TBR Thursday 305…

Episode 305

I’ve found the secret of perfect balance!  Two in, two out – The TBR remains on 186!

Here are a few more to which I’ll be gibbon my attention soon… 

Vintage Horror 

I Am Stone by R Murray Gilchrist

Courtesy of the British Library. Another new release in the BL’s Tales of the Weird series. I don’t think I’ve come across this author at all before, not even with a short story in an anthology, so this will be a true leap into the unknown…

The Blurb says: Through vampiric trysts, heady visions of ghostly processions, and metaphorical tales of murdering one’s own psyche, the portrait of a truly unique writer of the strange tale emerges.

R. Murray Gilchrist was lauded for his imagination and florid, illustrative style during the fin-de-siecle period, and this new collection showcases the very best of his short fiction. Despite being admired by H. G. Wells and described by Arnold Bennett as “almost the peak of perfection in that difficult genre [of short fiction],” Gilchrist and his works are now largely forgotten. Packed with thrilling encounters and unforgettable descriptions from the weirdest ebb of the writer’s mind, this anthology aims to introduce a new readership to Gilchrist’s entrancing and influential oeuvre.

* * * * *

Historical Fiction

Learwife by JR Thorpe

Courtesy of Canongate via NetGalley. I picked this on the basis of the blurb, which I think sounds great. However reviews have made me wonder if I’ll get along with the writing style, which people are calling “lyrical”, “abstract” and “metaphorical” – not three of my favourite words! However, they’re also calling it “unique” and “unforgettable”. We’ll see…

The Blurb says: Inspired by Shakespeare’s King Lear, this breathtaking debut novel tells the story of the most famous woman ever written out of literary history.

Word has come. Care-bent King Lear is dead, driven mad and betrayed. His three daughters too, broken in battle. But someone has survived: Lear’s queen. Exiled to a nunnery years ago, written out of history, her name forgotten. Now she can tell her story.

Though her grief and rage may threaten to crack the earth open, she knows she must seek answers. Why was she sent away in shame and disgrace? What has happened to Kent, her oldest friend and ally? And what will become of her now, in this place of women? To find peace she must reckon with her past and make a terrible choice – one upon which her destiny, and that of the entire abbey, rests.

Giving unforgettable voice to a woman whose absence has been a tantalising mystery, Learwife is a breathtaking novel of loss, renewal and how history bleeds into the present.

* * * * *

Vintage Crime

Murder After Christmas by Rupert Latimer

Courtesy of the British Library. Another author I’ve never come across before, but this sounds like it should be a fun romp designed to get us in the mood for mince pies, though preferably not poisoned ones…

The Blurb says: Good old Uncle Willie – rich, truculent and seemingly propped up by his fierce willpower alone – has come to stay with the Redpaths for the holidays. It is just their luck for him to be found dead the morning after Christmas day, dressed in his Santa Claus costume, seemingly poisoned by his favourite chocolates. Or was there something sinister in the mince pies? If so, was it the ones stashed in his room or those sent to him mysteriously by post? More importantly, since his will was recently redrafted, who stands to gain by this unseasonable crime?

First published in 1944, Murder After Christmas is a lively riot of murder, mince pies and misdirection, cleverly playing with beloved murder mystery tropes to create something pacey, light-hearted, and admirably suited for the holiday season.

* * * * *


The Cottage by Lisa Stone

Courtesy of HarperCollins. I enjoyed Stone’s previous book, Taken, even though it didn’t sound much like my kind of thing. So I’m hoping I might enjoy this one too, even though it doesn’t sound much like my kind of thing!

The Blurb says: An isolated cottage…
After losing her job and boyfriend, Jan Hamlin is in desperate need of a fresh start. So she jumps at the chance to rent a secluded cottage on the edge of Coleshaw Woods.

A tap at the window…
Very quickly though, things take a dark turn. At night, Jan hears strange noises, and faint taps at the window. Something, or someone, is out there.

A forest that hides many secrets…
Jan refuses to be scared off. But whoever is outside isn’t going away, and it soon becomes clear that the nightmare is only just beginning…

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

So…what do you think? Are you tempted?

* * * * *


I decided to do a separate post for the options for our next review-along, so if you missed it here’s the link. All welcome!

47 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 305…

  1. Definitely by Murder After Christmas and Lear Wife! I can see why you were tempted by the Lear Wife blurb. Wow! Definitely not tempted by The Cottage, because I don’t think I could suspend my disbelief that the first thought a woman with such losses has is renting a secluded cabin in the woods somewhere. That’s standard horror movie!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Murder After Christmas sounds like fun – not so sure about Lear Wife, but we’ll see. Haha, but there would be no thrillers if women behaved sensibly in them! Very short stories…

      Jean was offered a secluded cabin in the woods, but she decided to stay home and put the security lock on, read a good book and have a cup of cocoa before bed.

      The End. 😉


  2. The Latimer does sound like a good read, FictionFan, and it’s an author whose work I don’t know. Always good to explore something new! The Thorpe actually sounds interesting, too, depending on how it’s done. I’ll be interested in what you think of that one.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I Am Stone sounds fascinating – I’ve never come across that author either. Learwife does have a great blurb, but I’m not really a fan of abstract and metaphorical writing styles, so I’m not sure if I’m tempted!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love the sound of I Am Stone – the BL has introduced me to lots of great horror and weird writers I’d never heard of before, so I’m hoping Gilchrist will become another new favourite! Yes, I’m a bit concerned about the comments on the writing style in Learwife – not my kind of thing! But we’ll see…


    • I’m hoping they’ll both be fun! The Cottage isn’t one I’d choose on the basis of the blurb but I felt that about her last one and ended up really enjoying it, and the vintage crimes ones are usually enjoyable… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I ended up so mesmerized by the bridge walk I almost forgot to look at the books… Of course it’s impossible to resist a BLCC with a wealthy corpse in a Santa suit, mince pies or no, and Lear Wife does look intriguing and worth trying. There’s lyrical and then there’s Too Much. I’d be a little worried by how ‘florid’ Gilchrist is though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, yes, I’m rather taken by the funky gibbon! Murder After Christmas will be fun, I hope. Learwife I’m not so sure about – the reviews make me feel it’s Lyrical with a capital L! But we’ll see! Funnily enough, I’m quite fond of florid over-the-top writing in horror, despite my antipathy to it in any other genre. Somehow it seems to suit the Gothic settings – probably I’ve been indoctrinated by Poe and Lovecraft! I’m looking forward to seeing if Gilchrist manages to keep the adjective count down to no more than three per noun – Lovecraft is unable to mention an ensanguined, shrieking, accursed, indescribable noun without using at least four… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Murder After Christmas looks fun, and not too taxing. Learwife looks interesting too, so hopefully the writing style isn’t too selfconsciously clever for its own good. In theory, I don’t mind lyrical, abstratc etc, but in practice, it often ends up rather different.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I always enjoy the BL’s Christmas book -it’s become yet another festive tradition! Yes, occasionally I use lyrical as a compliment, but sometimes I definitely mean it as an insult! Haha, hopefully I’ll feel like complimenting Learwife…


  6. I picked up Murder After Christmas the other day and I’m looking forward to it! I can’t decide if I should actually wait until after Christmas to read it, or start it the day my tree goes up (early December some time).

    Liked by 1 person

  7. There’s always room for some more vintage crime isn’t there!
    My sense of balance has been lost in the last week having been into a high street bookshop and a second hand bookshop and could not possibly come away empty handed, thus undoing all my hard work

    Liked by 1 person

    • There certainly is – I’ve become quite addicted to my regular fix of BL Crime Classics! Hahaha, I expect I’ll be falling off the bridge soon too – I have a pile of books to take to the charity shop and that usually means I come away with another pile!


    • Haha, well, I don’t see why I should be the only one with no self control! I started I Am Stone today and it’s looking as if it could be good. It’ll be a couple of weeks till I get to Learwife, I think, and I’m hoping it’s not toooooo lyrical…

      Liked by 1 person

    • There seems to have been some kind of issue with the BL getting their books out over in the US – people keep telling me they can’t get hold of ones that have been out over here for a while. Annoying! I’m hopeful for The Cottage – I enjoyed her last book even though I didn’t expect to!

      Liked by 1 person

    • The Cottage doesn’t sound like something I’d normally go for, but then neither did her last book and I ended up enjoying it! That’s why I like getting random books sent by publishers – they pull me out of my reading rut… 😀


    • I’m telling you, when I become Dictator of the World there will be cruel punishments for people who poison chocolates!! Yes, I’m a bit wary of Learwife having read some reviews – if you never see a review on the blog you’ll know I abandoned it pretty quickly! But maybe it will surprise me… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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