TCL’s Shelf Control #1 – B is for Boyd.


Shelf Control is a weekly celebration hosted by Lisa @ Bookshelf Fantasies, of the unread books on our shelves. Lisa says: “Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.”

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

This is my first time doing this, so… be gentle, okay?

Sweet Caress William BoydAs some of my readers already know, I moved to a new apartment (or flat, as some call it) in December. When packing up, I not only got rid of a whole bunch of books, but one carton of favorites got lost in the shuffle! Despite that culling (both desired and accidental) I now have very well-arranged bookshelves. Obviously, there are books there that I didn’t know I had, as well as books we bought that I (so far) never had the chance to read. Going just alphabetically by the author’s last name, the first of these is “Sweet Caress” by William Boyd.

Now, it should be no surprise to have at least one Boyd book on my shelf. I mean, I’m already a fan of his writing, and I recently reviewed his latest novel “Trio” on this blog, not to mention his short story collection “The Dreams of Bethany Mellmoth,” as well as the first book of his I read, “Restless.” Although I know my husband read this one (along with two more of his novels I have on the shelf), I know I didn’t, and I have no idea when we bought this one, but it couldn’t have been too long ago, since this edition came out in 2016.

Now that I look at what this novel is about, I’m starting to think I really should correct this horrible oversight! I mean, just look at the blurb below. Historical, biographical, women’s, literary fiction. How could I have ignored this book for so long? Okay… so it is a man, writing a female character; I know what you’re thinking. But Boyd is one of those male writers who seems able to pull this off.

When Amory Clay was born, in the decade before the Great War, her disappointed father gave her an androgynous name and announced the birth of a son. But this daughter was not one to let others define her; Amory became a woman who accepted no limits to what that could mean, and from the time she picked up her first camera, one who would record her own version of events.

Moving freely between London and New York, between photojournalism and fashion photography, and between the men who love her on complicated terms, Amory establishes her reputation as a risk taker and a passionate life traveler. Her hunger for experience draws her to the decadence of Weimar-era Berlin and the violence of London’s Blackshirt riots, to the Rhineland with Allied troops and into the political tangle of war-torn Vietnam. During her ambitious career, the seminal moments of the twentieth century will become the unforgettable moments of her own biography as well.

In Sweet Caress, Amory Clay comes wondrously to life, her vibrant personality enveloping the reader from the start. And, running through the novel, her photographs over the decades allow us to experience this vast story not only with Amory’s voice but with her vision. William Boyd’s Sweet Caress captures an entire lifetime unforgettably within its pages. It captivates.

Well… this does sound good, doesn’t it? I guess I’ll have to keep this one on my TBR list! Would you read it? Have you read it? If so, would you recommend it?

You can buy this book (affiliate links) from: Amazon,, UK.Bookshop, iTunes (iBook and iAudiobook), Indiebound, Alibris, Kobo (Walmart eBooks and audiobooks), Better World Books, Booksamillion,, The Book Depository, Foyles, WHSmith, Waterstones, and Wordery.

Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments to Lisa’s latest post, or link back from your own post, so Lisa can add you to the participant list.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!

What about you?

What books do you have on your shelf that you haven’t read yet?

16 thoughts on “TCL’s Shelf Control #1 – B is for Boyd.

  1. I used to love William Boyd – Brazzaville Beach was my first experience. But his recent stuff has left me cold. We had Love is Blind for a book club read last year and it was just dull. So I’ve been reluctant to pick up anything by him again just in case its a repeat experience

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry to hear some of your books got lost! But as you say, it gives more space on the shelves (and you can add some more?) The first and only Boyd I read was also Restless, which I enjoyed. Based on the blurb, I probably would pick up Sweet Caress as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I keep thinking I should read a William Boyd book! I have Restless on my shelves (yet to be read). I started Any Human Heart when it was my book group’s book several years ago, and got turned off by the first chapter and didn’t finish it. I probably should have given it more of a shot! The only book of his that I’ve actually read is Brazzaville Beach, which was powerful and left a lasting impression.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. While most female authors do quite well writing male protagonists, far too many male authors make a total muck of their female protagonists – especially if they’re the main protagonist. Boyd is one of those who does a good job.


  4. I try not to think of how many books I have waiting to be read…and the number keeps increasing. We moved earlier this year and, like you, I had a cull but already the bookcases are almost full again.
    Hope you enjoy Sweet Caress when you get round to it.

    Liked by 1 person

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