On My Bookshelf – May

April’s reading might have been disappointing, but my reading mojo was well and truly found in May. There’s a lot to be telling you about, so let’s go…

The Codebreakers, by Alli Sinclair

There’s a lot of noise about this book – and for good reason. It’s a great story – and based on real life. Who would have thought there was an Australian version of Bletchley Park operating in WW2 out of (what was essentially) a Brisbane garage? I know, right?

This isn’t just the story of that time, but also the personal cost of keeping the secrets.

A great read.

Burning Fields, by Alli Sinclair

I followed up The Codebreakers with Alli’s previous book. This one is set in the cane fields of Far North Queensland. Having travelled up there I could picture the location and how physically hard the work of the cane cutters must have been.

This one is a Romeo and Juliet story dealing with issues of discrimination and prejudice after WW2. Sinclair’s female protagonists are strong and her historical research is thorough. Another good read.

Lily’s Little Flower Shop, by Lisa Darcy

I’ve long been a fan of Lisa’s – back to when she was writing as Lisa Heidke. I also did a weekend workshop with her at the Australian Writing Centre before I wrote the final version of Baby, It’s You.

I was fortunate to get an advance copy of this for review purposes and loved it. More romcom than what she’s written before, I’m so glad Lily’s story has finally made it to print (or, in my case, ebook).

The Rose Code, by Kate Quinn

Another one set in wartime, The Rose Code is about the girls of Bletchley Park – the work they did, the secrets they kept, the lives they lived. There’s even a Prince Phillip connection.

In a month where nothing was disappointing (reading wise) this managed to inch its head just a tad above the others to be my read of the month.

Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte

My bookclub is working its way through the works of the Bronte sisters.

We began with Wuthering Heights and followed it up with this one – which I adored. Far from the raging and out of control (and more than a little dysfunctional) “passions” of WH, love Agnes Grey style is gentler, constant, and humble. More than that, Bronte has plenty to say about the class system, cruelty, the treatment of animals, women and governesses. In many ways this is a feminist piece of work well before such a thing became a thing…so to speak.

As well as reading it I listened to this on audible narrated by the utterly perfect Emilia Fox.

As we did for Wuthering Heights, in our final bookclub meeting for this book we held an online cooking class to bake something inspired by the novel. This time around it was soda bread. I’ll try and get the post up on BKD in the next few days.

Murder Your Darlings, by Debbie Young

I had to go into Brisbane for work during the month – and that meant a three-hour round-trip on the train. Ugh. This one was not only the perfect length but the perfect cosy mystery for that sort of commute. It was also a change of pace for me, reading-wise – and an enjoyable one at that.

My Kind of Happy and Hetty’s Farmhouse Bakery by Cathy Bramley

How have I never read Cathy Bramley before? These are my kind of stories with my kind of villages and my kind of characters. I started My Kind of Happy on the flight to Sydney and was grateful for the train trip I had to get to my parent’s house as it meant I could keep reading. I was also grateful for the cold mornings over that weekend as it meant I could stay in bed reading.

As soon as I finished with My Kind of Happy I began Hetty’s story…which was the same story as far as not being able to put the book down.

Last Night, by Mhairi McFarlane

The return flight called for a new book and I’ve been waiting for such a moment to read this one. I’ve enjoyed each of McFarlane’s previous novels and this one was no exception.

It has all the feels and my only advice is don’t do as I did and read it either in a public place or at altitude. As an aside, I have this theory that altitude increases emotional reaction to everything. Anyways, my eyes leaked quite a bit. Sadness aside, this is beautifully written and tied with The Codebreakers as my second favourite read of the month.

Okay, that was my reading month – any stand-outs in your May reads?