Wednesday 10 November 2010


I have been a sensible girl and listened to the good advice of my friends – I have taken medication and gone to bed! The heavy cold having got the better of me, I took myself off to the spare bedroom and spent a night and day alternating sneezing, sleeping …and reading. Bob has been ministering to me with hot drinks and food and trying to avoid catching my germs [only time will tell on that score] He is very patient with me. I am a bad patient!


It seemed unwise to go in to school today and sit in a tiny room sneezing over the unfortunate children, so I have postponed their sessions [I will be able to make up the time with them when I am recovered]

The enforced rest has been made easier by the presence of a new book to read. I have mentioned C J Sansom’s Shardlake series before. On Sunday, Ian kindly lent me the latest - “Heartstone” – book 5 in the series about the hunchbacked Tudor lawyer.

hearstone shardlake


Now this is where things get a bit weird.


Last week I read “The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest” – a contemporary novel set in Sweden, centred on Lisbeth Salander, a young woman ruled to be mentally unstable and locked away in an institution for years.


Larsson, the author, feels very strongly about the abuse of power and injustices against women. He also writes about Very Strong Women

In Heartstone, Sansom is dealing with exactly the same issues- but set in 1545. Ellen Fettiplace has been incarcerated in Bedlam for nineteen years – and the lawyer believes there is something wrong about the judgement. The Queen [Catherine Parr – Henry VIIIs Mrs #6] – one of the VSW, sends Matthew Shardlake off to sort another case, and gradually all the tangled threads of the different storylines are unravelled. He still has his loyal assistant Barak with him, and he still seeks to act with integrity in every situation. And there, on p454, Barak is trying to prevent him getting further embroiled in possible dangers – they have this conversation…

Don’t go

I must…it was I stirred up the hornets’ nest…

And you’re going to try and get the hornets back in?

I am going to try and find out what happened

hornets nest



Hornet’s Nests are amazingly beautiful – but best left undisturbed, I feel!


I am intrigued to know whether C J Sansom read the Millennium Trilogy – and did that plant the seeds of the ideas about wrongful incarceration, powerful women and hornets in his brain?

That said, there is very little else in common between these two books! I really did enjoy this one – I think it is the best so far of the five [and I thought the other four were good reads too] But I would recommend reading them in the right order. I notice from the blurb on the dust jacket that both P D James and Colin Dexter [two more of my favourite authors] give CJS good reviews.

Remaining questions to be answered

  • Shardlake always acts with integrity – but what is the correct adjective for that ? I cannot for the life of me remember – he is certainly not ‘integral’ or ‘integrated’
  • Why are fits of sneezing so utterly debilitating?
  • Why am I such an impatient patient? [I am not good at rest and recovery] This is ONLY a heavy cold – many of my friends are much more sick than I, and deal with it much better
  • What shall I read next?

As I can’t get out to the library, I shall re-read something from the bookshelf. I think it should probably be this, don’t you? [More VSW!]

cornwell hornets nest



  1. I have to say I am not feeling on top form, but have no one to look after me. I fear a trip to the library after taking mum shopping tomorrow is needed

  2. Well don't bother with Hornet's Nest [Cornwell] I have got to Ch8, and consigned it to the Charity Shop Bag - but do try out the Sansom Stuff.
    Hope you're feeling better soon -explain to Maxi&Mini they need to be especially kind to you today!!

  3. Poor you, not much better today.
    I had the same thing recently and it does take time before you feel even half human again. You are doing the best thing...stay warm, lots of rest and paracetamol/lemon/honey.

  4. Sorry you're poorly. Hope you'll be back to full health soon!

  5. Oh, Angela! I'm so sorry you are ill! Stay in bed. Thank you for the book reviews!

  6. Hope you are feeling better today :)

  7. The Sansom sounds very interesting--thanks for the head's up.

    There's an artist here who uses hornets' nests in his work. Very beautiful!

    I hope you're feeling better. Colds are so awful!



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