I didn’t think I was going to be okay with the ending. I was really, really worried about the ending for a second there.
This book is set at the end of the Cold War, in the heart of Berlin, as Ralf and Oz fall in love.
But of course, in the end, 1989 meant neither of those things. It just meant Oz and espionage – how grand that word sounds now. And, I suppose my family, and the terrible things we did.
Angst and espionage, you say?
(I’m not sure I ever recovered from the gut-punching angst that was London Spy, but sure, I figured let’s give 1989 yearning and secrecy a try.) This is another Joe Jameson narration, and it is a truth universally acknowledged that if Joe Jameson narrates a book, I will listen to it. (If you’ve been following my reviews, he’s one of my favourite audiobook narrators so far. He voiced The Prince of Thorns, The Last Romeo and The Magnificent Sons. Three amazing books, by the way. Deffo check them out!)
This book was a wonderful historical fiction about young love and family obligations. Fergusson’s writing is lovely and I’m so glad I gave this book a chance! Oz and Ralf are wonderful characters!
Also, his description of his mum at the start straight up gives me Sex Education vibes.
I really enjoyed this book and I’m definitely going to look out for more books by Ben Fergusson in future.
a soldier’s code to live by; a soldier’s code to die by
This story is set at the height of the Cold War, where tensions are running high between the US and the USSR. It reads like a memoir, although the epilogue notes that it’s historical fiction inspired by real events. There are also really interesting photographs included.
The atmosphere Asche sets draws you right in, especially with the added footnotes that give additional information, making this a good blend of fiction/non-fiction, both in the tale itself and in the presentation. There’s also impressive technical details, like car types and numbers, which went right over my head, but show the depth of Asche’s research and memory. There are also a lot of rough and brutal scenes that broke my heart, made me wince and were hard to read, and a few passages definitely made me cry, which says a lot about Asche’s storytelling abilities.
Okay, why did no one tell me that The Devil’s Whore had a sequel miniseries? I remember loving that series so much when it first aired. Historical madness, lucious costumes, great storyline, and a cast that was so, so good: Andrea Riseborough, John Simm, Michael Fassbender, Dominic West – AMAZING. The cast of New Worlds is equally as awesome: Freya Mavor, Jamie Dornan, Jeremy Northam, Joe Dempsie – ahhhhh. So good! I’m so annoyed at myself for not finding this miniseries sooner!
For anyone who didn’t see The Devil’s Whore, it does not a happy storyline. It’s one of those painful storylines where everything that can go wrong for the characters will go wrong. The first series followed Angelica Fanshawe throughout the 1600s, under the reign of King Charles I. The other central characters are historical figures like Edward Sexby, Oliver Cromwell and Thomas Rainsborough.
New Worlds takes place years later and follows Angelica’s daughter Beth under the reign of King Charles II and spans from Oxfordshire to the colonies in Massachusetts. Like its predecessor, it’s bleak and violent and sad and frustrating. But for those who like historical costume dramas that are well acted and beautifully shot, these shows are definitely worth your time! Freya Mavor steals every scene she’s in – she’s so wonderful and captivating! I’ve loved Mavor since Skins, and she was so good inIl était une seconde fois with Gaspard Ulliel. Jamie Dornan is great as always, as is Joe Dempsie!
Even in the land of the free, not all of America’s children are welcome.
Well. WELL. This is a gut wrenching graphic novel about historical racism. It’s a familiar enough story to those who know American history – white men at odds with Black women educating themselves – but the story of the Prudence Crandall School is new to me: a young white woman goes against the town of Canterbury to open a school for only Black girls in the 1800s. The white residents of the village oppose her actions and treat both Ms Crandall and the children terribly, but the ladies are determined to learn and defy the ridiculous restrictions placed upon them.
The artwork is simply stunning and vibrant and filled with warmth and colour. The women and girls that are the central focus of the story are wonderfully done. In addition to the lone lady teacher, and the girls aching to learn, you also encounter a woman living in the woods who has no love for the villagers, and a young boy who travels around regaling locals with tales of Nat Turner, a real life Black enslaved preacher who led a rebellion in 1831.
This is definitely well worth a read for everyone, although I’m sure it’ll leave you just as furious and frustrated as it left me. Equality is for everyone, and we need more girls and women like the ones herein. I really appreciate this novel for highlighting this true, heart-breaking story of injustice, racism, determination and feminism.
➵ thank you netgalley for the free arc in exchange for an honest review / review cross-posted to goodreads
I’m awful at keeping up to date with all the different places I find short stories, so I’m glad this one popped up on my Twitter feed because it was a great short read about my favourite archaeologist and makes some very valid criticisms about one of the movies.
The story follows Indiana Jones at a talk with students where he’s confronted with the events of The Temple of Doom and chastised for his behaviour.
Hadn’t every object he’d ever loved finally eluded him, vanishing even further into the vault of history? Quietly he said, “I’ve never put anything in a museum.”
I really love Indiana Jones, but there are so many valid criticisms of the storylines, especially The Temple of Doom, so I appreciated this story. I maybe would have preferred a bit more length, but it’s to the point and well written.
“Can we agree, Indy, that India was a misstep? That you should stick to fighting Nazis?”
I entered into Cursed not really expecting much and came away DESPERATE FOR SEASON TWO. I want to make a long, in-depth review (so I might make another, long review later), but I’m currently too full of FANGIRLING to properly string together my thoughts. In this show you will find: wonderful poc rep (it’s not just Arthur and Morgana, the whole cast is diverse and there are dozens of poc fey and warriors), lgbt+ rep (**MY HEART**), SO. MUCH. MAGIC. Like, really cool earth magic. Leaves and vines, yo! Nimue is amazing and must be protected at all costs. Merlin is the BIGGEST BADASS EVER. I love Morgana and Arthur so much. Percival is a little sweetheart. There are amazing lady friendships. There are like so many lady Vikings, too!!!! Uther was … Uther. The cinematography is beautiful. The animation, though!!!! I LOVE IT ALL.
Days Without End by Sebastian Barry, narrated by Aidan Kelly [lgbt+, historical fiction]
that strange love between us. Like when you fumblin’ about in the darkness and you light a lamp, and the light comes up and rescues things. Objects in a room and the face of the man who seem a dug-up treasure to you. John Cole seems a food; bread of Earth. The lamplight touching his eyes and another light answering.
5 HEARTS-IN-MY-EYES STARS for Thomas McNulty, Handsome John Cole, little Winona, and an epic historical fiction novel whose central cast is a gay couple and their adopted daughter.
A man’s memory might have only a hundred clear days in it and he has lived thousands. Can’t do much about that. We have our store of days and we spend them like forgetful drunkards. I ain’t got no argument with it, just saying it is so.
*faints from prose fangirling*
We knew what to do with nothing. We were at home there.
Cage of Souls by Adrian Tchaikovsky [dystopian, science fiction] This is one BIG book! I’m really enjoying the audiobook, but it is 23 hours (!), so it’s gonna take me a while. The descriptions are great so far.
Vexy Thing: On Gender and Liberation by Imani Perry [nonfiction, feminism, history] The introduction was absolutely mind-blowing! The author relays the story of the novel Oroonoko by Aphra Behn, which was written in 1688 and is apparently one of the first English novels ever written. It’s about the love between the eponymous hero, and Imoinda, his true love. Perry writes: Behn’s bifurcated tales of fortune and misfortune, The Forc’d Marriage and Oroonoko are, in turn, comedic and tragic. They are twin narratives of the development of modern patriarchy. Another part that struck me was the case of Amanda Dickson that Perry highlights. Dickson was a biracial woman in the late 1800s whose white father sought to bestow his fortune upon. Perry writes, But in [Amanda Dickson] we have a record of a life that surely must have been dizzying, anxiety-rendering, and rife with heartache. In that she wasn’t alone; she certainly was a part of a staggering majority: those who failed to be and were failed by the patriarchs in their midst.
Days Without End by Sebastian Barry [historical fiction, lgbt+] Not far into this one yet, but so far the main lads Thomas McNulty and John Cole have spent an enjoyable stretch of time working as dancers and enjoying the dresses they get to wear and the dances they have with the men. Lovely prose as well!
Gold Rush Manliness – [non-fiction, history] Really liking this one so far! It focuses on how race and views on masculinity affected the men and women of the gold rushes in California and British Columbia. I have to finish up its review by the end of the month.
Swimming in the Dark – [lgbt, historical fiction] I just started this one and I have a feeling it’s going to break my heart in beautiful ways. The writing is so lush. It follows a young gay man in 1980s Poland.
Agnes Grey – [classics] I’ve always loved Anne Brontë. Started this one after I got into a conversation about the Brontës the other day and reignited my FEELINGS on the fact that Charlotte tried to prevent Anne’s book from being republished after her death. There’s more here, but I will never get over Charlotte almost killing her sister’s career AFTER SHE DIED. She literally said this about her sister’s writing: “Wildfell Hall it hardly appears to me desirable to preserve. The choice of subject in that work is a mistake – it was too little consonant with the character – tastes and ideas of the gentle, retiring, inexperienced writer.” LIKE WHAT THE FRIKKITY FRAK DISCO TRACK IS THAT?!