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BOOK REVIEW: Bluegate Fields by Anne Perry

Friday, August 05, 2016


When an upper-class boy is found violated and dead in London's most dangerous slums, Inspector Pitt is shocked. But when the Waybournes, the boy's family, refuse to answer the police's questions, Inspector Pitt begins to wonder what secrets they were trying to hide. His wife and helpmeet, Charlotte, is determined to find out--even it if means tearing down the facades of an oh-so-proper family....


The sixth in the Charlotte & Thomas Pitt series of Victorian murder mysteries, Bluegate Fields is centred around the murder of a handsome upper class boy, whose naked body is found in the sewers of the worst slum in London. The focus in the book shifts a little from Charlotte’s upper-class background to Thomas’s work on the streets as a detective – a welcome change in pace as the earlier books were beginning to feel a little too much the same. Once again, the strengths of the book lie in her fog-bound London atmosphere and the depiction of the sordid underbelly to Victorian society. 

BOOK REVIEW: Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters

Thursday, August 04, 2016


Nan King, an oyster girl, is captivated by the music hall phenomenon Kitty Butler, a male impersonator extraordinaire treading the boards in Canterbury. Through a friend at the box office, Nan manages to visit all her shows and finally meet her heroine. Soon after, she becomes Kitty's dresser and the two head for the bright lights of Leicester Square where they begin a glittering career as music-hall stars in an all-singing and dancing double act. At the same time, behind closed doors, they admit their attraction to each other and their affair begins.


A picaresque romb through the music-halls and demi-mondes of the Victorian era, Tipping the Velvet is bawdy, brave and, at times, heart-breaking. It tells the story of Nan King, an ordinary girl from a good lower-class family, who becomes enraptured with Kitty Butler, who treads the boards dressed as a boy. Soon the two girls become friends, then lovers, then partners … and Nan has set out on an adventure through the darker recesses of London. A whole new world is revealed to Nan – and so to us – as she endeavours to find a place where she can be herself. Tipping the Velvet has been turned into a play and then into a BBC drama series, and launched Sarah Water’s glittering career. Utterly brilliant (if a little confronting at times.)

BOOK REVIEW: Gallant Waif/Tallie's Knight by Anne Gracie

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Anne Gracie is one of Australia’s most popular historical romance novelists, for good reason. Her style is smooth and pleasurable to read, and her heroes and heroines feel like real people, with all their faults. Gallant Waif and Tallie’s Knight were her first published works, and have her trademark warmth, humour and poignancy. 

In Gallant Waif, orphan Kate Farleigh accepts a job to keep house for a reclusive lord who had been badly scarred in the Peninsular War. He is angry and embittered – disinherited by his father and dumped by his fiancée – but Kate is determined to put his life back into order. 

In Tallie’s Knight, dreamy Tallie has a life of drudgery caring for her cousin’s three adorable children. One day, to her great surprise, the Earl of d’Arenville decides he must have a wife – and chooses Tallie because of her kindness to her charges. And so begins a wonderful romantic adventure story that moves to the Continent and back, and is filled with many humorous encounter and characters. 

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