A Place of Greater Safety

By Hilary Mantel,

Book cover of A Place of Greater Safety

Book description

This novel follows the lives of three major figures in the French Revolution - Robespierre, Danton and Desmoulins - from their childhoods in Northern France through to the last terrifying moments of their execution. The book juxataposes private occasions with public events.

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Why read it?

3 authors picked A Place of Greater Safety as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I am a big historical fiction fan and, in recent years, have discovered the work of Hilary Mantel. This book focuses on The French Revolution and the drama around it. It is an epic tale in itself, and Mantel brings the frontrunners of the political upheavals – Danton, Robespierre, and Desmoulins - to the fore in a very human manner. 

Despite the darkness of that time, there are threads of humour to be found in the writing, much of which made me chuckle aloud.

The sense of atmosphere, of place, of people, it was just perfect. I didn’t want to…

I loved this book because of its fantastic use of point of view. At times, it brought me right into the heads of the characters. Then, it zoomed out to the perspective of a news reporter. And back again.

This gave historical events of 200+ years ago an immediacy that, at times, made it hard to read. After all, I was experiencing the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror.

Even though I knew how things were going to end for the characters, I kept hoping it would turn out differently. The final chapters are unsentimental but heart-wrenching.

A compelling historical fiction with the background of the French Revolution. The book describes the three main figures from the outside province to Paris who made the agitated and bloody history. Camille was related to the capture of Bastille; Danton made the execution of Louis XVI and Robespierre—the Terror. They enjoyed the happiness of power, but also paid a heavy price for it. We can see how humanity was lost in the turbulent revolutionary storm. 

The Woman at the Wheel

By Penny Haw,

Book cover of The Woman at the Wheel

Penny Haw Author Of The Invincible Miss Cust

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Why am I passionate about this?

Author Storyteller Dog walker Dreamer Runner Reader

Penny's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Inspiring historical fiction based on the real life of Bertha Benz, whose husband built the first prototype automobile, which eventually evolved into the Mercedes-Benz marque.

"Unfortunately, only a girl again."

From a young age, Cäcilie Bertha Ringer is fascinated by her father's work as a master builder in Pforzheim, Germany. But those five words, which he wrote next to her name in the family Bible, haunt Bertha.

Years later, Bertha meets Carl Benz and falls in love—with him and his extraordinary dream of building a horseless carriage. Bertha has such faith in him that she invests her dowry in his plans, a dicey move since they alone believe in the machine. When Carl's partners threaten to withdraw their support, he's ready to cut ties. Bertha knows the decision would ruin everything. Ignoring the cynics, she takes matters into her own hands, secretly planning a scheme that will either hasten the family's passage to absolute derision or prove their genius. What Bertha doesn't know is that Carl is on the cusp of making a deal with their nemesis. She's not only risking her marriage and their life's work, but is also up against the patriarchy, Carl's own self-doubt, and the clock.

Like so many other women, Bertha lived largely in her husband's shadow, but her contributions are now celebrated in this inspiring story of perseverance, resilience, and love.

The Woman at the Wheel

By Penny Haw,

What is this book about?

Inspiring historical fiction based on the real life of Bertha Benz, whose husband built the first prototype automobile, which eventually evolved into the Mercedes-Benz marque.

"Unfortunately, only a girl again."

From a young age, Cacilie Bertha Ringer is fascinated by her father's work as a master builder in Pforzheim, Germany. But those five words, which he wrote next to her name in the family Bible, haunt Bertha.

Years later, Bertha meets Carl Benz and falls in love-with him and his extraordinary dream of building a horseless carriage. Bertha has such faith in him that she invests her dowry in his…


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