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Latest Acquisitions (March – April 2019)

Although I provide a brief summary of the story when I publish my monthly round ups, I think there’s value in adding a bit of synopsis here too. Previously it has just been a book cover and a vague sentence or two because I don’t tend to include books I’ve already read, so I’m mixing it up a bit and adding more factual information.

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Anne Melville: The House Of Hardie – A story of two sets of Victorian siblings, one from a trading family and one higher class, this book is the first in a series and was originally published in 1987. It’s being republished in ebook form next week by Agora Books. (Formally Ipso Books – they previously published Laura Pearson’s Missing Pieces which I raved about because it’s set in my home city, more famous as a place from which to depart rather than live in.) Melville, who died in 1998 aged 72, wrote under many pseudonyms, of which Anne was one – her actual name was Margaret Edith Newman.

Dan Richards: Outpost – In this, his second travel/adventure memoir, Richards visits various ‘wild ends of the earth’, continuing in the spirit of his great-great aunt Dorothy who inspired his travels for Climbing Days, and following in the path of his father. Journeys include Svalbard, Norway (perhaps most commonly known as the place where children were taken in Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights), and Desolation Peak in the USA.

Guy Stagg: The Crossway – Looking for peace and hope in the idea of a ritual pilgrimage following mental illness, Stagg journeys from Canterbury to Jerusalem, a non-believer on a religious road. The Crossway is one of the eight books shortlisted for this year’s Rathbones Folio Prize and the one I hope wins – admittedly I’ve not read much of it yet (current read) but it’s the one that interests me the most; there were a few travel/nature books on the longlist but the judges picked this one and there must be a reason. (I’m gaining a firm interest in this sort of non-fiction for which I probably have to ‘blame’ my father and his Michael Palin, Levison Wood, Bill Bryson… I also have a thing about photographing churches which is also his fault…)

Nicola Cornick: The Woman In The Lake – Cornick’s third time-slipping novel following her successful numerous regency romances, this book takes the reader to both the 1700s and the present day. It’s inspired by Lady Diana Spencer (the 18th century painter). Lydiard Park is the setting; I visited it a couple of years ago. I ordered this book before knowing the story – Cornick’s excellent House Of Shadows led to me putting her on my ‘buy any new novels by this person’ list, and her The Lady And The Laird set it in stone.

Orlando Ortega-Medina: The Death Of Baseball – Moments after Marilyn Monroe dies, a Japanese American called Clyde is born into a dysfunctional family. As he grows up in the abusive house he learns about Monroe and feels a particularly strong connection to her – her death and his birthday are not a coincidence, and he must be her reincarnated form. Meanwhile a very troubled Jewish teenager is sent back to Israel by his parents who hope the change will do him good; there he discovers the films of James Dean. One day, the two teens will meet. (Presumably, ‘Marilyn’ will also meet Joe DiMaggio – I’m really looking forward to seeing how Ortega-Medina uses this aspect of Monroe’s real life story.) Ortega-Medina is the writer of the short story collection Jerusalem Ablaze.

In terms of reviews, the Melville will likely be featured next week. The Stagg will be featured in one way or another on Monday, be it a review or just a generally more detailed post – it all depends on how much reading time I can nab between now and then. The Ortega-Medina is set for early June, a little before the release date. And the last two will be within the next couple of months – the Richards was published a few weeks ago, the Cornick a few months, but regardless of the dates I’d like to read them sooner rather than later.

What books did you recently acquire and do you have any plans in mind as to when you’ll read them? (Perhaps you’re reading them now?)



April 26, 2019, 6:06 pm

I read The Phantom Tree by Nicola Cornick and enjoyed it very much. I need to add House of Shadows to my wish list and look forward to your review of this one.

I’m currently reading an excellent non-fiction book about surgery during the Victorian age. It jumped right to the top of my TBR pile when I got it.

Tracy Terry

April 29, 2019, 3:07 pm

OOH! The House Of Hardie sounds good, definitely one to look out for.



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