Review: Once Upon A River, by Diane Setterfield

I'll come right out and say it: this was a lyrical, moving treat of a novel. Written in the same style as The Essex Serpent, it's every bit as good as Sarah Perry's prize-winning novel, and a good deal more heart-wrenching, too. Once Upon A River is a book where nothing is what it seems, where folklore and …

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Review: The Hangman’s Secret, by Laura Joh Rowland

When it comes to reading, I love the Victorian period. There's something about the grimy glamour of London, of steam mills, of murder in back alleyways... (ahem) that always really grips me. I'm not sure what that says about me, but it does mean that The Hangman's Secret was the perfect fit when it came to a …

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Review: The Last Hours, by Minette Walters

I've been inadvertently picking some spooky topics for my Hallowe'en reading- anybody for a slice of the Black Death? Surely there's nothing worse than that! The characters in Minette Walters' The Last Hours must think so, too, because the vast majority of this book focusses on their self-imposed isolation from the rest of the world. Pull …

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Review: The Phantom Tree, by Nicola Cornick

I am a sucker for historical fiction, and I'm a sucker for fantasy: is it any wonder, then, that I loved this book? Sweeping, gloriously romantic, and with a unique twist on the Tudor novel, The Phantom Tree was a great read. It follows two characters: Alison, in the present day, and Mary Seymour, the daughter of …

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Review: Queen of the North, by Anne O’Brien

If you're looking for murder, treason, ambition and feuding families, then you've come to the right place. And that's only the first page! Anne O'Brien's Queen of the North is a behemoth of historical fiction, spanning the tumultuous period that would one day lead to the Wars of the Roses: the 1300s. Harry Bolingbroke (soon to be …

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