Eighteenth century

The Sunday Times/Peters Fraser + Dunlop Young Writer Of The Year Award, in association with The University of Warwick Shortlist: The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar

Regular visitors to this blog will know that I tend not to review historical novels. There are exceptions, of course – Jake Arnott’s The Fatal Tree and Andrew Miller’s Now We Shall be Entirely Free spring to mind – but generally my feet are planted firmly in the twenty-first century. You might be surprised then …

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The Fatal Tree by Jake Arnott: A rollicking tale of thieves and whores

Jake Arnott’s first novel, The Long Firm, was published way back in 1999. I was a huge fan: he summoned up London’s underworld in prose as sharp as a ‘60s mobster’s suit, expertly blending fact with fiction. A hard act to follow, then, and sorry to say Arnott’s never quite matched it for me but …

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Cover image

The Story of Land and Sea by Katy Simpson Smith: Loss, regret and the possibility of redemption

Regular readers of this blog will know that I tend to bang on a bit about jackets. It’s the old bookseller in me – I hate to see good novels done a disservice by their packaging. In this particular case, the jacket is far from off-putting but it does feel a little misleading and left …

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