Le thème de cette semaine met en avant le premier roman publié d’un auteur. Quels sont mes cinq préférés ? J’ai essayé de me le limiter à ceux lus depuis le début d’année.
The Lost Apothecary • Sarah Penner
Rule #1: The poison must never be used to harm another woman.
Rule #2: The names of the murderer and her victim must be recorded in the apothecary’s register.
One cold February evening in 1791, at the back of a dark London alley in a hidden apothecary shop, Nella awaits her newest customer. Once a respected healer, Nella now uses her knowledge for a darker purpose—selling well-disguised poisons to desperate women who would kill to be free of the men in their lives. But when her new patron turns out to be a precocious twelve-year-old named Eliza Fanning, an unexpected friendship sets in motion a string of events that jeopardizes Nella’s world and threatens to expose the many women whose names are written in her register.
In present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, reeling from the discovery of her husband’s infidelity. When she finds an old apothecary vial near the river Thames, she can’t resist investigating, only to realize she’s found a link to the unsolved “apothecary murders” that haunted London over two centuries ago. As she deepens her search, Caroline’s life collides with Nella’s and Eliza’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive.
The lights of Prague • Nicole Jarvis
In the quiet streets of Prague all manner of otherworldly creatures lurk in the shadows. Unbeknownst to its citizens, their only hope against the tide of predators are the dauntless lamplighters – a secret elite of monster hunters whose light staves off the darkness each night. Domek Myska leads a life teeming with fraught encounters with the worst kind of evil: pijavice, bloodthirsty and soulless vampiric creatures. Despite this, Domek find solace in his moments spent in the company of his friend, the clever and beautiful Lady Ora Fischerová– a widow with secrets of her own.
When Domek finds himself stalked by the spirit of the White Lady – a ghost who haunts the baroque halls of Prague castle – he stumbles across the sentient essence of a will-o’-the-wisp, a mischievous spirit known to lead lost travellers to their death, but who, once captured, are bound to serve the desires of their owners.
After discovering a conspiracy amongst the pijavice that could see them unleash terror on the daylight world, Domek finds himself in a race against those who aim to twist alchemical science for their own dangerous gain.
The lost village • Camilla Sten
Documentary filmmaker Alice Lindstedt has been obsessed with the vanishing residents of the old mining town, dubbed “The Lost Village,” since she was a little girl. In 1959, her grandmother’s entire family disappeared in this mysterious tragedy, and ever since, the unanswered questions surrounding the only two people who were left—a woman stoned to death in the town center and an abandoned newborn—have plagued her. She’s gathered a small crew of friends in the remote village to make a film about what really happened.
But there will be no turning back.
Not long after they’ve set up camp, mysterious things begin to happen. Equipment is destroyed. People go missing. As doubt breeds fear and their very minds begin to crack, one thing becomes startlingly clear to Alice:
They are not alone. They’re looking for the truth… But what if it finds them first?
The Miniaturist • Jesse Burton
On a brisk autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt. But her new home, while splendorous, is not welcoming. Johannes is kind yet distant, always locked in his study or at his warehouse office—leaving Nella alone with his sister, the sharp-tongued and forbidding Marin.
A young woman living in a rigid, puritanical society discovers dark powers within herself in this stunning, feminist fantasy debut.
In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet’s word is law, Immanuelle Moore’s very existence is blasphemy. Her mother’s union with an outsider of a different race cast her once-proud family into disgrace, so Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol, and lead a life of submission, devotion, and absolute conformity, like all the other women in the settlement.
But a mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood surrounding Bethel, where the first prophet once chased and killed four powerful witches. Their spirits are still lurking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the journal of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood.
Fascinated by the secrets in the diary, Immanuelle finds herself struggling to understand how her mother could have consorted with the witches. But when she begins to learn grim truths about the Church and its history, she realizes the true threat to Bethel is its own darkness. And she starts to understand that if Bethel is to change, it must begin with her.
Je reviens avec le Top 5 Wednesday (et un article en retard). Les thèmes de Juillet ne m’ont guère inspiré, contrairement à ceux d’août. Le premier est Halway there! Il consiste à présenter les cinq meilleurs livres publiés depuis le début d’année. Je ne les ai pas forcément rangés dans un ordre d’appréciation.
J’ai adoré ce roman d’un bout à l’autre. L’ambiance est parfaite, bien dosée avec le suspens. Ce dernier est présent et parfaitement maîtrisé. Impossible de mettre le livre de côté pendant quelques secondes.
Un très bon roman sur trois soeurs très différentes. Des jalousies, des drames, le tout sous fond de Bretagne historique et mythique… J’ai vraiment beaucoup aimé et j’ai vraiment envie de lire d’autres ouvrages dans cette veine.
Christina Henry est une de mes auteurs préférés et chacune de ses nouvelle publications finies entre mes mains. J’avais très envie de découvrir celui-ci et je ne suis pas déçue. Encore un livre avec une ambiance sombre, des passages pas toujours facile. Un autre mythe est exploré.
Je découvre une nouvelle auteur avec ce roman. Prague est une ville que je rêve de pouvoir visiter, et encore plus après cette lecture. J’ai adoré l’univers, l’ambiance et les personnages. Je serai bien partante pour un deuxième tome.
Le thème du jour propose de parler de nos séries littéraires préférées. Elles doivent contenir plus de trois tomes, pour être considérée comme une série longue.
Peter Grant – Ben Aaronovitch
Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he’ll face is a paper cut. But Peter’s prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter’s ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny. Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic.
C’est une série que j’aime énormément et qui comprend une dizaine de tomes. J’en ai déjà lu six et je suis en train de la terminer, doucement mais sûrement. J’adore cette histoire qui devient de plus en plus sombre au fur et à mesure et qui contient de nombreuses références à la pop culture anglaise et des touches d’humour anglais divines.
Les Rougon-Macquart – Émile Zola
Dans la petite ville provençale de Plassans, au lendemain du coup d’État d’où va naître le Second Empire, deux adolescents, Miette et Silvère, se mêlent aux insurgés. Leur histoire d’amour comme le soulèvement des républicains traversent le roman, mais au-delà d’eux, c’est aussi la naissance d’une famille qui se trouve évoquée : les Rougon en même temps que les Macquart dont la double lignée, légitime et bâtarde, descend de la grand-mère de Silvère, Tante Dide. Et entre Pierre Rougon et son demi-frère Antoine Macquart, la lutte rapidement va s’ouvrir. Premier roman de la longue série des Rougon-Macquart, La Fortune des Rougon que Zola fait paraître en 1871 est bien le roman des origines. Au moment où s’installe le régime impérial que l’écrivain pourfend, c’est ici que commence la patiente conquête du pouvoir et de l’argent, une lente ascension familiale qui doit faire oublier les commencements sordides, dans la misère et dans le crime.
En une vingtaine de tomes, Émile Zola évoque une famille et ses descendants dans la France du Second Empire. J’en suis quasiment à la moitié et, de manière générale, j’ai aimé chacun des tomes pour des raisons différentes.
Soleil Noir – Éric Giacometti et Jacques Ravenne
Dans une Europe au bord de l’abîme, une organisation nazie, l’Ahnenerbe, pille des lieux sacrés à travers le monde. Ils cherchent à amasser des trésors aux pouvoirs obscurs destinés à établir le règne millénaire du Troisième Reich. Son maître, Himmler, envoie des SS fouiller un sanctuaire tibétain dans une vallée oubliée de l’Himalaya. Il se rend lui-même en Espagne, dans un monastère, pour chercher un tableau énigmatique. De quelle puissance ancienne les nazis croient-ils détenir la clé ? À Londres, Churchill découvre que la guerre contre l’Allemagne sera aussi la guerre spirituelle de la lumière contre l’occulte. Ce livre est le premier tome d’une saga où l’histoire occulte fait se rencontrer les acteurs majeurs de la Seconde Guerre mondiale et des personnages aux destins d’exception : Tristan, le trafiquant d’art au passé trouble, Erika, une archéologue allemande, Laure, l’héritière des Cathares…
Le quatrième tome vient de sortir et j’ai déjà lu les trois premiers. C’est une série prenante autour de reliques, d’archéologie, d’aventures…
Erica Falck – Camilla Läckberg
Erica Falck, trente-cinq ans, auteur de biographies installée dans une petite ville paisible de la côte ouest suédoise, découvre le cadavre aux poignets tailladés d’une amie d’enfance, Alexandra Wijkner, nue dans une baignoire d’eau gelée. Impliquée malgré elle dans l’enquête (à moins qu’une certaine tendance naturelle à fouiller la vie des autres ne soit ici à l’œuvre), Erica se convainc très vite qu’il ne s’agit pas d’un suicide. Sur ce point – et sur beaucoup d’autres -, l’inspecteur Patrik Hedström, amoureux transi, la rejoint.
À la conquête de la vérité, stimulée par un amour naissant, Erica, enquêtrice au foyer façon Desperate Housewives, plonge clans les strates d’une petite société provinciale qu’elle croyait bien connaître et découvre ses secrets, d’autant plus sombres que sera bientôt trouvé le corps d’un peintre clochard – autre mise en scène de suicide.
J’ai le troisième et quatrième tomes dans ma pile à lire et il m’en reste encore une dizaine avant de terminer la série. J’ai beaucoup aimé les deux premiers et j’ai véritablement envie de la continuer.
Bernie Gunther – Philip Kerr
Publiés pour la première fois dans les années 1989-1991, L’été de cristal, La pâle figure et Un requiem allemand évoquent l’ambiance du Ille Reich en 1936 et 1938, et ses décombres en 1947 Ils ont pour héros Bernie Gunther, ex-commissaire de la police berlinoise devenu détective privé. Désabusé et courageux, perspicace et insolent, Bernie est à l’Allemagne nazie ce que Phil Marlowe était à la Californie de la fin des années 30 : un homme solitaire témoin de la cupidité et de la cruauté humaines, qui nous tend le miroir d’un lieu et d’une époque. Des rues de Berlin » nettoyées » pour offrir une image idyllique aux visiteurs des Jeux olympiques, à celles de Vienne la corrompue, théâtre après la guerre d’un ballet de tractations pour le moins démoralisant, Bernie va enquêter au milieu d’actrices et de prostituées, de psychiatres et de banquiers, de producteurs de cinéma et de publicitaires. Mais là où la Trilogie se démarque d’un film noir hollywoodien, c’est que les rôles principaux y sont tenus par des vedettes en chair et en os : Heydrich, Himmler et Goering…
Une de mes séries préférées. Plus d’une dizaine de tomes, un personnage attachant et une série allant des années 20 jusqu’aux années 60. Chaque livre est très largement documenté. Il me manque le dernier tome à découvrir.
Après un mois de Décembre un peu léger, Janvier semble être tout le contraire. De nombreuses publications alléchantes sont proposées. N’hésitez pas à me dire en commentaire lesquelles vous font le plus envie !
Don’t tell a soul • Kirsten Miller • Delacorte Press • 384 pages • 26 janvier
People say the house is cursed. It preys on the weakest, and young women are its favorite victims. In Louth, they’re called the Dead Girls.
All Bram wanted was to disappear—from her old life, her family’s past, and from the scandal that continues to haunt her. The only place left to go is Louth, the tiny town on the Hudson River where her uncle, James, has been renovating an old mansion. But James is haunted by his own ghosts. Months earlier, his beloved wife died in a fire that people say was set by her daughter. The tragedy left James a shell of the man Bram knew—and destroyed half the house he’d so lovingly restored. The manor is creepy, and so are the locals. The people of Louth don’t want outsiders like Bram in their town, and with each passing day she’s discovering that the rumors they spread are just as disturbing as the secrets they hide. Most frightening of all are the legends they tell about the Dead Girls. Girls whose lives were cut short in the very house Bram now calls home. The terrifying reality is that the Dead Girls may have never left the manor. And if Bram looks too hard into the town’s haunted past, she might not either.
Esnared in the wolf lair : Inside the 1944 Plot to Kill Hitler and the Ghost Children of His Revenge • Ann Bausum • National Geographic Kids • 144 pages • 12 janvier
« I’ve come on orders from Berlin to fetch the three children. »–Gestapo agent, August 24, 1944 With those chilling words Christa von Hofacker and her younger siblings found themselves ensnared in a web of family punishment designed to please one man-Adolf Hitler. The furious dictator sought merciless revenge against not only Christa’s father and the other Germans who had just tried to overthrow his government. He wanted to torment their relatives, too, regardless of age or stature. All of them. Including every last child.
The Secret Life of Dorothy Soames • Justine Cowan • Harper • 320 pages • 12 janvier
Justine had always been told that her mother came from royal blood. The proof could be found in her mother’s elegance, her uppercrust London accent—and in a cryptic letter hinting at her claim to a country estate. But beneath the polished veneer lay a fearsome, unpredictable temper that drove Justine from home the moment she was old enough to escape. Years later, when her mother sent her an envelope filled with secrets from the past, Justine buried it in the back of an old filing cabinet.
Overcome with grief after her mother’s death, Justine found herself drawn back to that envelope. Its contents revealed a mystery that stretched back to the early years of World War II and beyond, into the dark corridors of the Hospital for the Maintenance and Education of Exposed and Deserted Young Children. Established in the eighteenth century to raise “bastard” children to clean chamber pots for England’s ruling class, the institution was tied to some of history’s most influential figures and events. From its role in the development of solitary confinement and human medical experimentation to the creation of the British Museum and the Royal Academy of Arts, its impact on Western culture continues to reverberate. It was also the environment that shaped a young girl known as Dorothy Soames, who bravely withstood years of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of a sadistic headmistress—a resilient child who dreamed of escape as German bombers rained death from the skies.
The Children’s Train • Viola Ardone • HarperVia • 320 pages • 12 janvier
Though Mussolini and the fascists have been defeated, the war has devastated Italy, especially the south. Seven-year-old Amerigo lives with his mother Antonietta in Naples, surviving on odd jobs and his wits like the rest of the poor in his neighborhood. But one day, Amerigo learns that a train will take him away from the rubble-strewn streets of the city to spend the winter with a family in the north, where he will be safe and have warm clothes and food to eat.
Together with thousands of other southern children, Amerigo will cross the entire peninsula to a new life. Through his curious, innocent eyes, we see a nation rising from the ashes of war, reborn. As he comes to enjoy his new surroundings and the possibilities for a better future, Amerigo will make the heartbreaking choice to leave his mother and become a member of his adoptive family.
In the Garden of Spite • Camilla Bruce • Berkley • 480 pages • 19 janvier
They whisper about her in Chicago. Men come to her with their hopes, their dreams–their fortunes. But no one sees them leave. No one sees them at all after they come to call on the Widow of La Porte. The good people of Indiana may have their suspicions, but if those fools knew what she’d given up, what was taken from her, how she’d suffered, surely they’d understand. Belle Gunness learned a long time ago that a woman has to make her own way in this world. That’s all it is. A bloody means to an end. A glorious enterprise meant to raise her from the bleak, colorless drudgery of her childhood to the life she deserves. After all, vermin always survive.
The House on Vesper Sands • Paraic O’Donnell • Tin House Books • 408 pages • 12 janvier
On the case is Inspector Cutter, a detective as sharp and committed to his work as he is wryly hilarious. Gideon Bliss, a Cambridge dropout in love with one of the missing girls, stumbles into a role as Cutter’s sidekick. And clever young journalist Octavia Hillingdon sees the case as a chance to tell a story that matters—despite her employer’s preference that she stick to a women’s society column. As Inspector Cutter peels back the mystery layer by layer, he leads them all, at last, to the secrets that lie hidden at the house on Vesper Sands.
The Historians • Cecilia Eckbäck • Harper Perennial • 464 pages • 12 janvier
It is 1943 and Sweden’s neutrality in the war is under pressure. Laura Dahlgren, the bright, young right-hand of the chief negotiator to Germany, is privy to these tensions, even as she tries to keep her head down in the mounting fray. However, when Laura’s best friend from university, Britta, is discovered murdered in cold blood, Laura is determined to find the killer.
Prior to her death, Britta sent a report on the racial profiling in Scandinavia to the secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jens Regnell. In the middle of negotiating a delicate alliance with Hitler and the Nazis, Jens doesn’t understand why he’s received the report. When the pursuit of Britta’s murderer leads Laura to his door, the two join forces to get at the truth.
But as Jens and Laura attempt to untangle the mysterious circumstance surrounding Britta’s death, they only become more mired in a web of lies and deceit. This trail will lead to a conspiracy that could topple their nation’s identity—a conspiracy some in Sweden will try to keep hidden at any cost.
Faye, Faraway • Helen Fischer • Gallery Books • 304 pages • 26 janvier
Faye is a thirty-seven-year-old happily married mother of two young daughters. Every night, before she puts them to bed, she whispers to them: “You are good, you are kind, you are clever, you are funny.” She’s determined that they never doubt for a minute that their mother loves them unconditionally. After all, her own mother Jeanie had died when she was only seven years old and Faye has never gotten over that intense pain of losing her.
But one day, her life is turned upside down when she finds herself in 1977, the year before her mother died. Suddenly, she has the chance to reconnect with her long-lost mother, and even meets her own younger self, a little girl she can barely remember. Jeanie doesn’t recognize Faye as her daughter, of course, even though there is something eerily familiar about her…
As the two women become close friends, they share many secrets—but Faye is terrified of revealing the truth about her identity. Will it prevent her from returning to her own time and her beloved husband and daughters? What if she’s doomed to remain in the past forever? Faye knows that eventually she will have to choose between those she loves in the past and those she loves in the here and now, and that knowledge presents her with an impossible choice.
The Heiress: The Revelations of Anne de Bourgh • Molly Greeley • William Morrow • 368 pages • 5 janvier
As a fussy baby, Anne de Bourgh’s doctor prescribed laudanum to quiet her, and now the young woman must take the opium-heavy tincture every day. Growing up sheltered and confined, removed from sunshine and fresh air, the pale and overly slender Anne grew up with few companions except her cousins, including Fitzwilliam Darcy. Throughout their childhoods, it was understood that Darcy and Anne would marry and combine their vast estates of Pemberley and Rosings. But Darcy does not love Anne or want her.
After her father dies unexpectedly, leaving her his vast fortune, Anne has a moment of clarity: what if her life of fragility and illness isn’t truly real? What if she could free herself from the medicine that clouds her sharp mind and leaves her body weak and lethargic? Might there be a better life without the medicine she has been told she cannot live without?
In a frenzy of desperation, Anne discards her laudanum and flees to the London home of her cousin, Colonel John Fitzwilliam, who helps her through her painful recovery. Yet once she returns to health, new challenges await. Shy and utterly inexperienced, the wealthy heiress must forge a new identity for herself, learning to navigate a “season” in society and the complexities of love and passion. The once wan, passive Anne gives way to a braver woman with a keen edge—leading to a powerful reckoning with the domineering mother determined to control Anne’s fortune . . . and her life.
Last Garden in England • Julia Kelly • Gallery Books • 368 pages • 12 janvier
Present day: Emma Lovett, who has dedicated her career to breathing new life into long-neglected gardens, has just been given the opportunity of a lifetime: to restore the gardens of the famed Highbury House estate, designed in 1907 by her hero Venetia Smith. But as Emma dives deeper into the gardens’ past, she begins to uncover secrets that have long lain hidden.
1907: A talented artist with a growing reputation for her ambitious work, Venetia Smith has carved out a niche for herself as a garden designer to industrialists, solicitors, and bankers looking to show off their wealth with sumptuous country houses. When she is hired to design the gardens of Highbury House, she is determined to make them a triumph, but the gardens—and the people she meets—promise to change her life forever.
1944: When land girl Beth Pedley arrives at a farm on the outskirts of the village of Highbury, all she wants is to find a place she can call home. Cook Stella Adderton, on the other hand, is desperate to leave Highbury House to pursue her own dreams. And widow Diana Symonds, the mistress of the grand house, is anxiously trying to cling to her pre-war life now that her home has been requisitioned and transformed into a convalescent hospital for wounded soldiers. But when war threatens Highbury House’s treasured gardens, these three very different women are drawn together by a secret that will last for decades.
The Divines • Ellie Eaton • William Morrow • 320 pages • 19 janvier
The girls of St John the Divine, an elite English boarding school, were notorious for flipping their hair, harassing teachers, chasing boys, and chain-smoking cigarettes. They were fiercely loyal, sharp-tongued, and cuttingly humorous in the way that only teenage girls can be. For Josephine, now in her thirties, the years at St John were a lifetime ago. She hasn’t spoken to another Divine in fifteen years, not since the day the school shuttered its doors in disgrace.
Yet now Josephine inexplicably finds herself returning to her old stomping grounds. The visit provokes blurry recollections of those doomed final weeks that rocked the community. Ruminating on the past, Josephine becomes obsessed with her teenage identity and the forgotten girls of her one-time orbit. With each memory that resurfaces, she circles closer to the violent secret at the heart of the school’s scandal. But the more Josephine recalls, the further her life unravels, derailing not just her marriage and career, but her entire sense of self.
Our darkest night • Jennifer Robson • William Morrow • 384 pages • 5 janvier
It is the autumn of 1943, and life is becoming increasingly perilous for Italian Jews like the Mazin family. With Nazi Germany now occupying most of her beloved homeland, and the threat of imprisonment and deportation growing ever more certain, Antonina Mazin has but one hope to survive—to leave Venice and her beloved parents and hide in the countryside with a man she has only just met.
Nico Gerardi was studying for the priesthood until circumstances forced him to leave the seminary to run his family’s farm. A moral and just man, he could not stand by when the fascists and Nazis began taking innocent lives. Rather than risk a perilous escape across the mountains, Nina will pose as his new bride. And to keep her safe and protect secrets of his own, Nico and Nina must convince prying eyes they are happily married and in love.
But farm life is not easy for a cultured city girl who dreams of becoming a doctor like her father, and Nico’s provincial neighbors are wary of this soft and educated woman they do not know. Even worse, their distrust is shared by a local Nazi official with a vendetta against Nico. The more he learns of Nina, the more his suspicions grow—and with them his determination to exact revenge.
As Nina and Nico come to know each other, their feelings deepen, transforming their relationship into much more than a charade. Yet both fear that every passing day brings them closer to being torn apart . . .
Lore • Alexandra Bracken • Disney Hyperion • 480 pages • 5 janvier
Every seven years, the Agon begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality. Long ago, Lore Perseous fled that brutal world in the wake of her family’s sadistic murder by a rival line, turning her back on the hunt’s promises of eternal glory. For years she’s pushed away any thought of revenge against the man–now a god–responsible for their deaths.
Yet as the next hunt dawns over New York City, two participants seek out her help: Castor, a childhood friend of Lore believed long dead, and a gravely wounded Athena, among the last of the original gods.
The goddess offers an alliance against their mutual enemy and, at last, a way for Lore to leave the Agon behind forever. But Lore’s decision to bind her fate to Athena’s and rejoin the hunt will come at a deadly cost–and still may not be enough to stop the rise of a new god with the power to bring humanity to its knees.