Rosy Thornton

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Short Stories Challenge 2018 – Part Three

Published October 23, 2018 by bibliobeth

Hello everyone and welcome to my third instalment of what I’ll be reading short story wise for the rest of this year. I mentioned in my Short Stories Challenge Part Two all the way back in April that I was becoming quite disillusioned with short stories. I had read a few that I hadn’t connected as well with as others and it was becoming less enjoyable to read them. At the moment, I’m feeling pretty much the same. I have read some great short stories since April including Set-Up by Dianne Gray and The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter however I’ve also read a couple where I didn’t get on so well with them i.e. The Coincidence Of The Arts by Martin Amis and Four Hundred Rabbits by Simon Levack. I understand that I’m not going to enjoy every single short story that I come across but I’m hoping for great things this time around. At this moment in time, I should be on Part Four of my Short Stories Challenge and I’m only on Part Three. This is because I’m just not feeling motivated to pick up a short story each week like I had planned to do. Ah well, fingers crossed for these!

Ringing Night by Rosy Thornton from the collection Sandlands.

Safe Passage by Ramona Ausubel from the collection A Guide To Being Born.

The Chicken And The Egg by Jon McGregor from the collection This Isn’t The Sort Of Thing That Happens To Someone Like You.

“Sorry” Doesn’t Sweeten Her Tea by Helen Oyeyemi from the collection What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours.

The Little Photographer by Daphne du Maurier from the collection The Birds And Other Stories.

The Purloined Letter by Edgar Allan Poe from the collection The Best Short Stories Of Edgar Allan Poe.

The Navigator by Angela Slatter from the collection Sourdough And Other Stories.

The Small Hand by Susan Hill (stand-alone).

Sainte-Thérèse by Kate Mosse from the collection The Mistletoe Bride And Other Haunting Tales.

Sad, Dark Thing by Michael Marshall Smith from the collection A Book Of Horrors.

British Books Challenge 2017 – The Round Up

Published January 3, 2018 by bibliobeth

BBC pointed shaded

2017 was another fantastic year of British books. I really love participating in this challenge and always surprise myself with the amount I manage to read. Here’s what I read this year:

Checkmate (Noughts & Crosses #3) – Malorie Blackman

The Dry – Jane Harper

 The Ballroom – Anna Hope

The Muse – Jessie Burton

A Boy Made Of Blocks – Keith Stuart

Monsters Of Men (Chaos Walking #3) – Patrick Ness

Burned And Broken – Mark Hardie

Swimming Lessons – Claire Fuller

Just What Kind Of Mother Are You? – Paula Daly

The Girl Who Walked On Air – Emma Carroll

The Trouble With Goats And Sheep – Joanna Cannon

The Wishing Tree – Lucy Wood

The Cuckoo Sister – Vivian Alcock

The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time – Mark Haddon

Mad Girl – Bryony Gordon

How To Be A Good Wife – Emma Chapman

Blood Red, Snow White – Marcus Sedgwick

Faithful Lovers – Margaret Drabble

Stasi Child (Karin Müller #1) – David Young

A Place Called Winter – Patrick Gale

Double Room – Ramsey Campbell

Etta And Otto And Russell And James – Emma Hooper

Tastes Like Fear (Marnie Rome #3) – Sarah Hilary

The Adventure Of The Engineer’s Thumb – Arthur Conan Doyle

In Darkling Wood – Emma Carroll

Lie With Me – Sabine Durrant

The Girl In The Red Coat – Kate Hamer

That Girl From Nowhere – Dorothy Koomson

Bamboo Heart – Ann Bennett

Bamboo Island – Ann Bennett

 Bamboo Road – Ann Bennett

Awful Auntie – David Walliams

Shadow Magic – Joshua Khan

Dream Magic – Joshua Khan

The Stranger In My Home – Adele Parks

Fleeing Complexity – Jon McGregor

Six Tudor Queens – Katherine Of Aragon: The True Queen

A Kiss In The Dark – Cat Clarke

Double Cross – Malorie Blackman

Close To Me – Amanda Reynolds

The Birds – Daphne du Maurier

He Said/She Said – Erin Kelly

Glow – Ned Beauman

Gone Without A Trace – Mary Torjussen

 The Drowned Village – Kate Mosse

This Must Be The Place – Maggie O’Farrell

Jane Austen At Home: A Biography – Lucy Worsley

Alice Through The Plastic Sheet – Robert Shearman

I See You – Clare Mackintosh

Black Water – Louise Doughty

Anne Boleyn: A Kings Obsession (Six Tudor Queens #2) – Alison Weir

The Owl At The Window – Carl Gorham

Fruits – Steve Mosby

The Prime Minister’s Brain – Gillian Cross

Quieter Than Killing (DI Marnie Rome #4) – Sarah Hilary

The Book Of Souls (Inspector McLean #2) – James Oswald

The Shut Eye – Belinda Bauer

Living The Dream – Lauren Berry

Leopard At The Door – Jennifer McVeigh

Together – Julie Cohen

Conclave – Robert Harris

An Anxious Man – James Lasdun

Ask No Questions – Lisa Hartley

The Essex Serpent – Sarah Perry

Miss You – Kate Eberlen

Broken Branches – M. Jonathan Lee

Then She Was Gone – Lisa Jewell

Necropolis – Guy Portman

Blue Moon – Lucy Wood

The End We Start From – Megan Hunter

Master – Angela Carter

Possum – Matthew Holness

This Beautiful Life – Katie Marsh

The Adventure Of The Noble Bachelor – Arthur Conan Doyle

The Snow Sister – Emma Carroll

Wages Of Sin – Kaite Welsh

Last Seen Alive – Claire Douglas

The White Doe – Rosy Thornton

Beyond Black – Hilary Mantel

How To Be Both – Ali Smith

Animal: The Autobiography Of A Female Body – Sara Pascoe

The Way Back To Us – Kay Langdale

Cartes Postales From Greece – Victoria Hislop

Did You See Melody? – Sophie Hannah

Vessel – Jon McGregor

Madness Is Better Than Defeat – Ned Beauman

Fortunately, The Milk – Neil Gaiman

Monte Verita – Daphne du Maurier

Good Me Bad Me – Ali Land

The Watchmaker Of Filigree Street – Natasha Pulley

The Last Letter From Your Lover – Jojo Moyes

The Prisoner Of Ice And Snow – Ruth Lauren

The House On The Hill – Kate Mosse

The Paying Guests – Sarah Waters

The Farm – Tom Rob Smith

Girl 4 – (January David #1) – Will Carver

The Two (January David #2) – Will Carver

The Immortals – S.E. Lister

Fire Lines – Cara Thurlbourn

Saffy’s Angel – Hilary McKay

Western Fringes – Amer Anwar

The King’s Curse – Philippa Gregory

The Next Together (The Next Together #1) – Lauren James

A Place For Violence – Kevin Wignall

Black Hearts In Battersea (The Wolves Chronicles #2) – Joan Aiken

The House – Simon Lelic

Is Monogamy Dead? – Rosie Wilby

A Dangerous Crossing – Rachel Rhys

The Things We Learn When We’re Dead – Charlie Laidlaw

Hush Little Baby – Joanna Barnard

The Art Of Hiding – Amanda Prowse

What It Means When A Man Falls From The Sky – Lesley Nneka Arimah

Under A Pole Star – Stef Penney

Wisht – Lucy Wood

Witch Child – Celia Rees

Dead Set – Will Carver

The Strangler Vine – M.J. Carter

The Hangman’s Song – James Oswald

Seeing Double – Sara Maitland

Dreamwalker (The Ballad Of Sir Benfro #1) – James Oswald

Strange Star – Emma Carroll

High House – Rosy Thornton

Finding Jennifer Jones (Jennifer Jones #2) – Anne Cassidy

So if my calculations are correct, that makes 123 British books/short stories read this year which has smashed last year’s record of 72 which I’m very pleased about. Highlights of this year have to be The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry which just captivated me, A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale which completely stole my heart and I still think about today and A Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys, a fantastic surprise that I didn’t anticipate enjoying as much as I did. I’ve also enjoyed catching up on Emma Carroll’s back catalogue (one of my targets for the year) and read some beautiful short stories, including one very recently by Rosy Thornton. I’m very excited for some more British books in 2018 – bring it on!

Short Stories Challenge 2017 – High House by Rosy Thornton from the collection Sandlands.

Published December 30, 2017 by bibliobeth

What’s High House all about?:

High House follows our female narrator who becomes particularly friendly with a man she cleans for. He ends up teaching her many things about the world, especially the dangers of climate change.

What did I think?:

This is the second story in Rosy Thornton’s short story collection, Sandlands. When I first started it, I have to admit I immediately thought: “Oh, this isn’t going to be as good as the first story, The White Doe.” However, by the end I was completely charmed by the entire narrative and especially its two main protagonists. It’s a beautiful little tale that feels starkly poignant, especially with the natural disasters that have been plaguing our world in the past few years or so, and with the ever looming threat of climate change having the potential to disrupt our lives and our children’s lives forever.

It’s hard to describe what this story is about but I’ll do my best. Set in the small village of Blaxhall in Suffolk, it begins with our unnamed female narrator who is describing the environment, the tranquillity of her surroundings and her obvious love for where she is living. She works as a cleaner/housekeeper for various residences around the village, but treasures the time she spends with a Mr Napish who lives in High House, a property high above the village and who treats our narrator with courtesy, consideration and respect, being one of the very few who will deign to make a cup of tea for her as she works (ah, a wonderful man indeed!). He talks to her about many things, especially climate change and possesses a map of how the country might look if the sea levels continue to rise in the manner the scientists are suspecting. Unfortunately, the village then suffers its own spate of floods and our narrator and Mr Napish gallantly step in to try and save some of the animal population in some of the sweetest scenes I’ve had the pleasure to read.

One of the things that most attracted me to Sandlands as a short story collection was the promise of stories about animals. I have been delighted to discover this in both stories so far but was surprised to discover the richness and beauty of Rosy Thornton’s story-telling as an additional bonus. She describes the British landscape so eloquently you can almost visualise the area she is talking about and smell those wonderful, natural scents. This story was particularly beautiful as it felt so timely with the recent floods, earthquakes, tsunami’s etc, many attributed to climate change that have taken/ruined many lives irrevocably. It certainly made me stop to think and worry slightly about what might happen in our future. On a happier note, the ending, which I definitely shall not spoil, came as a huge surprise as we get a slight hint about some of the reasons why Mr Napish may be doing what he’s doing (if I’ve interpreted it correctly!) and it gave me such a difference of feelings – terror and the warm fuzzies, an interesting mixture!

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):


Short Stories Challenge 2017 – Part Five

Published November 5, 2017 by bibliobeth

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Hello everyone and welcome to the fifth part of my Short Stories Challenge in 2017. My fourth part was quite like the third, up and down. I had a huge disappointment with a short story by Daphne du Maurier which was Monte Verità but I also got some lovely surprises in the form of The House On The Hill by Kate Mosse and The Man In The Ditch by Lisa Tuttle. Here’s what I’ll be reading in the next few months:

Best New Horror by Joe Hill from the collection 20th Century Ghosts.

The Moons Of Jupiter by Alice Munro from the collection Stories To Get You Through The Night.

The Man Who Would Not Shake Hands by Stephen King from the collection Skeleton Crew.

Unplugged by Dianne Gray from the collection Manslaughter And Other Tears.

Wisht by Lucy Wood from the collection Diving Belles.

The Man From Mars by Margaret Atwood from the collection The Story: Love, Loss & The Lives Of Women.

Seeing Double by Sara Maitland from the collection The New Uncanny: Tales Of Unease edited by Sarah Eyre and Ra Page.

The Adventure Of The Beryl Coronet by Arthur Conan Doyle from the collection The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes.

Freaks: A Rizzoli & Isles Short Story by Tess Gerritsen (stand-alone).

High House by Rosy Thornton from the collection Sandlands.

Short Stories Challenge 2017 – The White Doe by Rosy Thornton from the collection Sandlands.

Published August 18, 2017 by bibliobeth

What’s The White Doe all about?:

The White Doe is the story of Fran who has recently lost her mother and has been seeing a rare white doe in the countryside near to her home.

What did I think?:

First of all, a huge thank you to the author Rosy Thornton for sending me a copy of her first short story collection, Sandlands in exchange for an honest review. On reading the synopsis, which promises magic entwined with the beauty of nature I was certainly sold and thought it would be a great addition to my Short Stories Challenge. The first story is The White Doe and even though my expectations were slightly raised (due to the promise of animals I have to say, I’m a sucker for anything involving them!) I wasn’t disappointed. It was written beautifully and the surrounding environment of Suffolk was incorporated so expertly that the narrative just seemed to flow like water.

Our main character in the story is Fran who lost her mother whom she was incredibly close to, six months ago. She hasn’t really had a good opportunity to grieve for her loss and finds looking through any of her mother’s belongings terribly difficult so is pushing it to one side for now. It is obvious her mother is continually present in her thoughts – she mentions her constantly in the story and it is obvious her feelings about her death are still very raw. Recently however, she has been seeing a white doe amongst a group of other deer and wondering what it can possibly mean.

Fran is aware of an old folk tale about a white doe (who was actually a woman that transformed into the animal) and how it ended very badly when her brother mistakenly killed her whilst out hunting, believing her to be in fact a doe and not his sister. This story is also connected with the horrific migraines that Fran has been suffering. She has always had a bit of a predisposition for headaches that were normally soothed for her as a child by her mother but since her mother’s death they appear to be getting worse. The visitation of the deer, Fran’s memories of her mother and her migraines are all connected and all assist Fran in confronting her grief when the time is right.

I actually read this story two times so that I could fully appreciate it. The descriptive nature of Rosy Thornton’s writing is as magical as the folk tale/legends that she recounts in the narrative and whilst reading, I felt like I was immersed in another world that I didn’t want to leave. Being British, I also loved the connection to the Suffolk countryside and as an animal nut, the references to the deer in their appearance and their behaviour. This isn’t a story just about a special deer however, it’s got so many different levels, namely regarding grief and how it is experienced and effectively managed and the importance of motherhood. Personally, I thought it was a stunning short story and am eagerly anticipating the rest of the collection.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):


NEXT SHORT STORY: The Light Through The Window by Kevin Brockmeier from the collection Things That Fall From The Sky.

Short Stories Challenge 2017 – Part Three

Published July 8, 2017 by bibliobeth

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Hello everyone and welcome to Part Three of my Short Stories Challenge this year. Part Two was again, very interesting with some really memorable stories read, namely The Birds by Daphne du Maurier and Gallowberries by Angela Slatter which were both fantastic and HIGHLY recommended. Here’s to finding some more great short stories and authors in Part Three!

An Anxious Man by James Lasdun from the collection Stories To Get You Through The Night.

Word Processor Of The Gods by Stephen King from the collection Skeleton Crew.

Hot Dog Stand by Dianne Gray from the collection Manslaughter And Other Tears.

Blue Moon by Lucy Wood from the collection Diving Belles.

Master by Angela Carter from the collection The Story: Love, Loss & The Lives of Women.

Possum by Matthew Holness from the collection The New Uncanny: Tales Of Unease edited by Sarah Eyre and Ra Page.

The Adventure Of The Noble Bachelor by Arthur Conan Doyle from the collection The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes.

The Heart Goes Last: Positron, Episode Four by Margaret Atwood (stand-alone).

The White Doe by Rosy Thornton from the collection Sandlands.

The Light Through The Window by Kevin Brockmeier from the collection Things That Fall From The Sky.