Stevie Carroll (stevie_carroll) wrote,
Stevie Carroll

Books Read and Listened To

Trying to stay on top of these for once, and I finally finished one of the library books that's taken me an age to slog through.

Cavalier and Roundhead Spies: Intelligence in the Civil War and Commonwealth
by Julian Whitehead
Published by Pen & Sword Military
Print book
ISBN 9781844159574

The crucial part played by intelligence and espionage techniques - by spying - in Britain during the Civil Wars and the Commonwealth has rarely been studied, yet it is a key to understanding the dangerous politics and the open warfare of those troubled times. In this fascinating and original account, Julian Whitehead traces the rapid development of intelligence techniques during this, one of the most confused and uncertain phases of British history. His vivid narrative demonstrates how leaders on all sides set up increasingly effective systems for gathering and interpreting intelligence, and it shows the decisive impact intelligence had on events. The intrigue, the secret operations, the many plots and counter-plots, and the colorful personalities involved, make compelling reading.


Although the subject and the era fascinate me, I took a long time (for me) to finish this one. The first couple of chapters were a little dry, but I persevered, and suddenly couldn't break away from it. The only issue after that was with carrying a hardback book around when I had so many pocket-sized paperbacks also demanding my attention. I suspect I'll enjoy the next Chaloner story I pick up even more now, for knowing something of the background.

Busman's Honeymoon: A Love Story with Detective Interruptions
by Dorothy L. Sayers
Published by New English Library Ltd
Audio book
ISBN 9780450018008 or

Lord Peter Wimsey has married at last, having finally succeeded in his ardent pursuit of the lovely mystery novelist Harriet Vane. The two depart for a tranquil honeymoon in a country farmhouse, but find, instead of a well-prepared love nest, the place left in a shambles by the previous owner. His sudden appearance, dead from a broken skull in the cellar, only prompts more questions. Why would anyone have wanted to kill old Mr Noakes? What dark secrets had he to hide? The honeymoon is over, as Lord Peter and Harriet Vane start their investigations. Suspicion is rife and everyone seems to have something to hide, from the local constable to the housekeeper. Wimsey and his wife can think of plenty of theories, but it's not until they discover a vital fact that the identity of the murderer becomes clear.

I'd read this some time ago, and it was good to revisit after following the couple through the earlier stages of their relationship. Lots of fun moments, and a few darker ones too. An ingenious solution to the mystery too.

Hareton Hall
by Lynne Connolly
Published by Samhain Publishing Ltd
Print book
ISBN 9781609281281

"Secrets can destroy you--and the one you love most." "Richard and Rose, Book 6" As Richard returns with Rose to her childhood home of Darkwater for two weddings, romance is in the air--but so is trouble. It begins with Rose's stolen watch. Tensions rise when they learn their old adversaries, the Drurys, have taken a house nearby. A series of attacks on those they love, plus a rise in smuggling activity, only add to the threat of violence. Then illness strikes at the worst possible time, threatening everyone in the district--especially the children. Questions abound: Was the infection deliberate? Is someone striking at Richard through Rose, or are their enemies targeting Rose for information she possesses? Richard calls on his resources, public and private, to counter an enemy that threatens to destroy his beloved Rose. Rose is no helpless victim, however, and refuses to let anyone--even Richard--take away her independence. She finds ways to fight that aren't in his armoury. Whether he likes it or not...


I love this series, although this wasn't my favourite installment. Having already been warned that one of the secondary couples gets wrapped up a little too much off-stage as it were, I still found myself wishing we'd seen more of their relationship (although I liked what we got of them). The mystery plot felt a little too convoluted, although I was pleased to see one set of bad guys come back (I'm a Poldark fan, how can I not warm to smugglers as a side-plot?). Lovely description of how the hall has been modernised in there as well.

A Bride Before Dawn
by Sandra Steffen
Publisher: Mills & Boon
Print book
ISBN 9780263894042

'Lacey's Back in Town.' Pilot Noah Sullivan had hit some turbulence. First came the mystery baby left on the Sullivan brothers' doorstep - who was the daddy? Plus, Noah's ex-girlfriend Lacey Bell was back in Orchard Hill - coincidence? Noah wasted no time confronting her to get some answers...and steal a kiss. Now he wanted more. But to woo her back, he needed a new plan pronto. To Lacey, Noah's questions and kisses came out of the blue. But she felt for the baby, the Sullivans...Noah. And even if the child wasn't hers, she still had secrets of her own. Would revealing them lead to a crash landing? Or was a relationship that had started with a kiss on course to go the distance?


This started out well, with several mysteries being set up. Sadly none of the interesting ones (from my point of view) got solved, and I'm not sure that I want to pick up the next in the series just in case the answers are there. Various big issues surrounding the main relationship were fixed a little too easily as well, and the sex included at least one of my big pet hates. Safe sex isn't just about preventing pregnancy, even if that's all people seem to worry about (one way or the other) in romance-land.

The Convenient Marriage
by Georgette Heyer
Published by ARROW BOOKS LTD
Audio book
ISBN 9780099474425 or

When the most eligible Earl of Rule offers for the hand of the Beauty of the Winwood Family, he has no notion of the distress he causes his intended. For Miss Lizzie Winwood is promised to the excellent, but impoverished, Mr Edward Heron. Disaster can only be averted by the delightful impetuosity of her youngest sister, Horatia, who conceives her own, distinctly original plans...

This was Heyer at her best. Possibly a little tongue-in-cheek, and I would love to know what happened after the story ended (not even fanfic-land seems to want to supply me with an answer there), but an utterly delightful companion to some of my recent journeys. Horrie and Marcus are both engaging in their own ways, and the secondary characters get themselves into all manner of tizzies too.

Incidentally, why do I have so much trouble tracking down sale links for editions with the same covers as the ones on the audio books I take out of the library? It's most vexing not to be able to show the pictures that caught my eye when I was browsing (or not in some cases).
Tags: audio books, ebooks, print books, reviews
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