Skip to main content


Bitter Flowers by Gunnar Staalesen translated by Don Bartlett #Review #NordicNoir

  Today we have another in the brilliant Varg Veum series by Gunnar Staalesen , Bitter Flowers . It was published in paperback by Orenda Books on January 21st 2022 as a  vintage classic. I also have the chance for you to win a print copy of the book. Details on how to enter are at the foot of this post.  Fresh from rehab, PI Varg Veum faces his most complex investigation yet, when a man is found drowned, a young woman disappears, and the case of a missing child is revived. The classic Nordic Noir series continues... PI Varg Veum has returned to duty following a stint in rehab, but his new composure and resolution are soon threatened when three complex crimes land on his desk. A man is found dead in an elite swimming pool. A young woman has gone missing. Most chillingly, Veum is asked to investigate the ‘Camilla Case’: an eight-year-old cold case involving the disappearance of a little girl, who was never found. As the threads of these three apparently unrelated cases

Jane Austen's Best Friend: The Life and Influence of Martha LLoyd by Zoe Wheddon #Review


Today we take a look at Zoe Wheddon's examination of Jane Austen's close friend, Martha Lloyd.

All fans of Jane Austen everywhere believe themselves to be best friends with the beloved author and this book shines a light on what it meant to be exactly that. Jane Austen's Best Friend; The Life and Influence of Martha Lloyd offers a unique insight into Jane's private inner circle. Through this heart-warming examination of an important and often overlooked person in Jane's world, we uncover the life changing force of their friendship. Each chapter details the fascinating facts and friendship forming qualities that tied Jane and Martha together. Within these pages we will relive their shared interests, the hits and misses of their romantic love lives, their passion for shopping and fashion, their family histories, their lucky breaks and their girly chats. This book offers a behind the scenes tour of the shared lives of a fascinating pair and the chance to deepen our own bonds in 'love and friendship' with them both.

My Thoughts

Zoe Wheddon takes a look at Martha Lloyd who was a great friend of Jane Austen. In doing so, she has shown us how both women's lives were interlinked and the story of one sheds light on the other. As the notes at the end show, this is a well researched and detailed look at Jane Austen's domestic life. Marriage is at the heart of Jane's writing and, as this book demonstrates, it was central to the lives of Jane's contemporaries. In Jane's family and associates, there are different models of relationships but they all show you how women's place in society hinged on their marital status. Jane and Martha's close friendship shows how they supported each other in their life choices.

    Although in some ways, you see Martha through Jane's eyes, she emerges as a warm and loyal friend who was extremely capable. I loved all the detail about her house journal which contained a huge variety of recipes and information to help her run the house. It shows the links between a great range of people and I would imagine it would be a fascinating read and an insight into life in Chawton. 

In short: Jane and Martha's friendship comes to life


About the Author

'A native of Jane Austen's beloved county of Hampshire, Zoe Wheddon, lives in a village on the outskirts of the town that she and her husband Matt grew up in, with three grown up children and a cat called Leia.


She co-presents the popular podcast What Would Jane Do and writes articles and book reviews on matters relating to friendship, self-compassion and personal development on her blog. When not researching or writing her next book, Zoe can be found in the classroom teaching Spanish and French or singing ABBA songs loudly in her kitchen.'

You can follow Zoe here: Twitter  |  Website   |  Facebook   |                                                         Instagram 

Book links: Amazon UK  |  Amazon US   |  Waterstones         

                |  Pen and Stone 


Thanks to Zoe Wheddon, Pen and Stone History and Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for a copy of the book and a place on the tour.

Check out these great bloggers!