Born in 1813 in the tiny village of Nash in Shropshire, England, Edward Downes was the fifth child of a local Blacksmith named Thomas, and his wife Emma (née TURNER). The county of Shropshire is bordered by Wales to the west, and the English counties of Cheshire to the north, Staffordshire to the east, Worcestershire to the southeast and Herefordshire to the south. It is the heart of the Welsh Marches. The nearby River Teme flows from Mid Wales southeast into England, where it is fed by many brooks that flow down from Clee Hill.

The village of Nash still lies in a very remote rural area, centered on the chapel of St. John-the-Baptist, which is where Edward was baptised on the 26th of September 1813.

Baptism of Edward Downes

By 1841, Edward was a shoemaker living in the nearby town of Burford. Two years later on the 13th of June, he married Jane GITTINS, daughter of a shoemaker in the nearby village of Bitterley. Edward was living in Hope Bagot, a pretty agrarian village situated in a southwest valley, overlooked by Clee Hill, and so the couple were married in the church there, also dedicated to St. John-the-Baptist.

Hope Bagot
Marriage registration of Edward Downes & Jane Gittins (spelled here as Gittings)

In the 1851 Census, the entire parish of Hope Bagot (which included the Village, Rectory, Pothouse & Court) contained 20 houses & a total of 87 inhabitants.

Edward & Jane had six children in total, the first five of which were born in Hope Bagot: William (born 1844), Edward (b. 1846), John (b. 1849), Emma (b. 1851), and Thomas (b. 1853). Their final child, Henry, was born in 1857 in Waitati, Otago, New Zealand after the family emigrated.

The Downes family were amongst the earliest settlers of the area known as Waitete/Waitati, arriving in Port Chalmers on February 5th, 1854, aboard the ship “Stately” out of London. Edward made an application to the Crown for rural land in 1861 in the North Harbour of Dunedin, Blueskin Bay, which he named Stately Farm. He made a great success of his career switch from boot & shoe maker to farmer, and was a pillar of his new community.

Jane Downes died at age 77 on Apr 21st 1892, and Edward died aged 84 on November 13th, 1897, at the home of his daughter Emma, who had married another local settler farmer named Kennedy Brown FERGUSON. They are both buried in the St. Barnabas Churchyard in Warrington, Dunedin.

Google Maps Link to Places of Interest

Reading Log – Jan-Mar 2022

It hasn’t been a stellar reading quarter, mostly due to health issues (headaches & the depressy-stressy disorder make reading tricky), but I’ve definitely found some new faves. Arkady Martine has written a beautiful Sci-Fi duology (with more books to come?!?! we can only hope) about politics, colonisation, and technology set in space with sapphic heroines. Honestly, it’s like she wrote these books just for me. The first book is called A Memory Called Empire, which is just an excellent & haunting title. And I finally picked up the first book in Seth Dickinson’s SF trilogy, The Traitor Baru Cormorant, and it also is exactly all the things I love in a book. I would die for Baru. The third SF book that blew my mind was Kate Elliot’s Unconquerable Sun, a gender-bent Alexander the Great retelling where his horse Bucephalus is a star ship. Five stars, will read again, cannot wait for the sequel!

I’ve also learned a couple of things about my reading preferences:

  • I hate short chapters with a passion because I read fast, and like to pause at the end of the chapter to really ruminate on the happenings; and if it’s short, I’m stopping way too often.
  • The only Romance sub-genre that I like is, oddly, Contemporary Rom-Com. Historical bores me, Paranormal/Sci-Fi/Fantasy annoys me, Suspense makes me straight up hate the romance aspect, and YA is not adult. Erotic is fine, but I don’t want to seek it out. A Romance novel has to have a Happily-Ever-After or Happily-For-Now ending, and honestly I like real angst & tragedy in my stories way too much. But Rom-Coms… they feel like they’ve earned that ending.
  • I can read 150-200 pages an hour. No wonder I churn through books. And my mother tells me I could read before I was 2 years old, so I’ve been doing it for… a long time.
  • I like owning print books but I prefer reading eBooks, because they’re so much more accessible when I’m ill. Mum gave me a Kindle Paperwhite for my birthday last year, and it is getting A LOT of use!


The Kingdoms by Natasha Pulley
Pestilence by Laura Thalassa
A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske
Beach Read by Emily Henry
Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade
All the Feels by Olivia Dade
The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
Seven Devils by Laura Lam & Elizabeth May
We hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody & Christine Lynn Herman
Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
Crier’s War by Nina Varela
Iron Heart by Nina Varela
A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson
A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine


A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine
Hunt the Stars by Jessie Mihalik
The Wicked King by Holly Black
The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black
The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson
Orc-Ward Encounters by Sam Hall
House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J. Maas
Electric Idol by Katee Robert
The Perks of Loving a Wallflower by Erica Ridley
Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson


The Last Watch by J.S. Dewes
Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston
A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Bluebird by Ciel Pierlot
The Kindred by Alechia Dow
A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth
The Professional by Kresley Cole
The Master by Kresley Cole
The Player by Kresley Cole
Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree
River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey
Unconquerable Sun by Kate Elliott
Knot My Type by Evie Mitchell
The Exiled Fleet by J.S. Dewes
Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring Blake
Jade City by Fonda Lee
1979 by Val McDermid
Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames

44 in total.

Health Update

This year hasn’t been great for me so far. I’ve had near-daily headaches that I assumed were due to a flare up of my Idiopathic Intracranial Hyptertension, but a recent Lumbar Puncture showed that my pressure was normal. So, possibly these are yet another stress-induced issue: migraines. I’ve been “treating” the headaches with paracetamol & ibuprofen – which brings them from an 8/10 on the pain scale to a 5/10 – because opioids can increase intracranial pressure. However, I’m only allowed to medicate for 3 days a week, so that’s been fun!

In November, I had an allergic reaction to an unknown trigger, and in addition to facial swelling, a bright red itchy rash covered my face, neck, chest, belly and legs. I’d had a similar reaction in the year previous, so assumed it was some seasonal allergen. Ended up taking a couple of weeks worth of Prednisone, which cleared the rash but left me with a nasty case of folliculitis (aka random spots of acne in odd places all over my body) that I then had to take antibiotics to treat. Because my body doesn’t like to do anything right, I then had recurrences of the hives & itching!

My GP has diagnosed stress induced urticaria (and to be fair, being a chronically ill person in the middle of a pandemic is fairly stress-inducing), and her dermatology referral was declined because apparently they’re not taking appointments due to Covid. Nice. So I am still insanely itchy and covered in rashes. It’s not helping my mood, as you can imagine.

The pandemic has set my anxiety & agoraphobia back to “shitty”, after I’d made quite a lot of progress in 2018 & ’19. I don’t want to catch Covid – I’m triple vaxxed & wear double masks when out (which is only when absolutely necessary). I don’t know how my body will handle it, as I have many co-morbidities that would complicate a recovery. Last time I got the ‘flu, even though I was vaccinated, I also developed pneumonia. It sucked, and so I’m not taking Covid lightly.

Anyway, I’m ready to trade in my body and upload my consciousness to the internet whenever Big Tech is ready!

Reading Log – Oct-Dec 2021

Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth
The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin
The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid
Healer’s Quest by Jessica Palmer
Silent Partner by Jonathon Kellerman
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo
The Councillor by E.J. Beaton
If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio
The Last Graduate by Naomi Novik
Purged by Peter Laws
We Are Legion (We Are Bob) by Dennis E. Taylor
Tales from the Folly by Ben Aaronovitch
House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland
Star Eater by Kerstin Hall
The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
Severed by Peter Laws
Unleashed by Peter Laws
Life on the Autism Spectrum by Karen McKibbin
King Arthur by Andrew Lang
The Darkness Outside Us by Eliot Schrefer

Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Time Bomb by Jonathon Kellerman
Self-Defense by Jonathon Kellerman
Bones by Jonathon Kellerman
Survival of the Fittest by Jonathon Kellerman
Rage by Jonathon Kellerman
Killer by Jonathon Kellerman
Motive by Jonathon Kellerman
Guilt by Jonathon Kellerman
Heartbreak Hotel by Jonathon Kellerman
Night Moves by Jonathon Kellerman
Redemptor by Jordan Ifueko
The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams
The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova
The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett
Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett
Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell
Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki
The Outside by Ada Hoffman
The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid

The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman
Murder in an English Glade by Jessica Ellicott
Games We Play by Dana Isaly 
Flowers for the Sea by Zin E. Rocklyn 
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic by Michael McCreary
Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers
The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green
Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune 
Meet Me Under the Mistletoe ed. by M. Robinson
Before You Knew My Name by Jacqueline Bublitz
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw
The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Reading Log – Jul-Sep 2021

A selection of books on two wooden shelves

My genres this quarter were my usual mix of fantasy, sci-fi, and contemporary romance, with the odd crime/thriller thrown in for variety. Here in Auckland, we’ve spent the last two months and change in lockdown, so I’m still preferring escapist fiction over anything too dark & difficult.

20 years after it was published, I finally picked up the 4 books of the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini ($40 for the set in paperback from The Warehouse). The first book, Eragon, was unexpectedly hard-going: small print in a thick paperback combined with a story that was irritatingly derivative and full of flat characters and predictable plot beats. After I finished it, I discovered that the author was a 16 year old boy at the time of writing, which explains why this book felt like pretty average Lord of the Rings fan fiction with dragons. I have yet to start the second book, but apparently it does get better.

Part of the problem is that I’ve been reading so many excellent fantasy books that it’s hard to motivate myself to pick up something mediocre! This quarter, I also identified Dark Academia as a genre that I particularly enjoy, and have finished quite a few of these sorts of novels – and have added many more to by TBR (To Be Read) list.

I’m on GoodReads, where you can see what I am currently reading, what I’ve read, and what I want to read in the future (that ever-growing TBR)! I even occasionally write reviews, but they’re mostly so I can remember my own thoughts about the book.


The Forger and the Thief by Kirsten McKenzie
A Vow So Bold and Deadly by Brigid Kemmerer
Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Talor Jenkins Reid
Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi
The Last Colony by John Scalzi
Hunted by the Sky by Tanaz Bhathena
Gild by Raven Kennedy
Glint by Raven Kennedy
Gleam by Raven Kennedy
Catacombs by Anne McCaffrey & Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
Credence by Penelope Douglas
Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas
Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
Corrupt by Penelope Douglas
The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Zoe’s Tale by John Scalzi
Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones
The Lives of Christopher Chant by Diana Wynne Jones
Witch Week by Diana Wynne Jones
The Magicians of Caprona by Diana Wynne Jones
The Sweetest Oblivion by Danielle Lori
The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
Eragon by Christopher Paolini
The Song of Achilles by Madeleine Miller
Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert


Under the Black Banners by K. Elle Morrison
Auē by Becky Manawatu
Conrad’s Fate by Diana Wynne Jones
House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas
People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Hexwood by Diana Wynne Jones
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron
A Lady of Rooksgrave Manor by Kathryn Moon
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Tripswitch by Gaelyn Gordon
It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover
The High Mountain Court by A.K. Mulford
A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik
Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce
The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
Crossfire by Dick Francis
Under Orders by Dick Francis
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Wolf by Mo Hayder
Bowl of Heaven by Gregory Benford & Larry Niven
The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith
These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling


The Binding by Bridget Collins
The Mistake by Elle Kennedy
Dark Orbit by Carolyn Ives Gilman
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
The Unspoken Name by A.K. Larkwood
Lord of Eternal Night by Ben Alderson
Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert
Scrublands by Chris Hammer
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey
The Good Girl by Alice La Roux
Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko
A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee
The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen
Lore by Alexandra Bracken
Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch
Whispers Underground by Ben Aaronovitch
Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch
Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch
The Furthest Station by Ben Aaronovitch
The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch
Lies Sleeping by Ben Aaronovitch
False Value by Ben Aaronovitch
My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
Priest by Sierra Simone
Aspergirls by Rudy Simone
The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley
Child of Fear & Fire by G.R. Thomas

101 in total

Reading Log – Apr-Jun 2021

The release of the Shadow & Bone series on Netflix made me re-read Leigh Bardugo’s trilogy, which I originally enjoyed back in 2014. I still like it it. It’s a YA fantasy series, and the protagonist is a bit of a milksop, but I like the magic “small science” & the worldbuilding. Although, Russian speakers are apparently pissing themselves over the magic users being called Grisha – the baby name for Gregory. #gregverse

But more importantly, I finally read Six of Crows & Crooked Kingdom, a duology set in the same world after the events of the trilogy, featuring a gang of dodgy teens out to make their fortunes with a dangerous heist. Lots of betrayal, angst, hilarity, and shenanigans. So good! Can’t believe I didn’t finish it first time I picked up SoC. Now I just need to get the other duology, King of Scars & Rule of Wolves.

Most of my choices this quarter have been fantasy… or romance, interestingly. You see, I joined TikTok & there’s a huge bookish community there, so I’ve had a lot more recommendations to trawl through. It’s very useful for diversifying my “To Be Read” list, and I particularly like that there’s a huge SFF following – I just don’t know many SFF in real life, so it’s awesome to have a safe space to nerd out.

Other notable mentions: The Priory of the Orange Tree, 848 pages of high fantasy featuring sapphic romance and dragons! So good! Sam Shannon is an A+ writer. Also, the Truthwitch series by Susan Dennard is hugely enjoyable. And the new murderbot novella was great fun, if too brief.

And yes, I read Ice Planet Barbarians – well, I listened to the audiobook from the library, actually. Not my fave smut, but entertaining enough.


Or What You Will by Jo Walton
Markswoman by Rati Mehrotra
The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson & Nicole Galland
The Grey King by Susan Cooper
Silver on the Tree by Susan Cooper
Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown
Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik
Chaos Reigning by Jessie Mihalik
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
The Sinner’s Club by Kate Pearce
The Soprano Sorceress by L.E. Modesitt Jr.
Hullmetal Girls by Emily Skrutskie
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
The Art of Taking It Easy by Brian King
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
Winter’s Passage by Julie Kagawa
The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa
Summer’s Crossing by Julie Kagawa
A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
Hooking Up by Helena Hunting
Getting Down by Helena Hunting
Shacking Up by Helena Hunting
Making Up by Helena Hunting
Handle With Care by Helena Hunting
The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
Aurora Blazing by Jessie Mihalik
The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling
Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
Bridesmaid on a Budget by Sharon Naylor
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson


The Chain by Adrian McKinty
The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas
Bone Crier’s Dawn by Kathryn Purdie
The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
The Library of the Unwritten by A.J. Hackwith
A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer
Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Fugitive Telemetry by Martha Wells
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
Owned by Fate by Tessa Bailey
Five Children and It by E. Nesbit


Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
See You in September by Charity Norman
The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman
The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson
The Archive of the Forgotten by A.J. Hackwith 
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
Windwitch by Susan Dennard 
Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard
Circe by Madeleine Miller
Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee
Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin
Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin
Furyborn by Claire Legrand
Verity by Colleen Hoover
Rush by Maya Banks
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Ice Planet Barbarians by Ruby Dixon
Cut Throat by Lyndon Stacey
The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune 
Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch
Pegasus in Flight by Anne McCaffrey
Pegasus in Space by Anne McCaffrey
Flames of Chaos by Amelia Hutchins (DNF)

70 in total

Reading Log – Jan-Mar 2021

I finished a few excellent series’ this quarter. Firstly, the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, starting with Cinder, is an engaging Young Adult sci-fi/romance retelling of various fairytales, including Cinderella, Littler Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White. I’m not sure I’ll re-read these, but I did enjoy them and suspect I’d have loved them when I was a teen. Secondly, the Craft Sequence by Max Gladstone, which I read pretty much in publication order, starting with Three Parts Dead. This is an adult fantasy series about religion, necromancy, law and finance. Honestly, that sounds terrible but they are SO GOOD and I’m mad at myself for not reading them earlier.

A bunch of re-reads made it onto my list, including a few children’s classics that I haven’t read since I was a kid. FYI, Peter Pan is a truly bizarre story that no movie has properly captured, and I ain’t mad about it.

Fewer non-fic books on this list because real life is exhausting and I need to escape.


The Queen’s Gambit by Jessie Mihalik
The Queen’s Advantage by Jessie Mihalik
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Murder Comes to Call by Jessica Ellicott
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
The Burning God by R.F. Kuang
Renegades by Marissa Meyer
A Priceless Wedding by Sara Cotner
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
A Shiver of Light by Laurell K. Hamilton
Barbary Station by R.E. Stearns
Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone
The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson
If Women Rose Rooted by Sharon Blackie
Two Serpents Rise by Max Gladstone
Last First Snow by Max Gladstone
Four Roads Cross by Max Gladstone
Chronicles of the Black Company by Glen Cook
Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi


Deal with the Devil by Kit Rocha
Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar
Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone
Cress by Melissa Meyer
The Ruin of Angels by Max Gladstone
Winter by Marissa Meyer
A Practical Wedding by Meg Keene
1001 Wedding Ideas by Tricia Spencer
The Queen’s Triumph by Jessie Mihalik
Grimspace by Ann Aguirre
A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow


Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
Cinderella Is Dead by Kalynn Bayron
Wanderlust by Ann Aguirre
The Third Mrs. Durst by Ann Aguirre
Doubleblind by Ann Aguirre
Killbox by Ann Aguirre
The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Aftermath by Ann Aguirre
Endgame by Ann Aguirre
Archenemies by Marissa Meyer
Stars Above by Marissa Meyer
Middlegame by Seanan McGuire
An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Supernova by Marissa Meyer
Bone Crier’s Moon by Kathryn Purdie

52 in total

Reading Log – Oct-Dec 2020

Somehow, I managed to finish 99 books in this quarter, bringing my total for the year to 268! A few of them were even audiobooks – I had eye surgery on December 14th and couldn’t manage to read, so audiobooks were the next best option. I picked books that I’d already read before, so that it wasn’t a big deal if I zoned out here & there. Even at 1.5 speed, narrators can’t read as fast as my brain does, and it often becomes unintelligible at a greater speed than that. So as you can imagine, I’m not usually an audiobook fan.

As for genres, I still leaned heavily into fiction, particularly escapist sci-fi/fantasy/speculative types. In the Year of COVID, real life holds little appeal. I did squeeze in some thrillers, however, particularly by marathoning some Patricia Cornwell while visiting my mum. I used to love the Scarpetta series… but this re-read did not endear me. I felt very strongly the generational gap between the character of Kay Scarpetta/the writer Patricia Cornwell and myself.

I found a romance writer that I enjoy – Jessie Mihalik. Her books are sci-fi romances, and they felt real & engaging. I also finally purchased four of Ben Aaronovitch’s “Peter Grant” series that begins with Rivers of London, and loved them. I finished the year with a cute cozy murder mystery series by Jessica Ellicott set in an English village in the 1920s & it had a strong Agatha Christie vibe (in a good way). All things considered, I’m pretty happy with my diversity and depth of reading, and have enjoyed getting out of my head (in a legal & safe way!) via escapist fiction.


Midnight’s Twins by Holly Race
The Butcher Shop by Jean Devanny
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
The Serpent Sea by Martha Wells
The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene
The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley
The Siren Depths by Martha Wells
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Edge of Worlds by Martha Wells
Killing Gravity by Corey J. White
The Last Family in England by Matt Haig
Survival Lessons by Alice Hoffman
Honor Lost by Rachel Caine
Network Effect by Martha Wells
The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
A Pale Light in the Black by K. B. Wagers
The 49th Mystic by Ted Dekker
Void Black Shadow by Corey J. White
Static Ruin by Corey J. White
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett
Zodiac by Romina Russell
The Darkest Time of Night by Jeremy Finley
The Freeze-Frame Revolution by Peter Watts
The Flight of the Silvers by Daniel Price
Medusa Uploaded by Emily Devenport
Tracing Your London Ancestors by Jonathan Oates
Middlesex Murders by Linda Stratmann
London: A Travel Guide Through Time by Matthew Green
Compete by Vera Nazarian
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
Priestess by Julie Parker
The Dragon Republic by R. F. Kuang
2010 by Arthur C. Clarke
Wandering Star by Romina Russell
Black Moon by Romina Russell
Thirteen Rising by Romina Russell
Letters From Berlin by Tania Blanchard


Umbrella Academy Vol. 2 by Gerard Way
Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell
The Body Farm by Patricia Cornwell
From Potter’s Field by Patricia Cornwell
Point of Origin by Patricia Cornwell
Black Notice by Patricia Cornwell
The Scarpetta Factor by Patricia Cornwell
Depraved Heart by Patricia Cornwell
She Has Her Mother’s Laugh by Carl Zimmer
Light is the New Black by Rebecca Campbell
Reverie by Ryan La Sala
The Harbours of the Sun by Martha Wells
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay
The Wandering Fire by Guy Gavriel Kay
The Darkest Road by Guy Gavriel Kay
Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay
The Boundless by Peter Newman
Win by Vera Nazarian
Survive by Vera Nazarian
The Coroner by M. R. Hall
The Tally Stick by Carl Nixon
The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White
The Realms of the Gods by Tamora Pierce
The Celtic Goddess by Trevor Greenfield
A Kiss of Shadows by Laurell K. Hamilton
A Lick of Frost by Laurell K. Hamilton
Seduced by Moonlight by Laurell K. Hamilton
A Stroke of Midnight by Laurell K. Hamilton
Mistral’s Kiss by Laurell K. Hamilton


The Shadow Effect by Deepak Chopra
Shakti Rising by Kavitha M. Chinnaiyan
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Dreams Underfoot by Charles de Lint
Under My Hat by Jonathan Strahan
Locke & Key: Small World by Joe Hill
Locke & Key: Heaven & Earth by Joe Hill
Locke & Key: Dog Days by Joe Hill
The Spinoff Book by Toby Manhire
The Hollow Ones by Guillermo Del Toro
Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik
Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton
Swallowing Darkness by Laurell K. Hamilton
Chaos Reigning by Jessie Mihalik
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab
Greenwitch by Susan Cooper
Soul Music by Terry Pratchett
The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper
Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch
Whispers Underground by Ben Aaronovitch
Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch
The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch
A Country House Christmas by Phyllis Elinor Sandeman
Over the Woodward Wall by A. Deborah Baker
Aurora Blazing by Jessie Mihalik
Divine Misdemeanors by Laurell K. Hamilton
Murder in an English Village by Jessica Ellicott
Murder Flies the Coop by Jessica Ellicott
Murder Cuts the Mustard by Jessica Ellicott

99 in total for the quarter; 268 in total for the year!

Brickwall Update: Edward Tansley

So, I asked for help in the Greater London Ancestry Facebook group, and an amazing lady delivered the goods!

Edward, Rebecca & Rebecca Mary were indexed under the surname STANLE in 1841.

Rebecca, Rebecca Mary, Henry & Frederick were indexed under the surname JANESKY in 1851.

The best part is that this extra info confirms I have the correct Rebecca MYALL & family, and gives me Edward’s birth as ~1801 in Middlesex, so I have a place to start looking for his family.

Hurray for friendly genies on FB!

Brickwall: Edward TANSLEY

Oh, Edward. You may be my 4x great-grandfather, but right now you’re mostly a pain in the backside. Why can’t I find you or your family on the 1841 census? Why can’t I find them on the 1851 census after your death & before their migration to NZ? Where did you come from?

Here’s what I have:

When: ~1794
Source: Civil Death Registration, Christ Church, MDX, ENG; London, England, Church of England Deaths and Burials 1813-2003

Spouse: Rebecca MYALL
When: 10 May 1829
Where: St. Pancras Camden, Middlesex, England
Witnesses: Ann Myall, William Myall
Notes: Surname transcribed variously as Tansley / Tonsley / Jonsley
Source: England, Pallot’s Marriage Index 1780-1937; London, England, Church of England Marriages & Banns 1754-1932, England Marriages 1538-1973

Daughter: Rebecca Mary
Baptized: 12 Jun 1836, St. John’s, Paddington, MDX, ENG
Abode: Windsor Cottage, Paddington
Father’s Occupation: Carpenter
Source: London, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms 1813-1917

Son: Henry Edward
Born: 23 Nov 1844, St Marylebone Christ Church, MDX, ENG
Baptized: 29 Dec 1844, St. John’s, Paddington, MDX, ENG
Abode: 22 Milton Street, Dorset Square
Father’s Occupation: Carpenter
Source: Birth Certificate; London, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms 1813-1917

Son: Frederick John
Born: 5 Jan 1850, St George Hanover Square Belgrave, MDX, ENG
Baptized: 27 Jan 1850, St Michael’s, Pimlico, MDX, ENG
Abode: 32 Eccleston Place
Father’s Occupation: Carpenter
Notes: Father is deceased by time of birth.
Source: Birth Certificate; Westminster, London, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms 1813-1919

When: 22 Jun 1849
Where: 4 Hill Street, Dorset Square, St Marylebone Christ Church, MDX, ENG
Age: 55 years
Occupation: Porter
C.O.D.: Injuries to his Body caused by falling off a Van
Informant: T. Wakley, Coroner for Middlesex, 1 Bedford Street, Strand
When Registered: 26 Jul 1849
Notes: Surname spelled Tennley
Source: Civil Death Registration, St Marylebone Christ Church, MDX, ENG

When: 27 Jun 1849
Where: All Souls’ Cemetery, Kensal Green, MDX, ENG
Abode: 4 Hill Street, Dorset Square, St. Marylebone
Age: 55
Source: London, England, Church of England Deaths and Burials 1813-2003

Alternative Surname Spellings
Tonsley (e.g. Pallot’s Marriage Index record)
Jonsley (e.g. Pallot’s Marriage Index record)
Tausley (e.g. Frederick John’s birth cert)
Tennley (e.g. Edward’s death cert)
Vansley (e.g. transcription of Henry Thomas Tansley in 1851 census)

Hill Street, St. Marylebone
1. Edward’s final address is listed as 4 Hill Street, St. Marylebone.
2. Edward’s daughter Rebecca married Benjamin David HIBBARD in 1856 at the Trinity Church in St. Marylebone. In the 1841 & 1851 Censuses, Benjamin Hibbard was living with his family at 20 Hill Street, St. Marylebone. So possibly, at some point the Tansleys & the Hibbards were neighbours, and that’s how Ben & Rebecca met.
3. In the 1851 Census, 4 Hill Street is occupied by a Henry Thomas TANSLEY, his wife Harriet & their four sons; William Henry, Samuel George, Richard & Thomas. Could Henry Thomas Tansley be related to Edward? If so, I don’t know how.

Henry Thomas TANSLEY
Born: 1811, Walworth, Surrey, ENG.
Baptized: 7 Jul 1811, St Mary Newington, Southwark, SRY, ENG.
Parents: Joseph & Hannah (BATES) TANSLEY
Sibling: Hannah Rebecca (1806-1812)
Married: 1838, St Albans, HRT, ENG to Harriet ROE
Died: 1864, Kensington, LDN, ENG
Notes: Henry’s parents were married in 1804, and I cannot find a baptismal record for any other children.