The River Crossing – Peter Rippon

One woman, three journeys, many perspectives.

A chance find in one of Hay-on-Wye’s many bookshops, this has turned out to be one of my favourite books of the year so far.

Part historical novel, part mystery with a romantic hue, this slight novel demanded to be read in one sitting. A rare book, combining history and travel, together with astute observations on the emerging desire of and support for women to be able to share in the freedoms and the intellectual and educational becoming opportunities available in the closing decades of the 19th century.

An excellent read for anyone who enjoys history (in particular women’s history) and travel. And not as heavy as I might have made it sound!

The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Dating and Sex – Joshua Piven, David Borgenicht and Jennifer Worick

WLTM solvent Scottish 30something w GSOH and enthusiasm for voyages of discovery

Partly poking fun, partly providing helpful hints, this book is an enjoyable gem for those of us living in the modern age.

Illustrated with factual diagrams and covering such scenarios as

Dr. Johnson’s London – Liza Picard

Almost ‘too much information’ about London in the mid-18th Century

Bite size chunks of history, social and economic, about London as it was 250 years ago, and the Londoners of that time. Some things remain surprisingly familiar:

“Hackney coaches had been plying for hire in the streets of London for 200 years. By 1711 there were 800 licences issued in the City alone…”;

whilst others amuse:

“another traditional ploy took place on Twelfth Night. People used to stop and stare into the windows of pastrycooks, at the gorgeous Twelfth Night cakes on sale. As they stood, boys sneaked up and nailed their clothes to the wooden shopfront.”;

and others enlighten:

” The expression ‘old hat’ should be avoided, as it was one of the countless synonyms for ‘a woman’s privities’.”

An accessible yet fascinating book. Perfect for both the early morning commute and the bedtime read. And there are pictures too!

Oh yeah….and “Readers who liked this book also liked books by Peter Ackroyd and Christopher Hibbert”