Instead of doing individual reviews for all the books I read during Autumn, I thought I would write a wrap-up full of short and snappy thoughts on the books I read.
#1 Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
This is one of the books that I’ve actually written a whole review on. You can read that here! I really loved this book and would definitely recommend it. George Orwell is quickly becoming one of my favourite authors and I can’t wait to read more of his work.
#2 The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
I really enjoyed The Essex Serpent. I thought the plot was really good; I loved the contrast between religion, science and myth. I found the descriptions of the months, changing seasons and environment enchanting for creating an atmosphere. However, this book didn’t really feel Victorian to me (despite it being set in the 1890’s). I also wasn’t a fan of the main character and the love triangle that followed her. I would have preferred more emphasis on the serpent and the atmosphere that created.
#3 The Victorian Underworld by Kellow Chesney
Despite this book being non-fiction, I got through it surprisingly quickly! I found it informative and unbiased. It’s quite similar to how Down and Out in Paris and London is written; as a sort of ethnographical account of Chesney’s experiences of living in London. I remember reading some of Mayhew’s work in Geography and found that to be more scholarly and judgemental, whereas Kellow Chesney’s work was different. It was accessible and Victorian England was brought to life.
#4 The Witchfinder’s Sister by Beth Underdown
I love books about witches, witch hunts and trials (I’m always looking for new suggestions so if you have any, send them my way!) The main character, Alice Hopkins, is fictitious. However her brother and his story is actually true. Though the book was very interesting, I do think it needed further research into Matthew and why he thought the way he did. Matthew Hopkins gravitated towards accusing the old, feeble, poor and disabled women of witchcraft. There’s no real indication of the wider context surrounding witch trials in England during the Civil War and it’s sort of implied that Matthew is just a fanatic out for revenge. It’s a highly atmopsheric book based on one of the most intriguing topics for me. It’s spooky and Beth Underdown really captures the paranoia and franticness of the witch trials.
#5 Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
I have read this book countless times before and every time I fall a little bit more in love with it. It still never ceases to amaze me that this book was written by a woman at a time when women weren’t encouraged to write. Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein when she was 18 years old and I am fascinated by her story and how much she went through at such a young age. Mary Shelley published the work anonymously and Percy Shelley wrote the preface. This meant that many people believed Percy Shelley to the be the author and, even when the book was re-published with Mary Shelley’s name as the author, people still do not believe that a woman could have written this book. Every time I read this revolutionary piece, I always give it 5 stars!
What have you read this Autumn?
Thanks for reading!