Long Bay by Eleanor Limprecht


The problem with Hannah Kent’s debut, Burial Rites, is that it set the bar for historical fiction very high. Really, so high you can barely imagine. Look up into the sky, as far as your eye goes, and then look a little a further – Burial Rites is somewhere a bit further than that again.

And so I sat down with Eleanor Limprecht’s Long Bay, a fictionalised account of the life of Rebecca Sinclair, a woman who was sent to Long Bay Women’s Reformatory in 1909 after she was convicted of manslaughter for a botched abortion. Rebecca was sentenced to three years hard labour, but less than six months into her prison term she gave birth to a child, who she kept with her in prison. Continue reading

Top Ten Books for 2013

top ten books 2013

It’s that time of year (the last reading day of 2013) where I pick my favourite and bests. The first nine are in no particular order: Continue reading

Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts


There’s a bunch of bloggers who have been stealing this post idea from Christine at Bookishly Boisterous – I thought it was about time I joined in (Christine, you’ve started something…). So here’s a few things that have been happening –

1. I spent last week at the beach. Read three books in five days. It was a good holiday. Continue reading

They should make a movie of that…


First book, then movie. I miss lots of new-release movies because I haven’t read the book. In fact, my chief-movie-going-pal often gives me advance warning of movies she wants to see with a simple “Read the book now because the movie is out in a month.” I have lovely, considerate friends.

Even though the book is nearly always better than the movie (nearly), it doesn’t stop me imagining the movie version of books I’ve loved. Some books just scream ‘screenplay please’. This week’s Top Ten topic, hosted by The Broke and Bookish, is Books I Would Love To See As A Movie.

1. Rules of Civility by Amor Towles – the first thing I thought when I finished this glorious book last week was – Film. Stat. Continue reading

My Notorious Life by Kate Manning

Although I don’t actively seek out historical fiction, every so often a book comes along that completely transports me back in time. Such was the case with Kate Manning‘s brilliant new release, My Notorious Life.

Admittedly, I was open to experience 1860s New York on the page, based on a truly memorable visit  to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum over a decade ago. It is without question the best museum I’ve been to. Ever.

But I digress. This story begins on the streets of New York with three soon-to-be orphans – Axie (Ann) Muldoon, her younger sister, Dutch, and her baby brother, Joe. Circumstances force the siblings apart and Axie, apprenticed to a female doctor, learns all there is about midwifery and ‘female complaints’.

The notoriety? According to character Anthony Comstock, founder of the Society for the Suppression of Vice, that comes with assisting women with ‘obstructions’ (performing abortions) and educating them about birth control (in those days, contraception amounted to rudimentary spermicides, ‘French letters’ and the rhythm method).

“Remember Annie love, said my teacher, – that the soul of a midwife is a broad soul and a gentle soul, and she delivers the greatest blessing the Lord bestows on us poor creatures. But a midwife must also keep comfortable with the complexities. What i call the lesser evil. You will learn not to judge too harsh on others.” Continue reading