Vulpes Libris

A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.

Pure by Andrew Miller: a lyrical novel about a rather dull subject

Deep in the heart of Paris, its oldest cemetery is, by 1785, overflowing, tainting the very breath of those who live nearby. Into their midst comes Jean-Baptiste Baratte, a young, … Continue reading

November 22, 2012 · 8 Comments

The Secret Life of Sex Writing

Let’s get the biggie out of the way first (as it were): I love writing sex. Yes, I admit it. It’s one of the high points of my writing life. … Continue reading

November 5, 2012 · 10 Comments

Drop Dead Gorgeous by Anna Cheska – a necessary chaser between grim books

Imogen’s marriage has hardly been an exciting affair but when her husband dies, she’s alarmed to discover that Edward hadn’t been nearly as predictable as she’d always thought … She’s … Continue reading

November 1, 2012 · 5 Comments

If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This by Robin Black: a literary and rather grim collection

From the blind girl who sees more than her parents can, to the portrait artist who sees more than her clients might wish, Robin Black illuminates secret fears, hidden desires, … Continue reading

October 25, 2012 · 5 Comments

A Mile of River by Judith Allnatt – the long hot summer of 1976 revisited

It is 1976 and England is suffocating. The long, dry spring has given way to a summer of severe drought, with standpipes in the streets and a rallying cry to … Continue reading

September 20, 2012 · 16 Comments

Jane Austen Ruined My Life by Beth Pattillo – seeing Austen as you’ve (probably) never seen her before

After Jane Austen’s death, nearly three thousand of her letters were supposedly destroyed, taking with them the secrets of Jane’s life. But what did they hide? Austen scholar Emma Grant … Continue reading

September 13, 2012 · 14 Comments

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller – a stonkingly good novel and a worthy prizewinner

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their differences, Achilles befriends … Continue reading

August 30, 2012 · 16 Comments

The Other Half Lives by Sophie Hannah – where I’m with the half that died …

Ruth Bussey knows what it means to be in the wrong and to be wronged. She once did something she regrets, and her punishment nearly destroyed her. Now Ruth is … Continue reading

August 16, 2012 · 18 Comments

It’s summer!!…

The Book Foxes have been having a high old time over the last few months, reading and reviewing a whole plethora of books for your delectation. Now it’s time for … Continue reading

July 29, 2012 · 8 Comments

Spellbound by Jane Green: where the magic simply fails to ignite

Alice knows she should be happy. After all, she has a handsome husband, a beautiful house and membership to all the most exclusive clubs in London. So what if the … Continue reading

July 12, 2012 · 7 Comments

Island of Wings by Karin Altenberg – a novel which tries hard but doesn’t quite manage to fly

It’s 1830. Neil and Lizzie MacKenzie, a newly married young couple, arrive at the remotest part of the British Isles: St Kilda. He is a minister determined to save the … Continue reading

June 28, 2012 · 13 Comments

The Two Mrs Robinsons by Donna Hay – and now for something charmingly different

All Eve ever wanted was the security of a loving husband and family, so when Oliver left her and started a new family with Anna, she could never entirely let … Continue reading

June 14, 2012 · 4 Comments

History of a Pleasure Seeker by Richard Mason – all the pleasures of one-upmanship and all the fun of the fair

It is 1907. The Belle Epoque is in full swing. Piet Barol has escaped the drabness of the provinces for the grandest mansion in Amsterdam. As tutor to the son … Continue reading

June 7, 2012 · 4 Comments

Ebooks saved my life and other virtual musings

Ok, I admit it – the title above is just a tad exaggerated (for poetic effect, you know), but it’s perfectly true to say ebooks have, if not saved my … Continue reading

May 22, 2012 · 12 Comments



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  • (The header image is from Aesop's Fables, illustrated by Francis Barlow (1666), and appears courtesy of the Digital and Multimedia Center at the Michigan State University Libraries.)