitely am in a reading slump!

However, even though not much reading has taken place I'm still adding to my TBR pile by way of the library, purchases and donations. My neighbour had a clean out and gave me a box of Georgette Heyer's Regency romances, 23 in total. I am slowly re-building my Heyer collection with the intent of re-reading them all and these were a very welcome addition.

Last week I purchased a second-hand copy of My Love Must Wait as the copy I was reading was an inter-library loan. I decided it was easier to grab my own copy (and cheaper) than to keep re-borrowing. I also added to my classics shelf two books I'm struggling with and have set aside for the time being, Shirley by Charlotte Bronte and Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens. I'm hoping that my new strategy of having my own copies at hand rather than to keep borrowing them from the library will pay off. My aim is to finish both these books this year or to at least move those bookmarks on a little!

I am so overwhelmed by the many new releases in my TBR pile at the moment that choosing my next read is proving difficult. I've narrowed it done to one of the following three books: The Vanishing by Sophia Tobin, The Witchfinder's Sister by Beth Underdown or Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore.

What I'm Reading Today

My Love Must Wait by Ernestine Hill

When Matthew Flinders, the first man to chart and circumnavigate Australia, set sail from England in July 1801, he left behind the intrigues of his homeland but also his young bride of only a few weeks, Ann Chappell. He didn′t see her again for more than nine years. During that time he carried out incredible feats of seamanship and navigation, made the first charts of much of the coastline of Australia, and was shipwrecked and later held prisoner by the French on Mauritius.

The Velvet Hours by Alysson Richman

As Paris teeters on the edge of the German occupation, a young French woman closes the door to her late grandmother’s treasure-filled apartment, unsure if she’ll ever return.
An elusive courtesan, Marthe de Florian cultivated a life of art and beauty, casting out all recollections of her impoverished childhood in the dark alleys of Montmartre. With Europe on the brink of war, she shares her story with her granddaughter Solange Beaugiron, using her prized possessions to reveal her innermost secrets. Most striking of all are a beautiful string of pearls and a magnificent portrait of Marthe painted by the Italian artist Giovanni Boldini. As Marthe’s tale unfolds, like velvet itself, stitched with its own shadow and light, it helps to guide Solange on her own path.
Inspired by the true account of an abandoned Parisian apartment, Alyson Richman brings to life Solange, the young woman forced to leave her fabled grandmother’s legacy behind to save all that she loved.

The Body on the Doorstep by A.J. MacKenzie

Kent, 1796. Shocked to discover a dying man on his doorstep - and lucky to avoid a bullet himself - Reverend Hardcastle finds himself entrusted with the victim's cryptic last words.
With smuggling rife on England's south-east coast, the obvious conclusion is that this was a falling out among thieves. But why is the leader of the local Customs service so reluctant to investigate?
Ably assisted by the ingenious Mrs Chaytor, Hardcastle sets out to solve the mystery for himself. But smugglers are not the only ones to lurk off the Kent coast, and the more he discovers, the more he realises he might have bitten off more than he can chew.

Secrets of Nanreath Hall by Alix Rickloff

Cornwall, 1940. Back in England after the harrowing evacuation at Dunkirk, WWII Red Cross nurse Anna Trenowyth is shocked to learn her adoptive parents Graham and Prue Handley have been killed in an air raid. She desperately needs their advice as she’s been assigned to the military hospital that has set up camp inside her biological mother’s childhood home—Nanreath Hall. Anna was just six years old when her mother, Lady Katherine Trenowyth, died. All she has left are vague memories that tease her with clues she can’t unravel. Anna’s assignment to Nanreath Hall could be the chance for her to finally become acquainted with the family she’s never known—and to unbury the truth and secrets surrounding her past.
Cornwall, 1913. In the luxury of pre-WWI England, Lady Katherine Trenowyth is expected to do nothing more than make a smart marriage and have a respectable life. When Simon Halliday, a bohemian painter, enters her world, Katherine begins to question the future that was so carefully laid out for her. Her choices begin to lead her away from the stability of her home and family toward a wild existence of life, art, and love. But as everything begins to fall apart, Katherine finds herself destitute and alone.
As Anna is drawn into her newfound family’s lives and their tangled loyalties, she discovers herself at the center of old heartbreaks and unbearable tragedies, leaving her to decide if the secrets of the past are too dangerous to unearth…and if the family she’s discovered is one she can keep.

What I Hope To Read Next

The Vanishing by Sophia Tobin

On top of the Yorkshire Moors, in an isolated spot carved out of the barren landscape, lies White Windows, a house of shadows and secrets. Here lives Marcus Twentyman, a hard-drinking but sensitive man, and his sister, the brisk widow, Hester.
When Annaleigh, a foundling who has fled her home in London, finds herself at the remote house, in service to the Twentymans, she discovers all is not as it seems behind closed doors.
Isolated and lonely, Annaleigh is increasingly drawn to her master. And as their relationship intensifies, she soon realises that her movements are being controlled and her life is no longer her own. Slowly she is drawn into a web of intrigue and darkness, and soon she must face her fears if she is to save herself.

The Witchfinder's Sister by Beth Underdown

Before Salem, there was Manningtree. . . .
This summer, my brother Matthew set himself to killing women, but without ever once breaking the law.
Essex, England, 1645. With a heavy heart, Alice Hopkins returns to the small town she grew up in. Widowed, with child, and without prospects, she is forced to find refuge at the house of her younger brother, Matthew. In the five years she has been gone, the boy she knew has become a man of influence and wealth but more has changed than merely his fortunes. Alice fears that even as the cruel burns of a childhood accident still mark his face, something terrible has scarred Matthew s soul.
There is a new darkness in the town, too frightened whispers are stirring in the streets, and Alice s blood runs cold with dread when she discovers that Matthew is a ruthless hunter of suspected witches. Torn between devotion to her brother and horror at what he s become, Alice is desperate to intervene and deathly afraid of the consequences. But as Matthew s reign of terror spreads, Alice must choose between her safety and her soul.
Alone and surrounded by suspicious eyes, Alice seeks out the fuel firing her brother s brutal mission and is drawn into the Hopkins family s past. There she finds secrets nested within secrets: and at their heart, the poisonous truth. Only by putting her own life and liberty in peril can she defeat this darkest of evils before more innocent women are forced to the gallows.

Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore

It is 1792 and Europe is seized by political turmoil and violence.
Lizzie Fawkes has grown up in Radical circles where each step of the French Revolution is followed with eager idealism. But she has recently married John Diner Tredevant, a property developer who is heavily invested in Bristol's housing boom, and he has everything to lose from social upheaval and the prospect of war. Soon his plans for a magnificent terrace built above the two-hundred-foot drop of the Gorge come under threat. Diner believes that Lizzie's independent, questioning spirit must be coerced and subdued. She belongs to him- law and custom confirm it, and she must live as he wants.
In a tense drama of public and private violence, resistance and terror, Diner's passion for Lizzie darkens until she finds herself dangerously alone.

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