I love January… well, I should clarify that statement. I love January minus heatwaves and drought conditions, I usually love January minus floods (although after three years of January flooding I should be use to that too!) and windstorms thanks to ex-tropical cyclones. January is ‘brain rest’ time for me when I can stop creating characters and settle down with a good book. I am actually still wading through my holiday to-read pile and Diamond Jack winks at me every time I look at my bedside table.

This January I chose an ecletic list of titles. As a writer I rarely read within my own genre, instead I hit the non-fiction titles for research purposes or select a novel steeped in history and a period I either love or know little about. So last month I found myself reading about the early life of Catherine the Great in ‘The Winter Palace’. The narrative was compulsive with the cunning young Catherine clearly adept at manipulation and obsessed with power from an early age. I then jumped countries to France where the English Black Knight was raging war against the French. Bernard Cornwall certainly knows how to write epic battle scenes and the period detail was amazing in 1356. Rose Tremaine’s Merivale transported me back to France and was beautifully enegaging, however it was Sebastian Faulks ‘A Possible Life’ that was my pick of the pile. The work is a collection of short stories however the back of book blurb certainly didn’t give that away. A clever piece of marketing considering short story collections historically never sell quite as well as longer forms of fiction… Apologies for the lack of links in this brief blog however google seems to be having a cold moment, freezing when least expected.