The Narrow Road to the Deep North – Richard Flanagan

The Narrow Road to the Deep North - Richard Flanagan
The Narrow Road to the Deep North – Richard Flanagan

Oh, how I loved this novel.

An Australian (Tasmanian?)’s take on the Burma Railway and the brutal treatment of Australian PoWs in World War II.

But more than that: A love story; love stories.

Beautiful.

Author’s webpage: The Narrow Road to the Deep North – Richard Flanagan

Exposure – Helen Dunmore

Exposure - Helen Dunmore
Exposure – Helen Dunmore

I almost gave up on Helen Dunmore’s Cold War novel. I didn’t like the “men from the Ministry” – the all male world of a post-War Admiralty, and the spooks and the spies at work there – and it wasn’t until the narrative shifted to focus more on the fall out for Lily Callington and her family and friends that I really cared about any of the characters.

You gradually learn that Lily was born in Germany to Jewish parents, and fled as a child with her mother to London.  She’s buried that part of her life, and has lost all memory of the German language despite teaching French and Italian at a North London Girl’s school. Her husband, Simon Callington, is a lowly clerk at the Admiralty, who has a secret of his own from his Cambridge student days which ultimately enmeshes him in Cold War corruption.

I’m glad I  persevered.

Publisher’s page: Exposure – Helen Dunmore

Three Sisters, Three Queens – Philippa Gregory

Three Sisters, Three Queens – Philippa Gregory
Three Sisters, Three Queens – Philippa Gregory

The Three Sisters are Henry VII‘s daughters (and Henry VIII’s elder and younger sister respectively), Margaret and Mary Tudor, and their sister in law (Henry VIII’s first wife), Katherine of Aragon.

These three women are also Queens – Margaret, married young to James IV of Scotland with the hope of establishing peace between the two nations, is the main voice of the novel. She moves from envy to pity for Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England by virtue of her marriage to Henry VIII, and is eternally irritated by her prettier, younger sister, Mary, Queen of France for three brief months following her marriage to Louis XII of France.

Author’s webpage: Three Sisters, Three Queens – Philippa Gregory

Birdcage Walk – Helen Dunmore

Birdcage Walk - Helen Dunmore
Birdcage Walk – Helen Dunmore

Bristol’s 18th century building boom when the elegant terraces emerged above Clifton Gorge; revolutionaries in France and radicals in England – Lizzie Fawkes’s life provides an intersection of all three in Helen Dunmore‘s last novel.

Excellent.

Publisher’s page: Birdcage Walk – Helen Dunmore

 

 

Tweet by HISTORY HIT (@HistoryHit) - December 11, 2017
– HISTORY HIT (@HistoryHit) – December 11, 2017

Finished on the Snow Bombed journey back from Herefordshire, coincidentally on the anniversary of the start of the trial of “Louis Capet