Every year I point out that this is not a book blog but every year there seem to be so many reviews… 2023 has been a comparatively quiet year with only 11 books. Click on the titles to go to the full-length reviews.

As ever, the majority of the books reviewed are historical, but there are a few contemporary novels too.


Wellington’s Smallest Victory: Peter Hofschroer

I have often visited Siborne’s model of the battle of Waterloo, which is displayed at the National Army Museum. I love it, despite the fact that in one very important aspect it is totally misleading. Peter Hofschroer’s wonderful book explains why and includes lots of fascinating detail on the battle. A must read-title for Waterloo fans.

This Bloody Shore: Lynn Bryant

I’m a huge fan of Bryant’s Manxman series, looking at the Peninsular War from a naval standpoint. This is the third in the series and I wholeheartedly recommend it.

The Gods of Tango: Carolina De Robertis

Obviously I like history and I love tango, so i would be enthusiastic about this book even if it wasn’t simply one of the best novels I have read in a very long time. I can’t begin to summarise how good it is in this snippet. Read my full review and then please go on and read the book.

Three books by Deborah Swift

I’m something of a Deborah Swift fan. She is an astonishingly prolific author and writes historical fiction in several different periods. Two of these, The Silk Code and The Shadow Network are set in World War II while the third, The Fortune Keeper takes place in Renaissance Venice. Swift’s ability to write convincingly about such different periods (she has good line in 17th century England as well) is astonishing and she has gripping plot lines too. Recommended.

The Illusions: Liz Hyder

I should have loved this book. It’s got conjurers, history and supernatural happenings, but it just didn’t work for me. I honestly can’t recommend it, but that doesn’t mean you won’t like it.


Legacy: Chris Coppel

This is a supernatural horror story: not my usual sort of thing, but the author contacted me and asked me to review it and the opening pages gripped me enough to carry on to the end. It’s a very good example of the genre.

The Retreat: Karen King

A mystery with more than a touch of romance from the ever-reliable romantic novelist, Karen King. It’s a fun, light read, likely to appeal to Agatha Christie fans.

Ailish Sinclair’s dance trilogy

I loved the first book in this trilogy, Tendu. It’s got sex and ballet and a touch of X-men superpowers. What’s not to like? The second in the series, Cabriole, didn’t work as well for me but, so far, the third, Fouette, has me completely gripped.

Me, me, me!

Beside reading all these books by others, I managed to put out two books of my own this year. As with the books reviewed, my efforts were partly historical (Burke and the Lines of Torres Vedras) and partly contemporary (Monsters in the Mist). I obviously haven’t reviewed them, but others have said:

I can heartily recommend this thrilling adventure

Amazon review of Torres Vedras

100% recommend

Amazon review of Monsters in the Mist

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