Title: Ghost Wall

Author: Sarah Moss

Pages: 160 Pages

Publisher: Granta

The Blurb

The light blinds you; there’s a lot you miss by gathering at the fireside.

In the north of England, far from the intrusions of cities but not far from civilization, Silvie and her family are living as if they are ancient Britons, surviving by the tools and knowledge of the Iron Age.

For two weeks, the length of her father’s vacation, they join an anthropology course set to reenact life in simpler times. They are surrounded by forests of birch and rowan; they make stew from foraged roots and hunted rabbit. The students are fulfilling their coursework; Silvie’s father is fulfilling his lifelong obsession. He has raised her on stories of early man, taken her to witness rare artifacts, recounted time and again their rituals and beliefs—particularly their sacrifices to the bog. Mixing with the students, Silvie begins to see, hear, and imagine another kind of life, one that might include going to university, traveling beyond England, choosing her own clothes and food, speaking her mind.

The ancient Britons built ghost walls to ward off enemy invaders, rude barricades of stakes topped with ancestral skulls. When the group builds one of their own, they find a spiritual connection to the past. What comes next but human sacrifice?

A story at once mythic and strikingly timely, Sarah Moss’s Ghost Wall urges us to wonder how far we have come from the “primitive minds” of our ancestors.

The Review

I would love to say it is rare that I have a verbal outburst when reading a book but it really isn’t. I get so lost in them that I often tell the characters what I think they should do or what I think of them. However, it has been a long time since I repeatedly yelled at a character or cursed their very existence but that is exactly what Sarah Moss had me doing when I read Ghost Wall.

Ghost Wall is the story of Silvie. She is young, impressionable and kept naïve and held back by her father and his stern patriarchal beliefs – women should do the domestic stuff and men are hunters and gatherers. If you don’t like his rules, well you better keep it to yourself because there will be consequences.

It is on a trip across Britain’s countryside that Silvie realises that life shouldn’t be this way. But how is she supposed to break away from her father’s rules?

I didn’t think I would have such a strong reaction to Ghost Wall based on just the premise from the blurb and the cover but it is a book that – long after I have finished it – that I still think of it; think of the sinister relationship with her father and his relationship with history.

It is not for the fainthearted and there are some triggering subjects that feature within its pages but Ghost Wall is a book I would encourage everyone to read because it is powerful.

Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss is available now.

For more information regarding Granta Books (@GrantaBooks) please visit www.granta.com.

Title: My Lady Jane

Author: Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, Brodi Ashton

Pages: 416 Pages

Publisher: Walker

The Blurb

A comical, fantastical and witty re-imagining of the Tudor world, perfect for fans of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Lady Jane Grey, sixteen, is about to be married to a total stranger – and caught up in an insidious plot to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But that’s the least of Jane’s problems. She’s about to become Queen of England. Like that could go wrong.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

I had so much hope for My Lady Jane. Granted that hope was based on the fact that I liked the pretty cover but still I did have hope. You see, I like historical fiction. I love interpretations of a time when I wasn’t alive. It is the closest thing to time travel that we have got. Sadly, My Lady Jane just didn’t do it for me. It was a bit too warped. I think if there hadn’t been the fantasy element to the story I could have been a bit more enthusiastic but it just wasn’t for me. It will be for someone but I didn’t get it.

Sorry.

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, and Brodi Ashton is available now.

For more information regarding Cynthia Hand (@CynthiaHand) please visit www.cynthiahandbooks.com.

For more information regarding Jodi Meadows (@jodimeadows) please visit www.jodimeadows.com.

For more information regarding Brodi Ashton (@Brodiashton) please visit www.brodiashton.com.blogspot.com.

For more information regarding Walker (@WalkerBooksUK) please visit www.walker.co.uk.

Title: The Burning Chambers

Author: Kate Mosse

Pages: 608 Pages

Publisher: Pan Macmillan/Mantle Books

The Blurb

Bringing sixteenth-century Languedoc vividly to life, Kate Mosse’s The Burning Chambers is a gripping story of love and betrayal, mysteries and secrets; of war and adventure, conspiracies and divided loyalties . . .

Carcassonne 1562: Nineteen-year-old Minou Joubert receives an anonymous letter at her father’s bookshop. Sealed with a distinctive family crest, it contains just five words: SHE KNOWS THAT YOU LIVE. But before Minou can decipher the mysterious message, a chance encounter with a young Huguenot convert, Piet Reydon, changes her destiny forever.

For Piet has a dangerous mission of his own, and he will need Minou’s help if he is to get out of La Cité alive. Toulouse: As the religious divide deepens in the Midi, and old friends become enemies, Minou and Piet both find themselves trapped in Toulouse, facing new dangers as sectarian tensions ignite across the city, the battle-lines are drawn in blood and the conspiracy darkens further. Meanwhile, as a long-hidden document threatens to resurface, the mistress of Puivert is obsessed with uncovering its secret and strengthening her power . .

The Review

I was genuinely scared to read The Burning Chambers by Kate Mosse. I loved her Languedoc series but I hadn’t quite come to terms with Citadel yet – seriously, it was a bloodbath. So with trepidation I picked up The Burning Chambers and literally within paragraphs – not even pages or chapters but paragraphs – I was hooked.

What is so impressive with Kate Mosse’s storytelling is just how immersive it is. I felt like I was part of the Joubert family. I was dealing with the family secrets, I was battling in the war between the Catholics and the Heugenots, I was travelling the very roads between Carcassonne and Toulouse. I was there. Even though it took place a very long time ago and I was reading from the comfort of my modern day home.

The Burning Chambers was a pleasure to read, a book that I will be recommending to the all historical fiction buffs that I know.

There really is only one true master of historical fiction, and that, ladies and gentlemen, is Kate Mosse.

The Burning Chambers by Kate Mosse is available now.

For more information regarding Kate Mosse (@katemosse) please visit www.katemosse.co.uk.

For more information regarding Pan Macmillan (@panmacmillan) please visit www.panmacmillan.com.

For more information regarding Mantle Books (@MantleBooks) please visit www.mantle.panmacmillan.com.

Title: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

Author: Mackenzi Lee

Pages: 513 Pages

Publisher: Harper Collins

The Blurb

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions – not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or walking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks n his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and travelling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow,, he vows to make this year long escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turn their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

The Review

I don’t really know what I was expecting from Mackenzi Lee’s The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. I was seduced by the slightly Byronic cover. I wasn’t expecting an intercontinental LGBT swashbuckling adventure.

It was rather a good romp around Europe.

The main crux of the story is the forbidden love between Monty and Percy amidst the hope of developing medicine in the 18th century. Throw in thievery, alchemy and piracy and you somewhat got a picture of how this story develops.

One thing that can be said with utter conviction about The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is that there is no other book out there like it.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee is available now

For more information regarding Mackenzi Lee (@themackenzilee) please visit www.mackenzilee.com.

For more information regarding Harper Collins (@HarperCollins) please visit www.harpercollins.com.

Carnegie's MaidTitle: Carnegie’s Maid

Author: Marie Benedict

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Sourcebooks

The Blurb

From the author of The Other Einstein comes the mesmerizing story of love, power, and the woman who inspired an American dynasty. 

In the industrial 1860s at the dawn of the Carnegie empire, Irish immigrant Clara Kelly finds herself in desperate circumstances.  Looking for a way out, she seeks employment as a lady’s maid in the home of the prominent businessman Andrew Carnegie.  Soon, the bond between Clara and her employer deepens into love. But when Clara goes missing, Carnegie’s search for her unearths secrets and revelations that lay the foundation for his lasting legacy.

With capturing insight and sunning heart, Carnegie’s Maid tells the story of one lost woman who may have spurred Andrew Carnegie’s transformation from ruthless industrialist into the world’s first true philanthropist.

The Review

Before I read Carnegie’s Maid I knew very little about Andrew Carnegie’s life. I knew that he had been a philanthropist and encouraged reading – not just for those who were well off but those who couldn’t necessarily afford to buy books. That was about it.

What I did know was that I was eager to learn more. Marie Benedict’s fictional portrayal of Andrew Carnegie’s life was really interesting. The story is steeped in facts but with a delicious fictional love story wrapped around them. The love story between Andrew and Clara transcends class and was an absolute delight to read.

Carnegie’s Maid is an exceptional story and is a must read for fans of historical fiction.

Carnegie’s Maid by Marie Benedict is available now.

For more information regarding Sourcebooks (@Sourcebooks) please visit their Twitter page.

4 Stars