Bookshelf Travelling: 11 July 2020

Judith at Reader in the Wilderness hosts Bookshelf Travelling for Insane Times. Judith hasn’t posted on her blog since June 23 and I’m hoping that she’s OK and that, rather than anything else, it’s an internet problem, as where she lives high winds cause branches and trees to topple on power lines.

One of my favourite genres is historical fiction, including historical crime fiction. I don’t arrange my books by genre, so these books are shelved with the rest of my fiction in author order. For this week’s post I’ve picked out just four novels, none of which I’ve read yet.

From the bottom up:

River of Darkness by Rennie Airth is a book recommended by fellow book blogger Ann at Café Society. It’s the first novel in his John Madden trilogy, published in 1999. It was shortlisted for four crime fiction awards and won the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière in France. My copy is a hardback, in good condition, that I got from Barter Books in Alnwick.

It is 1921 and a terrible discovery has been made at a manor house in Surrey – the bloodied bodies of Colonel Fletcher, his wife and two of their staff. The police seem ready to put the murders down to robbery with violence, but DI Madden from Scotland Yard sees things slightly differently.

Next up is The Winding Road by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, a big hardback of 662 pages, that I bought in a library sale. There are 35 books in the Morland Dynasty series and I haven’t read any of them. This is the 34th book in the series, so I am hoping it will read well as a standalone. It’s set in the 1920s, the Jazz Age is in full swing in New York, the General Strike is underway in London, the shadows are gathering over Europe and the Wall Street Crash brings the decade to an end.

The Heiress of Linn Hagh by Karen Charlton is another book I got from Barter Books. This is set in 1809 in Northumberland and it’s a spin-off novel from Catching the Eagle, which features Detective Stephen Lavender and Constable Woods. A beautiful young heiress disappears from her locked bedchamber at Linn Hagh. The local constables are baffled and the townsfolk cry ‘witchcraft’.

The heiress’s uncle summons help from Detective Lavender and his assistant, Constable Woods, who face one of their most challenging cases: The servants and local gypsies aren’t talking; Helen’s siblings are uncooperative; and the sullen local farmers are about to take the law into their own hands. Lavender and Woods find themselves trapped in the middle of a simmering feud as they uncover a world of family secrets, intrigue and deception in their search for the missing heiress.

And finally on top of the pile is The River Midnight by Lilian Nattel, a Canadian author I found through reading her blog, Lilian’s Journal. I found this paperback copy in a secondhand bookshop – The Old Melrose Tea Rooms and Bookshop, tucked away down a little lane between the Eildon Hills and the River Tweed, about two miles from Melrose in the Scottish Borders. The bookshop is upstairs in the barn.

The River Midnight is about the fictional village of Blaska, a small Jewish community in Poland at the turn of the 20th century, when Poland was under Russian occupation. It is told from the perspective of a group of women, including Misha, the midwife, Hannah-Leah, the butcher’s wife, and Faygela, who dreams of the bright lights of Warsaw.
Myth meets history and characters come to life through the stories of the women’s lives and prayers, their secrets, and the intimate details of everyday life.

I love the cover of this book – different from the cover available on Amazon.

I’d love to hear from you if you’ve read any of these books, or are tempted by any of them.

13 thoughts on “Bookshelf Travelling: 11 July 2020

  1. I hope Judith is alright, too, Margaret. In the meantime, I really like your choices here. I recommend River Darkness; it’s a fine beginning to a good series, and I hope you will enjoy it. Like you, I enjoy historical fiction, so the rest look good, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for recommending River Darkness – I’ve only just realised I’ve picked two books with the word ‘river’ in the titles!

    I hope Judith will be back on her blog soon.


  3. I have read the Rennie Airth book and liked it a lot. I did not care for books 2 and 3 in the series as well as that one, though. But I think it has continue to be a very popular series.

    Thank you for introducing me to Lillian Nattel. I am always looking for new Canadian authors to try and this book sounds perfect. I did check out the link to her site. My Bookshelf Traveling post this week is about Canadian books I plan to read.

    TracyK at Bitter Tea and Mystery

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for recommending River Darkness – it’s good to know you enjoyed it. I’ll look out for your Bookshelf Travelling post for more Canadian authors to read.


  4. I really like the Rennie Airth books. They are similar to the Charles Todd series about Ian Rutledge but seem more authentic to me. I’ve read a fair amount of Cynthia Harrod-Eagles but not that one. The Morland books are a bit daunting due to the quantity in the series but I have a friend who loves them. The Karen Charlton book sounds good – I am not familiar with her.

    I have An Air That Kills out of the library but have misplaced it. I meant to do a massive tidying today but instead did errands and weeding.

    I’ve been wondering about Judith too! There have been some crazy thunderstorms and a tropical storm is approaching NY and New England so maybe she *has* lost her internet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know the Charles Todd series, so I’ve just looked at the list on Fantastic Fiction – there are a lot in the series! and they do look interesting. The Morland book is daunting – it’s so long!

      Thanks for letting me know about the weather in NY – and I’m hoping that Judith is back online soon.


  5. I haven’t read any of those books but I do have one unread by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles called Julia which I must get around to soon. Judith was fine on July the 6th when she commented to me that her temporary absence from blogging was related to the many tourists around in her area. A scary time for her and Ken I think.

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  6. I keep seeing recommendations for the Morland dynasty books so I really must try one at some stage. The trouble is, there are 35 books and I’m afraid I might get hooked! LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think I’ll even attempt to read the whole Morland dynasty series, but if I like this one and I see another one I may read that. A series of 35 books really doesn’t tempt me.


  7. The only author in your stack that I’m not familiar with is Nattel. I’ve read River of Darkness and really enjoyed it. Enjoyed Charlton’s book as well. I’ve been hooked on the Morland Dynasty series since the 1980s. The first four or five had US editions, and when the books stopped showing up here in the US, I thought the series was over. More than ten years later, I found out that wasn’t true. I was having trouble finding some of the books, and since this was before my husband immigrated, he helped me get the ones I was missing. I have them all now, although I’ve only read up to World War I. I find that I can have a couple of years go by before I pick up the next one, and it makes very little difference; I just fall into the story and the characters all over again.

    And on another note…one of these days I hope to browse the shelves at Barter Books again. I love that place!


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