Top 5 Tuesday – Top Five books set in the past

Top 5 Tuesday was created by Shanah at Bionic Book Worm, and it is now being hosted at Meeghan reads!! For details of all of the prompts for Oct to Dec see Meeghan’s post here

October’s theme has been all about bookish quotes so I haven’t taken part properly for a while. However, we’re back to actual books now and this week is one of my favourite genres – books set in the past 😃

I’m going to go for five of my top 5 historical fiction books that I have read this year as otherwise it would be too unmanageable.

This was a lovely regency romance. I loved the main character and the plot.

This was my latest historical read. It’s set in London in 1926 and really captures the feel of the era and life in the nightclubs of Soho.

This is another of my favourite historical reads this year. Set in Tudor England when England are preparing for war with Spain, this is the story of Frieda who is given the job of creating a special for Sir Francis Drake. It has a dual time line and is also about Robyn researching a mysterious map. It was a brilliant read.

I love this series set in post-partition India and featuring India’s first woman detective inspector Persis Wadia.

This is another brilliant historical crime series. This one features the author and playwright Josephine Tey and links events of her real life to fictional crimes. The historical detail and the writing style are both excellent.

That’s my top five books set in the past. What would your top 5 historical reads be?


The 1929 club – Beauvallet

Twice a year, Karen and Simon  host an online book club where they choose a year and everyone comes together to review and discuss books published in that year. Today kicks off the start of the week dedicated to 1929 and what a year it was for publishing, especially for detective fiction.

I was surprised by how many books I have already read that were originally published in 1929. These include:

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
The Seven Dials Mystery by Agatha Christie
Goodbye to all that by Robert Graves
Emil and the Detectives by Erich Kastner
Grand Hotel by Vicky Baum

It’s a really busy time of year at the moment and so I decided to start the week off quite gently with a reread from a favourite author.

Georgette Heyer is most famous for her romances set in the Regency period but she did write a couple of more historical novels, one of which is Beauvallet. This is set in Tudor times when Sir Francis Drake had just sailed around the world and the Spanish and English navies were spoiling for a fight. As in her Regency romances, Georgette Heyer introduces real figures into her stories and so we meet Queen Elizabeth 1 and King Philip of Spain as well as Sir Francis Drake and other members of the Tudor court.

Nicholas Beauvallet is a classic swashbuckling hero who always has a joke when he is in danger and is irresistible to women. We first meet him at sea as he boards a Spanish ship to carry off its treasure. On board the ship are his excellency Don Manuel and his daughter, Dona Domenica who are returning to Spain from the Americas. Of course, the result of the battle is never in doubt and neither is the romance. But then, the beauty of a well written romance is the journey that the two parties undertake before they can ride off into the happily ever after.

Beauvallet is a true gentleman and returns Don Manuel and Dona Domenica to Spain but he promises that he will come for her before the year is out. He keeps his promise and comes to Spain in disguise, travelling right to the heart of the Spanish court and meeting King Philip while masquerading as a French nobleman.

Domenica is now living with her aunt after the death of her father and is in danger of being forcibly married off to her cousin as the family want her inheritance for themselves. There are some lovely scenes equal to any in Heyer’s romances where Beauvallet pretending to be the Chevalier de Guise becomes the darling of Spanish society. Domenica’s aunt, Dona Beatrice is a worthy opponent for Beauvallet as she is determined that Domenica will marry her son even if he has to kidnap her to achieve this.

This doesn’t quite have the sparkle of some of her best romances such as The Grand Sophy and sometimes the dialogue becomes a bit stilted as Heyer is possibly less comfortable with Tudor phrasing. Domenica too, doesn’t have the depth of some of her later heroines. However, it is still a gorgeous bit of escapism and there are thrills galore in the last third of the book.

If you love Georgette Heyer and haven’t read this one, then it is definitely worth picking up.

This is post 24 for Blogtober 2022

Sundays in bed with ……. Act of Oblivion

Sundays in bed with is a meme hosted by Midnight Book Girl but I came across it recently on Jill’s Book Blog. It is simply a chance to share the book that is by your bed at the moment (or that you wish was by your bed). This week the book by my bed (or on the arm of my sofa) is Act of Oblivion by Robert Harris

The book by my bed today is The Mapmaker’s Daughter by Clare Marchant

This is a historical fiction novel set just after the restoration of King Charles II when the men who condemned his father Charles I to death are being hunted down.

Blurb from the book:
1660- Colonel Edward Whalley and his son-in-law, Colonel William Goffe, cross the Atlantic. They are on the run and wanted for the murder of Charles I. Under the provisions of the Act of Oblivion, they have been found guilty in absentia of high treason.

In London, Richard Naylor, secretary of the regicide committee of the Privy Council, is tasked with hunting down the fugitives. He’ll stop at nothing until the two men are brought to justice. A reward hangs over their heads – for their capture- dead or alive.

Robert Harris is a must-read author for me although his books don’t quite always hit the spot for me. I have high hopes for this one though. So far, the two fugitives have just arrived in Massachusetts and are finding that even in the new world, the news of their crime and reward for their capture is leading to trouble. In London, Richard Naylor has just been given the task of hunting the two men down. I love the detail and the characterisation in Harris’s novels. All of the characters feel very real especially Mary Gookin, wife of Daniel Gookin who first offers the two men a place to stay. Her reluctance to have the two men spoil her reunion with her husband and disrupt her family life feels very real to me.

What are you reading this Sunday?

The Mapmaker’s Daughter – a review

I love a good story with a dual timeline and The Mapmaker’s Daughter is a brilliant example.

Freida is the daughter of a Dutch mapmaker and is forced to escape to London during the Spanish persecution of Huguenots in the 16th century. There she carries on her family tradition of mapmaking and her skills come to the attention of Queen Elizabeth. In the present day, Robyn is working in her father’s antique map and bookshop in Hay on Wye when she discovers an old map.

Freida and Robyn are both married to sailors and this adds a poignancy to the story as Robyn is still grieving for her husband who was lost at sea whereas Freida constantly worries about the danger her husband is in every time he goes to sea. Both women have to accept that this is what their husbands need to do.

The story of Robyn’s investigation into the map while trying to come to terms with the disappearance of her husband runs in parallel with Freida’s life in London. Freida is given a commission by Queen Elizabeth to create a map of the English and Dutch shorelines. However, this brings her to the notice of the Spanish Ambassador and her life and that of her young son are in danger.

The majority of the book is concerned with Freida and the descriptions of life in London, Elizabeth’s court and the people she comes into contact with such as Doctor Dee and Sir Francis Drake are marvellous. I also loved the technical aspects of mapmaking and Freida’s love for what she does is clear. The threat of the Spanish is always present and the sense of danger is vividly portrayed.

I enjoyed the depiction of Sir Francis Drake as I’ve always had a soft spot for him. When we were in France some years ago, we went to an abbey where there was a display of maps and part of the display were some pages done by Drake’s mapmaker on one of his voyages. I was amazed by the level of detail and the skill of the artist and this book brought back that memory.

I also loved the present day timeline. Robyn isn’t such a vivid character as Freida but her story was still compelling and her research into the map was fascinating.

I would definitely recommend this book to any lovers of historical fiction. Thank you to Net Galley and the publishers for my ARC. This review is purely my own thoughts and opinion.

The Mapmaker’s Daughter is published today, September 1st by Avon Books UK

Sundays in bed with …… The Mapmaker’s Daughter

Sundays in bed with is a meme hosted by Midnight Book Girl but I came across it recently on Jill’s Book Blog. It is simply a chance to share the book that is by your bed at the moment (or that you wish was by your bed). This week my book is actually by my bed as we’re in the lovely town of Buxton in the Peak District. We’ve just finished performing at the Opera House which was brilliant and will be heading home later.

Our view as we are breakfast this morning

The book by my bed today is The Mapmaker’s Daughter by Clare Marchant

This is a historical fiction novel set mainly in London in 1580, a time when England was constantly worrying about the threat of a Spanish invasion and Spanish plots to overthrow Queen Elizabeth in favour of her catholic cousin, Mary Queen of Scots. This is one from my Net Galley shelf and I need to get it read and reviewed soon as it’s due to be published on Sept 1st.

Blurb from the book:
Present day: When thirty-six-year-old Robyn Willoughby discovers an exquisite yet blood-stained Tudor map in her father’s antique map shop, desperate for a distraction from her problems, she decides to investigate. But as Robyn delves into the mystery, she finds herself caught up in a centuries-old secret – one that will change her life forever.

1569: Forced to flee Holland to escape persecution, twenty-year-old Freida Ortelius uses her mapmaking skills to start anew in London. Soon her rare talent catches the eye of Queen Elizabeth, who demands Freida’s help in fighting the Spanish threat. Freida must now embark on a deadly mission, the consequences of which will echo down the ages…

I do love a dual timeline story. This is the story of Robyn who is still recovering from the disappearance of her husband during a sailing race seven years previously and the story of Freida who creates a map for Sir Francis Drake. It’s mainly Freida’s story but the story of how Robyn pieces together the history of the map is fascinating. A great read so far.

What are you reading this Sunday?

Half a Soul – a review

Genre – Romance, Regency romance, Fantasy
Net Galley ARC
Publication Date – June 30th
Rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is a  gorgeous Regency romance with a healthy dose of magic and a sprinkling of satire.

I wasn’t sure whether I would enjoy Half a Soul or not. I love historical fiction and all things Regency but I’m not a convert to stories about the fae and so I didn’t know how I would feel about a book that combined the two. I didn’t need to worry though, Olivia Atwood put the two worlds together and it worked brilliantly.

We first meet Dora as a nine year old when she encounters the fae lord in the local wood. He steals half her soul and she grows up never quite feeling any of the emotions that she is supposed to. The story really begins when Dora accompanies her cousin Violet to London for the season. In London she meets the sorcerer, Lord Sorcier who Violet hopes can free Dora from the fae curse.

I really loved the character of Dora. Her matter of fact manner and bluntness made her an interesting heroine. I enjoyed the way the author really tried to convey how her emotions were blocked by the lack of her soul. She was perfectly matched by the very bad-tempered Lord Sorcier who hated society and the need to be polite. As the story progresses, we find out more about Elias and begin to understand his manner. The book is full of brilliant characters from the master of the workhouse to the Fae lords but one of my favourite characters was Albert, the third son of an earl who Dora’s aunt tries to pair her off with. Their friendship was one of the many strong points of the novel.

The novel did a brilliant job of looking at the unfairness of society too. This is often an issue not covered by Regency romances but Olivia Atwood really showed us the dreadful conditions in the workhouses and how this compared with the opulence of the lives lived by the aristocracy. It was good to see a portrayal of those people who worked to improve the lives of the poor and I loved Albert’s mother who did what she could to help. I was a bit puzzled by Dora’s anger towards Violet when Violet didn’t feel the outrage that Dora expected. It felt a bit illogical because Dora hadn’t understood until she actually saw the workhouse but also her anger seemed a bit out of place with her character and general lack of emotion.

There was so much that I enjoyed about this novel that it is difficult to put it all in one review. One element that I did enjoy was the satirical view of London society. The Fae ball was a great example of this when the author poked fun at the conventions of polite balls through the eyes of the fae.

There were a couple of occasions when the author’s choice of language jarred and didn’t feel appropriate to the period. However, the thing that really spoilt the novel for me was the epilogue. Without giving anything away, it seemed unnecessary and I felt that it actually reduced what had gone before.

Apart from that awkward epilogue, this was a brilliant read for any lover of Regency Romance with a bit of added magic.

Half a Soul is published by Little Brown Book Group on June 30th.

Historical Crime Fiction Wrap up

The Historical Reader challenge is hosted by Marg at The Intrepid Reader and details and the sign up page can be found here. I’ve actually read quite a lot of historical crime fiction books but not reviewed them so this post is a catch up of those books with mini reviews of each one.

Rotten to the Core by T E Kinsey

I love this series featuring Lady Emily Hardcastle and her lady’s maid Flo and this one was just as much fun as the previous books. We are in 1911 in the middle of a heatwave with the harvest rapidly approaching when there is a series of murders. All the victims are members of the mysterious Weyrers Society and obviously, Lady Hardcastle and Flo are on hand to help the police with their investigations.

The strength of these books for me is the relationship between Flo and Lady Hardcastle. Flo is a brilliant character who tells us the story from her own viewpoint and although technically, a lady’s maid, her friendship with her employer is clear. The dialogue between them is witty and often made me laugh out loud. The other characters are brilliantly written too and stay just the right side of caricature.

I felt that the book lost something towards the end. Maybe it was the inclusion of Diana Caudle as an addition to the sleuthing team? There were almost too many people involved with solving the mystery. However, this was a thoroughly enjoyable read and the perfect accompaniment to a Summer’s evening with possibly a glass of cider.

Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest review. Rotten to the Core will be published by Amazon on 7th June.

Hungry Death by Robin Blake

I thoroughly enjoyed this historical mystery even though I haven’t read any of the previous books in this series. Although there are one or two references to previous cases, the book works perfectly as a stand-alone.

The novel is set in the 1740s and the coroner, Titus Cragg, has been called to determine the cause of gruesome family deaths at a local farm. The family concerned were all part of a mysterious cult which may have contributed to the killings. In addition to this, another body is discovered at the house of the local magistrate during improvements to his hot house. Cragg and his friend, Doctor Fidelis now have two mysteries to investigate.

I really enjoyed both the mystery and the historical setting of this story. The story was well-plotted and the historical detail gave an excellent idea of life at the time for both rich and some of the poorest people. I really enjoyed the way that the mysteries were solved by Cragg and Fidelis with the help of other people. All the different threads of the story eventually came together in the inquest as the evidence was finally pulled together

This was a great historical murder mystery and  I will certainly look out for other books in this series. Thank you to Net Galley and the publishers, Severn House for my ARC in exchange for my honest review. Hungry Death was published on May 3rd.

Dear Little Corpses by Nicola Upson

I really loved this book. Dear Little Corpses is Nicola Upson’s latest novel in her brilliant series featuring the novelist and playwright, Josephine Tey and I think it is possibly her best yet. Although it is part of a series, it is entirely possible to read this as a stand-alone. After reading this one, I’m now going back and finding the books in the series that I’ve missed so far.

This latest book is set right on the eve of WWII as the country waits for war to be declared. It opens with three apparently unconnected scenes, a murder victim is discovered in a block of flats in London, a family say goodbye to their 5 year old daughter as the evacuation of children begins and in Suffolk, Josephine and her lover Marta are preparing to help with the arrival of the evacuees.

The scene setting and historical detail is brilliant and you really get a feel for what it might have been like in September 1939. The story unfolds very gradually which allows you time to get to know the cast of characters many of whom have their dark secrets. I loved the introduction of Margery Allingham into the novel and the new friendship between her and Josephine was delightful. I really hope that this continues to feature in future books. The plot is brilliantly worked out and as the story develops, we see how the three opening scenes are in fact, connected after all.

I would definitely recommend this book and am grateful to Net Galley and the publishers, Faber and Faber for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest review. Dear Little Corpses was published on May 19th

A Dangerous Engagement by Ashley Weaver

Unlike the previous books in this post, this is one of my current library books and was published in September 2019.

The book is set in the early 1930s when English socialite and amateur detective Amory Ames travels with her husband to New York to attend the wedding of her childhood friend Tabitha Alden. On arrival in New York, Ashley begins to feel that something is very wrong. Both Tabitha and her father seem to be on edge and keeping secrets from the other. Mr Alden’s business seems to be doing suspiciously well and Ashley begins to wonder if he is involved in illegal bootlegging as Prohibition is in force in the US. There are also tensions between Tabitha and one of the friends of her fiance who will be best man at the wedding. However, the tensions don’t prepare anyone for the shock when one of the wedding party is brutally murdered.

The book contains all the ingredients necessary for a story set in this period. The wedding party attend night clubs and speak easies and there is quite a lot of description of Amory’s clothes. It’s an enjoyable read and Amory is an interesting character. I liked the relationship between her and her husband Milo which isn’t always as smooth as it might be. The supporting characters are well written and I especially liked the portrayal of the night club singer Esther who is more than she initially seems to be. The historical setting is well done and feels accurate.

Historical Crime Fiction continues to be one of my favourite genres and I thoroughly enjoyed each one of these books.

Have you read any good historical fiction lately?

A Lady’s Guide to Fortune Hunting – a review

Blurb taken from Net Galley:

The season is about to begin – and there’s not a minute to lose…Kitty Talbot needs a fortune. Or rather, she needs a husband who has a fortune. This is 1818 after all, and only men have the privilege of seeking their own riches.
With only twelve weeks until the bailiffs call, launching herself into London society is the only avenue open to her, and Kitty must use every ounce of cunning and ingenuity she possesses to climb the ranks.
The only one to see through her plans is the worldly Lord Radcliffe and he is determined to thwart her at any cost, especially when it comes to his own brother falling for her charms.
Can Kitty secure a fortune and save her sisters from poverty? There is not a day to lose and no one – not even a lord – will stand in her way…

This was a light-hearted fun romp through Regency London. Newly orphaned and jilted Kitty Talbot decides that the only way she can repay all her parents’ debts and look after her younger sisters is by travelling to London and finding a wealthy husband.

She and a younger sister go to stay with their mother’s oldest friend who has a distinctly murky past and try to join elite society in order to attract a wealthy suitor. The book follows her in her search for an eligible husband and all the trademark notes of a Regency romance are present here: officers returned from the horrors of Waterloo, Almacks and Hyde Park together with the essential balls.

Kitty is a likeable but strong-willed character who will not be put off her objective even though she has the occasional doubt about whether she is doing the right thing. Some of the best scenes are when she justifies her actions by pointing out the fact that she has no other alternatives open to her. Her main opposition to achieving her ambition is James who is determined to prevent her marrying his brother. This isn’t quite an enemies to lovers scenario but there is certainly a great deal of suspicion and bad feeling between them. This results in some very lively scenes between them as neither of them can see good in the other.

There are some lovely secondary characters too who also add humour to the book. Many of these characters will feel familiar to lovers of Georgette Heyer  and the book has many similarities with her classic Regency romances. However, Sophie Irwin has a lively style of her own and the character of Kitty brings this genre right up to date. She is far more outspoken than I suspect any well brought up woman would be at that time but I think that makes her far more relevant to a modern reader. I also liked the fact that in true Jane Austen or Georgette Heyer style, the book is very chaste. There are no steamy sex scenes in this story which might disappoint some readers. However, I really enjoyed this novel and will certainly be reading more by the author.

Thank you to Net Galley and Harper Collins for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.

A Lady’s Guide to Fortune Hunting was published on May 12th

This is another book for my Historical Fiction Reader Challenge. For details see the May page here

Miss Aldridge Regrets – a review

Happy Publication day to Miss Aldridge Regrets.

When I saw this book on Net Galley, the cover, the blurb and the author all appealed. I thoroughly enjoyed Louise Hare’s previous book, This Lovely City and the idea of a murder mystery aboard a trans-Atlantic cruise liner was something I was definitely eager to read.

The story opens in London in 1936. Lena Aldridge is a singer who has never managed to achieve the heights of success that she dreamed of and is singing in a dingy night club when she receives an almost too good to be true offer of a role in a new musical on Broadway. That night she witnesses the murder of her boss by her best friend and feels that she has no option but to take the job and sail for New York on the Queen Mary.

While on board, she comes into contact with the wealthy Abernathy family and is witness to another death. The story is told as a dual time line: one as she travels across the Atlantic and the other as we see the previous week  and the events that lead up to the voyage. There are also diary entries from an unnamed protagonist who appears to be present at all of the significant events and also pulling the strings of the characters.

I loved reading this story. The settings both in London and on the liner are well described. We go from the sleaziness of the night club to the sumptuousness of travelling first class and both come alive for the reader. The character of Lena was really well written. The issue of race and the treatment of non-white people isn’t such a big part of the book as in This Lovely City but it is still a major part of Lena’s character. She is the mixed race daughter of a black Jazz pianist but is able to pass for someone of southern European heritage and has not really been the subject of racial prejudice before this. Lena grows up in more than one way during this voyage and her understanding of her heritage is part of this.

The other characters cover a wide range: we have the wealthy but unpleasant Abernathys with their sense of entitlement; the corrupt night club owner Tommy who is married to her best friend; Will who is a black pianist on the ship and a host of other minor characters who all flesh out the setting. All of the characters came alive for me and the Louise Hare’s ability to show the different social settings is brilliant.

The plot is interesting and definitely has echoes of an Agatha Christie mystery as the limited cast of characters fall under suspicion one by one. I felt that the weakest part of the book was the conclusion of the mystery and I wasn’t totally convinced by the murderer. However, I did enjoy the journey and love the author’s writing style.

Thanks to Net Galley and the publishers Berkley Books for my ARC in exchange for my honest review. Miss Aldridge Regrets is published today, April 28th.

The Toll Gate #1954 Club

The 1954 Club started this Monday, hosted by Karen and Simon, who ask everyone to read one or more books published in 1954 – in any language, format, or place – and share their reviews. Together, they will put together an overview of the year.

I’ve read several of the posts about previous years but haven’t actually written a blog post for it before. However, 1954 was such a great year for books that I felt I had to join in and reread one of my favourite books from that year.

I’m celebrating Georgette Heyer this month. With the release of Season 2 of Bridgerton, it seems appropriate to remember the all-time queen of Regency romance novels. I’ve read lots of Regency novels by more modern authors but none of them quite measure up to Georgette Heyer’s masterpieces.

“How can I know you are to be trusted? I never set eyes on you until yesterday?”

Blurb from the back of the Pan paperback:

Georgette Heyer is famous for her delightful Regency romances and there is a modern sophistication about her handling of them that makes the stories irresistible. This post-Waterloo adventure is no exception.
A handsome captain of Dragoon Guards becomes involved with an engaging highwayman, a taciturn Bow Street runner and a stolen hoard of golden coins whilst protecting the squire’s attractive grand daughter from black villainy.

Blurbs obviously had a very style back in the early sixties!! I used to scour the local market for my collection of Heyer books and this one cost me the grand sum of 30p sometime back in the 1970s. It’s very battered now and probably needs replacing as a page is now falling out 😢

Heyer is most famous for her London based Regency stories featuring balls and the London season but some of my favourites are the ones set in more traditionally Jane Austen setting of a small country house. This one is a variation of that setting as it’s set in a Toll House in the Wilds of the Derbyshire Peak District.

Captain Jack Staples is bored and when he stumbles on the mystery of the missing Toll Gate keeper as he travels to visit a friend, he can’t resist the temptation to stay and find out what is happening.

He then meets Nell Stornaway, the grand daughter (not the niece as stated in the blurb above!) of the local squire who is dying and immediately falls in love. The book is about their romance but this is set against a backdrop of the mystery of the missing gate keeper and Nell’s cousin having turned up with a decidedly dodgy friend in tow. Jack is sure that the arrival of Henry Stornaway and his friend are connected to Ned Brean’s disappearance and is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery as well as pursue his romance with Nell.

Jack Staples is one of Georgette Heyer’s gentle giant heroes and unusually, this story is told from his point of view. The book has a lot in common with another of my favourites, The Unknown Ajax whose main character is very similar. The romance between Captain Jack and Nell is quite low key but very tender. The main focus of the book really though is the mystery of where the gate keeper is and the situation that Jack has found himself in.

As always with Georgette Heyer, the secondary characters are brilliantly written. She does a great line in young boys and 11 year old Ben in this book is one of my favourites. I loved the character of Rose too, Nell’s old nurse who doesn’t stand for any nonsense from anyone. All of the characters come alive though from the dying squire to the landlord of the local pub.

The only downside to this book could be that there is a lot of thieves slang in it which could make it hard for someone who might not have read a lot of this type of thing before. Don’t let that put you off though, if you haven’t read this before, then give it a try.

There were many other books published in 1954 that I loved. Obviously the first two volumes of Lord of the Rings will always be a favourite but some of my others are below.

Katherine by Anya Seton
I just loved this historical novel about the affair between John of Gaunt and the wife of one of his knights, Katherine Swynford. The fact that he married her when he was free to do so and after so many years seems to me to show that it really was a love affair.

Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov
This was the first of Asimov’s robot novels and is a murder mystery so that ticked two of my favourite genres, Sci Fi and Crime. I also loved the way that he eventually linked this series with his Foundation series.

The Horse and his Boy by C S Lewis
I always much preferred this book to the ones involving Eustace who just used to annoy me. I really enjoyed reading about the Pevensey children as adult rulers and I loved Bree.

The Chalet School and Barbara by Elinor M Brett Dyer
As a young teenager, I adored the Chalet School books and spent many happy hours day dreaming about becoming a pupil there. This one was always one of my favourites as I always felt that I could identify with Barbara. I still have my collection of over 50 Armada paperbacks up in the attic.

These are my favourite books that were published in 1954. What would yours be?