Welcome to a new weekly blog: Friday Featured. I'm going to publish, working from A-Z, a weekly list of authors whose works I think you should check out. Maybe I've read some of their works, maybe I've worked with them on various projects, perhaps their books are on my To-Be-Read pile, or perhaps they are friends of mine who have news that needs to be shared. The only rule here is that it is totally unsolicited. The authors don't know I'm going to feature them, and in that way you'll know that this is simply my honest opinion. If I haven't read their work yet I'll be candid and say so, but at least one book by each of these authors is either on my shelves, or on my Kindle; it might be that I just haven't got to them yet 😊
This week, F-G: (clicking on the names will take you to the author website; book titles will take you to Amazon)
Jacqueline Friedland I was alerted to this book, Trouble the Water, by a friend on Twitter, and since I've read a few books recently which focus on the history of the US, I took a look at the preview and then bought the paperback. It's one of those books that I keep picking up, and flicking through, itching to start reading but knowing that others are higher up in the queue. Anyone else know that feeling? I'm glad I purchased this in paperback form, too, because it's a really attractive cover. Set in Charleston twenty years before the Civil War, it promises to be a satisfying, sweeping saga of a read, incorporating plot threads which explore slavery, the Underground railroad, and a mystery over the true nature of the plantation owner, Douglas, and his young British wife, Abigail.
Chasity Gaines I've been aware of Chasity's poetry for a while and have got to 'know' her on Facebook and Twitter. I downloaded this new collection of poems, Requiem of the Dead, and have already read a few. Sometimes I read poetry books in one sitting, sometime I dip in and out. These poems are born of raw emotion, focusing on loss, and so I'm reading them every now and again. These are powerful images, so it's hard to read too much in one go. Fiction writers pour their emotions and experiences into their work, but are able to disguise it, giving the words to the characters. Poets, I think, are more vulnerable and this new collection of Chasity's is a brave venture, based as it is on her own experiences of loss, and the process of grieving. I'm looking forward to reading more.
Barbara Gaskell Denvil Barbara, a descendant of Elizabeth Gaskell, is a prolific author with historical fantasy novels in her back catalogue. She's also a wonderfully supportive member of the writing community. Blessop's Wife now has a new cover, but this is the version I read, over a year ago now. I still remember the delicious detail of 15th-century London, the house of misfits where the characters live and get to know each other. Tyballis escapes an abusive marriage, but finds herself in a different kind of danger. Can Andrew, the mysterious spy, help her? Barbara brings the medieval world to life, the sights and especially the smells, right from the first page. There are scenes which feature the aristocracy - Andrew serves the brother of the king - but this is mainly a story about the ordinary folk of London, who live by their wits.
Elizabeth Gates I bought the Wolf of Dalriada as a paperback. Although the title refers to Malcolm Craig Lowrie, the book focuses on the story of Adelaide, sometimes referred to as Adele, and the curious circumstances in which she finds herself. We first meet her in the glittering French court, but then we see her in the household of the odious lawyer Sir William Robinson. Is she his captive, his wife, or his companion? This book is full of plot twists, intrigue, and uses journals and letters to tell parts of the story. Adele is an accomplished seamstress, and her skills are used to great effect at certain moments of the book. There are some wonderful cameos of the folk who crave status, and there is a fair amount of derring-do, too. I'm looking forward to the next volume in the series.
Kristin Gleeson Some years ago, I had a tablet which had the Kindle app. It wasn't very good, and so for my birthday last year I asked for, and received, a Kindle. Happy days! Except I forgot about all the books I'd previously bought and downloaded to the tablet. Lurking there was this gem. The blurb for In Praise of the Bees begins thus: Ireland 590 A.D. A woman is found by a track, nearly dead from appalling wounds and remembers nothing. Her terror and her injuries are so great that she is given sanctuary in Mother Gobnait's unusual community of nuns, while all around her a war is being waged in which she is a pawn. It's probably one of the first e-books I purchased, and the title alone drew me in. Kristin is incredibly knowledgeable about Irish history and I'm really looking forward to catching up with this book.
I own copies of all the above, either Kindle, e-book, paperback or hardback. As I've noted, I've read some, and dipped into others. Take a look at them; you might just find your next favourite read.
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