Bookish Discussions

2019 in Books: Favourite Reads II


…okay, so I’m back with part II of my favourite 2019 reads. Let’s save the introduction and get straight into it!

I read Sara Collins’ The Confessions of Frannie Langton and *loved* it. This is yet another historical fiction murder mystery (but just before the Victorian period, haha, but very close). It’s 1826 and crowds gather to watch Frannie’s trial for murder. The testimonies are damning – slave, whore, seductress – and they may be the truth. But they are not the whole truth.

I liked this for multiple reasons: it tackled class issues, racial issues, LGBTQ+ issues in a society that cared very little for these groups. It raised some very interesting questions, like “what constitutes as a criminal?”, “when should someone feel guilty?” and “can some actions be justified?”. It was a very thought-provoking book. I just had some difficulties with the F/F romance – not a lot of chemistry between the two.

So next is the heartbreaking non-fiction by Jeremy Dronfield: The Boy Who Followed His Father into Auschwitz. Gustav and Fritz Kleinmann, father and son, have managed to survive the Holocaust together, only being separated for a few years in between. Dronfield, relying on extensive research and family history, has traced the story of these two men and has brought it before us.

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Bookish Discussions

Reading Update #4:


I’m back to chat about books!

I’ve read quite a bit since I last updated you.

I finished The Corset and loved it! It was a deeply compelling novel exploring the complexities of guilt, class and psychology. Laura Purcell managed to weave a brilliant story of two women, of different classes, overcoming the prejudices against each other to root out the truth of a traumatic event in Ruth Butterham’s life. It’s definitely become a new favourite, and I’m very eager to read Purcell’s new novel: Bone China.

After that I started on Lucy Jones’ Foxes Unearthed: A Story of Love and Loathing in Modern Britain. This is a non-fiction looking at the contradicting perception on foxes in society from the early 18th century to now. Some people love the fox; whereas some hate it. Jones explores the two opposing views, looking at how society have come to view the animal from urban areas to rural, from literature to parliament. It was a very insightful book about my favourite animal – the need to protect it overpowers me!

I picked up George Orwell’s Nineteen Eight-Four after this and was… well… quite disappointed. My classic reading slump *might* be to blame, but this didn’t impress me all that much. I found part II increeeeedibly boring and I wasn’t completely invested in the character’s story-line. It did spark up a good discussion on dystopias though – why are dystopias so believable?

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Bookish Discussions

The Corset | A Dreamy Neo-Victorian Novel:


Oh, wow.

This was fantastic.

I read Laura Purcell’s The Silent Companions late last year and liked it. I thought she was gonna be one of those writers I enjoyed but never found a favourite from. But…I think I was wrong.

The Corset was brilliant.

It follows Dorothea Truelove, who is young, wealthy and beautiful, and Ruth Butterham, a young, poor woman awaiting trial for the murder of her mistress. Dorothea, a budding new phrenologist, takes an interest in Ruth and her story. But can Ruth be trusted? Is she mad or a murderer? Honest or a liar?

I love stories that follow a member of the traditional middle-class taking an interest in someone who is socially inferior to them. Although this can position the lower-class as an animal in a cage, it also bridges the gap between the two classes where unlikely friendships can grow.

I really like these narratives when there are doctors, or other professionals, studying or interviewing a so-called “working-class criminal” (think of Alias Grace or The Confessions of Frannie Langton). Lower-classes have, more often than not, been the scapegoat for the capitalists. Purcell brilliantly explores the inherent class prejudices in the Victorian society and how the working-class are manipulated.

They are often the victim, not the perpetuator.

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