These Are The Books I Have Been Reading Recently: Spring 2019 Edition
Am I the only blogger who uses Amazon affiliates who likes to geek out about what people have in their shopping baskets? For the uninitiated, you know how if you buy something with one of my Amazon links I get a little bit of commission? On the Amazon dashboard if someone uses one of your links, you can see (anonymous, I don’t know it is you!) what else someone put in their basket as well as what you linked them too. I find it fascinating what cookbooks people order together, for example. It is because of this I know how much you guys all followed my recommendations when I posted about all the books I’d enjoyed recently in March. So, I’m going to make sharing what I have been reading recently a regular thing!
The Familiars by Stacey Halls
I picked this up in my local indie bookshop, Nomad on Fulham High Street on World Book Day. While it was a bit slow to get going, in the end I was left racing through a beautiful story woven through with magic, fear and intrigue through Northern England under King James I. It is full of clever twists and little snippets of information you thought not relevant when you gathered them, I think making this the book I would recommend most off this list. Though the witch trials through the English Civil War are the most famous to have swept Britain, King James hated the idea of witches living among his people, first hunting them them through Scotland (most famously at the Berwick witch trials) during the late Elizabethan period, and then through England once he became King. Fleetwood is a young wife who keeps on miscarrying, and discovers a letter hidden among her husbands things that reads she’ll never survive another birth. Pregnant again, she enlists a midwife who promises to save her and the child. The two young women grow closer, and when once of them is accused of witchcraft, it is up to the other to save her from the gallows.
The Witchfinders Sister by Beth Underdown
When I’m trying to research a historical period for one project or another, I always start with reading historical fiction. This is how I came across The Witchfinders Sister, which is a female perspective from within the household of Matthew Hopkins, the self styled ‘Witchfinder General’ who hunted down supposed witches during the English Civil War. It is a fascinating, really well written perspective on how accusations of witchcraft were so easily rested against women who were simply inconvenient, with an ending that you really won’t see coming!
Another YA fantasy recommendation. Quite short reads, I think I binged both books over a weekend. I love these two books because Sara Holland has managed to build such an incredibly vivid world between them; Everless and Evermore take place in a world where blood can be turned to iron, which acts as currency, and hold time. The poor are bled for their blood irons which shortens their lives, while the rich live for hundreds of years by dissolving their irons in their tea to drink. Our heroine returns to the great house she left as a child under suspicious circumstances as a servant, where she discovers stunning secrets about her past which have the potential to change the world they live in forever.
Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri
I was lucky enough to meet Tasha at an event where she was doing a reading along side my friend Natasha (author of Girls of Paper and Fire) and you need to get a copy of this book because she’s just such an authentically lovely, open person. Do follow her on Twitter. I can assure you, however, that I really enjoyed Empire of Sand not just because of it’s author, which I’d read before we met (the stand alone sequel, Realm of Ash comes out in November) where Tasha has built a beautiful world inspired by India’s mughal empire where an empire has been built on the dreams of the gods, and our heroine has magic flowing through her veins which will change her life forever. Like Evermore and Everless, Empire of Sand is for you if you enjoy female focused adventures that unfold in a beautifully built fantasy world. It’s on the cusp of young adult and adult fiction too, so this is also one for you if you prefer a longer fantasy read.
The King’s Witch by Tracy Borman
The King’s Witch is what I’m reading at the moment. More historical fiction, perfect for someone who is, like me, a fan of Philipa Gregory and you’ve read so many books about the Tudor court that all the excitement is gone because you already know what is going to happen to all the people – I’m really excited for her new book Tidelands to come out in August as it is focused on the witch trials during the English civil war like The Witchfinders Sister, as I never even finished The Last Tudor as it become so predictable. The King’s Witch looks again at witch hunts, but starting earlier during the lesser known period of witchcraft in England that is touched on in The Familiars, when King James starts hunting the executing ‘witches’, but from inside the royal court shortly after the death of Elizabeth I and from the perspective of one of her former ladies that stands accused. I’m looking forward to some time at the weekend where I can hopefully finish this one!