TBR Thursday 220…

Episode 220

I’m back! As soon as the aliens caught sight of the assembled forces of Tommy, Tuppence and Porpy they fled back to their own sector of the galaxy, squealing! The Kpop stars have promised to stop dancing, and the sun has calmed down to a temperate glow. The world is safe! Well… for the moment anyway. The remarkable thing is that, despite everything, my TBR has gone up, by 2 to 215! My postman is clearly intrepid… 

Here are a few more I’ll be unpacking soon…

History

Brothers York by Thomas Penn

Courtesy of Allen Lane via NetGalley. I thoroughly enjoyed Thomas Penn’s earlier book on Henry VII, Winter King, so grabbed this at the first opportunity. My knowledge of the Wars of the Roses really comes more from popular culture than actual histories, not least the notoriously inaccurate (but utterly compelling) Shakespeare plays. So I’m looking forward to learning about the facts behind the legends…

The Blurb says: It is 1461 and England is crippled by civil war. One freezing morning, a teenage boy wins a battle in the Welsh marches, and claims the crown. He is Edward IV, first king of the usurping house of York…

Thomas Penn’s brilliant new telling of the wars of the roses takes us inside a conflict that fractured the nation for more than three decades. During this time, the house of York came to dominate England. At its heart were three charismatic brothers – Edward, George and Richard – who became the figureheads of a spectacular ruling dynasty. Together, they looked invincible. But with Edward’s ascendancy the brothers began to turn on one another, unleashing a catastrophic chain of rebellion, vendetta, fratricide, usurpation and regicide. The brutal end came at Bosworth Field in 1485, with the death of the youngest, then Richard III, at the hands of a new usurper, Henry Tudor.

The story of a warring family unable to sustain its influence and power, Brothers York brings to life a dynasty that could have been as magnificent as the Tudors. Its tragedy was that, in the space of one generation, it destroyed itself.

* * * * *

Dickens at Christmas

Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens

Courtesy of Oxford World’s Classics and another for my Classics Club list. It has long been my tradition to read a Dickens over Christmas and, in fact, as soon as I am appointed Queen of the World by popular acclaim it will be the law that everyone must. This year’s choice is a re-read, but it’s years since I read it so my memory of it is vague. Almost as good as reading it for the first time! And I’m looking forward to reading the intro and notes in my OWC copy – I haven’t read any of the novels in their editions before…

The Blurb says: Set against the backdrop of the Gordon Riots of 1780, Barnaby Rudge is a story of mystery and suspense which begins with an unsolved double murder and goes on to involve conspiracy, blackmail, abduction and retribution. Through the course of the novel fathers and sons become opposed, apprentices plot against their masters and Protestants clash with Catholics on the streets. And, as London erupts into riot, Barnaby Rudge himself struggles to escape the curse of his own past. With its dramatic descriptions of public violence and private horror, its strange secrets and ghostly doublings, Barnaby Rudge is a powerful, disturbing blend of historical realism and Gothic melodrama.

* * * * *

Vintage Crime

The Body in the Dumb River by George Bellairs

Courtesy of the British Library. I’ve enjoyed the other novels from George Bellairs which the BL has previously issued, so I’m looking forward to meeting up with Inspector Littlejohn again…

The Blurb says: Jim Teasdale has been drowned in the Dumb River, near Ely, miles from his Yorkshire home. His body, clearly dumped in the usually silent (‘dumb’) waterway, has been discovered before the killer intended — disturbed by a torrential flood.

With critical urgency it’s up to Superintendent Littlejohn of Scotland Yard to trace the mystery of the unassuming victim’s murder to its source, leaving waves of scandal and sensation in his wake as the hidden, salacious dealings of Jim Teasdale begin to surface.

* * * * *

Fiction

The Mystery of Cloomber by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Despite my life-long love affair with Conan Doyle there’s loads of his stuff I’ve never read, including this. Mystery, colonialism and shipwrecked Buddhist monks – what more could you possibly ask? Mind you, the spiritualism aspect is a bit of a worry – Conan Doyle did get a bit obsessed with it sometimes…

The Blurb says: What dark deed from the past haunts Major Heatherstone? Why does he live like a hermit at Cloomber Hall, forbidding his children to venture beyond the estate grounds? Why is he plagued by the sound of a tolling bell, and why does his paranoia rise to frantic levels each year on the fifth of October? With the sudden appearance of three shipwrecked Buddhist monks, the answers to these questions follow close behind.

Arthur Conan Doyle’s Gothic thriller unfolds in his native Scotland, in a remote coastal village surrounded by dreary moors. The creator of Sherlock Holmes combines his skill at weaving tales of mystery with his deep fascination with spiritualism and the paranormal. First published in 1889, the novel offers a cautionary view of British colonialism in the form of a captivating story of murder and revenge.

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

So…what do you think? Are you tempted?

I’ll be catching up with all your posts and comments over the next couple of days.
I’ve missed you!

41 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 220…

  1. So glad your Internet issues seem to be resolved, FIctionFan! Oddly enough, the day after your post, my own Internet connection started acting up. I can’t help but wonder… At any rate, you have some good books added to your TBR (so don’t be too hard on your postie). The ACD looks quite good (but then, I’d expect that). And the Bellairs seems quite appealing, too!

    • Haha – I’m sure there’s a world-wide conspiracy of some kind going on! Mine’s better but still falling out every now and again, annoyingly. I’ll be interested to see if ACD’s magic works for me in this one – it seems different to anything I’ve read by him before…

  2. Glad the crisis is over, though I would suggest keeping that assembled force on standby just in case. You might need to set the force on that postman who keeps handing you books. I wouldn’t be surprised if the postman was behind the alien attack. How else to keep you off technology and forced to read books?

    Barnaby Rudge tempts me, since I never read that one! Not sure why I didn’t, since I read The Old Curiosity Shop.

    • I was picking up a parcel from the post office today and they had a big notice up about postmen being attacked by dogs. So I’m thinking maybe I should get one… 😉

      It’s ages since I read Barnaby Rudge, but I seem to remember enjoying it. I have a tendency to read the same three or four over and over, and ignore the rest…

  3. Glad you’re back with us, FF. You’ve more or less convinced me to try Barnaby Rudge. I’ve read very mixed reviews of it on the whole, but then again, I managed to get through The Old Curiosity Shop and to love Dombey and Son, the other titles listed most frequently as people’s least favorites, so we’ll see.

    • It’s years since I read Barnaby Rudge but my recollection is of enjoying it without it becoming a favourite. I suspect partly that’s because I don’t know much about the Gordon Riots, but this time I have my best friend Wikipedia to fall back on, if required, plus the OWC’s notes! 😉 I really like all of them – it’s his style of writing I love, so in a sense the story doesn’t matter so much. I’d say Oliver Twist was my least favourite, though even it has bits I love, like Bill Sykes…

  4. I’m definitely tempted by your history pick. That’s a time period I really enjoy!

    Hmmm… I guess if you’re Queen of the World, that means I’ll have to comply. Is it okay if I choose from one of his holiday short stories each year? I think I’ve read them all, but wouldn’t mind reading them again. I’ve already done that several times with A Christmas Carol (which wasn’t always the most popular one!).

    • His earlier book was very readable, so I have high hopes of this one, and I really would like to know more about this period – it seems an awful gap in my knowledge somehow!

      Hahaha! I shall graciously allow you to go for a short story! I read them last year and thoroughly enjoyed them, though A Christmas Carol is still my favourite by miles. I try to read, watch or listen to an audio version of it every year around Christmas Eve, but I might be struggling this year – too many books!

  5. You’ve reminded me that I meant to read Barnaby Rudge this year and of your lovely reading Dickens at Christmas tradition – maybe I should join you!

    • I must say Dickens seems ideally suited to Christmas somehow, and the books are so long it takes me right through to the new year, which means I know I’ll be starting the year with a great book! 😀

  6. I’m glad you’re back, FF! Now, if I can resolve my printer problems, I’ll be an even happier camper! (I’ve been working on it for THREE whole days now, but nothing is solved, grr!). This looks like some interesting reading, particularly the Dumb River and the Dickens. Did I really type that, Dickens? Yes, and reading him at Christmastime sounds perfect!

    • Ugh! Technology is the best till it all goes wrong! Hope you got your printer sorted eventually! Haha – Dickens at Christmas is a wonderful tradition. It’s probably my favourite read every year, so what a great way to start the New Year… 😀

  7. I’m glad you’re back – and what a great TBR Thursday this is! I also have a copy of The Brothers York from NetGalley which I’m looking forward to as the Wars of the Roses is my favourite period. All three of your other books appeal to me too this week!

    • Thank you! 😀 I don’t know nearly enough about the Wars of the Roses so I’m looking forward to learning more, especially since I enjoyed his previous book. And the others all sound like fun… and after all, ’tis nearly the season to be jolly… 😉

  8. You have been away? Looks like a great collection this week, vintage crime and Conan Doyle are both tempting. Regarding Dickens – believe it or not – I’ve finished Nicholas Nickleby!! I downloaded Great Expectations when the audiobook was on sale, but I think I need a looong break before I attempt my next Dickens.

    • Haha – not really, just internet problems. But I’ve felt cut off from the world for days! 😂 The Conan Doyle and the vintage crime both appeal to me too, and of course I love Dickens, so I can’t wait to get to it! Oh, did you enjoyed Nick Nick? I love it – one of my favourites! I’ve always had a problem with Great Expectations because I was forced to analyse it to death at Uni and it killed the magic for me, but it is a great book. A good deal darker than some of them, and some fab characters. Enjoy! 😀

      • Oh, no! It is terrible not having internet access! But perhaps you had more time to read? 😉 That is what they did before the internet, wasn’t it? I did enjoy Nicholas Nickleby. Review will follow. I am struggling to find the time to write posts at the moment, so it may be a while though.

        • Spent way too much time watching impeachments over there and general elections over here. I was kinda wishing the TV would break down too… 😉 Glad you enjoyed it – I’ll be looking forward to reading your thoughts whenever you get time… 😀

  9. Theoretically all of these are of interest, though I’d wait for your review of ACD (the dreary moors do draw me but I’m uncertain about the spiritualism too). I must get back to my occasional Dickens’ rereads and filling in reading gaps in his works too. Barnaby Rudge is a gap that sounds like it should be filled.

    • The ACD intrigues me – it seems a bit different to anything else of his I’ve read. It’s years since I read Barnaby Rudge, but I remember enjoying it though it didn’t become one of my top favourites. I can’t imagine not reading a Dickens over Christmas – it’s funny how things become a ritual! But because they take me so long to read it means I’m always reading a good book as the New Year starts… 😀

  10. Where have you been? And no, no temptations – PHEW! Because I am worrying my Kindle is going to start physically bulging soon, notwithstanding the huge and toppling TBR shelf in real life!

    • Haha, nowhere – just horrible internet problems on and off for days! A scientist friend once told me that Kindle books do actually have a weight – tiny, but measurable. He tried to explain it but I think I fell asleep… 😉

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