#BookReview - A Pearl for My Mistress by Annabel Fielding

A story of class, scandal and forbidden passions in the shadow of war. Perfect for fans of Iona Grey, Gill Paul and Downton Abbey.

England, 1934. Hester Blake, an ambitious girl from an industrial Northern town, finds a job as a lady's maid in a small aristocratic household.
Despite their impressive title and glorious past, the Fitzmartins are crumbling under the pressures of the new century. And in the cold isolation of these new surroundings, Hester ends up hopelessly besotted with her young mistress, Lady Lucy.
Accompanying Lucy on her London Season, Hester is plunged into a heady and decadent world. But hushed whispers of another war swirl beneath the capital... and soon, Hester finds herself the keeper of some of society's most dangerous secrets...

The years leading up to the Second World War are one of my favourite periods to read about so I was delighted when Annabel Fielding contacted me to ask if I'd be interested in reviewing A Pearl for My Mistress. Many thanks to …

Book Review - The Seed Collectors by Scarlett Thomas


The Seed Collectors is centered on the Gardener family, the dysfunctional offspring of botanists who went missing years ago searching for mysterious seed-pods that have mystical but fatal powers. Named after plants - Fleur, Plum, Clem, Bryony etc - the book follows them after the death of Great Aunt Oleander, and after they are left the aforementioned seed pods in her will. Naturally in a family drama there are dark secrets to be uncovered but there is also sharp humour and a lot of sex, frequently quite brutal and loveless, and usually of the illicit kind.
I finished The Seed Collectors a few weeks ago but have put off writing a review because I'm still not really how I felt about it. I disliked the characters, any sympathy I briefly felt for a character could easily dissipate in a subsequent chapter . but that in itself isn't enough to put me off a book, I've enjoyed plenty of novels where I wouldn't want to know the characters in real life. There were parts I really liked, it's a funny, ambitious and beautifully written tale. The plot meanders between characters, there isn't a sole focus to the book, each chapter is from a different viewpoint, even from that of a robin in the garden. While I appreciated the skill involved in weaving the story I did find it all a bit disjointed, and missed the flow of a book that follows a less fragmented path. I found it was a book that I could become distracted from, there are some books that pull me in and I lose myself in. The Seed Collectors wasn't like that, I could read a chapter and love the writing but then with the abrupt change of focus lose interest and end up putting the book down for a few days.
I don't want this to be a negative review because I do think it's a  beautifully written novel with some truly thought- provoking parts, it perhaps wasn't the book for me but I can admire and appreciate it nevertheless.
Thanks to the publishers, Canongate for my copy received through NetGalley in return for my unbiased review.

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