Have you won $500 worth of Euro Crime or the ENTIRE DISCWORLD SERIES?

To celebrate the release of The Girl in the Spider’s Web, written by David Lagercrantz, and The Shepherd’s Crown, released after the passing of Terry Pratchett, we gave Booktopians the chance to win $500 of Euro Crime and THE ENTIRE DISCWORLD SERIES, worth $800!

Here’s what you had to do to enter…


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All you had to do to enter was order The Girl in the Spider’s Web, by August 27th!

isbn9780857053503The Girl in the Spider’s Web (as created by Stieg Larsson)

Millennium : Book 4

by David Lagercrantz, George Goulding (Transcribed by), Stieg Larsson (Created by)

She is the girl with the dragon tattoo. Lisbeth Salander. An uncompromising misfit whose burning sense of injustice and talent for investigation will never respect boundaries of state or status.

He is a campaigning journalist. Mikael Blomkvist. A lone wolf whose integrity and championing of the truth bring him time and again to the brink of unemployment – and prosecution.

The call comes in late at night: a superhacker has gained access to more…

…and the winner is:

M.Wykoff, Bayview, NSW


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All you had to do to enter was order The Shepherd’s Crown, by August 27th!

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Discworld Novels : Book 41

by Terry Pratchett

Sir Terry Pratchett’s final Discworld novel.

Deep in the Chalk, something is stirring. The owls and the foxes can sense it, and Tiffany Aching feels it in her boots. An old enemy is gathering strength.

This is a time of endings and beginnings, old friends and new, a blurring of edges and a shifting of power. Now Tiffany stands between the light and the dark, the good and the bad.

As the fairy horde prepares for invasion, Tiffany must more…

…and the winner is:

G.Tavendale, Trevallyn, TAS


Congratulations to the winners!

Missed out on the prize? Hey, turn that frown upside up, we’ve got so much more up for grabs, not to mention limited editions signed copies and 2 for 1 offers!

Head to our Promotions and Competitions page, where you could be a winner every day!

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Our August Competitions Are Coming to an End…

We have some awesome competitions ending midnight TONIGHT!


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Fletch

by Dustin Fletcher

Order any title from The Pan Macmillan Father’s Day Collection by August 31st and you could win Dad a book pack valued at over $300! Terms and Conditions apply.

In the tough, adrenaline-fueled world of Australian Football, Dustin Fletcher is a legend. In 2014, the 39-year-old Essendon Bomber runs out for his 22nd season not only as the oldest man in the game, but also one of the best-loved by sports fans, commentators, coaches and fellow players alike.

Fletch tells Fletcher’s incredible true story in his own words: from his beginnings growing up as the son of Essendon legend Ken Fletcher to his prodigal son debut aged just 17, and his meteoric rise with premiership-winning dream team “The Baby Bombers” led by iconic coach Kevin Sheedy and more…


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100 Classic Sandwiches from Reuben to Po’boy and Everything in Between

by Jonas Cramby

Order a copy of The Ultimate Sandwich by August 31st and go in the draw to win a Gourmet Hamper valued at $300! Terms and Conditions apply.

At last a cookbook that affords the modest sandwich all the respect it deserves, from BLTs to banh mi

When John Montagu, the fourth Duke of Sandwich, got the brilliant idea of putting slices of cold meat between two pieces of bread, he not only invented the first, really modern meal – he created a global obsession. today there are variations of the portable, cheap (but, above all, good) sandwich in most cultures and it is about time a book appeared that takes the subject seriously. In more than 90 recipes, you learn such skills as how to make more…


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xaussie-grit.jpg.pagespeed.ic.CPLHrpyVsuAussie Grit

by Mark Webber

Order Aussie Grit by August 31st and you could win a Red Balloon F1 Racing Simulation Experience for one! This experience is only available at Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast QLD & Darling Harbour, Sydney. Terms and Conditions apply.

In the exhilarating, high-stakes world of Formula One, only the fastest make it to the top.

And no one knows this better than Australian Formula One legend Mark Webber. His career in F1 stretched for an incredible eleven years, seeing him garner thirteen poll positions, earn forty-two podiums and win nine races including the crown jewel of F1, the Monacco Grand prix, twice.

But there’s more than F1 to the more…


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The Tactics That Shaped Australian Rules – and the Players and Coaches Who Mastered Them

by James Coventry

Order Time and Space by August 31st and go in the running to win an Official AFL Sherrin Football valued at $179.00! Terms and Conditions apply

Book Description

An accomplished book about the genius and ingenuity of the game’s greats (and the forgotten) and how they have shaped the game through the innovation of tactics.

From Pagan’s Paddock to Clarkson’s Cluster, from Fitzroy’s huddle to Sydney’s flood, the tactics of Australian football have become part of the vernacular.

In this groundbreaking book, ABC journalist James Coventry reveals the more…


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normalNormal

by Graeme Cameron

Buy Normal by August 31st and you could win 1 of 10 crime prize packs! Terms and Conditions apply

“The truth is I hurt people. It’s what I do. It’s all I do. It’s all I’ve ever done.”

He lives in your community, in a nice house with a well-tended garden. He shops in your grocery store, bumping shoulders with you and apologizing with a smile. He drives beside you on the highway, politely waving you into the lane ahead of him.

What you don’t know is that he has an elaborate cage built into a secret basement under his garage. And the food that he’s carefully shopping for is more…


You Are Dead

A Roy Grace Novel : Book 11

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by Peter James

Buy You Are Dead by August 31st and you could win the complete Roy Grace series. Terms and Conditions apply.

THEY WERE MARKED FOR DEATH.

The last words Nick Walton hears from his fiancée, Logan Somerville, are in a terrified mobile phone call. She has just driven into the underground car park beneath the block of flats where they live in Brighton. Then she screams and the phone goes dead. The police are on the scene within minutes, but Logan has vanished, leaving behind her neatly parked car and mobile phone. That same afternoon, workmen digging up a park in another part of the city, unearth the remains of a woman in her early twenties, who has been dead for more…


Head to our Promotions and Competitions page, where you could be a winner every day!

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Fiona Palmer on the 2015 RWA Conference in Melbourne

20150629_133200I’ve just returned from the Romance Writers of Australia Conference in Melbourne, catching up with fellow authors, publishers and agents, so I thought I’d mention three books from other Australian romance writers that I’ve loved in recent times. They are all from different genres but they can all be connected through similar threads – a touch of romance, suspense and action.9781864712032

Beyond Fear by Jaye Ford is such an engaging read. It tells the story of Jodie, who survived a terrifying assault at seventeen. She goes to a cabin with friends to relax but is convinced they are being watched. Her friends think she is over-reacting and she starts to doubt herself.  This was such a page-turner, but you just had to keep reading, even at the scary parts.  Jaye writes terrific, easy-to-read thrillers filled with suspense. You won’t be disappointed. It was loved by all at our book club.

I do enjoy reading action-packed stories, as much as I like watching a James Bond movie or spy thriller. I find Tony Park’s novels just as engaging, with a great mix of romance, action, and the gorgeous landscapes of Africa. The Delta was one I really enjoyed about Sonja, an ex-soldier turned mercenary, who is out to save her beloved Delta. There is also a bit of romance to keep me happy. Tony writes about Africa so well, you feel as if you are there. Considering he spends half his year travelling Africa, it’s easy to see why.  He is a master at 9780330404037weaving all the details in and even though the book seems large, you’ll not want it to end.

This last book I want to mention was a great surprise. Elise K. Ackers’ Small Town Storm was a fabulous read. It had me guessing and I love it when I’m wrong. It’s about Erica, who returns home to the place where nineteen years ago a crime almost killed her. But not long after she’s back, a woman goes missing and fingers are pointed at Erica – and the cop in charge of the investigation, Jordan, is a man who she has history with. I guess I went into this story expecting a romance but ended up with so much more.

Check out Fiona Palmer’s author page here


the-saddler-boysThe Saddler Boys

by Fiona Palmer

For a limited time only, pre-order The Saddler Boys and you will receive a signed copy. Please note: offer available while stocks last.

School teacher Natalie has always been a city girl. She has a handsome boyfriend and a family who give her only the best. But she craves her own space, and her own classroom, before settling down into the life she is expected to lead.

When Nat takes up a posting at a tiny school in remote Western Australia, it proves quite the culture shock, but she is soon welcomed by the swarm of inquisitive locals, particularly young student Billy and his intriguing single father, Drew.

As Nat’s school comes under threat of closure, and Billy’s estranged mother turns up out of the blue, Nat finds herself fighting for the township and battling with her heart. Torn between her life in Perth and the new community that needs her, Nat must risk losing it all to find out what she’s really made of – and where she truly belongs.

PRAISE FOR FIONA PALMER

‘Fiona Palmer just keeps getting better.’ Rachael Johns

‘Palmer’s passion for the land bleeds into the story, and her scenes are vivid and genuine, just as her characters are.’ Book’d Out

‘Fiona Palmer has well and truly earned her place as a leading writer of one of Australia’s much-loved genres.’ Countryman

Pre-order your copy of Fiona’s The Saddler Boys here

It’s Kids Month at Booktopia and we have lots of goodies!

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It’s Kids Month at Booktopia and we have awesome competitions for you to enter and signed promotions for you to enjoy!


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Diary of a Wimpy Kid : Book 10

by Jeff Kinney

Buy anything in the Kids Month range and you could win a kids book pack, worth $1000 RRP! Terms and Conditions apply.

The Diary of the Wimpy Kid series of books, by best-selling author Jeff Kinney, charts the highs
and lows of our middle school hero, Greg, as he stumbles and fumbles from childhood to teenhood via school-hood. Sometimes helped by his friends and family, often not helped by himself!

Life was better in the old days. Or was it? That’s the question Greg Heffley is more…


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blinky-bill-the-movie-a-guide-to-the-extraordinary-Order any title in the Blinky Bill range by September 17th and go in the draw to win a Double Pass to see Blinky Bill: The Movie. Movie is out in cinemas September 17th! Terms and Conditions apply.

Blinky Bill: the Movie is an epic adventure set in the Australian Outback. Blinky’s home town is under threat from a tyrannical goanna (Mayor Cranklepot) and Blinky must find his missing dad to restore peace and harmony to Greenpatch.

Blinky enters the world outside Greenpatch and sets off on a rollicking, hilarious journey complete with an eccentric wombat, a vengeful cat, two gossiping Emu’s and Blinky’s soon to be more…

 


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chase-your-goalChase Your Goal

The Netball Gems Series : Book 2

by Bernadette Hellard, Lisa Gibbs

Order any book from The Netball Gems series by August 31st and you could win a netball signed by the Diamonds! Terms and Conditions apply.

A junior fiction series written in partnership with Netball Australia

Can shy Phoebe find her place in the Gems?

Phoebe loves to shoot goals, and she’s great at it too. She dreams of being a famous netballer and playing in front of thousands. The problem is that she’s nervous all the time, even around her teammates – and there are only seven of them! Why can’t she make friends as easily as Lily and Sienna? Things don’t get any easier when her overenthusiastic dad starts coaching from the sidelines. Could anything more…


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How to Fight a Dragon’s Fury – Order Now For Your Chance to Win!*how-to-fight-a-dragon-s-fury-order-now-for-your-chance-to-win-

How to Train Your Dragon Series : Book 12

by Cressida Cowell

Order How to Fight a Dragon’s Fury by September 7th and you could win every book in the How to Train Your Dragon series! We have 5 packs to give away! Terms and Conditions apply.

Dragons vs Humans: is this the end? Find out in the twelfth book in the How to Train Your Dragon series.

It is the Doomsday of Yule. At the end of this day, either the humans or the dragons will face extinction. Alvin the Treacherous is about to be crowned the King of the Wilderwest on the island of Tomorrow. His reign of terror will begin with the destruction of dragons everywhere. The fate of the dragon world lies in the hands of one young boy as he stands on the nearby isle of Hero’s End with nothing to show, but everything to more…


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xthe-65-storey-treehouse-signed-copies-available-.jpg.pagespeed.ic.SH2sT6Of7jThe 65-Storey Treehouse

The Treehouse Series : Book 5

by Andy Griffiths, Terry Denton (Illustrator)

For a limited time only, order The 65-Storey Treehouse and you will receive a signed copy. Please note: offer available while stocks last.

Andy and Terry’s amazing 65-Storey Treehouse now has a pet-grooming salon, a birthday room where it’s always your birthday (even when it’s not), a room full of exploding eyeballs, a lollipop shop, a quicksand pit, an ant farm, a time machine and Tree-NN: a 24-hour-a-day TV news centre keeping you up to date with all the latest treehouse news, current events and gossip. Well, what more…


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The Sword of Summer – Pre-order Your Signed Copy!*the-sword-of-summer-pre-order-your-signed-copy-

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard Series : Book 1

by Rick Riordan

For a limited time only, pre-order The Sword of Summer and you will receive a signed copy. Please note: offer available while stocks last.

The first book in the incredible new series from the author of Percy Jackson, the Kane Chronicles and Heroes of Olympus.

Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers. One day, he’s tracked down by an uncle he’s never met – a man his mother claimed was dangerous. His uncle tells him more…


 

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Russian Roulette

Alex Rider Series : Book 10

by Anthony Horowitz

Order from the Alex Rider series during Kids Month and you could win 1 of 5 backlist packs signed by author Anthony Horowitz! Terms and Conditions apply.

The deadly prequel to the number one bestselling Alex Rider series.

An international contract killer has been given his orders. His next target is a fourteen-year old spy… Alex Rider. The man’s name is Yassen Gregorovich. He knows Alex well. The two of them share a secret from the past. As he considers his next mission, Yassen remembers the forces that turned him from an ordinary schoolboy into a hired assassin. What is it that makes more…


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Just Doomed!

JUST! Series: Book 8

by Andy Griffiths, Terry Denton (Illustrator)

Order from The Just! series during Kids Month and you could win 1 of 3 Just! boxsets. Terms and Conditions apply.just-doomed-order-now-for-your-chance-to-win-

It’s been five long years since Just Shocking! was published.

Just Doomed!, the next fabulous JUST title from the creative genius of Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton, is destined to be one of the greatest JUST titles yet. With nine superb stories of mischief and crazy happenings, readers will be hooked instantly.

But is this the right book for you?

Take the DOOMED TEST and find out.


Click here to see all of Booktopia’s competitions and exclusive offers

GUEST BLOG: Robin Bowles, author of Smoke & Mirrors, on the murder of Stuart Rattle.

smoke-and-mirrorsIn December 2013 the whole of Melbourne was buzzing with the details of a most bizarre murder.  The people most intrigued, far from being the criminal element where murder is often discussed, were the bold and beautiful of the socialite set. Someone many of them knew, others who’d relied on the victim, renowned interior designer Stuart Rattle, to transform their houses into enviable homes, could not believe the gruesome story as it unfolded across the Melbourne media.

The details were scanty at first, some journalists believing there had been a ‘typo’ in police media releases. At first, everyone assumed that Stuart had died in bed in a fire in his apartment, whilst his partner of 16 years, Michael O’Neill and their three pet foxies had made a lucky escape.

But the autopsy didn’t support this scenario. Within days of the fire, police arrested Michael for murder. The charge sheet showed a five-day disparity between a date of probable death and the fire. Police confirmed it was not a ‘typo’, but refused to release more details.

Sorrow and support for Michael changed to anger and more grief, friends realising that they had lost two close friends inRobin Bowels one week instead of one. Clients and customers were incredulous, uncomprehending about how such an outwardly ideal couple could disintegrate into such a sad and sordid ending.

Gradually the bizarre details emerged. Stuart had been dead for 5 days before the fire. After bludgeoning him on the head with a heavy saucepan and then strangling him with a handy dog lead, Michael had wrapped Stuart’s body in a clear plastic sofa bag and brought him a cup of tea. He sat with him, brought him wine and take-away curry, ‘watched’ TV beside him, all the while carrying on a semblance of their normal lives at work downstairs, pretending to all that Stuart was sick in bed.

Eventually the summer heat and the normal biological process forced him to make a decision. He says he set the fire so that Stuart would not be found in the undignified state of advanced decomposition.

Michael pleaded guilty at his trial and is now serving an 18-year sentence for murder and arson.

People often ask me how I make the decision to write about a particular murder, after all many murder trials take place in all the courts around Australia every week. I like to look at a story with ‘layers’ and if possible some psychological or social significance, rather than the story of A kills B, A arrested, tried and sent to prison—The End. The story behind my latest, 11th  book, Smoke and Mirrors had all the elements of things not appearing as they seem. Even Stuart Rattle, the self-confessed smoke and mirrors design expert, was an enigma. Lots published about his public self, but little known about the ‘real’ Stuart Rattle. Michael O’Neill, for reasons that become apparent in the book, also created a web of fiction about himself, too insecure to tell the truth. Here were these two men, both of whom had spaces in their personalities that the other filled, living a life behind the smoke and mirrors of their counterfeit public personas, struggling emotionally, physically and financially in their every-day unseen lifestyle. It was a perfect storm.

This book was not an easy one to write. With every book I have to struggle with ethics—what to include and what to leave out; trying not to extend the pain of the living victims created by a tragedy such as murder; frustration from the police and in this case, the prison system; reluctance of people to share their hurt or inner feelings; and at times being almost overwhelmed myself by the sadness and waste of it all.

Smoke and Mirrors was not the easiest book I’ve written, but I am already being rewarded by the feedback that it’s a riveting read!

Grab a copy of Smoke and Mirrors here


smoke-and-mirrorsSmoke and Mirrors

by Robin Bowles

Stuart Rattle and Michael O’Neill were the perfect couple. Country boys from working-class backgrounds, they became bon vivants and lovers, the envy of all their friends – until tragedy struck.

Stuart Rattle was at the peak of his design career, feted and entertained by hosts whose invitations were gold. His ‘Rattle’ interiors were his ticket into this exclusive lifestyle.

Michael O’Neill, his loyal and loving partner, employee, dogsbody and whipping boy, was always three steps behind, never in the limelight. In the words of Paul Bangay, the international garden designer and Stuart’s former partner, ‘Michael really had to fit into Stuart’s way of life … Stuart had a more…

Grab a copy of Smoke and Mirrors here

And the two tickets to Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical goes to…

For an extremely limited time only, we gave two lucky people the opportunity to join us at Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical, for the evening performance at The Lyric Theatre on August 19th. All you had to to was simply order a copy of the tie-in edition of Matilda by August 13th to enter!

And the lucky Booktopian is…

R.Shen, Kings Langley, NSW

 


matilda-theatre-tie-inMatilda : Theatre Tie-In

by Roald Dahl

Matilda’s parents have called her some terrible things – but the truth is she’s a genius and they’re the stupid ones. Underestimating Matilda proves to be a big mistake as they, along with her horrible headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, are soon to discover!

Here is Roald Dahl’s original novel of a little girl with extraordinary powers. This much-loved story has recently been made into a wonderful new musical, adapted by Dennis Kelly with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin.

Grab a copy of Matilda : Theatre Tie-In here

GUEST BLOG: What Katie Read – The June/July Round Up (by award-winning author Kate Forsyth)

One of Australia’s favourite novelists Kate Forsyth, author of The Impossible Quest, Bitter Greens, The Wild Girl and now The Beast’s Garden, continues her monthly blog with us, giving her verdict on the books she’s been reading.

It has been a busy few months for me! Every June, I run a writers’ retreat and literary tour in Oxford and the Cotswolds (http://www.kateforsyth.com.au/writing-retreat-in-the-cotswolds) and I always set a reading list for my students. So many of the books I read during June were books that we talked about in class – books filled with history, mystery and magic.


The Vanishing Witchthe-vanishing-witch

by Karen Maitland

I’ve really loved Karen Maitland’s earlier books, which are probably best described as medieval supernatural thrillers, and so I was keen to read her latest book. The Vanishing Witch is set during the troubled reign of Richard II, and features a number of scenes set during the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381. One of the most striking aspects of Karen’s writing is the way she brings the 14th century world so vividly to life, with all its stench and dirt and fear. These are superstitious times, rammed home by small quotations of the time at the beginning of each chapter. Some are quite amusing, but others are truly chilling in their advice on how to identify witches or cure illnesses.

The story follows the entwining fortunes of two families. The first is that of Robert of Bassingham, a wealthy wool merchant, and his wife and two sons. The other is a mysterious widow with one grown-up son and a younger daughter.

Then Robert’s wife dies in mysterious circumstances and he finds himself entranced with the beautiful young widow and her family. Death follows death, as Robert and his sons find themselves drawn deeper into intrigue and witchcraft.

Vivid and suspenseful, The Vanishing Witch also has a wry-voiced ghost who watches and waits and plots …

Grab a copy of The Vanishing Witch here

 


the-forgotten-gardenThe Forgotten Garden

by Kate Morton

The Forgotten Garden is one of my favourite books by one of my favourite authors, and a pleasure to revisit. It has everything I could possibly want: a foundling child, an old book of mysterious fairy tales, a maze that leads to a secret garden, a mystery to be solved, and a love story – it’s as if Kate Morton set out to write the perfect book for me.

The book is cleverly structured like a Russian doll, with stories within stories, histories inside histories. Modern-day Cassandra inherits a mysterious house in Cornwall after her beloved grandmother Nell dies. As she explores the house and its forgotten garden, she discovers that there was much about Nell she did not know – and indeed, that Nell did not know. For Nell was a foundling child, and does not know her own history.

At the heart of the novel is the old book of fairy tales written by the Victorian Authoress, Eliza Makepeace. Like so many old tales, Eliza’s stories have two levels of meaning … and if Cassandra can just decipher the secret the stories hide, she may find out the truth about her grandmother’s dark past.

I’m not alone in my love of Kate Morton’s books – millions of readers attest to her popularity – but if by chance you have not read this wonderful book, I’d urge you to grab it now.

Grab a copy of The Forgotten Garden here

 


The Taxidermist’s Daughterisbn9781409153764

by Kate Mosse

An utterly gripping murder mystery with gorgeous lyrical prose and the pace of a thriller, The Taxidermist’s Daughter was an absolute delight to read. Set in Sussex in 1912, the story begins with local villagers gathering in a churchyard to follow an old superstition that says, on that night, the ghosts of those who will die in the coming year will be seen.

Our heroine is Constantia Gifford. Her father once owned a world-famous museum of taxidermy, but now all that is left is a few decaying specimens. The family is haunted by secrets from the past. Connie has lost her memory, and her father takes his solace from a bottle.

In the morning, the body of a dead woman is discovered at the bottom of their garden. Connie must try to find out who is responsible, even as lost memories from the past rise to haunt her.

Haunting, beautiful, horrifying and absolutely unputdownable, The Taxidermist’s Daughter shows just what can be done with the historical mystery genre.

Grab a copy of The Taxidermist’s Daughter here


Falling Angels9780007217236

by Tracy Chevalier

Another old favourite by a favourite author. Falling Angels is not as widely known as Girl With A Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier’s most celebrated book, but is, I think, even better. It has a bold and unconventional structure, with a series of very short chapters told in first person from a multitude of different characters. Some of the chapters are only a few paragraphs; one is only two short lines. It breaks so many rules about narrative structure, but I think it is utterly brilliant and brave. The story itself is riveting. Two families that live next door to each other, in the shadow of a graveyard, in the tumultuous years of change between Queen Victoria’s death in 1910 and King Edward’s death in 1910. It also has one of my all-time favorite last lines.

Grab a copy of Falling Angels here

 


affinityAffinity

by Sarah Waters

I have never read one of Sarah Waters’ books before. Now I want to gobble them all down as fast as I can get my greedy hands on them. Affinity is just brilliant. It tells the story of Margaret, a depressed young Victorian woman, who begins visiting the women’s ward at Millbank Prison as part of a do-gooder charity mission. She meets a number of different women, some incarcerated for acts that today would not be considered crimes. Among them is a beautiful young woman named Selina Dawes. Selina is a spiritualist. She was imprisoned after one of her séances went horribly wrong, causing the death of one woman and the psychological stress of another. Margaret finds herself reluctantly convinced of Selena’s clairvoyant powers, and draw to her beauty and fragility.

I don’t want to say much more, because the brilliance of this book is in its clever and surprising plot. I can say, though, with absolute conviction: READ IT!

Grab a copy of Affinity here


The Tide Watchers9780062379122

by Lisa Chaplin

The time of the Napoleonic wars is such a fascinating period and there are still so many stories to be told. Lisa Chaplin (who is a friend of mine) has discovered the intriguing untold story of a group of British spies working undercover in France in the early 19th century, trying to prevent the French invasion of Great Britain.

At the heart of Lisa’s tale is a young English woman, Lisbeth, and her determination to win back her baby son who has been taken by his violent French aristocratic father.   In order to gain the help of the British establishment, Lisbeth goes undercover in the house of the hot-tempered and brilliant American inventor, Robert Fulton (a real-life character), who is working on making the world’s first submarine. How far is Lisbeth prepared to go to win Robert Fulton’s trust and gain control of the submarine? This moral dilemma helps drive the suspense, as Lisbeth fights her attraction for one of the British agents, yet knows the only way to get back her son is to win Robert Fulton’s heart.

The Tide Watchers is a surprising and unusual historical thriller with a twist of romance that will appeal to anyone who loves books set in the 19th century.

Grab a copy of The Tide Watchers here


I am also in the early stages of writing and researching a new novel, and so I read a great many non-fiction books this month on the Pre-Raphaelites. I am planning a book about Edward Burne-Jones and his famous Briar Rose series of paintings, and so much of my reading is centred on his work and that of his great friend and colleague, William Morris. The books are all so fascinating, I thought I’d share them with you.

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Lizzie Siddal: The Tragedy of a Pre-Raphaelite Supermodel

by Lucinda Hawksley

Like many others, I’ve always been fascinated by the brief tragic life of Lizzie Siddal, whose face appears in so many early Pre-Raphaelite paintings.

She rose to become one of the most famous faces in Victorian Britain and a pivotal figure of London’s artistic world, until tragically ending her life in 1862.

Grab a copy of Lizzie Siddal: The Tragedy of a Pre-Raphaelite Supermodel here


A Circle of Sisters: Alice Kipling, Georgiana Burne-Jones, Agnes Poynter and Louisa Baldwin9780140284898

by Judith Flanders

The Macdonald sisters were a fairly ordinary mid-Victorian family. Their father was a Methodist preacher, their mother a chronic invalid. They moved often, following their father’s itinerant preaching routes, and so relied one each other for comfort and amusement. Attractive, lively girls, none of them was startling beautiful or brilliant, and yet they all made extraordinary marriages that led to extraordinary family dynasties. Agnes married Edward Poynter, president of the prestigious Royal Academy of the Arts; Georgiana married Edward Burne-Jones, one of the most extraordinary painters of the era; Alice was the mother of Rudyard Kipling; and Louisa gave birth to the future prime minister, Stanley Baldwin. In a way, their stories are a prime example for the way in which class boundaries in the Victorian era was changing, allowing those with talent and drive to change their social status.

Grab a copy of A Circle of Sisters here


the-last-pre-raphaeliteThe Last Pre-Raphaelite: Edward Burne-Jones & the Victorian Imagination

by Fiona McCarthy

This is a great big chunk of a book, but very readable, and magisterial in its approach to the life and work of Edward Burne-Jones, one of my favourite artists. Best of all, it shines a light on to the inner life of the artist, helping illuminate the forces that drove this complex and haunted man.

Grab a copy of The Last Pre-Raphaelite here


Pre-Raphaelites in Love

by Gay Daly

This is a great book for anyone who wants a really readable look into the passions and scandals that defined the relationships of the Pre-Raphaelites. There’s wife-swapping, suicide, trials for impotence, affairs with models, exhumation of dead wives, madness, and horse skeletons being boiled in front yards. Gripping stuff.


Desperate Romantics: The Private Lives of the Pre-Raphaelitesdesperate-romantics

by Franny Moyle

Franny Moyle’s book was published in 2009, twenty years after Gay Daly’s Pre-Raphaelites in Love. So she has access to new research into the Pre-Raphaelites, as well as a greater freedom to talk about sex and drugs and rocking-and-rolling. Her style is racy and often funny, and lacks any kind of deep analysis or evidence. It was written as a tie-in with the BBC series of the same name, which very much focuses on the love affairs, rather than the art. It is, nonetheless, immensely readable and engaging, and is probably the best place to start if you want to know all the racy stuff abut the Pre-Raphaelites.

Grab a copy of Desperate Romantics: The Private Lives of the Pre-Raphaelites here


march-women-marchMarch, Women, March

by Lucinda Hawksley

I have always been interested in the suffragette movement, and have long wanted to write about it. Lucinda Hawksley’s beautifully written account looks at the history of women’s fight to vote from the Vindication of the Rights of Women in 1792 all the way through to the change in British law in 1928.

Drawing on first-hand accounts such as letters and diaries, as well as newspaper reports of the time, the book is written in simple, lucid prose that is a joy to read. It was published on the centenary of the death of the suffragette Emily Wilding Davison, who was dragged under King George V’s horse during the Derby horse race and killed.

After finishing it, I wanted to press this book into the hands of every young woman I met …and every young man. A really important book.

Grab a copy of March, Women, March here


Kate FKate Forsyth is the bestselling and award-winning author of more than twenty books, ranging from picture books to poetry to novels for both children and adults.

She was recently voted one of Australia’s Favourite Novelists. She has been called one of ‘the finest writers of this generation”, and “quite possibly … one of the best story tellers of our modern age.’

Click here to see Kate’s author page

The Beast’s Garden – Signed Copies Available!*

by Kate Forsyth

the-beast-s-gardenA retelling of The Beauty and The Beast set in Nazi Germany

The Grimm Brothers published a beautiful version of the Beauty & the Beast tale called ‘The Singing, Springing Lark’ in 1819. It combines the well-known story of a daughter who marries a beast in order to save her father with another key fairy tale motif, the search for the lost bridegroom. In ‘The Singing, Springing Lark,’ the daughter grows to love her beast but unwittingly betrays him and he is turned into a dove. She follows the trail of blood and white feathers he leaves behind him for seven years, and, when she loses the trail, seeks help from the sun, the moon, and the four winds. Eventually she battles an evil enchantress and saves her husband, breaking the enchantment and turning him back into a man.

Kate Forsyth retells this German fairy tale as an historical novel set in Germany during the Nazi regime. A young woman marries a more…

Click here to grab a copy of The Beast’s Garden

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