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.

Yet another couple of slow reading weeks for me. This statement is becoming the norm, although I did have a slight improvement and actually finished two books. But then I began two more instead of carrying on with the

ones I'd already started! I now have four partially read books, six if I count the two classics I shelved to return to later.

Apart from my reading slump I had another reason for not picking up a book. I spent a week with my 91 year old Dad. We had a lovely time together following his routine and in the quieter moments just talking about the past, present and future. While it was great to visit, city life is no longer for me. Country living has given me an aversion to the hustle and bustle of Melbourne, which seems more hectic every time I visit.

What I Read Last Week

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.

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.

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.

The Ballad of Desmond Kale by Roger MacDonald

In the early 1800s, out of the prison society of governors, redcoats, English gaolers, Irish convicts, and the few free settlers of Botany Bay, no one had ventured much farther inland than a few dozen miles from Sydney. Or so it was believed until the escape of Desmond Kale and the vengeance of his rival, the wildly eccentric parson magistrate Matthew Stanton.
The Ballad of Desmond Kale is a broad-sweeping novel of the first days of British settlement in Australia. At the centre is Stanton's pursuit of Kale - an Irish political prisoner and a rebelliously brilliant breeder of sheep. The alchemy of wool fascinates, threatens, and transforms when it is discovered that fine wool thrives in New South Wales as nowhere else in in the world, producing veritable gold on sheep's backs.
The Ballad of Desmond Kale is both a love story of unusual interest and an epic novel of greed, ambition, conceit, and redemption. The novel is rich in its characterisations and the rawness of its settings, vigour of language, and vividness of personality. The action moves from the early Australian bush to the halls of Westminster, the mills of Yorkshire, the sierras of Spain, the wilds of the Southern Ocean, and returns at last into the far outback for its finale.
Once the ballad is sung, ordinary experience is heightened, the world can never be the same again. A brilliant and inspired recreation of the early days of white Australian settlement by one of Australia's finest writers working at the height of his powers.

What I Hope To Read Next

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.


  1. How nice that you got to spend some time with your dad!

    The Body on the Doorstep sounds fun. I love mysteries with unexpected sleuths.

    1. Yes, Dad and I had a lovely week.

      Mrs. Chaytor and the Reverend are definitely a mismatched pair of sleuths, but very credible.