Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Book Review: THE STRANGE ADVENTURES OF H by Sarah Burton

 


Title: THE STRANGE ADVENTURES OF H

Author:  Sarah Burton

Publisher:  Legend Press

Read: June 2021

Expected publication: out now

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟1/2

 

Book Description:

 

Orphaned young, H is sent to live with her doting aunt in London. H's life is a happy one until her lecherous cousin robs her of her innocence, and the plague takes away the city and the people she loves. H is cast out—friendless, pregnant and destitute--into the rapidly emptying streets of London under quarantine.

Forced to fend for herself, she is determined to gain back the life she lost. H will face a villain out for revenge, find love in the most unexpected places, and overcome a betrayal that she never could have foreseen. Weathering it all, can H charm, or scheme, her way to the life of freedom and independence that she longs for?

 

My musings:

 


What a curious little jaunt through 17th century London this book proved to be! I admit that it was pure cover love that first drew me to the story, and I am so glad that I embarked on this journey. Covering historical events such as the plague, the Great Fire of London and the Shrove Tuesday Riots, this was not only an unusual but refreshingly honest (and sometimes funny) tale told through the eyes of an enigmatic, plucky young protagonist.

 

After having been orphaned as a young child,  the girl “H” and her older sister are sent to live with an aunt in London, where they act as part surrogate daughters, part hired help in their relative’s large and comfortable house. Life is good until a series of disasters (being raped by an older cousin, falling pregnant and losing most of her remaining family to the plague), H finds herself on the streets, having to fend for herself to survive. But she is nothing but resourceful, and the following story tells of her adventures ...

 

If you think that having a character only referred to as “H” is strange, don’t let this put you off from reading this delightful book – you will find out the reason soon enough! H was a wonderful protagonist, representing the life of a young woman in the era, even if her journey was anything but ordinary. This is not the type of dry, tedious historical fiction often encountered when reading about the late middle ages, but a story full of family drama, intrigue and adventure. The setting in old London town is atmospheric and evokes the era perfectly, especially in the grip of the plague and with a fire destroying great parts of the city. I also fell in love with many of the other colourful characters starring in H’s life, which added interesting side elements to the story.

 

At times, I was divided between taking the book as an entertaining romp (it appears at times not to take itself too seriously, with H’s often quite humorous observations) and wanting a bit more emotional depth, for example the terrible stresses encountered during the plague, which sometimes felt rushed and a bit glossed over. Covering a large timespan, the story often jumped over details I really wanted to explore a bit deeper.

 


Summary:

 


All in all, THE STRANGE ADVENTURES OF H was an atmospheric, entertaining romp through 17th century London, led by an enigmatic female lead. Exploring the darker elements of the time through a tongue-in-cheek lens, the book never became dark or confronting despite not shirking away from the hardships faced by women of the era. The book made a pleasant change from others in the genre, not overly romanticizing history but also managing to remain upbeat and often laugh-out-loud funny when seeing the world through H’s eyes. I really enjoyed it and look forward to reading more from this author in future.

 

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Legend Press for the free electronic copy of this novel and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review.



Sunday, 27 June 2021

Introducing: BOOKS SORTED BY THEMES

 

FIND BOOK TITLES BY THEMES


Do you find that you read a book with a certain theme you love and then crave ALL the books with that subject manner? I do! This has been 6 months in the making, but I've finally sorted a lot of the books I've read by themes to make it easier for readers to connect to their favourite subject matter. Enjoy!


Just click on the cover to be taken to the book's description on Goodreads.


(This is very much a works in progress, so any suggestions are welcome)

You can find an up-to-date version of this list here

Action packed:


The River at NightScrublands





Books featuring great armchair travel, atmospheric or wilderness settings:


I Remember You: A Ghost Story Where the Crawdads Sing The Dry (Aaron Falk, #1) Force of Nature (Aaron Falk... The Snow Child Burial Rites The Great Alone Scrublands The Tea Girl of Hummingbird... Petra's Ghost In a Dark, Dark Wood The Thorn Birds Out of the Ice The Lost Swimmer The Marsh King's Daughter Dark Pines (Tuva Moodyson M... Red Snow (Tuva Moodyson Mys... Black River by Will Dean An Unwanted Guest The Woman in Cabin 10 The Scandal Us Against You (Beartown, #2) Coastliners The River at Night Our Endless Numbered Days Swimming Lessons Into the Jungle Picnic at Hanging Rock Flight Behaviour The Lost Man The Retreat The Hunting Party Dark Matter Thin Air: A Ghost Story All the Birds, Singing Still Life (Chief Inspector... Broken Harbour (Dublin Murd... The Light Between Oceans The Bronze Horseman (The Br... Devil's Fjord The Girl without Skin (Matt... The Cry The Silence Silver The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld The Missing One by Lucy Atkins Sheerwater by Leah Swann Strange Shores by Arnaldur Indriðason How Quickly She Disappears by Raymond Fleischmann Pine by Francine Toon Akin by Emma Donoghue The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes A Gentleman in Moscow Rebecca The Italian Party The Mountain Shadow of the Moon The Grapes of Wrath After She's Gone Marguerite This Tender Land The Split The Searcher The Wicked Sister





Best Australian settings:


 The Thorn Birds Picnic at Hanging Rock The Light Between Oceans The Cry The Silence  Sheerwater by Leah Swann The Lost Summers of Driftwood by Vanessa McCausland Dustfall The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone Little Secrets Dark Horse Jasper Jones The Wisdom of Stones The Lost Man 

  • Best Australian settings in series:

Pearl in a Cage Thorn on the Rose Moth To The Flame Woody Creek series




Books that feature books or writers:


After She Wrote Him Eight Perfect Murders The Fragments The Word Is Murder (Hawthorne, #1)



  • Book within a book concept:


The Stranger Diaries The Weight of Lies The Nothing Man After She Wrote Him 



Cat-and-mouse games:


The Day of the Dead (Frieda...
 The Woman in Cabin 10 How Quickly She Disappears by Raymond FleischmannHe Said/She Said




Circus settings:







Best character studies:
 

  • Twisted characters (you still want to root for):

The Kind Worth Killing The Perfect Girlfriend The Good Samaritan Jane Doe (Jane Doe, #1) Unraveling Oliver Dear Wife My Cousin Rachel My Lovely Wife Gone Girl The Swap  A Ladder to the Sky They Never Learn twisted


  • Flawed characters

Try Not to Breathe The Girl on the Train Lie With Me The Night Visitor flawed


  • Evil characters

The Nothing Man Secret Smile The End of Her The Wicked Sister just plain evil


  • Creepy child characters

The Golden Child

The Wicked Sister



  • Toxic friendships

 



  • Vigilantes:

 They Never Learn Jane Doe (Jane Doe, #1) The Kind Worth Killing



Claustrophobic settings / closed door mysteries:

I Remember You: A Ghost Story Force of Nature (Aaron Falk... In a Dark, Dark Wood Out of the Ice An Unwanted Guest The Woman in Cabin 10 The Hunting Party The Escape Room The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton House of Correction The Wicked Sister





Coming of age stories:


This Tender Land The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone Where the Crawdads Sing Jasper JonesPearl in a Cage Dear Edward The Chalk Man The Marsh King's DaughterThe Great AloneThe Scandal

 


Favourite crime series:


The Burning (Maeve Kerrigan... The Reckoning (Maeve Kerrig... The Last Girl (Maeve Kerrig... The Stranger You Know (Maev... The Kill (Maeve Kerrigan, #5) After the Fire (Maeve Kerri... Let the Dead Speak (Maeve K... Cruel Acts (Maeve Kerrigan #8) The Cutting Place (Maeve Ke... DI Maeve Kerrigan (UK)
Talking to the Dead (Fiona ... Love Story, With Murders (F... The Strange Death of Fiona ... This Thing of Darkness (Fio... The Dead House (Fiona Griff... The Deepest Grave (Fiona Gr... DC Fiona Griffiths (UK)
Now You See Me (Lacey Flint... Dead Scared (Lacey Flint, #2) Like This, For Ever (Lacey ... A Dark and Twisted Tide (La... DC Lacey Flint (UK)
The Ruin (Cormac Reilly, #1) The Scholar (Cormac Reilly,... The Good Turn (Cormac Reill... DI Cormac Reilly (Ireland)
In the Woods (Dublin Murder... The Likeness (Dublin Murder... Faithful Place (Dublin Murd... Broken Harbor (Dublin Murde... The Secret Place (Dublin Mu... The Trespasser (Dublin Murd... Dublin Murder Squad (Ireland)
Dark Pines (Tuva Moodyson M... Red Snow (Tuva Moodyson Mys... Black River (Tuva Moodyson ... Reporter Tuva Moodyson (Sweden)
The Legacy (Children's House, #1) The Reckoning The Absolution (Children's House #3) Gallows Rock (Freyja and Huldar #4) Children's House series (Iceland)
Blue Monday (Frieda Klein, #1) Tuesday's Gone (Frieda Klei... Waiting for Wednesday (Frie... Thursday's Child (Frieda Kl... Friday on My Mind (Frieda K... Saturday Requiem (Frieda Kl... Sunday Morning Coming Down (Frieda Klein, #7) The Day of the Dead (Frieda... Psychologist Frieda Klein (UK)
The Diggers Rest Hotel (Cha... Blackwattle Creek (Charlie ... St Kilda Blues (Charlie Ber... Detective Charlie Berlin (Australia)
The Boy in the Suitcase (Ni... Invisible Murder (Nina Borg... Death of a Nightingale (Nin... The Considerate Killer (Nin... Nurse Nina Borg (Denmark)
The Dry (Aaron Falk, #1) Force of Nature (Aaron Falk... Detective Aaron Falk (Australia)
The Dark Lake (Gemma Woodst... Into the Night (Gemma Woods... Where the Dead Go Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock (Australia)
A Drink Before the War (Ken... Darkness, Take My Hand (Ken... Sacred (Kenzie & Gennaro, #3) Gone, Baby, Gone (Kenzie & ... Prayers for Rain (Kenzie & ... Moonlight Mile (Kenzie & Ge... PIs Kenzie & Gennaro (Boston US)
 Detective Joona Linna (Sweden)
 Dark Iceland series, Ari Thor Arason (Iceland)



Book that made me cry:

Fresh Water for Flowers Life, Death and Vanilla SlicesThe Vanishing Half Marguerite The Dream Daughter Miracle Creek The Good Sister You Be Mother Lily's House



Disappearances / missing persons:

Emma in the Night Then She Was Gone The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone 11 Missed Calls Swimming Lessons Pine by Francine ToonThen She Was Gone Lock Every DoorI Remember You: A Ghost StoryDistress SignalsPicnic at Hanging Rock Gone Girl 99 Red Balloons






Domestic noir:

A Good Marriage Dear Wife My Lovely Wife Gone Girl The Girl in Kellers Way His and Hers The Truth Hurts


Books about doppelgängers / lookalikes / assuming someone else's identity





Dual timelines:






  • Ancient times:



  • 1700s:



  • WWI:



  • 1930s:

  • WWII:






1940s:




  • 1950s:



  • 1960s:



  • 1970s:

  • 1980s:



Dystopian:




Great books with ensemble casts:


Pearl in a Cage The Scandal Us Against You (Beartown, #2) Into the Water Miracle Creek Big Little Lies Truly Madly Guilty Nine Perfect Strangers Little Fires Everywhere




Mysteries / thrillers revolving around family secrets:


The Lost Man When the Lights Go Out The Death of Mrs. Westaway 99 Red Balloons The Weight of Lies Emma in the Night Then She Was Gone Every Last Lie The Dry (Aaron Falk, #1) Dark Places Here To Stay Spare Room Never Have I Ever Gretchen The Good Sister The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone The Family Upstairs The Nanny The Missing Years The Au Pair Stone Mothers In the Vines The Winters Unspeakable Things 11 Missed Calls Let Me Lie Into the Water The Marsh King's Daughter Follow Me Down Swimming Lessons The Girls The Golden Child Inheritance of Secrets Magpie Lane The Silence by Susan  Allott The Missing One by Lucy Atkins Pine by Francine Toon The Girl from Widow Hills by Megan Miranda Big Little Lies The Weight of Blood The Forgotten Ones The Wicked Sister









  • How well do you know your spouse?
Every Last Lie My Lovely Wife





Books featuring health professionals as main characters:


Eight Lives The Silent Patient Not a Sound The Physician (Cole Family Trilogy, #1) The End of Winter Dustfall Frantic (Detective Ella Marconi, #1) In Falling Snow Side Effects Flashback White Lies Marguerite The Split







All the feels (books that touched my heart):


Fresh Water for Flowers Miracle Creek You Be Mother Little Fires Everywhere The Scandal Us Against You (Beartown, #2) Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine A Man Called Ove Life, Death and Vanilla Slices Moving Lily's House The Language of Flowers Where Love Goes Blackberry Wine Love and Other Impossible Pursuits The Silence Chocolat (Chocolat, #1) The Vanishing Half Marguerite Pearl in a Cage This Tender LandOur Endless Numbered DaysThe Dream Daughter





Hollywood:






Book with a hospital / asylum / sanatorium setting:

Stone Mothers







Housemates / houseguests / neighbours:


The Fence Don't You Cry The House Guest Here To Stay Spare Room The Family Upstairs The Last House Guest Those People Through the Wall The Couple Next Door The Neighbors




Identity changed / characters in hiding or on the run:


The Passenger The Girl from Widow Hills Pieces of Her Dear Wife This Tender Land The SplitHe Said/She Said 






Legal thriller / Courtroom scenes:

The Good Sister House of Correction A Good Marriage The Night Swim 



Books featuring LGBT main characters:


The Girl with the Dragon Ta... The Girl Who Played with Fi... The Girl Who Kicked the Hor... Dark Pines (Tuva Moodyson M... Red Snow (Tuva Moodyson Mys... Black River Marguerite The Vanishing Half They Never Learn



Magical Realism:






Books featuring mental illness:


The House We Grew Up In The Secrets She Keeps The Ballroom The Echo Maker Addition The Woman in the Window Pearl in a Cage The SplitOur Endless Numbered Days 





Mysteries / thrillers revolving around mother-daughter relationships:


Eyes Like Mine The Night Olivia Fell Pieces of Her Baby Teeth Unspeakable Things 11 Missed Calls Let Me Lie 99 Red Balloons The Weight of Lies The Memory Watcher Then She Was Gone The Trophy Child Swimming Lessons The Perfect Girl The Nanny Pine The Missing One by Lucy Atkins The Girl from Widow Hills by Megan Miranda When the Lights Go Out Her Daughter's Mother






Books featuring a nanny / babysitter / live-in housekeeper as main character:


The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware Magpie Lane by Lucy Atkins The Nanny The Au Pair The Safe Place Marguerite The Truth Hurts Lock Every Door




Unusual narrators:

  • Animal narrators:



  • Child narrators:
 
Our Endless Numbered Days
  • Inanimate objects as narrators:


  • Death /dead people / ghost narrators:


  • Narrator in a coma:






Books that feature neuroscience / amnesia:


The Echo Maker The Other You Forget My Name Before I Go to Sleep What Alice Forgot The Truth About Melody Browne The Asylum When I Find You The Girl from Widow Hills I Found You The Split





New beginnings:



Ocean / island settings:

The Missing One by Lucy AtkinsThe Light Between Oceans






Books about obsession / revenge:


The Night Visitor The Perfect Girlfriend The Wives Secret Smile Jane Doe (Jane Doe, #1) Why Did You Lie? The Escape Room The Memory Watcher Gone Girl Friend Request His and Hers The Swap The Red Hunter They Never Learn

  • Stalkers:

Secret Smile





Books about pandemics / quarantine / the plague:


Year of Wonders World Without End (Kingsbri... The Last Hours (Black Death... Bird Box (Bird Box, #1)


Books featuring religion / cults / secret societies:


The Poison Garden The Room by the Lake The Family Upstairs The Handmaid's Tale (The Ha... The Girls The Suicide House



Retellings:


All the Ever Afters: The Untold Story of Cinderella's Stepmother The Winters The Mists of Avalon (Avalon, #1)



Books with school / boarding school / college / university settings:


The Suicide House The Stranger Diaries The Secret Place (Dublin Mu... The Silk House The Broken Girls They Never LearnMagpie Lane by Lucy Atkins



Secrets / past mistakes come back to bite you:

The End of Her  Friend Request White Lies Why Did You Lie? The Truth Hurts The Neighbors Never Have I Ever



Serial killers:






Mysteries / thrillers playing out over a very short timeline:

Before I Fall



 

Sister mysteries:


Into the Water Are You Sleeping Emma in the Night The Silent Sister (Riley Ma... Sister White Bodies Don't Close Your Eyes The Girls The Twins My Sister's Bones Body Double (Rizzoli & Isle... Two Sisters Dead Woman Walking The Thinnest Air In the Vines The Good Sister Long Bright River Saint X After Her The Wicked Sister




Books featuring social media / podcasts / TV / the web:


Unfollow Me Rewind I Know You Know The Ones You Trust The Memory Watcher Friend Request Are You Sleeping The Swap The Night Swim





Spooky / a hint of the supernatural / gothic:


Dark Matter Thin Air: A Ghost Story I Remember You: A Ghost Story Why Did You Lie? Petra's Ghost The Broken Girls The Chalk Man The Winter People Blood Harvest Broken Harbour (Dublin Murder Squad, #4) Pine The Deep

All the Birds, Singing







  • Spooky house settings (old):

The Death of Mrs. Westaway Magpie Lane by Lucy Atkins The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James The Lost Ones Stone Mothers The Missing Years The Stranger Diaries   The Silk House  The Suicide House Lock Every Door


    • Spooky house settings (modern):                        

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware The Girl Before Darkest Place


Survival:

Our Endless Numbered DaysI Remember You: A Ghost Story The Wicked Sister Into the JungleForce of Nature (Aaron Falk... Where the Crawdads Sing The Great AloneDark MatterThin Air: A Ghost StoryThe MountainThe River at Night





Time travel / multiverse:


The Dream Daughter 11/22/63 The Time Traveler's Wife Outlander (Outlander, #1) Life After Life (Todd Famil... Time and Time Again Dark Matter Recursion The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton Before I Fall Ferney The Time Traveler's Wife






Transport (trains, planes, ships) as setting:

Dear Edward Before the Fall The Perfect Girlfriend planes

The Woman in Cabin 10 Distress Signals The Other Passenger  Do Not Become Alarmed Life of Pi The Deep ships / ferries / boats

The Silence Between Breaths The Woman on the Orient Express I See You The Girl on the Train Confessions on the 7:45 trains

The Escape Room elevators

 cars



The legacy of trauma:

 

  • Childhood trauma: 

    Our Endless Numbered DaysDark Places


       

  • Generational trauma

Lola Bensky Those Who Save Us



Based on a true story:

Dear Edward The Deep Picnic at Hanging Rock



Brilliant twist:


The Kind Worth Killing The Wives Eight Perfect Murders The Ice Beneath Her After She's Gone The Family Upstairs Unraveling Oliver Dear Wife The Silent Patient: The Fir... My Lovely Wife The Escape Room I Know You Know Cross Her Heart White Lies The Memory Watcher He Said/She Said The Craftsman (The Craftsma... Every Single Secret Sometimes I Lie The Chalk Man The Girl in Kellers Way This is How it Ends 99 Red Balloons I Let You Go Gone Girl Lie With Me The Night Visitor His and Hers 



Unreliable narrators:

His and Hers

Forget My Name The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware The Stranger Diaries  The Perfect Girlfriend The Good Samaritan The Escape Room







Mysteries featuring urban myths / legends:


Little Darlings The Whisper Man The Bone Keeper The Marsh King's Daughter Slender Man The Dead Girls Club The Wicked Sister





Witches / witchcraft / wise women:
The Mists of Avalon (Avalon, #1)





Well written WWII or holocaust novels:


The Bronze Horseman (The Bronze Horseman, #1) Tatiana and Alexander (The Bronze Horseman, #2) The Things We Cannot Say The Siege (The Siege, #1) Devastation Road All the Light We Cannot See Two Brothers The Book Thief The Tattooist of Auschwitz The Wish Child  The Women in the Castle The Storyteller Garden of Stones The Imposter Bride Lola Bensky The Testimony All That I Am Between Shades of Gray Hannah and Emil Clara's War Those Who Save Us Winter Garden Tell Me How It Ends The Tree House Lone Star The Yellow Bird Sings