Book review: The Gallery of Vanished Husbands by Natasha Solomons 

The title of this book attracted me on a recent visit to the library. I had not previously heard of it or the author, Natasha Solomons. The Gallery of Vanished Husbands is set in the 20th and early 21st centuries.

Cover of The Gallery of Vanished Husbands Illustration is of a woman wearing a green sleeveless dress and lighter green gloves. Most of her head, her hands and her legs are not included in the picture, but she is wearing red lipstick. Lime green background.

The chapter headings take the form of catalogue entries for art exhibitions. They form an important context for the story with dates and other information. The main protagonist is something of a rebel in her family and community. The mystery underlying the title: The Gallery of Vanished Husbands unravels slowly. While the main settings are Chislehurst (Kent) and London, there is travel to another part of southern England and overseas by ship, reminding me of Maiden Voyages by Siân Evans. 

I enjoyed reading about the Jewish community and the artist friends of Juliet Montague, whose name sent me to check the surnames in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. (In case your memory is hazy like mine, Romeo’s was Montague and Juliet’s was Capulet.) 

The loose ends are all tied up satisfactorily although some disturbing events take place (Content warning). I thoroughly enjoyed this book. 

The Gallery of Vanished Husbands was first published in 2013 and is available in paperback, e-book, and unabridged audio editions. 


Book review: The Pilgrim by Joy Margetts

Front cover of The Pilgrim. Title is like an illuminated manuscript. Below is a stained glass window depicting pilgrims.

I received a free copy of The Pilgrim from the publisher, Instant Apostle. My loyal readers may remember that I have posted enthusiastically about Joy Margetts two earlier books, The Healing and The Beloved. The first thing I noticed about it was that it is a little thicker than The Healing. I as pleased about that as there was more to enjoy! (The Healing has 223 pages and The Pilgrim has 270.)

I read The Pilgrim from cover to cover the day I received it. It was light reading with a hopeful message suitable for convalescents. (I was recovering from a sore throat.) I was keen to find out what was going to happen in the book. There is rather a lot! It could be a book to return to.

The Pilgrim Will a pilgrim’s path be his saving grace? is the prequel to The Healing. Readers of The Healing enjoyed the wisdom of one of the supporting characters. In The Pilgrim we have a chance to find out more about how his character was formed. As he makes his pilgrimage from Abbey Cwmhir to the Island of the Saints, he learns about his fellow pilgrims and begins to understand himself and his faith better. Each pilgrim has his/her own story with its hopes and fears. The loose ends are tied up nicely as we are led towards the beginning of The Healing.

Although I read these books in the order they were written, it wouldn’t matter which order they were read in. Each stands alone.

There are relevant quotes from the Psalms between the chapters. These include verses from penitential psalms, other psalms reflecting the mood of the main character with the final upbeat Psalm being the Passion translation of Psalm 103.

The sketch map of the route is helpful. And there are horses!

Signed paperback copies of The Pilgrim may be bought from Joy Margetts’ website. It will be available in Paperback and for Kindle from 22nd July 2022.

Joy Margetts

Joy Margetts is a regular contributor to the online magazine, Mom’s Favorite Reads. A story about two of the characters from The Pilgrim appeared in the July edition on page 77. If you read it before The Pilgrim you will know more of the background. If (as I did) you read it afterwards, it is an interesting story.

Her blog is listed on Bible Gateway’s Blogger Grid.

This post is part of a blog tour. The participants are listed below. Links will be updated as the posts are published.

 The Pilgrim Blog Tour  
WENDY H JONESwendyhjones-bookaholic.blogspot.com12 July 
SUSAN SANDERSONsuestrifles.wordpress.com14 July 
MARESSA MORTIMERvicarioushome.com15 July 
VAL July 
SHARON RICKETTSlimitless-horizon.com18 July 
SHEILA ROBINSONscskillman.com19 July 
JOY MARGETTSjoymargetts.com20 July
ROB SEABROOKrobseabrook.com21 July 

Book review: The Scarlet Nightingale by Alan Titchmarsh

The Scarlet Nightingale by Alan Titchmarsh is a historical novel set in the 20th century including WWII. The subtitle is: In the deadly game of war can she trust the man she loves? I consider this to be the best of Alan Titchmarsh’s novels I have read so far. I borrowed it from the library and read it in a few days.

The protagonist’s childhood is described and her subsequent life with most of the action taking place during the war years. There is danger, excitement and unexpected twists in the plot.

The Scarlet Nightingale is available as a paperback, hardback, e-book and audiobook.