The Anointed by Michael Arditti

The Anointed by Michael Arditti

Summary:

Michal is a princess, Abigail a wealthy widow, and Bathsheba a soldier’s bride, but as women in Ancient Israel their destiny is the same: to obey their fathers, serve their husbands and raise their children.

Marriage to King David seems to offer them an escape, but behind the trappings of power they discover a deeply conflicted man. The legendary hero who slew Goliath, founded Jerusalem and saved Israel is also a vicious despot who murders his rivals, massacres his captives and menaces his harem.

Michael Arditti’s masterly new novel centres on three fascinating, formidable women, whose voices have hitherto been silenced. As they tell of love and betrayal, rape and revenge, motherhood and childlessness, they not only present the time-honoured story in a compelling new light but expose a conflict between male ruthlessness and female resistance, which remains strikingly pertinent today.

My Review:

This is the retelling of the story of King David, but this is no ordinary retelling as the story is from the perspective of three women. The Anointed (Arcadia Books) by Michael Arditti. Novel rich in history of biblical times as Michal, Abigail and Bathsheba all formidable women give voice when at a time women were silenced and to obey their fathers and serve their husbands. But this is the story of the three women.

All three women were married to King David, Michal is a princess and daughter of Saul, Abigail is a wealthy widow of Carmelite Nabal and Bathsheba was a soldiers wife, before King David she was married to Uriah before being widowed. Now all three are married to the hero who slaid Goliath and went on to found Jerusalem and hero of Israel.

But there is more to King David as he is brutal despot who murders anyone who is against him and then there is the massacres, and the story tells of how he treats his wives. The women silenced but this is their story and it a story of long ago but one that is important today.

The women tell of love, rape, betrayal, sorrow, childlessness, and revenge. A story from the women’s perspective is a strong one and is thought provoking as we look at King David in a new perspective.

It is though Bathsheba who will come out of this story as the stronger and more powerful she will have a son who will be called Solomon who will be just as cruel and brutal as his father.

But there is something else within King David that only one of his wives can seem to be able to see. Despite the horrors and how he treats his wives there is real sadness in David a tragic sadness perhaps, it is Abigail that only sees this through her own eyes.

Although this is a retelling of the story of King David, it is a powerful historical story that brings the story of King David to life. A man who believes he was the chosen one by the Lord.

Thought provoking and challenging but I really enjoyed The Anointed by Michael Arditti. If you like your historical novels then I will recommend you read as historical Israel is brought to life.

#TheAnointed

@michaelarditti

@ArcadiaBooks

@midaspr

337 Pages.

My thanks to Amber Choudhary and Midas PR for the review copy of The Anointed by Michael Arditti

The Anointed by Michael Arditti is published by Arcadia Books and on 20th May      2021 and is available to order through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org

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On Hampstead Heath by Marika Cobbold

On Hampstead Heath by Marika Cobbold

Summary:

Thorn Marsh was raised in a house of whispers, of meaningful glances and half-finished sentences. Now she’s a journalist with a passion for truth, more devoted to her work at the London Journal than she ever was to her ex-husband.

When the newspaper is bought by media giant The Goring Group, who value sales figures over fact-checking, Thorn openly questions their methods, and promptly finds herself moved from the news desk to the midweek supplement, reporting heart-warming stories for their new segment, The Bright Side, a job to which she is spectacularly unsuited.

On a final warning and with no heart-warming news in sight, a desperate Thorn fabricates a good-news story of her own. The story, centred on an angelic apparition on Hampstead Heath, goes viral. Caught between her principles and her ambitions, Thorn goes in search of the truth behind her creation, only to find the answers locked away in the unconscious mind of a stranger.

Marika Cobbold returns with her eighth novel, On Hampstead Heath. Sharp, poignant, and infused with dark humour, On Hampstead Heath is an homage to storytelling and to truth; to the tales we tell ourselves, and the stories that save us.

My Review:

I have very fond memories of walking on Hampstead Heath during my time living in London and so when I realised Marika Cobbold was releasing her eighth novel On Hampstead Heath (Arcadia Books) I was more than keen to review before publication. And what a fabulous read it really is. My thanks to Georgina Moore at Midas PR for sending me a review copy.

Thorn Marsh is a journalist for the London based newspaper The New London Journal and she has been at the paper for many years and is dedicated to her role as News Editor. But then the paper is now being bought by the Goring Group. The problem is that Marsh does not really agree with their ways of running a newspaper and this causes conflict which means that she now finds herself being somewhat moved out of the job she has loved to a role within the paper covering feel good stories. That is not really a role for our Thorn Marsh.

As this is basically a story of how much we can really believe in the newspaper business and the digital social media world the story now takes on a real twist as Thorn Marsh as she seeks to find a really good story that will make her bosses sit up and take notice except the story is not actually true but just how did she manage to come up with the story in the first place? I just love how Marika Cobbold has created the character of Thorn Marsh. There were real times I was laughing quite loudly and that is not best in the early hours.

But what of our leading character, now the story she has created has gone crazy and viral. But what does Marsh do now? She has spent the best part of thirteen years living and working as a journalist with a real conscience for the truth. And the truth is out there somewhere!

This is just a brilliant novel that I just knew I was going to love, and it is witty. A real joy. A novel to jump and down about, but not in the early hours please!

248 Pages.

My thanks to Georgina Moore (Midas PR) and Arcadia Books for the review copy of On Hampstead Heath by Marika Cobbold.

On Hampstead Heath by Marika Cobbold is published by Arcadi Books and will be published on 15 April 2020 and is available to pre-order through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org

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David Hockney: A Life by Catherine Cusset

David Hockney: A Life by Catherine Cusset

Translated by Teresa Lavender Fagan

Summary:

A compelling hybrid of novel and biography, Life of David Hockney offers an accessible overview of the painter who shook the world of art with a vitality and freedom that neither heartbreak nor illness nor loss could corrode. Born in 1937 in Bradford, David Hockney had to fight to become an artist. After leaving for the Royal College of Art in London, his career flourished, but he continued to struggle with a sense of not belonging, because of his homosexuality, which had yet to be decriminalised, and his inclination for a figurative style of art not sufficiently ‘contemporary’ to be valued. Trips to New York and California – where he would live for many years and paint his iconic swimming pools – introduced him to new scenes and new loves, beginning a journey that would take him through the fraught years of the AIDS epidemic.

My Review:

One of the most famous painters from these shores is one I have come to admire through many years. David Hockney: A Life (Arcadia Books) by Catherine Cusset is a fascinating and interesting ‘novel’ about the man himself and written before the author meeting David Hockney.

This was one of those books that I really was not sure about before I started reading as this is a novel about the man himself not a biography. But in the end I was actually really pleased that I did. Hockney was born in Bradford in July 1937 and later studied at the local School of Art before heading to London to study at the Royal College of Art.

What Cusset does in her novel is to write a fictional account of the painter’s life from his humble start from a family with little money to his determination to focus on his love of art and to achieve his goal. Using a mix of fact and fiction Cusset tells her story of Hockney’s life through the decades, the success and awards that followed but also the tragedies in his life. What I enjoyed reading about the paintings and making a note of them and later just spending time looking them up.

It is a brave step to write a novel about someone who is still alive and then later meeting them in person. I did wonder how that meeting went. But credit to Cusset as I found her writing to be vivid and shows a love for David Hockney from his days on both sides of the Atlantic. Not a man who paints to a trend but one who follows his own unique style and this is what made him one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century. Now in his early 80’s David Hockney keeps fit by swimming for half an hour each morning and can stand at his easel for more than six hours a day painting. An enjoyable read.

192 Pages.

Thank you Anna Zanetti (Midas PR) for the review copy of David Hockney: A Life by Catherine Cusset

David Hockney: A Life by Catherine Cusset was published by Arcadia Publishing and was published on 12th November 2020 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshops. UK Bookshop.org

Portrait of the Spy as a Young Man by Edward Wilson

Portrait of the Spy as a Young Man by Edward Wilson

Summary:

1941: a teenage William Catesby decides to leave Cambridge to join the army and support the war effort. Parachuted into Occupied France as an SOE officer, he witnesses tragedies and remarkable feats of bravery during the French Resistance.

2014: now in his nineties, Catesby recounts his life to his granddaughter for the first time. Their interviews weave together the historical, the personal and the emotional, skipping across different decades and continents to reveal a complex and conflicted man.

Catesby’s incredible story recounts a life of spying and the trauma of war, but also lost love, yearning, and hope for the future.

My Review:

Delighted on publication day to share my review of Portrait of the Spy as a Young Man (Arcadia Books) by Edward Wilson. This is a gripping wartime spy novel set in two time zones set in 1941 and 2014.

The career of spy William Catesby has been set out across seven previous novels and what a remarkable career. In Portrait of the Spy as a Young Man we find our hero recounting his wartime role to his granddaughter.
Catesby was only a teenager when he walked away from Cambridge University and join the fight against Nazis that had defeated mainland Europe. But for Catesby his role because of his unique background he joined the Special Operations Executive and following his training was parachuted into the highland region of Southern France, Catesby was there following the massacre of Oradour-sur-Glane as well as supplying weapons to the French underground forces fighting the Nazis and creating mayhem and chaos with the tactics of a highly trained SOE operative.


Now as the years have passed and it is 2014 and Catesby is in his nighties and the memories of his years as a spy are still there like time capsules in his memory and he is spending time with his granddaughter recounting his remarkable life.


I found this to be fantastic read and also one that was also moving as Catesby was a human that cared for the future of the human race. Many will ask about the previous spy novels but you need not worry as this can happily be read as a standalone novel. But like me you may want to seek out the previous seven books involving William Catesby. Highly Recommended.

350 Pages.

Thank you Sophie Ransom (Midas PR) for the review copy of Portrait of the Spy as a Young Man by Edward Wilson

Portrait of the Spy as a Young Man by Edward Wilsonwas published by Arcadia Books and was published on 15th October 2020 and is now available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

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