In The Gothic Tradition
The Room In The Attic by Louise Douglas is a fantastic dual timeline novel that drew me in from the start.
There are two interconnecting tales that are set in 1903 and 1993. Both take place in an asylum but in 1993 it is now a boys school.
The atmosphere is dark and more than a little creepy. There are two similar but different friendships that are trying to survive and protect in a cruel world. The desire to protect the innocent is very strong, crossing over between both time periods.
Time is explored within the novel. Is it possible for two time periods to exist simultaneously, crossing over at key points?
Tormented souls cannot rest. As a malevolent spirit continues to make its presence felt, goodness too shines through to counter balance evil.
Fun And Light-Hearted
The Burglars Ball by Julia Golding is a marvellous historical YA novel that will entertain you whatever your age. It is suitable for ten years and above. It is the second book in the Jane Austen Investigates series but can be read as a stand-alone.
As a huge Jane Austen fan, I love this series focusing on the teen Jane Austen. With knowledge of Jane Austen’s novels, I can see parallels within the stories and the style of writing is reminiscent of Jane Austen. There are elements within The Burglars Ball that remind me of both Emma and also Pride And Prejudice (my favourite all-time novel).
The character of Jane Austen is lively and likable. She believes in equality for all and is willing to stand for those without a voice. She has an innate sense of justice and dislikes prejudice in all its forms. She is quite the young tom-boy too.
We witness racial prejudice and injustice as a character is judged by the colour of his skin and not the content of his character. Jane Austen sets out to prove his innocence.
There is a wonderful cosmopolitan feel to the novel as we meet up again with characters from book one who now own a bakery making and selling Indian pastries. We also meet an elephant called Betty and a colourful parrot called Don Pedro.
The Burglars Ball is a fun, light-hearted novel where we follow the tenacious Jane Austen determined to investigate the crime.
Jane Austen Investigates is a really fun series, just perfect to introduce young readers to Jane Austen, and also wonderful for die-hard Jane Austen fans such as myself.
I received a free copy via Net Galley. A favourable review was not required. All opinions are my own.
Princetown And The Conscientious Objectors Of WWI by Pip Barker is a fascinating and comprehensive account of the men who often got a bad press at the time and about whom I knew very little.
Princetown is an inhospitable prison on Dartmoor. “The whole place could only be described as grim.” I can confirm that statement as I remember my Dad driving us past it in the late 1970’s. It is grey and very bleak as it towers over the landscape.
The prison was emptied of prisoners in February 1917 to make way for the C.O’s to arrive in March 1917. It rapidly filled to hold 1200 men who remained there until April 1919. The men lived and worked in the prison or the surrounding area.
Although there were no locks on the doors, the men still had a tough time as it was cold and damp.
The public had little compassion for the C.O’s as many of the people had relatives who were fighting in the war. The women could be particularly cruel as they handed out white feathers. “These men were viewed unsympathetically, and in some cases with open hostility.” The C.O’s stood steadfast in their beliefs.
A Powerful Devotional
Who Am I? What Has God Got To Do With It? Why Does It Matter? Meditations On Psalm 139 by Deryn van der Tang is a powerful devotional that will draw you closer to the heart of God.
There are twenty devotionals that work through the verses in the psalm. The author sets the scene with her words, quotes the verse and gives her thoughts. There are then questions to enable us to internally examine ourselves and a prayer to finish.
All the devotionals are easy to relate to as Deryn van der Tang has a very personable style. We see God as our loving Father who longs for us to draw closer to Him. We need to fix our eyes, hearts and minds on Jesus. He is our compass through life.
Loving and forgiving our enemies is vital for our well-being, Deryn van der Tang quotes from two of my heroes – Corrie ten Boom and Martin Luther King jr.
Deryn van der Tang has also illustrated psalm 139 and this can be found on her website www.crossingmybridges.com.