Library Loot

Now why is it that just when you’ve decided you have more than enough library books, and that you want to read your own books, yet more books that you really can’t resist appear?

I’m not risking another visit until after the bank holiday!

Here’s this week’s loot:

The Book of Fires by Jane Borodale

” Brought up in rural Sussex, seventeen-year-old Agnes Trussel is carrying an unwanted child. Taking advantage of the death of her elderly neighbour, Agnes steals her savings and runs away to London. On her way she encounters the intriguing Lettice Talbot who promises that she will help Agnes upon their arrival. But Agnes soon becomes lost in the dark, labyrinthine city. She ends up at the household of John Blacklock, laconic firework-maker, becoming his first female assistant. The months pass and it becomes increasingly difficult for Agnes to conceal her secret. Soon she meets Cornelius Soul, seller of gunpowder, and hatches a plan which could save her from ruin. Yet why does John Blacklock so vehemently disapprove of Mr Soul? And what exactly is he keeping from her? Could the housekeeper, Mrs Blight, with her thirst for accounts of hangings, suspect her crime or condition?”

A while back this kept popping up on recommendation lists. I liked the look of it but I didn’t rush to track down a copy. But when I saw it on the shortlist for the Orange Award for New Writers I decided that its time had come and placed an order

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

“The wireless crackles with news of blitzed-out London and of the war that courses through Europe, leaving destruction in its wake. Listening intently on the other side of the Atlantic, newly-wed Emma considers the fragility of her peaceful married life as America edges closer to the brink of war. As the reporter’s distant voice fills the room, she sits convincing herself that the sleepy town of Franklin must be far beyond the war’s reach. But the life of American journalist Frankie, whose voice seems so remote, will soon be deeply entangled with her own. With the delivery of a letter into the hands of postmistress Iris, the fates of these three women become irrevocably linked. But while it remains unopened, can Iris keep its truth at bay? “

This seems to have been around for a while, but it was only released in the UK a few weeks ago. So I consider myself lucky to have picked it up so quickly. And I’m glad that for once that we have the same cover as the US edition – I spotted it from a great distance!

Nimrod’s Shadow by Chris Paling

“Reilly is an impoverished painter who lives alone in a shabby garret, with only his unsold canvases and his faithful dog Nimrod for company. He seems destined to remain in artistic obscurity until he learns that the most influential art critic of the time has begun to notice his talent. But no sooner has he found a patron than the critic is found drowned in a local canal and trail leads directly back to Reilly. From Reilly’s prison cell in Edwardian London to an exclusive gallery in contemporary Soho, the clues that lead to the real murderer lie carefully hidden, until the day when Samantha a young office assistant finds herself drawn to one of Reilly’s pictures and decides to embark upon her own investigation.”

I might have resisted the synopsis,but I couldn’t resist the dog! Briar looks just like that when you say “beach” or “park”. And it’s published by the lovely Portobello Books, which is a very positive sign.

Echoes from the Dead by Johan Theorin

“Can you ever come to terms with a missing child? Julia Davidsson has not. Her five-year-old son disappeared twenty years previously on the Swedish island of Oland. No trace of him has ever been found. Until his shoe arrives in the post. It has been sent to Julia’s father, a retired sea-captain still living on the island. Soon he and Julia are piecing together fragments of the past: fragments that point inexorably to a local man called Nils Kant, known to delight in the pain of others. But Nils Kant died during the 1960s. So who is the stranger seen wandering across the fields as darkness falls? It soon becomes clear that someone wants to stop Julia’s search for the truth. And that he’s much, much closer than she thinks …

I picked up a book by Johan Theorin last week, and discovered later that it was his second and some of the characters had appeared in his first book. I ordered that book in so that I could read them in sequence.

*****

Have you read any of these? What did you think?  Which are you curious to know more about?

And what did you find in the library this week?

See more Library Loot here.

12 responses

  1. Book of Fires is on the Orange List! I didn’t care for it much. It had some nice descriptive prose but I found the middle part boring with too much pyrotechnics.
    Obviously the Orange Committee don’t agree.

  2. It’s that first one that interests me – The Book of Fires. I like books set in historical London. Have added that to my own ‘get at the library’ list.

    I managed to restrict myself to two books from the library this week; the first Miss Read book, Village School, and The Tomb of Zeus by Barbara Cleverly, the first in her Leatitia Talbot crime series.

  3. The Book of Fires and Nimrod’s Shadow for me please! I agree with Cath, anything set in historical London is going to have me intrigued and then if you add a dog into the mix…brilliant.

    Do the words ‘cheese’ and ‘ball’ work for Briar as well?

    • Briar has a cheese detector. She can be asleep at the opposite end of the house, but if you take cheese out of the fridge she’s there on the kitchen step gazing at you!

  4. I´m really curious about Nimrod´s shadow, just from the look of the cover :)I´ve heard lots of good things about The postmistress but haven´t read it yet.

  5. I’ve got Postmistress coming from the library. I look forward to your thoughts on it. Echoes From the Dead sounds very interesting, perhaps when I’m in the mood for lighter reading.
    I see from the sidebar that you’ve read The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald too. I enjoyed it as well as The Blue Flower (which I reviewed) and Offshore (which I thought was her best so far.
    And I’m sure you’ll enjoy The Solitude of Prime Numbers. Happy reading.

  6. I really enjoyed Echoes from the Dead and have just ordered Johan Theorin’s second book The Darkest Room. I love the chilling nature of his story and that it doesnt rely on gore to shock. Sure you’ll love it!

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