The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar (review).

In recent years, authors of historical fiction have become more and more innovative, from Suzanna Clark’s re-writing of English history (with magic) in Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell to Hilary Mantel’s vision of Tudor England in minimalistic, modern English in her Thomas Cromwell trilogy. Imogen Hermes Gowar continues this tradition by coaxing us down into…

The Weight of Ink is not Possession’s Doppelgänger.

Rachel Kadish’s The Weight of Ink, a novel of supreme beauty and intelligence, is accused of subjecting A.S. Byatt’s Possession to carbon copying, 3D printing and creepy stalking in the manner of Frankenstein’s monster. Her Ladyship sips some tea and raises her pinkie to the critics. Warning: Spoilers for The Weight of Ink and Possession….

‘The Mysteries of Udolpho’ Made Awesome in Six Easy Steps

It isn’t difficult to imagine why Jane Austen would want to satirise a novel like The Mysteries of Udolpho, which is, despite its fine romantic imagery, the huge role it played in defining the Gothic novel and Mrs Radcliffe’s general awesomeness as a successful female novelist in nineteenth century England, a rather silly book. Its…

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel: Book Review

Her Ladyship commits the not-uncommon indiscretion of reading Wolf Hall after Bring Up The Bodies, and begins to think, as she does sometimes. Though Hilary Mantel’s publishers do her the great disservice of plastering the back cover and spine of her masterpiece with recommendations from two ludicrous sources who know less about literature than Sherlock…

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (Review)

‘Statements, indictments, bills are circulated, shuffled between judges, prosecutors, the Attorney General, the Lord Chancellor’s office; each step in the process clear, logical, and designed to create corpses by due process of law. George Rochford will be tried apart, as a peer; the commoners will be tried first. The order goes to the Tower, ‘Bring…

A Tribute to David and Leigh Eddings

  ‘On a quiet hillside some distance from the struggle taking place on the north bank, the simpleminded serf boy from the Arendish forest was playing his flute. His melody was mournful, but even in its sadness, it soared to the sky. The boy did not understand the fighting and he had wandered away unnoticed….

god Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens (Book Review)

‘I have been writing this book all my life, and intend to keep writing it,’ says the late great Mr. Hitchens in his afterword, and so defines all that is extraordinary in god Is Not Great’s anti-theism. It’s a book that feels tremendously personal, but that makes a gorgeously passionate and aggressive testimony to our…

The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins (Book Review)

One of the major criticisms/compliments that reviewers the world over level at The God Delusion is that it’s almost impossible to read it without becoming exasperated at some point. I find this rather baffling. To have one’s views challenged, proven to be wrong, or in my case, supported (for once!) with such eloquence, such zeal,…

The Small Hand by Susan Hill (Book Review)

Much like its illustrious predecessor The Woman in Black, Susan Hill’s The Small Hand gives us a rational, mildly religious narrator whose initial spine-chilling experience takes an age to develop into something more horrible as his everyday life and his own reason delay him in delving into what he has experienced. ‘Something more horrible’ then…