Category Archives: Historical

Revisit a classic…

Out of print for more than 40 years, this much loved classic has just been reissued. Perfect for a wind-down weekend with a glass of wine…

“In 1879, a wealthy young woman elopes with an impoverished fisherman, leaving her family, who live on the volcanic island of Lanzarote, distraught. In 1968, 23-year-old Perdita West, secretary to the famous author Cora Gresham, visits Lanzarote, the strangest and most wild of the Canary Isles, on a research trip. They meet Cora’s estranged son, Mike, and fall in love with the unusual, beautiful little island. While snorkeling, a landslide traps Perdita in an underwater cave. No one knows where she is, so she can’t count on a rescue. And her efforts to save herself will reveal the solution to a century-old mystery.”

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“…a searing examination of what nourishes us, body and soul.”

An eleven-year-old girl stops eating, but remains miraculously alive and well. A nurse, sent to investigate whether she is a fraud, meets a journalist hungry for a story. Set in the Irish Midlands in the 1850s, Emma Donoghue’s The Wonder – inspired by numerous European and North American cases of ‘fasting girls’ between the sixteenth century and the twentieth – is a psychological thriller about a child’s murder threatening to happen in slow motion before our eyes. Pitting all the seductions of fundamentalism against sense and love, it is a searing examination of what nourishes us, body and soul.

Pick up a copy in the library

Norfolk’s Most Wanted

Great Big Read is our annual reading promotion for adults and runs in all Norfolk Libraries from 20th March – 22nd April. Pick up a leaflet in any library.

This year’s theme is Norfolk’s Most Wanted, our top 20 most popular and in demand books asked for by library customers. Norfolk’s Most Wanted features Crime, Thrillers and Romance, including bestselling books such as ‘The Girl on The Train’ by Paula Hawkins and ‘The Night Manager’ by John Le Carre’.

Browse and reserve our Most Wanted books on the library catalogue  and on Pinterest

Some of the Great Big Read – Norfolk’s Most Wanted titles are available as eBooks. To download an eBook visit the OverDrive eBook catalogue here

Some libraries will be holding events and activities to tie in with Norfolk’s Most Wanted. These include launch events, coffee mornings, book chats and quizzes. For details of these please visit

If you’ve read one of Norfolk’s Most Wanted titles, please write a review and send it to

Did you know that you can rate and review Norfolk’s Most Wanted Books? All you have to do is visit the library catalogue  Log in to your library account. Select your chosen Most Wanted book by clicking on the title and select Add your review. Write a short review and give the book a star rating.

New from award-winning author & Fun Palaces director, Stella Duffy

londonIn August 1912, three friends set out on an adventure.  Tom, Jimmy and Itzhak have grown up together in the crowded slums of Walworth. They are used to narrow streets, the bustle of East Lane market, extended families weaving in and out of each other’s lives. All three boys are expected to follow their father’s trades and stay close to home. But Tom has wider dreams. So when he hears of a scouting trip, sailing from Waterloo to Sheppey and the mouth of the Thames – he is determined to go. And Itzhak and Jimmy go with him. Inspired by real events , this is the story of three friends, and a tragedy that will change them for ever. It is also a song of south London, of working class families with hidden histories, of a bright and complex world long neglected…

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The Butterfly Summer by Harriet Evans

butterfly-summerMainly set in London and the deepest most mysterious part of Cornwall, which you and I will never find.

It is a history of the house named ‘Keepsake’ and the Parr family, from the time of Charles II up to present day. Most of the story is set in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Butterflies play a major part in the story, there are many at Keepsake and members of the Parr family travelled abroad in search of others.

This is an intriguing story which once started I didn’t want to put down. The plot is well worked, with many surprises along the way. The characters come to life as the story unfolds, I didn’t like them all but that is necessary for the story.

There is love, sadness, danger, cruelty, anger, misunderstandings and many lies (some of them white ones).

I recommend you to read this. I’ve already reserved another by Harriet Evans. A Place For Us


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A new Giordano Bruno thriller from S J Parris…

‘Successful historical thrillers need three elements: a killer plot that weaves seamlessly into the history; an engaging protagonist; and an atmospheric sense of place. Parris nails all three – Conspiracy is a gem’ – The Times

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conspHeretic-turned-spy Giordano Bruno arrives in Paris to find a city on the edge of catastrophe. King Henri III lives in fear of a coup by the Duke of Guise and his fanatical Catholic League, and another massacre on the streets.

When Bruno’s old rival, Father Paul Lefv̈re is found murdered, Bruno is drawn into a dangerous web of religious politics and court intrigue. And watching over his shoulder is the King’s mother, Catherine de Medici, with her harem of beautiful spies. When murder strikes at the heart of the Palace, Bruno finds himself on the trail of a killer who is protecting a terrible secret. With the royal houses of France and England under threat, Bruno must expose the truth – or be silenced for good.


Corpus by Rory Clements

corpusOne of my reading resolutions has been to try and read more books from genres that I usually ignore. While I do read widely and eclectically as a rule I do find that crime and thrillers are an area that I neglect, I am always a bit scared that the books will be too graphic and that I’ll have nightmares after reading them.

I did however read Rory Clement’s Corpus recently, it is a historical novel with a crime at the heart – I thought I’d ease myself in gently!

The book is set in Cambridge in December 1936 and has several threads to the complicated story but at the heart of the book is the death of a young woman. Investigators are quite happy to dismiss the death as accidental as the woman in question was known to use drugs but her friends think that there is more to it than that.

While the action of the novel is firmly based in Cambridge the scope of the book is much wider ranging from the Spanish Civil War, Nazi Germany and Communist Russia with a side order of conspiracy theory around the British Abdication Crisis.

I did find this book a little gory at times, but it was a gripping thriller with a mystery to solve, and it felt so accurate that I did find myself looking at the world events and wondering which of the plot elements were true!  The atmosphere was also very compelling – I really felt like I was in pre-war, cold Cambridge in December.

I’m not sure what I’ll try as a crime/thriller next – perhaps I’ll stick with Rory Clement’s other historical thrillers, if the action is in the past perhaps I won’t find it too scary!


Reserve Corpus

New paperback from Chris Cleave, author of The Other Hand

‘Ian McEwan did this with Atonement , Sarah Waters did it with The Night Watch , and Chris Cleave does it too with Everyone Brave is Forgiven .. . A compelling and finely crafted novel.’ –  FT

raeWhen war is declared, Mary North leaves finishing school unfinished, goes straight to the War Office, and signs up. Tom Shaw decides to give it a miss – until his flatmate Alistair unexpectedly enlists, and the conflict can no longer be avoided. Young, bright and brave, Mary is certain she’d be a marvelous spy. When she is – bewilderingly – made a teacher, she instead finds herself defying prejudice to protect the children her country would rather forget. Tom, meanwhile, finds that he will do anything for Mary. And when Mary and Alistair meet, it is love, as well as war, that will test them in ways they could not have imagined, entangling three lives in violence and passion, friendship and deception, and inexorably shaping their hopes and dreams.

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Eileen’s Top Reads of 2016

So many books, so little time. Here are my favourites that I’ve read this year.

I notice that a lot of the Fiction are sequels, or part of a series.

In fairness to all the authors I have put them in alphabetical order. (I am a Librarian after all!)

Jeffrey Archer Cometh the Hour – This is the 6th volume of the Clifton Chronicles.   

Alex Brown The Secret of Orchard Cottage – Intriguing family story.The Secret of Orchard Cottage

Ann Cleeves The Moth Catcher  –  The 7th story in the Vera Stanhope series, as good as the first six!         

Lindsey Davis The Graveyard of the Hesperides – The 4th mystery in the Flavia Albia series, she is the daughter of Marcus Didius Falco.

Carola Dunn Superfluous Women – The 22nd Daisy Dalrymple mystery, I’ve read all of them!

Emma Hannigan The Perfect Gift – A story of family, of hope and despair.

David Lagercrantz The Girl in the Spider’s Web – The 4th book  in the Millennium series, continuing on from Stieg Larsson’s first three.The girl in the spider's web

Freya North The Turning Point – A wonderful family story, I can’t lie, I did cry when reading this.

Wilbur Smith Pharoah – The 6th book in the Egyptian Series featuring Taita, history and myth entwined to produce a very readable story.

Lucie Whitehouse Keep You Close – A very suspenseful novel, read it if you dare.

Jacqueline Winspear A Dangerous Place – The 11th book in the Maisie Dobbs crime/thriller stories. A series well worth reading.

Gardening Books

Guy Barter RHS how do worms work?: a gardener’s collection of curious questions and astonishing answers

Monty Don Nigel: My Family and Other Dogs                 

Kate Felus The secret life of the Georgian garden

Nigel           The secret life of the Georgian garden


Reviewed: The Midnight Watch by David Dyer

midnightAmerican journalist John Steadman investigates the recent sinking of the Titanic. He soon becomes aware of another story – news filters through that the Midnight Watch on S.S. Californian witnessed a ship sending up flares in the area where the Titanic sank. Steadman becomes obsessed with the fact that the Californian’s Captain failed to come to the Titanic’s rescue. His investigations take him to Boston, Washington, Bootle and Wallasey as he seeks the answer.

Read more…


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