Six Degrees of Separation: from The Dry to The Song of Troy

I love doing Six Degrees of Separation, a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. Each month a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain. But for this chain the books are all connected in that they are all books on my TBR shelves.

The Dry

This month the chain begins with The Dry by Jane Harper, crime fiction set in a small country town in Australia, where the Hadler family were brutally murdered. I have had this book on my TBR shelves for quite some time now and I really want to read it as I loved Force of Nature and The Lost Man. I was thinking of linking to one of these books but decided to go for another book, one that I bought on the same day as The Dry. It’s Longbourn by Jo Baker, a story about the Bennet’s servants in a re-imagining of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Another book that is a re-imagining is Rebecca’s Tale by Sally Beauman, a companion novel to Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca. It is set 20 years after the death of Rebecca and the burning of Manderley. I’m hoping I’ll  love it as much as I loved Rebecca and Hitchcock’s 1940 film of the book. Sally Beauman was a journalist before she became an author. She wrote Rebecca’s Tale after writing an article about the work of Daphne du Maurier in The New Yorker magazine.

My next link is through the author’s first name – Sally – to  another author called Sally,  Sally Gunning and her book, The Widow’s War. It’s historical fiction set in Cape Cod, Massachusetts during the years prior to the War of Independence. After Lyddie Berry’s husband of 20 years dies in a whaling accident she has to fight a ‘war’ for control of her own destiny. Under the laws of the colony widows had the use of only one third of their husbands’ real estate, and did not inherit the ownership.

A different type of war is the subject of Small Wars by Sadie Jones. This is historical fiction set in  Cyprus in the 1950s as the EOKA terrorists are fighting for independence from Britain and union with Greece.

Another book set on an island is The Island by Victoria Hislop.  Alexis Fielding discovers the story of her mother’s family on the island of Spinalonga, a tiny, deserted island off the coast of Crete – Greece’s former leper colony.  Victoria Hislop was also a journalist before she became an author.

As was Colleen McCullough, the author of numerous books including the Masters of Rome series. So, my final link is to one of her books – The Song of Troy in  which she recounts the tale of Helen and Paris, sparking the Trojan War. Colleen McCullough was also an Australian author so it links back to the first book, The Dry by Jane Harper, also an Australian author, who I’m delighted to see was also a journalist before becoming an author!

In addition to all the books being TBRs, four of the authors were journalists before becoming authors and two are Australian authors.

The chain moves through time from the present day back to late classical Antiquity, beginning in Australia and passing through England, America, Cyprus, Crete to Anatolia in modern Turkey.

Next month (June 1, 2019), the chain will begin with the winner of the 2019 Wellcome Prize, Murmur by Will Eaves.

22 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation: from The Dry to The Song of Troy

    1. Thanks, Annabel. Getting round to reading all the books we want to read is a real problem – but at least we’ll never run out of reading! 🙂


      1. I have been able to borrow a collection of the first four books from the library, which is amazing. I have a couple of long train journeys this week, so I’m sorted now! 🙂

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  1. Oh, this is really clever, Margaret! I especially like the way you circled back to an Australian author at the end. And you’ve chosen some great ideas for reads, too.

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    1. Thanks, Margot – it’s so satisfying circling back from the last book to the first, so I was pleased to find they linked up – it was purely by chance!

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  2. Great chain, Margaret. I read Rebecca’s Tale years ago and can’t remember much about it now, but I think I did enjoy it. I would like to read both The Island and The Song of Troy.

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  3. Interesting links again Margaret. I haven’t read any of them, except Longbourn. I’m not a huge fan of reimagining preferring, mostly, to let sleeping dogs lie, but Rebecca’s tale sounds interesting.

    Murmur will be a different challenge altogether for me as I’ve never even heard of it!!

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    1. I’m not a fan of re-imagining, sequels or prequels. I resisted getting Longbourne for a while because of that, but gave in after seeing other people had enjoyed it. Rebecca’s Tale has been sitting on my shelves for so long I’ve forgotten how I came to buy it.

      I’ve never heard of Murmur or Will Eaves either!!


  4. I’m very much hoping to get back into this, Margaret; I loved doing these chains last year. You have some great books and great links in your chain. I’m very tempted by Longbourn and Rebecca’s Tale especially and like you, I really want to read The Dry. Maybe I’ll get my own chain out this month!

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  5. I am not familiar with Longbourn, but it reminded me of another Jane Austen spin-off, P.D. James’ Death Comes to Pemberley, which I quite enjoyed. Generally, I think it is almost impossible though to pull off a follow up to a well-known and well-loved classic.

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  6. The only one I’ve read is The Dry, which I’m sure you’ll love, especially since you enjoyed her other books. Maybe you’ll talk me into some of the other ones when you review them… 😀

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  7. Love the basis for your first link Margaret. Have you read Longbourn yet? I’ve had it in my TBR stack for years (!) but it’s one that I think I’ll have to be in exactly the right mood for.


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