Review of ‘The Dark Queens’ by Shelley Puhak

As a history graduate I thought I was well versed in the history of Europe. But as I found out reading this book, the important roles played by women have been erased in some cases, and my knowledge was sorely lacking. Brunhild and Fredegund were strong, powerful women who started out as pawns in the games of others, but went on to influence early medieval Europe. Merovingian France was forever changed by them and as a result the whole of Europe. 

I found their stories fascinating – Fredegund a slave who ended up a Queen, and Brunhild, a Princess who found a strength and ability to outmanoeuvre the men around her. This book can be read by those with a general interest in history. It can also be read by those with an academic interest in history. The author gives a detailed bibliography and notes section at the back. So if the reader so wishes, they have the tools to find out even more and look deeper into the subject. But if a desire to find out more about forgotten women, whose influence on European history is the aim, then this book does that too.

This book has expanded my knowledge of an era and of characters forgotten over time. It is written in a very accessible style and I found myself taken back there, imagining a time and place, and the people living that reality. 

I was given this ARC by LoveReading to review.

Review of ‘Everyone In This Room Will Someday Be Dead’ by Emily Austin

Emily Austin had me in stitches at Gilda’s predicaments one moment, then weeping the next. This insightful and poignant book is one I will never forget. As Gilda obsesses and overthinks her way through life, I could not help but feel her every emotion, be it dread, anxiety or fear. But it was her attempts to pass as a devout Catholic that had me roaring with laughter. This wonderful book took me into the mind of a woman struggling with her mental health and made me really feel everything she felt. A stunning debut.

I was given this ARC by LoveReading to review.

Review of ‘Fault Lines’ by Doug Johnstone

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Set in an alternate Edinburgh but one we can all recognise, this is a wonderfully descriptive and well written suspense novel. Volcanology PhD student Surtsey finds herself embroiled in a mystery that could have serious consequences in her already complicated life. Trying to keep secrets makes things worse and the events that follow are tense, thrilling and unexpected. I liked Surtsey and wanted her to come clean but could see why she didn’t. The reality of her life and her thought processes were teased out perfectly. The characters around her were as well rounded and thoughtfully portrayed . I did not see the twist coming as Doug Johnstone so skilfully constructed his story. He made it seem effortless. I really enjoyed it.

I was given this ARC from lovereading.co.uk in return for an honest review.