The Muse, Jessie Burton

I adored The Miniaturist! It was one of those books which had stayed with me: the cold of her repressed Amsterdam, the sweetness of marzipan, the claustrophobic house. The hint of the supernatural. The difficult, prickly bond between the women. So it was with pleasure and anticipation that I began The Muse and it took…

The Betrayal of Trust and A Question of Identity, Susan Hill

Ahhhh Lafferton. Possibly even more dangerous than Midsomer or a dinner party with Jessica Fletcher and Jane Marple! The serial killer centre of England. I’ve lost track of the numbers of serial killers in the Simon Serrailler series: they’ve targetted women for medical reasons, abducted young children; they’ve targetted weddings and, now, the elderly in…

The Word Is Murder, Anthony Horowitz

Sometimes you want to like a book just so damn much that it feels like you’re the failure when you end up not liking it. So it was for me with this novel. Now there is no doubt that Horowitz can plot a cracking crime story: Midsomer Murders, Foyle’s War, Magpie Murders are all testimony…

Within the Sanctuary of Wings, Marie Brennan

Sometimes we just need the familiar and the comfortable, don’t we? A warm cuddle of a book. The Natural History of Dragons series by Marie Brennan, of which Within the Sanctuary of Wings is the fifth and, it would appear final, installment, is one of those series. It’s not challenging; it’s a tad formulaic by…

See What I Have Done, Sarah Schmidt

Lizzie Borden took an axe And gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, She gave her father forty-one. Oh, Sarah Schmidt can write! What a strange strange thing to start a review with! But there is writing and there is writing and Sarah Schmidt can write! Not only can she create a…

The Black Book of Secrets, F. E. Higgins

Every year, I determine to teach at least one text which is new to me that year – which with a shrinking pool to choose from at GCSE becomes harder year-one-year – and that is why I have stumbled upon F. E. Higgins’ The Black Book of Secrets. It is an odd little book –…

The Dry, Jane Harper

This book had won a range of prizes by the time I got to reading it: Australia Indie Book and Indie Debut of the Year 2017; Sunday Times Crime Book of the Year; CWA Gold Dagger. It even became the Radio 2 Book Club Choice. I think I read somewhere that film rights have been…

The Loney, Andrew Michael Hurley

There is something very frustrating about this book. It was so close to being great that the fact that it wasn’t great is so disappointing. The premise sounded brilliant: members of a religious community go on a retreat to an isolated location; suspicious and sinister villagers mill around; a young boy is being prayed for…

Oathbringer, Brandon Sanderson

I was concerned about the shift in tone from the end of the second book in The Stormlight Archive, Words of Radiance: Kaladin and Shallan had been lost characters slowly discovering their powers and paths in their own way, interracting with their spren and learning in a softly organic way; as Words of Radiance ends, Knights…

The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock, Imogen Hermes Gowar

I do love historical fiction and this is one of the best I’ve read for a while! Intricately plotted, rigourously researched and with vivid and well-drawn characters. And none of those elements displaced by any other. And with just a touch of magical realism thrown in. It doesn’t quite reach the heights of Hilary Mantel…