TBR Thursday 209…

Episode 209

The TBR seesaw seed last week so it’s hardly going to come as a surprise that it sawed again this week! Up 2 to 225, but that’s because a lovely box arrived from the lovely people at lovely Oxford World’s Classics containing lots of lovely goodies I’m planning to read over the autumn and winter months. Lovely!

Here are a few more I’ll be butting heads with soonish


Peterloo by Robert Poole

Courtesy of Oxford University Press. As a child at school the story of the Peterloo massacre caught my imagination and inspired my forming political beliefs. Two hundred years on and with democracy feeling more fragile than ever in my lifetime, it’s time we all remembered the sacrifices earlier generations made to give us the rights we take so much for granted that many of us don’t even bother to vote…

The Blurb says: On 16 August, 1819, at St Peter’s Field, Manchester, armed cavalry attacked a peaceful rally of some 50,000 pro-democracy reformers. Under the eyes of the national press, 18 people were killed and some 700 injured, many of them by sabres, many of them women, some of them children.

The ‘Peterloo massacre’, the subject of a recent feature film and a major commemoration in 2019, is famous as the central episode in Edward Thompson’s Making of the English Working Class. It also marked the rise of a new English radical populism as the British state, recently victorious at Waterloo, was challenged by a pro-democracy movement centred on the industrial north.

Why did the cavalry attack? Who ordered them in? What was the radical strategy? Why were there women on the platform, and why were they so ferociously attacked? Using an immense range of sources, and many new maps and illustrations, Robert Poole tells for the first time the full extraordinary story of Peterloo: the English Uprising.

* * * * *

Classic Fiction

Sons and Lovers by DH Lawrence

Courtesy of Oxford World’s Classics. Oh, how I loved DH Lawrence when I was a teenager! This was one of the first real adult heavyweight lit-fic books I read and it gave me a lifelong love for books with a strong political and social setting and characters full of emotional truth. I haven’t read DH Lawrence in decades because I have a fear that I won’t find him as impressive as my hormonally-manic teenage self did. So it’s with as much apprehension as anticipation that I’ll be setting out to re-read this one from my Classics Club list…

The Blurb says: Lawrence’s first major novel was also the first in the English language to explore ordinary working-class life from the inside. No writer before or since has written so well about the intimacies enforced by a tightly-knit mining community and by a family where feelings are never hidden for long. Paul Morel is caught between his need for family and community and his efforts to define himself sexually and emotionally. Lawrence’s powerful description of Paul’s relationships makes this a novel as much for the beginning of the twenty-first century as it was for the beginning of the twentieth.

* * * * *


The Turn of the Key edited by Ruth Ware

Courtesy of Harvill Secker via NetGalley. I loved Ruth Ware’s last book, The Death of Mrs Westaway, so have high hopes of this one!

The Blurb says: When she stumbles across the advert, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss: a live-in nanny position, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten by the luxurious ‘smart’ home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare – one that will end with a child dead and her in a cell awaiting trial for murder.

She knows she’s made mistakes. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty – at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.

Full of spellbinding menace, The Turn of the Key is a gripping modern-day haunted house thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.

* * * * *

Fiction on Audio

Queen Lucia by EF Benson narrated by Nadia May

When I recently reviewed Benson’s excellent mystery novel, The Blotting Book, fellow blogger Calmgrove reminded me that he was also the writer of the Mapp and Lucia books. I did read one or two of these back in the day but can’t remember which, so it seems logical to go for the first in the series…

The Blurb says: The fascinating story of the village of Riseholme’s reigning queen of high society: the indomitable Lucia!

England between the wars was a paradise of utter calm and leisure for the very, very rich. But into this enclave is born Mrs. Emmeline Lucas – La Lucia, as she is known – a woman determined to lead a life quite different from the pomp and subdued nature of her class. With her cohort, Georgie Pillson, and her husband, Peppino, she upends the greats of high society, including the imperious Lady Ambermere and her equally imperious dog, Pug; the odious Piggy and Goosie Antrobus; the Christian Scientist Daisy Quantrock, with her penchant for the foreign; and everyone else in the small English town that the wealthy Britons call their country home. Beset on all sides by pretenders to her social throne, Lucia brings culture, the fine arts, and a great deal of excitement and intrigue into this cloistered realm.

* * * * *

NB All blurbs and covers taken from Goodreads or Audible UK.

* * * * *

So…what do you think? Do any of these tempt you?

50 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 209…

  1. Don’t you just love it when you get those shiny book shipments, FictionFan? So much fun! As to these, I think Peterloo has really caught my eye. I don’t know enough about it, and I ought to know more. I hope it’s written in an accessible style (sometimes, books like this aren’t…). I look forward to what you have to say about it.


    • Haha – yes, I do even though I moan and complain! 😉 I don’t remember much about the details of Peterloo but I had a very inspirational history teacher while we covering that period and he brought it all to life for us. This book seems to be an updated version of one that’s been out for a few years and the original was well reviewed so here’s hoping!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely indeed. I wholeheartedly approve. 😉

    Absolutely tempted by Ruth Ware, as you know. It’s patiently waiting for me to finish my current reads. Which are going slowly. So slowly. 🙄


    • They both sound good, don’t they? I’ve started Queen Lucia and so far it’s going well… 😀 Hahaha! Yes, maybe I should try striking off an entire genre next time… maybe crime!! 😱😱😱


  3. How have I missed Ruth Ware? This one sounds delightful, so I’ll have to check and see if I can find it or something else she’s written — thanks!


  4. The Turn of the Key looks excellent! I’ll have to look back at her earlier book you read.

    Such a cute gif of the goats. We raised goats for a few years and they can be really entertaining with their behavior. (unless you’re on the receiving end of a butting) 😂


    • I loved The Death of Mrs Westaway – great character and some lovely Gothic touches while still being a very modern story!

      I’m so glad you confirmed they were goats. This ignorant urbanite couldn’t decide whether they were goats or sheep… I’m sure there must be an allegory hidden in that somehow… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Now that comment made me laugh!! 😂 The separation of sheep from goats in the Bible always gives me pause since I find the critters so cute. My first blog on a long defunct platform was filled with goats!


        • Hahaha! You’ll be appalled to hear I don’t think I’ve ever met a goat in real life. And somehow these just don’t quite look the way I expect goats to look. Not that I’d ever say that to them, of course… I wouldn’t want them developing body image problems…

          Liked by 1 person

  5. I hope Sons and Lovers stands up to re-reading, as there is nothing worse than a favorite book becoming a disappointment when looked at again. I’m tempted by the Ruth Ware, as the blurb is intriguing. Queen Lucia sounds good too. I quite like Nadia May as a narrator. She’s not my favorite, but she has made some good recordings of some of the classics.


    • Yes, I’m always wary of re-reading books I loved in my teens because I was so intense and impressionable back then, whereas I’m old and cynical now! I have high hopes for the Ware since I loved her last one – the only other one I’ve read so far. I don’t know Nadia May at all, but I’ve listened to the first couple of chapters now and she’s sounding good so far…


    • Haha – yes! It’s always good to be tempted by a book you’ve already added – it’s like eating calorie-free cake! 😉 I’ve just started Queen Lucia so it’s too early to say but it’s looking good so far… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I shall definitely be reading the Ruth Ware. I don’t normally read one off thrillers but she is the exception to my rule. Mind you, she will have to go some to better The Death of Mrs Westaway which was excellent.


    • I loved Mrs Westaway too and have still to backtrack to her earlier stuff. I quite enjoy one-offs – I think that’s one of the reasons I often enjoy vintage crime more than contemporary, although I make an exception for occasional series…


    • For some reason we studied that whole period in great detail at school – I suspect it was our history teacher’s specialist subject. But of course I’ve forgotten most of it now so it’ll be good to get a refresher…


  7. I can’t get the ‘like’ button to come up on the post so please know I liked it 🙂

    I’ll be interested to hear how you get on with Lawrence. I also tried him as a teenager and couldn’t get on at all, but I wonder if I should try him again.

    I also have the first 3 Mapp and Lucia books in the TBR so I hope they prove as good as the mystery novels!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Grrr… WordPress!! 😡

      Ha – I seem to remember most of my friends disliking him when we read this at school, but I was a weird, intensely political child… (don’t dare say it!!) 😉

      I’ve just started Queen Lucia so it’s too early to be sure but it’s going well so far… very funny!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I have just read The Turn of the Key and enjoyed it, although I haven’t read anything else by Ruth Ware to compare it with. I will definitely be looking for some of her other books now!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ooh, that’s good to know! I’ve only read one of her books so far – The Death of Mrs Westaway – and I loved it. I get the impression from reviews that her earlier books are more standard domestic thriller fare with less of the lovely Gothic touches.


  9. I have a compendium of Mapp and Lucia stories to read, acquired after a recent-ish BBC series but snaffled by the better half, and although I snaffled it back have yet to read it. But she has a copy of Sons and Lovers so I could purloin that whenever I’m ready…


  10. I really must read Peterloo – my first job years ago was in Manchester Public Libraries Local History Library and one of my first jobs was to compile a bibliography of the material the Library holds on Peterloo, a lovely job! So I have a great interest in that period.

    I wonder what you will make of Sons and Lovers this time round. I read it years ago too and loved it. I’ve been reading a biography of Lawrence very slowly and this has reminded me to get back to it. I still haven’t read The Death of Mrs Westaway, mainly because I wasn’t too keen on the early books of hers I’ve read, but since then I’ve seen that plenty of other bloggers love it, so I hope to get round to it one day. And Queen Lucia is yet another book buried in the depths of my Kindle somewhere, waiting to be read!


    • Oh, that would have been fascinating! I was lucky to have had a teacher who was clearly interested in the social history of that whole period leading up to the Chartists and he inspired all of us to get interested. He used to have us all acting out all the main events, including the massacre…

      I really hope I still feel the Lawrence magic – he was a major stepping stone on my journey into lit-fic. Another inspirational teacher led me to him! I really ought to have been nicer to them all at the time… 😉 I get the impression she changed her style a bit after the first two – people who liked them weren’t so keen on the Gothic style of Mrs Westaway, whereas people who loved it maybe didn’t love her earlier ones quite so much. I thought it was great and am hoping The Turn of the Key is just as much fun…

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Strange, I’d never heard of Peterloo until yesterday when I listened to a BBC podcast which featured some descendants of those present at the massacre; now you are referring to it. Ah, I’ve just realised, of course, it’s the 200 year anniversary. I read DH Lawrence in my teens, but haven’t since, I’ll be interested to hear how your revisiting goes.
    I found it hard to break away from the hypnotic effect of the goats and deciding whether they did or did not ‘get’ how to intentionally use a seesaw!


    • Yes, I didn’t realise when I saw this book that that was the reason it was being reissued – I remembered the history but not the date. My brother said there’s a movie coming out about it this year too – maybe it’s already out, in fact. I do hope DH Lawrence works for cynical old me – I loved him so much in my angst-ridden teens… Hahaha! At least you knew they were goats – I couldn’t decide whether they were goats or sheep! They look as if they’re having fun though. 😂


  12. I have to say that the goats win the day, here….said with a sigh of relief. I’m thinking I have too much on my plate at the moment to be easily tempted by anything that doesn’t move on its own.


  13. Boxes of books! Is there any better kind of mail? And side note, it’s a pet peeve of mine (and I”m sure yours also) when I talk to someone who didn’t bother voting. It’s offensive to me actually, like throwing away one of the greatest privileges we have, living in a first world country (gets off my soapbox).


  14. I have still not read Mrs Westaway – definitely one for this autumn I think, while you are working through your lovely box of goodies. I was not ready for Sons and Lovers and probably should read all of Lawrence again. Probably. I’m thinking Mapp and Lucia would make ideal audio books; I struggle to find books that work for me on audio. I shall await your review with anticipation 😀


    • Mrs Westaway would be perfect reading on a dark autumn night! I’m seriously hoping DH Lawrence still works for me – I have a horrible feeling he might appeal more to what would now be called the YA audience. But I hope I’m wrong! 😱 Queen Lucia is going well so far, but maybe not quite as well as I hoped. Early days, though, so it might win me over yet…


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