Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Read recently and failed to blog about

I'm behind with this blog. But I must keep it up otherwise I forget what I've read, or what I thought of what I've read. It's me age, you see.

The Burning of Bridget Cleary by Angela Bourke
A true story, about an horrific killing in Ireland at the end of the nineteenth century, when country people still very much believed in fairies. Not sure where I heard about this book but I'm interested in Ireland, fairies, magic etc so decided to give it a go. Poor Bridget was unwell, and for some reason her husband and other relatives got it into their heads she'd been taken away by the fairies and a changeling left in her place. To try to oust the fairy they dosed her with herbal medicines and then held her over a fire. When she eventually died they buried her in a shallow grave. Her husband still expected her to appear riding on a white horse out of the nearby fairy fort...

This book is a very detailed account of the events before and after Bridget's death, and an in depth discussion of the belief systems prevalent in Irish villages at the time. I did find it quite fascinating but I also found it too long. The author had clearly done a lot of research but had included it all in the final book - eg endless transcripts of what was said at the trial which I ended up skimming over.

Secrets and Rain by Cally Taylor
In total contrast, this book was far too short! It's an anthology of prize-winning and published stories by a wonderful writer. The stories all have a theme of hope after loss, and all were beautifully written.

Nowhere to Hide by Alex Walters
I hosted part of Alex Walters' blog tour for this book, so bought the book at that time. It's taken me a while to get round to it. I don't normally read thrillers but I'll read anything that's well written so was happy to give this a go. Very enjoyable, pacy book, but there was a lot of mentions of back story which I eventually worked out referred to Alex's earlier book, Trust No One, and indeed some Amazon reviewers recommend reading that one first.

That aside, I did enjoy this book and it kept me turning the virtual pages. Marie has been sent undercover to work for someone who is connected with a criminal gang, though she can't quite see why this particular person needs so much attention. She's got some suspicions about her own boss, too - is he straight or is he in the pay of the gangland boss? There have been lots of murders of people on the periphery of the underworld, and Marie needs to find out whether they're all connected or not. When smooth, handsome Jack Brennan joins the team she thinks she's got an ally against her boss, or has she? At home, Marie has a different set of problems in the form of her increasingly disabled partner, Liam. The book was full of twists and turns and although I suspected that some of the goodies would be baddies, I didn't guess all the final chapter twists. If you like thrillers, you'd enjoy this one a lot.

Attention All Shipping by Charlie Connolly
And now for something completely different. A friend recommended this, and I bought it along with 2 others by this author. I loved And Did Those Feet which I read first. This one, in which the author visits all the shipping forecast areas around Britain in one year, was just as quirky and amusing but not as interesting historically.

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