TBR Thursday 49…

The People’s Choice 6…


Dramatic news! The TBR has gone down!! By 2 – to 136…but it’s a start, right?

So…that means I can squeeze in one more book, but which one? So many choices around the blogosphere – so many great reviews! Which means it’s time for another People’s Choice Poll…

Last time it was all crime, so this time the shortlist is all fiction. So which one of these do you think most deserves a place on the TBR? The winner will be announced next Thursday…

With my usual grateful thanks to all the reviewers who’ve intrigued and inspired me over the last few weeks, here are:

The Contenders…


the constant nymphThe BlurbTessa is the daughter of a brilliant bohemian composer, Albert Sanger, who with his “circus” of precocious children, slovenly mistress, and assortment of hangers-on, lives in a rambling chalet high in the Austrian Alps. The fourteen-year-old Tessa has fallen in love with Lewis Dodd, a gifted composer like her father. Confidently, she awaits maturity, for even his marriage to Tessa’s beautiful cousin Florence cannot shatter the loving bond between Lewis and his constant nymph.

heavenali says: “The Constant Nymph was Margaret Kennedy’s second novel, and probably her most successful and well known. I absolutely loved it, at once fully involving myself with the characters, as I became immersed in the world of ‘Sanger’s Circus’. I think Margaret Kennedy might be an author whose work I will have to read much more of.

See the full review at heavenali


the beesThe BlurbBorn into the lowest class of her society, Flora 717 is a sanitation bee, only fit to clean her orchard hive. Living to accept, obey and serve, she is prepared to sacrifice everything for her beloved holy mother, the Queen. Yet Flora has talents that are not typical of her kin. And while mutant bees are usually instantly destroyed, Flora is reassigned to feed the newborns, before becoming a forager, collecting pollen on the wing. Then she finds her way into the Queen’s inner sanctum, where she discovers secrets both sublime and ominous. Enemies roam everywhere, from the fearsome fertility police to the high priestesses who jealously guard the Hive Mind. But Flora cannot help but break the most sacred law of all, and her instinct to serve is overshadowed by a desire, as overwhelming as it is forbidden…

Claire says: “I know little about the bee world, but the environment the author creates is fascinating, intriguing and imaginative with references to monarchy, spiritual devotion, universal instinct and power. It also contains a subtle environmental reference, one that will be recognised by nature lovers everywhere, without compromising the essence of great storytelling.”

See the full review at Word by Word


passingThe BlurbNella Larsen, a writer of the Harlem Renaissance, wrote two brilliant novels that interrogated issues of gender and race. In Passing, her second novel published in 1929, she examines the troubled friendship between two mixed-race women who can pass as white. One, Irene Redfield, marries a black man and lives in Harlem, while the other, Clare Kendry, marries a bigoted white man. Clare re-enters Irene’s life after an absence of many years, and stirs up painful questions about identity.

My Book Strings says: “Even without the “issue of race,” the toxic relationship between the two women would have made for a fascinating story. But, of course, race is at the very heart of it. It permeates every single aspect of life, and at times, I found it quite shocking to read about it…

See the full review at My Book Strings


the willowsThe Blurb – Two friends are midway on a canoe trip down the Danube River. Throughout the story Blackwood personifies the surrounding environment—river, sun, wind—and imbues them with a powerful and ultimately threatening character. Most ominous are the masses of dense, desultory, menacing willows, which “moved of their own will as though alive, and they touched, by some incalculable method, my own keen sense of the horrible.” American horror author H.P. Lovecraft considered this to be the finest supernatural tale in English literature.

The Bibliophile Chronicles says: “I absolutely love this book, I’ve read it before and it is no less creepy and wonderful the second time around. Personally I think that horror novels/films are most effective when you don’t actually see anything. That eerie sense of not knowing what is there seems to result in such a strong feeling of discomfort. That is very much at play in The Willows.

See the full review at The Bibliophile Chronicles


the guernsey literary and potato peel societyThe BlurbIt is 1946, in the thick of World War II, when American writer Juliet Ashton becomes the sudden recipient of letters from the inhabitants of Guernsey, the small island in the English Channel that has fallen under Nazi control. The letter writers have formed the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society as a way to gather without attracting the attention of their occupiers. Out of these letters, Juliet comes to know the lives, loves, and hardships of a wonderfully eccentric and vivid cast of characters, and their charming philosophies and anecdotes help her resolve her own romantic conundrum.

Cleo says: The genius of this book is the perfect mix of horrific stories, those people who were deported, those who lived in fear along with the lack of food, but these are balanced out by some tender moments, with memories of bravery and humour and compassion, not least at the society’s meetings. There were some letters that took my breath away despite being familiar with the nature of the events that occurred.” (Cleo lives in the Channel Islands herself.)

See the full review at Cleopatra Loves Books


NB All blurbs and covers are taken from Goodreads.

So…over to you! I love the sound of all of these so you can’t choose the wrong one! Choose just one or as many as you like – the book with most votes will be this week’s winner…

Hope you pick a good one! 😉

53 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 49…

  1. Firstly, congratulations on the impressive near-conquering of the TBR. Two is better than one, or none, so that deserves some chocolate.

    Secondly – aarrgghh! I actually cannot choose between them all! The Constant Nymph sounds marvellous. I would also like to be a constant nymph as it sounds mystical. The Bees seems very unusual indeed and it’s not often something like that comes up. And the last three books sound even better! I’m going for The Bees, I suppose because the concept is so unlikely. There!


    • Thank you! I am rather proud and will indeed celebrate with chocs!

      I know – it’s a horrendous list this week! I genuinely want to read them all, but realistically there’s no chance, so one it is! The Bees sounds fantastic – in both its meanings! I would normally have turned my nose up at it, but Claire’s review makes it sound so good…


  2. Down is always better than up in the case of TBR, so well done!
    But you have set us a really tough task today – so many interesting and highly-recommended books. I chose The Constant Nymph in the end, because it’s the only one I’ve read, but they all sound tempting.


    • I’m feeling very proud of my willpower (for the moment)!

      Such a difficult one this week – they all look great, as are all the reviews! Margaret Kennedy has been talked about a lot in the blogosphere recently and I’ve never read any of her books, so good choice!


  3. Impressive, FictionFan! Very happy for you. And these are all interesting books. I’ll be very keen to know in the end which one wins out.


    • It had a huge surge over here too a few years ago, but I never got around to it. And then Cleo’s great review reminded me about it… Glad to hear you enjoyed it too – another recommendation!


  4. Fantastic list – a couple I know I’ve read – Potato Pie and I’m pretty certain (but a long time ago, Constant Nymph) and ALL of the ones I haven’t read look extremely tempting. So, as it’s YOUR TBR I have voted for ALL OF THEM (isn’t it lovely to have friends) and am about to mosey on over to your 5 magnificent blogger-tempters and give them a friendly like each for this full basket of temptation.

    Surrender FF, get em all, and a LOT of chocolate to give you the brain energy for your reading marathon (and as long as its dark chocolate you’ll be getting various minerals and a couple of vitamins too)

    (Now, how do I go about subverting and canvassing other bloggers secretly to ensure we end with a dead heat between all 5)


    • Haha! Thanks for that! I thought you were supposed to be on my side, too! But I agree – a ridiculously hard choice this week! For some reason I never got around to Guernsey when it was all the rage a few years ago, and I’d actually never heard of Margaret Kennedy till she got a lot of reviews around the blogosphere in the last few months. But Passing and The Bees look great too, and even The Willows probably falls into the category of horror you enjoy. And the reviews made them all sound irresistible… *sighs*

      I can’t! I can’t! Don’t tempt me!! Not even chocolate could get me through my TBR without mental collapse setting in!!

      (Wicked, wicked woman!!)


      • Well just to cheer you up, as I know you love those weird statty things and where do people find your blog stuff – I’ve had a search which someone put in for ‘blue film women over 50 years’ as a search engine term…..and I couldn’t work out why/how they got to my site – till I put two and two together and realised that ‘results’ pulled up my review of ‘A Fifty Year Silence’ Ha Ha, won’t the person in search of older women hotties have been in for a big surprise to find a picture of a French village and a map of France and a story with absolutely no hottie tottie at all

        Liked by 1 person

    • My pleasure – a great review, and the book sounds so interesting! I agree – I’d probably never have looked at The Bees except that Claire’s review made it sound so good! I’ll be interested to hear what you think it when you review it! 😀


  5. I have felt guilty about having “The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society” on my to be read pile for some time! Maybe if it gets selected it will ease some of this guilt!!


    • Me too! It was on mine for ages and eventually I took it off, ‘cos the buzz had kind of passed and I had so much other stuff to read. But then Cleo’s review reminded me of how interesting it sounds… maybe this time! 🙂


  6. Thanks for mentioning my review and I voted for The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society because it is brilliant but I’m quite tempted by Lady Fancifull;s suggestion as this is another great selection of books and I think you should read them all!


  7. P.S. To anyone in the UK with a Kindle, tempted by Passing (yes, you can tell that WAS me – its currently on Amazon today at 47p. 47 p!!! impossible to pass by really. CLUNK the first one from your 5 worthy books hits the TBR!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Actually I only do these posts ‘cos it makes me laugh so much when YOUR TBR grows by 5 each time… *chuckles wickedly* But I agree – that book looks great. So if it doesn’t win, maybe your review will give it another chance…


  8. I’m probably the only reader who chose “The Bees”. I just don’t like most fiction these days, and the other stories, however well done and engaging, didn’t appeal to me at this time.


    • Uh-uh! The Bees is tying for the lead at the moment! It does sound good, doesn’t it? I’ve been struggling with current fiction too recently, so there will be more old/classic stuff appearing on the blog this year…


  9. So, I must needs know: did you kick two books off? Or, did you just finish two books? Be truthful now.

    The bee book is cool! But I’m more curious about the slavery and abuse that the queen puts the drones through. And…I wonder if Flora stings someone! I’ll definitely vote for this one.

    But…! Must vote for the Society one, too. Did you notice the name…potato in there?


    • I finished 3!! And added one… Oh well, better than the other way round!

      The Bees looks odd but great! (I’m hoping Flora meets a nice honeybee.) It’s tying for the lead at the moment…

      *chuckles* Yes, I did! But it looks like they peel it! Gruesome! It might give me nightmares…


      • That is rather good, I must admit. I’m still enjoying Dune. Really liking the Duke. They’re having a party now, and Paul is walking along with a girl that’s taller than him!

        Very odd indeed! (No, you’re not! ‘Cause honeybees don’t have round…)

        That would give Mark nightmares too. They’re supposed to make a film of The Martian, I think.


  10. Two really stood out for me; The Bees and The Willows. They both sound so good but in the end I voted The Bees since that’s the one I’d have to read first. It sounds so intriguing!


  11. So I chose Guernsey because I really dearly love that book – such a delight, the voices are so distinct and engaging, the story is lovely, and the setting intriguing… plus, I’ve always wanted to visit Guernsey, the birthplace of my favorite breed of cow!! So!!

    But I saw ‘The Bees’ someplace a while back and thought it sounded quite interesting as well, a bit Watership Down-y, so I’m pleased my two favorites are currently in the lead! 😉


    • Oh, glad to hear you enjoyed Guernsey too – another endorsement! I’ve never been to Guernsey but I’ve been to its sister island Jersey – one of my favourite places in the world (at least the little bit of the world that I’ve seen). The Bees sounds great too – between us, I won’t be too sorry if they end up tying for the lead…


    • Oh dear, I hadn’t realised there were two! Well, if it wins I’ll definitely read the first one first – I’ve jumped into later books and regretted it too often. The Bees sounds great and at the moment those two are tying for the lead… 🙂


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