Charles II and the First English Divorce

This is an abridged extract from The Story of Divorce, which looks at the first English divorce, and the role that Charles II’s marital woes may have played in the outcome. The year was 1670 and Charles II, the ‘Merry Monarch’, was on the throne. The Cavalier Parliament was only halfway through what would becomeContinue reading “Charles II and the First English Divorce”

Review of After Sappho by Selby Wynn Schwartz

After Sappho by Selby Wynn Schwartz My rating: 5 of 5 stars So what comes after Sappho? Who are the women who have walked in her footsteps, searching for something beyond themselves, beyond the gendered roles that society seeks to impose on them? This is one of those rare books that take you utterly byContinue reading “Review of After Sappho by Selby Wynn Schwartz”

Review of Northerners: A History by Brian Groom

Northerners: A History, from the Ice Age to the Present Day by Brian Groom My rating: 3 of 5 stars I really, really wanted to like this book. Northern publisher publishing a Northern author writing about the North. Sounded like a winning formula to me. And yet… there was something missing from this book asContinue reading “Review of Northerners: A History by Brian Groom”

Dickens in the Pits: My Paper from the Dickens Symposium 2022

What follows is the text I prepared for the presentation of my paper. I know I digressed from the text at times, but I think I stuck to what I had planned to say – for the most part: Those of you who know me are probably aware that the main area of interest forContinue reading “Dickens in the Pits: My Paper from the Dickens Symposium 2022”

On the overturning of Roe V Wade…

Over the last two days, I have veered between despair and disbelief as I contemplate the overturning of the decision of Roe v Wade by the Supreme Court of the US this week. I have already heard countless people, mostly men, saying it is a US problem, and therefore should not impact on those ofContinue reading “On the overturning of Roe V Wade…”

Deborah Levy and The Cost of Living

The Cost of Living by Deborah Levy My rating: 5 of 5 stars Having read and very much enjoyed the first in Levy’s autobiographical triptych, I was really looking forward to delving into her second. I love Levy’s writing, both her works of imaginative fiction, but now, also her, more reflective work. Levy, in TheContinue reading “Deborah Levy and The Cost of Living”

The Kindness of Catherine Cookson

Those of you that follow my blog know that I have recently made quite an effort to read some of Catherine Cookson’s extensive catalogue of novels. Having recently moved back to the North East, I wanted to read books that evoke the heart and the spirit of the land that I now, once more, callContinue reading “The Kindness of Catherine Cookson”

Pandora and the Decline of the Historical Fiction Genre

Pandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman My rating: 3 of 5 stars I think, more than anything, this book encapsulates what I see with one of the most problematic aspects of modern publishing’s obsession with the debut novel. Heavily hyped (and indeed a book that caught the attention of both the Cavendish Prize and the Bath NovelContinue reading “Pandora and the Decline of the Historical Fiction Genre”

My Thoughts on Home Going by Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi My rating: 5 of 5 stars I came across this book after a recent episode of This is Us featured Rebecca and Randall discussing it. Both Randall and Rebecca confessed to sobbing at a key moment in the book. Deciding that I needed to get a hold of this book, IContinue reading “My Thoughts on Home Going by Yaa Gyasi”

Review of The Homecoming by Anna Enquist

The Homecoming by Anna Enquist My rating: 2 of 5 stars I really, really wanted to like this book. Having grown up in Australia, with Captain James Cook so much a part of the history of the land (whether this is viewed as for good or for bad) I was really looking forward to seeingContinue reading “Review of The Homecoming by Anna Enquist”