Bookish Discussions

Autumn TBR

Hi friends!

It’s  starting to feel like Autumn and I’m so ready. The crisp mornings, the darkening days, the smell of spiced apple and cosy reading corners.

What better way to celebrate the new season by setting myself an Autumn reading list? The books I’ve chosen fit with the dark and cosy aesthetics of Autumn. From non-fiction to modern classics, witchy reads to sadism, I’ve got the lot. Let’s take a closer look at my Autumn picks:


This is the oldest book on my TBR and probably the darkest.EDE93769-21D1-4E3F-B56F-C8A855026CB6-1DEC5EE0-8B94-435B-986A-BCEC5641ED7B

Orphaned and penniless at 12, the beautiful and devout Justine embarks upon her remarkable odyssey. Her steadfast faith and naive trust in everyone she meets destine her from the outset for sexual exploitation and martyrdom.

If you didn’t know, or couldn’t guess, this is where the word “sadism” comes from. The Marquis de Sade has a very… unusual style of writing, examining the tattoo corners of civilisation. I recently read another French translated classic early this year, The Nun by Denis Diderot, which was disturbing but an interesting read. I hope this one is, too. Understandably, it’s going to be an uncomfortable experience, but I’ve heard great things about this one.


I recently came across Honno Classics, a small publishing house that has a series dedicated to Welsh Women’s Classics. I visited their website out of curiosity. As soon as I saw A Welsh Witch, I knew I had to buy a few.

I’m a sucker for witchy books.

This one just misses the mark for a Victorian classic, being published in 1902, but it’s still fresh from the period. I assume it has a lot of tropes and characteristics of this time. I’ve never read about a Welsh witch before – an English and a Scottish one, yes, but not a Welsh one. It has a long-winded blurb, but here is a lovely little summary that tells you anything but the plot:

A Welsh Witch parallels a superstitious fishing village and an early industrial community with its harsh working conditions, and explores the ways in which human resilience and empathy can make a “romance of rough places.”

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Bookish Discussions

Historical Fiction Recommendations

We all know I’m a lover of historical fiction. If I’m not reading a Victorian classic, I’m reading a book set in the Victorian period.

I thought I’d talk through some of my favourite historical fictions – I’m trying to branch these out a little and not repeat myself (but, of course, I would 100% recommend The Familiars and The King’s Witch).

The Conviction of Cora Burns

I read this one recently and absolutely loved it. 415b1d93-10d8-492f-8cb3-1785edafce11-5760f2bf-f2dd-49d2-9c87-dc962a783a43

Birmingham, 1880s. Born in a goal and grew up in a workhouse, Cora has always struggled to control the violence inside her. Where can Cora’s life possibly take her when she released from her prison?

I really loved this. A brilliant book which looks at insanity and psychology from a Victorian perspective. Is insanity hereditary? or is it a reaction to our surroundings? Nature vs. nurture? Mix this with photography, and how multiple likeness can show a similar trait in criminals, you’ve got a fantastic book that examines social and cultural issues of a Victorian industrial city.

The Confessions of Frannie Langton

A servant and former slave is accused of murdering her employer and his wife in this gripping and intense read that moves from a Jamaican sugar plantation to the streets of Georgian London.

Confessions was such a compelling read. Sara Collins really knows how to write a story. I think what makes this one so unique is the slave narrative. It was interesting to examine how being a slave affected the psyche of someone their whole life – it raises question of guilt and revenge and justice. It was a sensitive and emotional story of a working-class black woman in Georgian England.

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Bookish Discussions

Lockdown Reads // Top 5:

Hello… it’s been a while.

I haven’t really felt like blogging – my master’s just emotionally drained me and I turned to bookstagram as a way of sharing content (@bookishbyron_). I want to get back into writing about books, especially as I loved it so much, and it was a way of expressing my passion for classic literature. So… as a way to fill in the all of those months of silence, let’s talk about the books I’ve been reading during lockdown.

The Murder of Harriet Monckton

I bought this rather chonky book last year and I’ve been putting it off because of it’s size. I’m not usually bothered by big books; I’ll happily pick up a 1,000 page novel and read it. I just wondered how you could drag out a murder mystery for 500 pages?4DA61028-4991-4625-83B0-FDD024A67A6B

I was stupid to put it off for so long.

It’s set in 1843 as we follow an investigation into the mysterious murder of Harriet, who was found poisoned behind her local chapel. It’s based on a true story – I don’t exactly know how much of it was fictionalised, but it was bloody brilliant. I was kept in suspense the whole time, and didn’t see that final page plot twist (oh, god, so good). I wasn’t phased by the general slowness of the story, and I enjoyed being able to dip in and out of different perspectives.

Just a really great book.

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