The best books with the common theme of a powerful sense of history, as well as the forces of oppression and exploitation

Joy V. Sheridan Author Of The Lamorna Reach: A Cornish Saga
By Joy V. Sheridan

Who am I?

The collection Little Musings, available on Amazon, covers several decades of Joy's work as poet and painter. It touches on many aspects of her life, including the loss of her mother, in Do Not Mourn Her and Loss - Double Rainbow. Her childhood was spent in Plymouth, and in A Plymouth Girl Reflects, she recalls the aftermath of the air raids. Being in close proximity to Cornwall, that area also a major theme here, especially in Newquay, Cornwall, and On Air, By Melancholy. Four of the poems, "Absent Friends," "Isle of Thanet," "At Jim's Cafe," and "Captain Ahab of Thanet" are focused on the Thanet area of East Kent, where Joy now lives.

I wrote...

The Lamorna Reach: A Cornish Saga

By Joy V. Sheridan,

Book cover of The Lamorna Reach: A Cornish Saga

What is my book about?

The Lamorna Reach presents a Zola-esque tableau of raw, elemental life in early 19th Century Cornwall. Issy, the heroine, is incredibly beautiful and talented, but these qualities do not secure her a happy, comfortable life. She is born a foundling, under the most brutal circumstances, and is fostered. Issy undergoes rape and abuse, and is pressurised into an oppressive marriage. There is a saga of mutual obsession between her and the fascinating dark and menacing Tobias Carmichael, who seduces but does not control her. There are brief glimpses of euphoria and romance. Issy is a fiercely independent spirit; true to form, she disguises herself as a man and goes on a maritime expedition. Eventually, jealousy and prejudice conspire to take her life; but her spirit lives on.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Tess of the D Urbervilles

Why did I love this book?

Tess of the D'Urbervilles has the dual quality of a being great work of literature, and a polemic which faces the issues of poverty and oppression—an incredibly honest, balanced portrayal of all aspects of rural life. Many of my personal problems reflected the traumas faced by the tragic heroine.

By Thomas Hardy,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Tess of the D Urbervilles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

HarperCollins is pround to present its new range of best-loved, essential classics.

'My life looks as if it had been wasted for want of chances! When I see what you know, what you have read, and seen, and thought, I feel what a nothing I am!'

Challenging the hypocrisy and social conventions of the rural Victorian world, Tess of the D'Urbervilles follows the story of Tess Durbeyfield as she attempts to escape the poverty of her background, seeking wealth by claiming connection with the aristocratic D'Urberville family. It is through Tess's relationships with two very different men that Hardy tells…

Jamaica Inn

By Daphne du Maurier,

Book cover of Jamaica Inn

Why did I love this book?

Jamaica Inn is another grand literary role model, though it gave me a sense of something missing. It was too glamorous, too romanticised. The harsh underside of life needed more prominence. However, it narrative pace, sustained sense of drama and suspense cannot be faulted, can never fail as a creative catalyst.  

By Daphne du Maurier,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Jamaica Inn as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

After the death of her mother, Mary Yellan crosses the windswept Cornish moors to Jamaica Inn, the home of her Aunt Patience. There she finds Patience a changed woman, downtrodden by her domineering, vicious husband Joss Merlyn. The inn is a front for a lawless gang of criminals, and Mary is unwillingly dragged into their dangerous world of smuggling and murder. Before long she will be forced to cross her own moral line to save herself.

The Cornish Captive

By Nicola Pryce,

Book cover of The Cornish Captive

Why did I love this book?

The Cornish Captive makes a powerful portrayal of abduction and imprisonment, as well as describing the forces of mental stress under the elemental pressures of Cornish life of that time. Cornish society then was unbelievably brutal. I identify so strongly with the sufferings of any sensitive soul under those conditions.

By Nicola Pryce,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Cornish Captive as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The sixth novel in a stunning series set in eighteenth-century Cornwall, perfect for fans of Bridgerton

Cornwall, 1800.

Imprisoned on false pretences, Madeleine Pelligrew, former mistress of Pendenning Hall, has spent the last 14 years shuttled between increasingly destitute and decrepit mad houses. When a strange man appears out of the blue to release her, she can't quite believe that her freedom comes without a price. Hiding her identity, Madeleine determines to discover the truth about what happened all those years ago.

Unsure who to trust and alone in the world, Madeleine strikes a tentative friendship with a French prisoner…

Book cover of The Lip: a novel of the Cornwall tourists seldom see

Why did I love this book?

At this time there was extensive maritime traffic between Cornwall and the West Indies. The Lip also has an affinity with my own experience, which included going on a Transatlantic Voyage, described in my own book, and a collection of poems I wrote on board.

By Charlie Carroll,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Lip as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


'This unsparing debut novel portrays the unromantic side of Cornwall few visitors see and which so many novelists choose to overlook. Charlie Carroll inhabits his damaged heroine completely' Patrick Gale
'A moving and affecting novel about life on the edge, with a very special flavour of wild and rugged Cornwall.' Emma Stonex, author of THE LAMPLIGHTERS

Away from the hotels and holiday lets, there is an unseen side of Cornwall, where…

The Tide Between Us

By Olive Collins,

Book cover of The Tide Between Us

Why did I love this book?

The Tide Between Us is similarly typical of many Cornish novels which involve travel to the West Indies. The maritime links between those areas were extremely strong at those times. It therefore relates to the Transatlantic factor in my own novels which involves the West Indies and the slave trade.   

By Olive Collins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Tide Between Us as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

1821: Among the thousands of Irish deportees to the Caribbean British Colonies is a 10 year old Irish boy, Art O’Neill. As an Indentured Servant on a sugar plantation in Jamaica, Art gradually acclimatises to the exotic country and the unfamiliar customs of the African slaves.When the new heirs to the plantation arrive from Ireland they resurrect the ghosts of brutal injustices against Art. He bides his time and hides his abhorrence from his new master by channelling his energy into his work. During those years he prospers, he acquires land, he sees his coloured children freed after emancipation as…

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Interested in Cornwall, good and evil, and family secrets?

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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