Are You Sitting Comfortably? Then I'll Begin...

Posted on 21st December, 2014

People of a certain age will recognise the words in the title and know they're followed by a good story. In this instance, they're followed by a selection of good stories, some of my favourites from among those I've read since last Christmas. I've included links in a lucky dip mixture of paperbacks and ebooks just in case you get lots of book tokens and Amazon vouchers for Chrimbo.


Well, if you've been within a hundred yards of my blog before, you'll know I am a huge fan of Carol Rivers, so much so that I feel confident recommending all her books, including those I haven't yet read. But here are three WW2 family sagas I have read since this time last year, all of them page-turners with well-rounded characters and strong plots.


A Wartime Christmas - Kindle edition

East End Angel Angel - Kindle edition edition

Cockey Orphan - paperback edition



Other WW2 sagas I have enjoyed this year include Anne Baker's

Love is Blind - Kindle edition

Daughters of the Mersey - paperback edition


and the latest in  Ellie Dean's Beach View Boarding House series:

All My Tomorrows - Kindle edition

Some Lucky Day - Kindle edition



Ever since I got hooked on Victoria Holt's gothic novels at the age of 14, historicals have been my favourites. My reading this year has included these:


Donna Douglas's wonderful Nightingales series. I'll never forget reading the first one (The Nightingale Girls - paperback edition) We had just moved house to Llandudno in May half-term and I had to go back to our old house in Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire in order to finish off the school year. I spent the second half of that summer term camping in a house that wasn't just empty of furniture, but also of carpets, kitchen and for some of the time electricity, while it was done up in a big way... re-wiring, new windows, plastering and redecorating, new kitchen... you name it. I slept on a mattress on bare floorboards (the carpets were ripped up for the re-wiring) and lived out of boxes. It was only the hot water that made it bearable.... well, the hot water and the books, the first of which was The Nightingale Girls.


The others in this terrific series are:

The Nightingale Sisters - paperback edition

The Nightingale Nurses - Kindle edition

Nightingales on Call - Kindle edition

and the best one so far, A Nightingale Christmas Wish - Kindle edition.


Other historicals I've read this year include:

Liz Harris - A Bargain Struck - paperback edition. A vividly written story of relationships in the American West in the 1880s.


Margaret James - The Silver Locket - paperback edition. WW1 story about a young woman who turns her back on her family's expectations and becomes a nurse.


Freda Lightfoot - The Favourite Child - Kindle edition. Such an interesting idea for a plot - early birth control.


Frances Evesham - An Independent Woman - Kindle edition. A Victoiran mystery filled with period detail and atmosphere. Look out for an interview with Frances Evesham on my blog In January.


As well as sagas and what you might call women's fiction, I also enjoy crime novels. Frances Brody's Kate Shackleton mysteries come under the historicals heading as well, as Kate is a young WW1 widow. Frances Brody writes fiendishly clever mysteries.

Dying in the Wool - Kindle edition

A Medal for Murder - Kindle edition

Murder in the Afternoon - paperback edition

A Woman Unknown - paperback edition

And on my TBR pile:

Murder on a Summer's Day - Kindle edition

Death of an Avid Reader - Kindle edition



While we're on the subject of crime, I have to include Linda Huber's excellent The Cold Cold Sea (paperback edition), although it isn't striclty a crime novel, even though a crime is committed. It is a gripping psychological novel which tackles difficult issues without flinching. Plot and charcaterisation are superb - expect the unexpected.


Tami Hoag is an author who never disappoints. Her thrillers are scary and tense. This year I read:

The 9th Girl - Kindle edition

Deeper Than the Dead -Kindle edition

If these books were films, you'd be watching through a web of fingers.



Some contemporary women's fiction, to end with:

Chris Stovell - Turning the Tide - paperback edition. Terrific setting and strong characterisation.


Trisha Ashley - The Magic of Christmas - paperback edition. Romance and relationships, village goings on and lots of cooking. I'm looking forward to trying the recipes at the back.


Emma Davies - Letting in Light - Kindle editon. Complex and absorbing story of love and relationships.


Vanessa Greene - The Seafront Tea Rooms - Kindle edition. Strong female friendships and life's ups and downs, accompanied by tea and cake.


Heidi Swain - The Cherry Tree Cafe. I read the early chapters on Wattpad and I'm looking forward to reading the whole book when it is published nexy summer. Here's the announcement. Congratulations, Heidi!



I'm not usually a reader of short stories, but I do enjoy Wendy Clarke's. She's such a versatile writer. I wish I could come up with that many ideas! Her collection, Room in Your Heart (paperback), showcases stories previously published in The People's Friend magazine.



So that's my round-up of some of this year's reading. What have you enjoyed reading this year?




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Comments (3)

My mother introduced me to Victoria Holt, and I remember devouring those books. Thanks for the reminder.
You've added to my TBR pile, Sue, but pleasing to see we've enjoyed some of same books this year. I also enjoyed 'Turning the Tide' by Christine Stovell, and 'A Bargain Struck' by Liz Harris. I'm lucky to have a signed copy of the latter as I met Liz at the RNA conference in July. I've read mostly North American contemporary romance this year, and a favourite was Sharon Struth's 'Share the Moon', the first book in her 'Blue Moon Lake Series.' Like you, I'm also eagerly awaiting 'The Cherry Tree Cafe.'
So glad you enjoyed my collection, Susan.