Two more books I read in January 2021

The two novels I am reviewing here, Peter Abelard by Helen Waddell and the diary of Isabella M Smugge by Ruth Leigh, are opposites in many ways. Both are physical books. One is an old historical novel and the other a pre-publication copy of a contemporary novel.

A bookmark and two booksPeter Abelard was a book I inherited. I had not read it before. In fact, I vaguely remember choosing it off the shelf as a teenager and being told, ‘You don’t want to read that. Try this one instead.’ The replacement book may have been The Tiger in the Smoke reviewed here.

There is no character list for Peter Abelard, although I suspect that had it been published now rather than in 1933 (the edition I read was reprinted in 1950) such a list might well have been provided. The reader is rather thrown into the story at the deep end. It is set in France in the 12th century. There are some very vivid descriptions, while other things are only hinted at. The Christian beliefs of the time are very important in the story. There are quotations from earlier scholars including Augustine and Origen. The book is well-researched. There are phrases from familiar passages in the Bible, notably Psalm 139. Beliefs about morality at that time were very different from those of the present day. It is not a light read due to the language and the scholarly content, which includes quotes in old French and Latin. These are mostly translated afterwards, but the reader has to recognise or infer this. I found it very interesting.

I first met Isabella M Smugge (pronounced like Bruges) in a blog post in 2020. The novel in which she is the main character is being published by Instant Apostle later this month. (February 2021).

I received a copy through the post from the author, Ruth Leigh. I read it almost immediately, finishing it the day after I received it. It made me laugh, but there are serious issues addressed amidst the humour. The hashtags were fun, especially the oxymoron #planningforspontaneity. It ended with a lot of loose ends. I’ll have to be patient waiting for the sequel to this debut novel.

Readers, who enjoy books by Anna Bell, Sophie Kinsella and/or Stephanie Butland will probably like the diary of Isabella M Smugge.

Ruth Leigh has written a blog post about how she came to write a novel.

My other book reviews may be found here and here.


A to Z Reflections post 2019 #AtoZChallenge

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary Reflections badge

This year I was undecided about whether to take part in the A to Z Challenge. It is more difficult to find a different theme each year. With hubby’s encouragement I began preparing for the challenge at the beginning of March and had most of my posts ready by the beginning of April. All of them were scheduled before the middle of the month. I also scheduled Tweets – one for each post and some of my Facebook posts were also scheduled. I gained a few extra blog followers in April.

Early in the challenge I visited a few blogs, which were new to me and also blogs I was already following from previous A to Zs. Later I was too busy to keep up with any blogs on a regular basis.

I am including two lists of A to Z blogs I have visited this time.

List 1: Blogs I was not previously following:











List 2: Blogs I have been following from previous years







In one of the posts from the A to Z Challenge team a question was asked: which 10 people/bloggers have been most influential in your blogging career? My list is not exactly 10!

My daughter, who was a blogger before I was

Hubby, who has encouraged me

Paul Wilkinson and other bloggers I followed early on

Arlee Bird who founded the A to Z Challenge and has been an encourager every time I have taken part

UKBlogAwards for which two of my blogs were short-listed for the UK Blog Awards 2014

Rarasaur, whose challenges I took part in for a good while

The Daily Post from WordPress.com, which no longer issues daily challenges and photo challenges

The Association of Christian Writers, for which organisation I contribute a blog 7 times a year

Once again, I have enjoyed the challenge. However I didn’t feel that there was the same excitement about it that there has been in previous years. This was possibly because fewer bloggers signed up for the challenge. I won an ebook from Jemima Pett in a raffle she ran during the challenge, which I have yet to download. I am looking forward to reading it.

Many thanks to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge team, especially Arlee, John and Jeremy, whose badges I have used. Also to everyone, who has bothered to read my posts and like, rate or leave a comment. Perhaps now April is over some people might find the time to click on my links to Bible Gateway and read the passages I have selected. Comments are closed after 30 days, but it is still possible to comment on my pages including Blogging from A to Z 2019.


A to Z Reflections Post 2016

At the end of the A to Z Challenge it is traditional to have a look back in the form of a reflections post.

I signed up early for this year’s challenge for two blogs.  I had been preparing my posts for Sue’s words and pictures for nearly a year.  My theme for Sue’s Trifles, the blog for A to Z challenges from 2013 onwards, came to me later.  The hardest part was finding suitable illustrations.  However I had fun with this.

My blogs were next to each on the on the sign-up list.  After all the linky invites bloggers to add another link.  When I was looking for blogs to visit I found that some bloggers had multiple blogs consecutively in the list.

I have visited quite a large number of blogs and left comments on some of them.  I have not always been prepared to jump through the hoops to leave comments.  For blogs, which are not on WordPress I tended only to leave one comment, even if I decided to follow the blog via the WordPress reader.

Initially I looked at the blogs immediately after my own.  I have kept a list of the links of many bloggers, who have been kind enough to visit my blog.  I have made return visits, where possible.

There are too many blogs to attempt to visit all of them.

I already followed at least eleven A to Z bloggers before the Challenge began.  This year some of them have themes which did not appeal to me much.  I have had to discriminate between posts to read.  In general I enjoy posts about writing and books.  Films and bands do not appeal much.

This does not make me feel that I am breaking any understanding about visiting other blogs.  There are plenty of people with similar interests.  As in life offline, friendships are made between people with interests in common.


Blogs I already followed:

  1. http://laurahile.com/
  2. http://marthareynoldswrites.wordpress.com/
  3. http://fortyandfantastique.wordpress.com/
  4. http://stephenyhoughtlin.wordpress.com/
  5. http://positiveletters.blogspot.com/ (Hilary was unable to take part this year.)
  6. http://seezooeyrun.wordpress.com/
  7. http://bloggingastrid.com/
  8. http://evelyneholingue.com/2016/03/21/from-a-to-z-all-these-little-french-and-american-words/
  9. https://silviatomasvillalobos.wordpress.com
  10. http://solveigwerner.com/2016
  11. https://auntyamo.com/
  12. https://miriamdrori.com/
  13. https://lynnelives.wordpress.com/

Blogs I have begun to follow as a result of this year’s challenge:

  1. https://nvrivera.wordpress.com/ one line a day story
  2. http://bobscotney.blogspot.co.uk/ wildflowers
  3. https://lunanoctis.wordpress.com/ craft
  4. http://beverlystowemcclure.blogspot.co.uk/ child of the 50s
  5. http://heartofareadywriter.blogspot.com/
  6.  https://suzannerogersonfantasyauthor.wordpress.com/
  7. https://claowuepotpourri.wordpress.com/ (English and German posts)
  8. http://wordwacker.me/ (A haiku riddle a day)

This has been another excellent challenge.  Many thanks to Arlee Bird, all the cohosts, minions and participants.

Due to circumstances, I was unable to visit as many blogs as I’d have liked towards the end of the challenge.  However, having scheduled my posts in advance, I completed the challenge and tried to keep up with the comments on them.  I have renewed the acquaintance of  bloggers I discovered in earlier challenges and made the acquaintance of new blogers.  It has been very worthwhile.