I found my old school report cards. There was a lot of ‘she must try harder’ and ‘if she spent more time studying than looking out the window she might get on a bit better’. Reader, it’s fair to say my procrastination skills are still just as bad but I like to think I’m definitely trying harder.

I remember being taught about the Highland Clearances, Bonnie Prince Charlie and all the other historic school curriculum topics our teachers repeated on their pupils year after year. I was bored. Through no fault of the teachers or the books provided, it just didn’t interest me.

The only topic I was interested in was English. The day the TV trolley was wheeled in was one of the highlights of my secondary education. Pressing play, the teacher smiled as the opening credits to the film based on the classic SE Hinton novel ‘The Outsiders’ were displayed on the screen, quickly followed by an audible gasp from the whole class. We had just finished the book that term and I’d received my highest ever mark for an essay on it. Thank you Ponyboy and all.

Fast forward mumble mumble years and my love of everything historic has increased ten-fold.

From Barbara Henderson’s wonderful novel about 12 year-old Janet, her village under threat during the Highland Clearances in Fir for Luck, to Alex Nye’s novel based on the letters from Mary Queen of Scots to her Lady-in-Wating in For My Sins, I have been devouring them all. I just wish all the books that are available now were available back then. Perhaps I would’ve listened more, been a bit more attentive and studied History beyond the obligatory 2nd year allocation in my timetable.

As a book reviewer for My Book Corner, I am very lucky to receive many advanced copies of books that are due to be released in the coming months. May has been no exception, from the fabulous YA novel Sonny & Me by Ross Sayers, taking me back to my misspent youth, to a plethora of picture books for those starting out in their reading journey.

The doorbell rings and I am greeted with a smile from Royal Mail’s finest. I grin back, take the parcel and close the door. This is the one I’ve been waiting for. Published by the phenomenal Cranachan Books, ‘Girl in the Cage’, (written by the legend and author of more than 365 titles) Jane Yolen along with Robert J Harris, has finally arrived.

For those unaware, Robert The Bruce had a daughter. She was kept in a cage by her captures. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some reading to do…

P.s you can read it too but not until 20th June! #launchday

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