Book review: The Crystal Crypt by Fiona Veitch Smith

Book cover of The Crystal Crypt Poppy Denby Investigates, which has illustrations of a young woman standing near some stone steps against which a bicycle has been leant. Through a window next to the steps a scientist can be seen working in a lab.

I received a copy of The Crystal Crypt: Poppy Denby Investigates as a Christmas present and read it over two days of the holiday period. This is the sixth Poppy Denby book. For new readers of this blog this series is set in the 1920s in England. Poppy Denby is a ground-breaking female investigative journalist. Her enquiries put her in danger.

This latest book sees Poppy’s personal and professional lives continuing to develop. It would be possible to read this as a stand-alone book. Some earlier adventures are mentioned. A list of the earlier books appears here.

I read the whole series soon after each book was published. If I remember correctly this is the first Poppy Denby book with a scientific background. The Crystal Crypt was published in November 2021. As with the earlier Poppy Denby books questions for reading groups are included. I enjoyed reading this book, which brought back some memories of my visits to the Royal Institution for lectures as a teenager. Another place Poppy visited in this book is Oxford. A map of Oxford at the time is included.

Book review: The Beloved

The Beloved by Joy Margetts is a companion book to The Healing, which I reviewed earlier. While The Healing is a novel, The Beloved is a novella. It is set in 1250 a few years later than The Healing (1231), but some of the characters will be familiar to readers of the earlier book. The tagline is ‘When Love whispers, will the heart respond?’

The Beloved is a light read suitable for Young Adult or adult readers. I read this heart-warming, well-written story the day I downloaded it. As with The Healing, passages from the Bible are included. It is available on Kindle.

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Two books I read in January 2021

Both the books I am reviewing here are described as Young Adult having teenage girls as the main protagonists. They both have historic events from World War 2 as a background. The holocaust was important for the plots of both these books. I hadn’t realised reading them, or indeed when I began to review them, that Holocaust Memorial Day in the UK is on 27 January, six days after this post is published.

Cover of Being Lena LeviBeing Lena Levi by Bobbie Ann Cole

In 1950 Marlene Roberts finds out her true identity and has to make a decision. The settings of post-war Canterbury, Germany before WW2 and overseas travel to Israel are described vividly. I was drawn into Lena’s dilemma and found that the book was a page-turner. The characters are credible and the events could not be predicted. It is a very informative, emotional read.

Being Lena Levi is a recent publication from Instant Apostle, which I received as a Christmas present. My review of one of Bobbie Ann Cole’s earlier books, Love Triangles, is here.

Cover of The Red RibbonThe Red Ribbon by Lucy Adlington

The Red Ribbon: Every dress she makes could mean the difference between life and death is the January book club book from Cumbria Libraries (and other UK public libraries). I read it as an e-book on BorrowBox. It is set during 1944-5 against the backdrop of the holocaust. It is a story of friendship and creativity inside a notorious concentration camp. The details about dress-making are accurate – the author has an interest in costume, also writing nonfiction books. There are complex characters and twists and turns in the plot. Each chapter has the name of a colour. Again there is excitement and the reader is drawn into the story emotionally.