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    • Michelle

      Important Announcement!   07/28/2018

      Dear BCF members,   This forum has been running now for many years, and over that time we have seen many changes. Generalised forums are nowhere near as popular as they once were, and they have been very much taken over by blogs, vlogs and social media discussions. Running a forum well takes money, and a lot of care and attention, as there is so much which goes on behind the scenes to keep things running smoothly.   With all of this in mind, and after discussion within the current moderator team, the decision has been made to close this forum in its current format. I know that this will disappoint a lot of our long term members, but I want to reassure you that it's not a decision which has been taken lightly.    The remaining moderator team have agreed that we do not want to lose everything which is special about our home, and so we are starting a brand new facebook group, so that people can stay in touch, and discussions can continue. We can use it for free and should be easier for us to run (it won't need to be updated or hosted). We know not everyone has FaceBook, but we hope that those of you who are interested will join the group. We will share the link, and send invites as soon as we are ready to go. Added: We may as well get this going, find us here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/195289821332924/   The forum will close to new registrations, but will remain open for some time, to allow people to collect up any information, reading lists etc they need to, and to ensure they have contact details for those they wish to stay in touch with.    The whole team feel sad to say goodbye, but we also feel that it's perhaps time and that it feels like the right choice. We hope we can stay in touch with all of you through our new FaceBook group.   I personally want to thank everyone who has helped me moderate the forum, both in the past and the present, and I also want to thank every single person who has visited, and shared their love of books.. I'm so proud of everything we've achieved, and the home we built.   Please visit the new section in the Lounge section to discuss this further, ask questions etc.


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About Madeleine

  • Rank
  • Birthday 06/05/1964

Profile Information

  • Reading now?
    The Travelling Bag by Susan Hill & The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell
  • Location:
    SE England
  • Interests
    Reading, walking, visiting places of interest, getting out of London.

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  1. Madeleine's Book Log - ongoing

    The Witch-Finder's Sister by Beth Underdown - this is another take on the story of Matthew Hopkins, the self-styled Witchfinder General who briefly terrorised parts of Essex and Suffolk (and a little further afield) in the first half of the 17th century; he was after women who had been accused of witchcraft, and rounded them up for questioning and then for trial. But the story is told by his sister, Alice (who may or may not have existed) who is forced to return to live with Matthew in the Essex town of Manningtree after her husband is killed in an accident in London. She's also expecting a baby, but, because she's had several miscarriages, is too scared and superstitious to tell anyone about the pregnancy. So she finds herself generally friendless, and with a cold brother who seems set on his macabre crusade against alleged witches. Apparently this had happened before ,but previously the suspects were released without charge, after cooling their heels in prison for a while, and initially Alice thinks the same thing will happen this time. But once it becomes apparent that things are more serious, she starts to wonder who she can trust, and eventually has to admit that her once beloved brother is on a path of evil obsession, and when he takes her with him to help "search" the witches for suspicious marks, she comes close to despair. Only the thought of hopefully being able to help and maybe save some of the women keeps her going. This was a well-written book, although the subject matter doesn't really make it enjoyable, but it's a slightly different look at Matthew Hopkins, which tries to show him not totally as a monster, although sadly by the end even Alice has to admit that he has become one. A neat little twist at the end too. This is her first book and she's certainly a promising writer. 7.5/10
  2. Madeleine's Book Log - ongoing

    Emotional Geology by Linda Gillard - this is one of Linda Gillard's early books, in fact I think it might have been her first, and whilst it's good and is well-written, I think her later books are better. It's set mostly on the Hebridean island of North Uist, where Rose Leonard has set up home following a traumatic relationship breakdown which led to her being hospitalised, and to years of self-harming. Gradually she builds a new life, making friends with Shona, her nearest neighbour, and then becoming increasingly attracted to Shona's brother Calum. But the ghost of her old love affair still lingers, especially when she realises that it's quite possible that Calum may have met her ex, as both men are keen mountaineers; to the point of obsession in the case of her ex, and there's also the fractious relationship with her adult daughter, who suddenly turns up, to contend with. It's a story of healing, and learning to trust again - Rose's ex was a total **** but even so I think her reactions were a bit extreme, but it's not hard to see why she's so hesitant to fall in love again. But Calum has his own ghosts and traumas to come to terms with, too. A nice story, with a glorious setting, and a fair bit of humour, with the author handling the issues of mental illness and guilt very well. 7/10
  3. Madeleine's Book Log - ongoing

    Lost for Words by Stephanie Butland - Loveday Cardew works in a second hand bookshop in York; she's had a traumatic past and grew up in care, and gradually we find out what happened, although it's not difficult to guess early on. Terrified that someone will find out about her past, she keeps herself to herself, especially following a disastrous relationship with Rob, who has mental health problems but is also quite a piece of work. Then one day Nathan walks into the shop, having dropped a book in the street, which Loveday happens to have found, and slowly the two of them form a sweet relationship, but Loveday is convinced it can't last, and when a mysterious box of books is brought into the shop one day, she finds that her past is finally catching up with her. Truth will out, but we also find out that it is possible to move on, with the help of the right people, even through tragedy. I thought this was a lovely book, and I liked the way Loveday's past was revealed. Annabel was a lovely character and so of course were Archie (the bookshop owner) and Nathan, and, despite another tragedy happening towards the end of the book, I liked the positive note on which the book ended. I've been to Whitby and it was nice reading about the Whitby bookshop and all the steps again. I thought it was well-written and well paced, and a bit deeper than some books which tend to get labelled as chick lit. It did remind me quite a bit of Eleanor Oliphant, but I prefer this book to Eleanor. A good choice and will be in my top 10 this year 8/10
  4. Madeleine's Book Log - ongoing

    The Loving Cup by Winston Graham - this is the 10th in the Poldark series, and carries on directly from the events of the previous book, again it focussed more on the offspring of the Poldarks and Warleggans, although the adults are still very much in evidence. There are marriages, and more schemes, and the fallout from the last book still exerts a hold over some characters, I can't say more without spoilers! Suffice to say this was another good read in the series. 8/10 Heavenfield by L J Ross - this is the 3rd in the DCI Ryan crime series, set in glorious Northumberland, and this time Ryan finds himself a suspect, when he's found standing above the dead body of a man who was a close friend of his girlfriend, Anna, with blood on his hands. Of course his team knows he's innocent, but there are people in the force who would love to see him go down, in some cases probably literally, and they have to fight to help him prove his innocence, especially as he's already been suspended from the force. Then members of the Circle, a clandestine group of men and women from all walks of life, start to die, including some who were imprisoned following the murder investigation in the previous books. Then their own boss is also attacked, and his wife disappears - the team know that he's involved, but can they prove it? And can they stop the Circle from removing everyone who gets in their way? This was another gripping adventure, with a thrilling, if slightly OTT, denouement, at Bamburgh Castle, and at only 250 pages it was a snappy read. In fact, I wish it could have been a bit longer! But the characters are developing nicely, although it would be nice if the story could move on from the Circle now. A great series, with a fabulous setting. 8/10
  5. What's the weather like?

    It's not that cold but it'd been really windy here the last few days!
  6. Later Tonight - Pet Shop Boys
  7. Good year for the Roses - Elvis Costello
  8. Madeleine's Book Log - ongoing

    Earthly Remains by Donna Leon - latest in the Brunetti crime series set in Venice, and Brunetti is beginning to feel the strain and stress of his job, to the extent that he fakes a "turn" to prevent his colleague from over-reacting during the questioning of a possible suspect in the investigation into a young girl's drug overdose at a party. To his surprise, he's carted off to hospital, given tests and finds his blood pressure is very high, so he's immediately told to take at least 2 weeks off and have complete rest. His wife arranges for him to stay at a relative's villa on one of the islands in the Lagoon, and once there he befriends the villa's caretaker, who it turns out was friendly with his father. But crime is never far away, and when his new friend is killed in what looks like a boating accident during a violent storm, he's convinced there's more to the supposed "accident". Cue the opening of a can of worms which means digging back (literally) into his friend's background, and finding out some unsavoury truths about what really goes on in Venice. This was quite a languid read, but picked up halfway through once the investigation got going, although it did fizzle out a bit towards the end, but the author sometimes doesn't have a neat conclusion to her stories, which makes a change in crime fiction. There's a sense of fighting a losing battle here, but there is still a fair bit of humour, and the goodness of Brunetti and other characters comes through. 7.5/10
  9. Sweet little Mystery - Wet Wet Wet
  10. Never Ending Book Titles

    A Woman of Substance - Barbara Taylor Bradford
  11. Sweet Child o' Mine - Guns n Roses