What I read in August 2020 (Part 1)

I bought The widow’s secret by Katharine Swartz from a local bookshop, which is currently opening in the mornings only.

I have read and reviewed the previous three books in the series, The Tales of Goswell. Two characters from earlier in the series appear in this book, which may be read as a stand-alone novel. The widow’s secret continues with the same structure – two linked stories set in different centuries but similar locations told in alternate chapters. The stories are gripping. I finished reading this book the day after I began. The subject matter is not for those of a squeamish disposition, but tackles important matters of human relationships, exploitation and more.

Living in the area in which the stories are set (and having known the author when she also lived here) added to the interest of the book for me. I hope other readers will be encouraged to visit some of the places mentioned once travel becomes easier after the pandemic. The Beacon Museum and The Rum Story are worth visiting, but are currently closed.

My reviews of Katharine Swartz’s earlier books may be found here.

Book reviews A-M has the rest of the book reviews I have written.



What I learned in August

This post is a day early to catch the link up for What I learned in August.

Photography and technology

I have learned that it is possible to delete photos from the bin on my Android phone.  If I do not do this, they take up storage for 60 days.

My Android phone did not like having an SD card with lots of memory.  For some reason it kept giving me the message that the SD card was damaged and needed reformatting.  I have replaced it with a smaller one, which is still plenty big enough.  Perhaps bigger isn’t always better!

The people, who provide WordPress have a new way of organising photos – Mesh.  It could be useful, but the photos are public.

I found that backing up my photos to Google, where there is the option of making them private or public, sometimes results in attractive groups of photos.  Cropping a screenshot is a quick way of producing a gallery.  (However, since upgrading to Windows 10, I have been unable to edit photos on my laptop.  WordPress also offers a gallery facility, whichI have not yet tried.)

Places and people

There is a place in south east England, which at (only) 700 feet above sea level is the highest point before the French Alps.

Royal Tunbridge Wells grew up around a spring.  There are a few churches dedicated to King Charles the martyr including one in the town.

Pride and Prejudice was filmed at Groombridge Place.

The sculptor, Ophelia Gordon Bell, of whom I had not previously heard, has strong connections with Cumbria.  She made the Breakthrough Cross at Burrswood Hospital in Kent.

An art project at Talkin Tarn was the reason the bird hide was closed when we visited.

Cockermouth had a linen mill at one time.

Visiting English Heritage sites is interesting and enjoyable.  (Furness Abbey and Carlisle Castle are the two places we visited this month as new members.)


A mandolin has two strings for each note, which are tuned to the same notes as a violin.

Music is a good conversation-starter.


Lido is pronounced leedo.

What you say and what other people understand is not always the same.  For example, I said, “I heard a loud noise; the peregrine flew into the conservatory.”

My friend queried, “It was in the conservatory?”

I meant it had collided with a window or door.

I have found recently that people try to work out my motives for telling them something and don’t wait for explanations. They interrupt with all kinds of assumptions instead of waiting until the end of the elevator pitch.

Is this why I prefer to write?|