The Green Man of Eshwood Hall by Jacob Kerr

The Green Man of Eshwood Hall by Jacob Kerr My rating: 4 of 5 stars This book was something of a slow burn for me. A sense of uneasiness pervades the whole of the novel, with the nomadic lifestyle of the family suggesting that something is not quite right, and that unsettling eerie atmosphere carriesContinue reading “The Green Man of Eshwood Hall by Jacob Kerr”

Emma and the Silencing of the Working Class Woman

Today I finally made it to the Manchester Art Gallery to view the epic painting ‘Work’, by artist Ford Madox Brown. It is a dense painting, full of intricate detail, in which Brown attempts to depict the gospel according to Thomas Carlyle – that all work, even cotton-spinning work, is noble. There is much toContinue reading “Emma and the Silencing of the Working Class Woman”

Lessons by Ian McEwan

Lessons by Ian McEwan My rating: 5 of 5 stars Charting the long story of one man’s life, as he tries to piece together his listless wandering from one missed opportunity to the next, the book begins with a piano lesson, where eleven year old Roland makes the same mistake he always makes as heContinue reading “Lessons by Ian McEwan”

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”