September/October Reads

I’m a little late with my book review this month, as life behind the scenes has been somewhat busy. Still, it’s better late than not at all. I haven’t an overabundance of books to share, but those I do have, are all very good.

The Emerald Dress by Vivienne Kearns

Present Day
Lucy Young travels to Dublin to research her Irish ancestor, Hugh Gavin. She brings with her a 300-year-old diary, written by the Duchess of Alden who, Boden Castle, Dublin.  Lucy contacts Professor Patrick Ralley of Trinity College Dublin to donate the diary to the university and ask his help to research Hugh Gavin s life and her family’s possible connection to the castle. In their search, they will uncover a secret that has lain hidden for three hundred years.
Dublin, 1719
Abigail Harton is a troubled young lady. Along with helping to care for her poorly younger brother, Benjamin, she is deeply concerned about her family’s finances. Abigail and her mother take on embroidery work to add to keep the household going.  Meanwhile, Abigail’s mother is keen to see Abigail married to a good man, who can keep her safe and look after her financially. She sets her sights on Dr William Monroe. Abigail likes the doctor and he is certainly keen on her. It is apparent that her instinct isn’t fully invested in the match and with good reason.
I thoroughly enjoyed the historical side of this book. The period seems to have been well researched and the authors’ knowledge of the Gavins’ work was outstanding. 
Being totally honest, the present-day parts of the story didn’t do anything for me. From the start, I was so caught up in the events of 1719, by the time a Present Day chapter came around again, I had forgotten about that part. The book, in my opinion, was strong enough to hold its own in the 1700s.
A more detailed review of The Emerald Dress can be read here.

Dead to Me by Lesley Pearce

In 1935, two young girls meet by chance. Ruby is a poor, dishevelled girl in need of a good wash. Verity, on the other hand, is very smartly dressed, comes from one of the grande houses in Hampstead Heath and has impeccable manners. Despite their differences, the two girls become the best of friends.
As Britain prepares for war, circumstances lead to the girls’ worlds turning upside down. Ruby finds herself in Devon, living a whole new life, whilst Verity finds herself a million miles away from the life she knew.
The girls’ friendship is the one constant that remains, until one day, one os forced to make a decision that changes everything…..
I loved this book, I’d never read anything by Lesley Pearce before this and I immediately sought more by her when I finished this.

Forever Frida by Cathy Cano-Murillo

A Celebration of the Life, Art, Loves, Words, and Style of Frida Kahlo

This is a lovely book, detailing the life of inspirational Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. A quick read full of quotes, images of the artist and her work. A super book to quickly learn more of this great woman.

The Woman in the Wood by Lesley Pearce

A missing teenager. An outcast woman in the woods. And a girl determined to find the truth

It’s 1960, when fifteen-year-old twins, Maisy & Duncan,  awaken one night to the distressing sounds of their mother being taken away in an ambulance. She is being moved by their father, Alastair, to an asylum, for her own benefit and theirs. A short time after this, Alastair sends the twins to Nightingales, his family home in the New Forest, to live with his mother.
Their grandmother, Mrs Mitchum, is a cold woman, putting little pass on the twins. They are mostly left to their own devices with freedom they never had before. Whilst Maisy makes a new friend her own age, Duncan befriends Grace and her dog Toby, who live in the woods.
When Toby doesn’t return home on time one day, his grandmother is unperturbed, Maisy, on the other hand, is worried. As the days pass with no sign of Duncan, Maisy enlists the help of Grace, the woman in the wood.
This followed the aforementioned Lesley Pearce novel. While this wasn’t as good as Dead to Me, I did like it a lot.

Rosie by Lesley Pearce

Rosie Parker’s mother left when she was a very young child, leaving her with her father and her two older brothers, who are brutish,  with little thought for her. When her father Cole, brings Heather Farley into the fold, things get better, for a while.
When Heather disappears, leaving her young son, Rosie assumes the mother role and things go downhill once again. It is only when Thomas Farley, Heather’s brother, arrives in search of his sister that the truth emerges and Rosie sees her family in a whole new light.
Making a life for herself, Rosie takes up position in Carrington Hall, where she bears witness to harrowing deeds. Following her time in Carrington Hall, Rosie’s life finally takes a path for which she seems destined, surely this young woman has finally found the happiness she has long awaited.
I adored this book, I loved Rosie. She was a vulnerable soul with a steely determination. I missed her once I closed the final chapter on her tale.

Constellations by Sinéad Gleeson

I have come to think of all the metal in my body as artificial stars, glistening beneath the skin, a constellation of old and new metal. A map, a tracing of connections and a guide to looking at things from different angles.

Sinead Gleeson has endured more than her fair share of illness, and within these pages, takes us on a journey through not only through these illnesses, but also life and all it places in our path. Written as a series of essays, this is at times incredibly moving, deeply personal and extremely thought-provoking.

For more book inspiration, please visit the Reading Corner.

Disclaimer: Unless otherwise stated, all of the books I mention in these monthly posts are bought and paid for by myself or borrowed from the Library. Anyone can join NetGalley and provide reviews in exchange for books. 


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