I have found some wonderful library books this week:
Devil’s Brood by Sharon Penman
“Devil’s Brood has at its heart the implosion of a family, a story of devastating betrayal as King Henry II’s three eldest sons and his wife Eleanor enter into a rebellion against him, aligning themselves with his most bitter enemy, Louis of France. But it is also the story of a great king whose brilliance forged an empire but whose blind spots led him to make the most serious misjudgement of his life. Sharon Penman has created a novel of immense power and range, bringing Henry and Eleanor to life in a uniquely vivid way. As two strong-willed, passionate people clash, a family divides and a marriage ends in all but name, an unforgettable trilogy reaches its conclusion. “
Years ago, when The Sunne In Splendour was first published in the UK my father gave my mother a copy. She didn’t like it and passed it on to me. I loved it and have been a devotee ever since. So I ordered this as soon as it appeared it the library catalogue and now, at last, it’s here.
Blackmoor by Edward Hogan
“Beth is an albino, half blind, and given to looking at the world out of the corner of her eye. Her neighbours in the Derbyshire town of Blackmoor have always thought she was ‘touched’, and when a series of bizarre happenings shake the very foundations of the village, they are confirmed in their opinion that Beth is an ill omen. The neighbours say that Beth eats dirt from the flowerbeds, and that smoke rises from her lawn. By the end of the year, she is dead. A decade later her son, Vincent, treated like a bad omen by his father George is living in a pleasant suburb miles from Blackmoor. There the bird-watching teenager stumbles towards the buried secrets of his mother’s life and death in the abandoned village. It’s the story of a community that fell apart, a young woman whose face didn’t fit, and a past that refuses to go away.”
I read a glowing report about this book at Savidge Reads, added it to my wishlist and it appeared on a library shelf the same evening.
The Herring Seller’s Apprentice
“Ethelred Tressider is a crime writer with problems. His latest novel is going nowhere, mid-life crisis is looming and he’s burdened by the literary agent he probably deserves: Elsie Thirkettle, a diminutive but determined individual who claims to enjoy neither the company of writers nor literature of any sort. But however bad things look they can always get worse, as Ethelred discovers when his ex-wife, Geraldine, vanishes close to his Sussex home. When the disappearance becomes a murder enquiry, the police quickly decide that Geraldine Tressider has been the victim of a local serial killer.Elsie begs to differ, on the grounds that the killer’s other victims had been Sad Cows, whereas Geraldine was a Scheming Bitch – another species entirely – and no serious serial killer would murder one in mistake for the other …Soon the indefatigable Elsie has bullied Ethelred into embarking upon his own investigation, but as their enquiries proceed, she begins to suspect that her client’s own alibi is not as solid as he claims.”
Another book I read about on a blog (I’m sorry, I forget whose) and spotted shortly afterwards at the library. I’m not usually a lover of “cosy mysteries” but I’ve read the first couple of pages and this looks as if it could be something special.
The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite by Beatrice Colin
“As the clock chimed the turn of the twentieth century, Lilly Nelly Aphrodite took her first breath. Born to a cabaret dancer and soon orphaned in a scandalous murder-suicide, Lilly finds refuge at a Catholic orphanage, coming under the wing of the, at times, severe Sister August, the first in a string of lost loves. There she meets Hanne Schmidt, a teen prostitute, and forms a bond that will last them through tumultuous love affairs, disastrous marriages, and destitution during the First World War and the subsequent economic collapse. As the century progresses, Lilly and Hanne move from the tawdry glamour of the tingle-tangle nightclubs to the shadow world of health films before Lilly finds success and stardom in the new medium of motion pictures and ultimately falls in love with a man whose fate could cost her everything she has worked for or help her discover her true self. “
I’ve wated to read this ever since I first saw it on a Richard & Judy promotional stand. I tend not to buy those books because I’ve had disappointments in the past and they always turn up in large numbers in the library and in charity shops a few moths after the initial promotion. It looks good and I’ve read a very positive report at Farm Lane Books Blog, which encourages me.
Without Knowing Mr Walkley by Edith Olivier
No picture and no blurb for this one. It’s a 1938 hardback. I absolutely loved Edith Olivier’s The Love-Child when I read it last summer, so I was thrilled to find this memoir. I have found some wonderful old books by climbing ladders at the Morrab Library!
What did you find in the library this week?
See more Library Loot here.