My Week in Books: 31 January 2018

This Week in Books is a weekly round-up hosted by Lypsyy Lost & Found, about what I’ve been reading Now, Then & Next.


A similar meme,  WWW Wednesday is run by Taking on a World of Words.


Victoria: A Life

I’m still reading Victoria: a Life by A N Wilson (I began reading it last October!) and am now in Part 7 – I hope to finish it today, just 72 pages left. I’ve just read about the wedding of George, Duke of York to Princess May of Teck (later King George VI and Queen Mary) and this is Archbishop Benson’s description of Victoria. Just picture the scene:

I could scarcely believe my eyes when the Queen entered the Chapel by the lower end. There she was alone and began to walk up alone. … On she came, looking most pleasant, slightly amused, bowing most gracefully to either side as she came, her black silk almost covered with wonderful lace, and lace and a little crown with chains of diamonds on her head, walking lame and with a tallish stick. She looked Empire, gracious Empire … (page 503)

I’m also reading The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale, to be published on 8th February 2018. So far I’m completely taken with this fascinating and imaginative novel.


Do you remember when you believed in magic?

It is 1917, and while war wages across Europe, in the heart of London, there is a place of hope and enchantment.

The Emporium sells toys that capture the imagination of children and adults alike: patchwork dogs that seem alive, toy boxes that are bigger on the inside, soldiers that can fight battles of their own. Into this family business comes young Cathy Wray, running away from a shameful past. The Emporium takes her in, makes her one of its own.

But Cathy is about to discover that the Emporium has secrets of its own…


The last book I finished is Force of Nature by Jane Harper, which  will be published on 8 February 2018. I loved it and will post my review on 12 February 2018 as part of the blog tour .



Is Alice here? Did she make it? Is she safe? In the chaos, in the night, it was impossible to say which of the four had asked after Alice’s welfare. Later, when everything got worse, each would insist it had been them.

Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along the muddy track. Only four come out the other side.

The hike through the rugged landscape is meant to take the office colleagues out of their air-conditioned comfort zone and teach resilience and team building. At least that is what the corporate retreat website advertises.

Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a particularly keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing bushwalker. Alice Russell is the whistleblower in his latest case – and Alice knew secrets. About the company she worked for and the people she worked with.

Far from the hike encouraging teamwork, the women tell Falk a tale of suspicion, violence and disintegrating trust. And as he delves into the disappearance, it seems some dangers may run far deeper than anyone knew.


I’d like a change from non-fiction and crime fiction, so I’m thinking of reading Loitering with Intent by Muriel Spark. Tomorrow marks the 100th anniversary of her birth – so it seems appropriate to read one of her books.

Loitering With Intent

Blurb (Goodreads):

Would-be novelist Fleur Talbot works for the snooty Sir Quentin Oliver at the Autobiographical Association, whose members are at work on their memoirs. When her employer gets his hands on Fleur’s novel-in-progress, mayhem ensues when its scenes begin coming true.

Have you read any of these books?  Do any of them tempt you? 

24 thoughts on “My Week in Books: 31 January 2018

  1. Only 72 pages left in the Victoria book! Good for you! I’m going to start Force of Nature probably after I finish my current book. So looking forward to it. I’ll watch for your review.

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  2. Well done on the Queen Victoria book. I get the feeling you’ve enjoyed that very much. Funny, I can picture my grandmother sitting in her chair talking about ‘Our’ Queen Mary. She was much loved I think.


    1. Thanks, Cath – I did finish it yesterday. I have enjoyed it very much – part of my reading since October – I shall miss my daily dose, but it has made me want to know more. 🙂


  3. After just having finished the wonderful Silence by Anthony J Quinn, I was going to read on my Kindle a book you recommended – South Riding by Winifred Holt. But then I came by your blog tonight and read that Feb 1 is Muriel Spark’s birthday, and I went to Amazon and bought A Far Cry From Kensington, a book I read many, many years ago and remember liking. The only part I especially remember is the woman’s diet idea – eating half of what she normally would. Anyhow, I just wanted to let you know that I will be reading it in the month of February, and I thank you!

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    1. Nan, eating half of what you normally would would leave me feeling really deprived! But maybe I should try it. I watched a TV programme last night about Muriel Spark – Kirsty Walk talking to people she’d known, including the lady she’d spent the last 30 years of her life with, living in Tuscany. It was fascinating, especially seeing snips from TV programmes in which Muriel talked about her life and books.


  4. Force of Nature sounds really intriguing, have to read that one. The story line makes me think of “Picnic at Hanging Rock”. The Toy Maker also sounds promising. Just love the cover!


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