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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

New On The Shelf At Fiction Books This Week

Picture of an English red post boxMailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house during the last week.

Be warned that Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Mailbox Monday, is currently ‘on tour’ and being hosted by a different blogger each month.

Your host for September 16th 2013, is Bob over at ‘Beauty In Ruins’

So why not stop by, leave a link to your own Mailbox Monday post, oh! and don’t forget to leave a comment for Yolanda, after all, we all like to receive them!

This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!


This Kindle download, received direct from the author, has enabled me to go right back to the start of this charming, feel-good tale, with the first episode, ‘The Cuckoos Of Batch Magna’. There have been a total of three stories told about the disparate, eclectic mix of characters who live in this slow-pace of life, fictional paradise, with the fourth installment still very much a work in progress.  This book and come to that, the entire series, seems to have garnered worldwide praise from everyone who has read it, with almost wall-to-wall 5 star ratings on all the major sites. I am looking forward to reading this one


When Sir Humphrey Miles Pinkerton Strange, 8th baronet and squire of the village of Batch Magna departs this world for the Upper House (as he had long vaguely thought of it, where God no doubt presides in ermine over a Heaven as reassuringly familiar as White’s or Boodle’s), what’s left of his estate passes, through the ancient law of entailment, to distant relative Humph, an amiable, overweight short-order cook from the Bronx.

Sir Humphrey Franklin T Strange, 9th baronet and squire of Batch Magna, as Humph now most remarkably finds himself to be, is persuaded by his Uncle Frank, a small time Wall Street broker with an eye on the big time, to make a killing by turning the sleepy backwater into a theme-park image of rural England – a vacation paradise for free-spending US millionaires.

But while the village pub and shop put out the Stars and Stripes in welcome, the tenants of the estate’s dilapidated houseboats are above any consideration of filthy lucre and stand their ground for tradition’s sake … and because they consider eviction notices not to be cricket.

Each disgruntled faction sees the other as the unwelcome cuckoo in the family nest.

So, led by randy pulp-crime writer Phineas Cook, and Lt-Commander James Cunningham DSO, DSC and Bar, RN (ret) – a man with a glass eye for each day of the week, painted with scenes from famous British naval victories and landscapes that speak of England – they hoist the Union Jack and battle pendant and prepare to engage.


Image Of Author Peter MaughanPeter Maughan is an ex-actor, fringe theatre director and script writer, married and living in the Welsh Marches, the borderland between England and Wales, and the backdrop to the Batch Magna novels, set in a village cut off from whatever the rest of the world gets up to beyond the hills of its valley.

After having had quite a few short stories and non-fiction writing about the English countryside published, a novel seemed to be the next logical step, so the Batch Magna series, was born out of nostalgia, of an idyllic time in the mid 1970’s ( the time frame for the books), spent heedlessly, gloriously free living in a small colony of houseboats, a bohemian outpost in a village on the River Medway in deepest rural Kent.

The summers, the youth and the river, was all there was, to this former houseboat dweller. Boating or swimming in it, or coming together for another ‘jolly’ on one of the moorings, for weekend lunches that ended up in the evening, and the parties that saw in yet another summer dawn. And the winters when the lamps were lit and the smell of log fires in the air, snug around the stove below when there was rain on the deck, or the owls in the wood across the river calling in the frosty dark.

Peter carried those memories of place and people around with him for years, until he moved to the Welsh Marches and found a home for them in a river valley there, in a place he called Batch Magna.

The houseboats from those days on the Medway were converted Thames sailing barges, however for his houseboats, on Batch Magna’s river, the ‘Cluny’, he used converted paddle steamers (once part of an equally fictional Victorian trading company, the Cluny Steamboat Company), because they too speak of fun and another time. And it seemed entirely right somehow that they should have ended up in quite dotty, amiable decline in Batch Magna.

The Batch Magna novels are feel-good books ‘The Wind in the Willows for grown-ups’, pure escapism – for me now, looking back, and I hope for my readers.

Actor, director, script writer, I am all of these when writing. I write the script, see the scene through the eye, as it were, of the camera and then act it out on paper.

I can’t wait to discover all your own great new finds this week … so please stop by and share your link


Written by

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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    • Hi Naida,

      The Welsh Marches are indeed a very beautiful area of Britain and contains one of the most dense concentrations of castles in the country.

      Some readers in the US who have published reviews, expressed concerns that they weren’t too sure beforehand whether or not they would be able to understand some of the British sense of humour, which apparently abounds in this rather eclectic community. However, almost without exception, all appear to have managed just fine and the ratings on both sides of The Atlantic have been wall-to-wall 5star!

      I imagine that things become really interesting for this small rural idyll, when Humph from The Bronx, arrives on the scene!

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by, I hope that all is well with you.

  • Cuckoos is a delightful book – it has the idyllic feel of The Wind in the Willows. I felt I was right there with those characters and it was difficult to leave them when I’d read the last page.

    • Hi Carolyn,

      A feel-good ‘nice’ story, is just what the doctor ordered every once in a while.

      By all accounts, Peter is great at waxing lyrical, with some excellent descriptive writing, so I shall be looking forward to enjoying that aspect of the book.

      ‘The Wind In The Willows’ was one of my favourite books as a child, although I have to admit that I have never read it since, so we are talking a good few decades ago!

      I often wonder when children stopped enjoying the idyllic world created by some of the vintage children’s authors and went straight from being babies to fully fledged ‘young adults’, in a single moment.

      Oh Dear! I guess that made me sound really sad and old!

      Thanks for adding your own recommendation and endorsement to Peter’s writing and for taking the time to comment.

    • Hi Kathy,

      I guess that every place has their share of eccentric characters, but this is much more noticeable in a small rural community such as Batch Magna, and we do have more than our fair share of such ‘real-life’ places like this in the UK.

      Throw an overweight cook from The Bronx into the mix and there are bound to be some hi jinx and shenanigans going on!

      Thanks for stopping by, I hope that you have a great week.

    • Hi Pat,

      For what sounds like such a quiet idyll, I would like to bet that there is never a dull moment in Batch Magna, especially when the American ‘cousin’ reveals his plans for turning the area into a theme park for his holidaying countrymen.

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by, I always appreciate your comments.

    • Hi Mary,

      This definitely sounds like a very tongue in cheek observation of a typically British, eccentric, rural community of the 1970’s. It will be good to take a trip down memory lane, to an altogether slower pace of life, I am so looking forward to this step back in time.

      Thanks for showing such interest in this week’s post and for taking the time to comment, I always appreciate it.

    • Hi Martha,

      The Welsh Marches are certainly a beautiful part of the country and is also the home to the lovely town of Hay-On-Wye, which has been dubbed by many as ‘The Town Of Books’.

      The Hay Festival is a global event which has received worldwide renown and this relatively small market town also boasts some world famous secondhand and antiquarian bookshops, almost 30 of them in total!

      Who could resist a visit to this town and the excuse of checking out the Welsh Marches, makes perfect sense!

      Have a fantastic week and thanks for stopping by.

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      A light-hearted story, with some slightly larger than life characters, makes a lovely diversion every once in a while and I am so pleased that Peter decided to contact me about featuring this excellent sounding book.

      Thanks for stopping by and have a good week.

    • Hi Laurel-Rain,

      The Welsh Marches certainly offers picture perfect, postcard scenery, so this cover version definitely isn’t an exaggeration of its beauty. Give it another few weeks and once those leaves start to don their Autumn coat of colours, it will be stunning.

      Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate your comment.

  • This sounds like an awful lot of fun! Loving the developers vs locals vs theme park idea. I’ve never actually read a book set in Wales so I shall add this to my ‘must remember’ list. I hope you enjoy it as much as the other reviewers did. 🙂

    • Hi Annie,

      I like the way that half the town is for the developers and the rest against. The scene is already set for the sniping, backbiting comments and retaliatory gestures and actions, which are sure to happen in such a small and close knit community.

      I have to say that I can’t remember having ever read any books set in Wales, so this will be a first for me too!

      This kind of feel good book, isn’t something I could read all the time, but every once in a while they can make a relaxing and carefree change.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Written by Yvonne