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Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Case of the Famished Parson by George Bellairs

The Bishop of Greyle was an unassuming, quiet man. Hardly anyone knew his surname even. Then why would someone obviously hate him so much that they would push him off a cliff. Why was his body so emaciated to the point of being declared starved.

Inspector Littlejohn has a puzzling case in front of him. Embarrassing that no apparent clues in the Bishop's own life could lead to solving the case, the Inspector has to look elsewhere as to why the Bishop was done away with.  The investigation is puzzling but it leads to certain unconnected leads and how to connect these leads to give a coherent picture is not easy.

The story was a bit slow, not a fast paced mystery but the series of deductions and connections was well placed.

Interesting take on a mystery.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Ipso Books.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Summer at Hope Meadows by Lucy Daniels

A simple story set in Yorkshire with a vet family as the background. Both parents being vets, Mandy herself is one and her boyfriend is also one. Its very much the same interests amongst all. However whilst Mandy thinks and works on more compassionate lines, Simon is more money conscious and you know very early on that this is going to cause friction and differences later on.

Unable to decide whether to expand where Simon wishes to set up a modern surgical practice or move back home and expand her parents existing practice into a practice cum refuge is the problem Mandy faces. The work of a vet in a rural practice seems different from an urban one and this was good reading, especially for any lover of animals.

A coming of age for Mandy with animals very much in the forefront of the story made this a very comforting read.

Sent to me by Netgalley, for an unbiased review, courtesy of Hodder & Stoughton. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Son of York by Amy Licence

I had been reading too many mystery/thriller/murder books and needed a change of scene. This piece of history gave me all I needed and more. I will be keeping an eye out for this author definitely in the future.

King Henry VI is the monarch at the time. He is unwell and seems to be more suited to a spiritual life. Sad that kings cannot decide what they want to do. He seemed so unfit to be King of a country that was always in turmoil and needed his attention and care. His wife the French queen was not a popular choice and her backers were those who were looked at with suspicion. The Duke of York was a man who felt strongly over the King's role in the country and looked initially to be protector of the King against elements who were dangerous. Over time, with the continuation of the King's absence from Court and the wider influence of the Queen, he sought the position of King for himself.

The story of the Duke of York and his two sons and their rise in fame towards the position of King forms the basis of the story. Told in detail with a great deal of history accounted for, this book is a must for those who like English history.

I enjoyed the telling of it, both from the personal angle of the House of York as well as from the angle of the greater overall picture of the rise of the House of York.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Endeavour Press.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Chains of Sand Jemma Wayne

I had not read a book with a Middle Eastern background for a very long time and this one with its cross culture mix. Jews in England, Jews in Israel, Muslims in Israel and the attitudes of one community towards another in an area of heightened tension like Gaza or Tel Aviv was an interesting read.

Udi wants a new life. Something that he can be comfortable with. He is Jewish to the core but is struggling with life in Israel. He wants to go and work in London.  Daniel lives a very comfortable life in London as a banker, he wants to move to Israel much to the horror of his family and his girl friend. Why give a comfortable secure life for the certainties of war and being called up as a reservist at any time.

Both men trying to find their place in the world - both very close to their families but seeking something that they are not very sure what.

This was a complicated novel but it may be a question that a lot of young people face. The restless ones anyway.

A book that set you thinking whether we are ever going to have peace in the Middle East.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Legend Press.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The General's Women by Susan Wittig Albert

The General's Women

This was a book which combined the best of many genres. History in great descriptive detail and then the person behind the great character - his life, loves and the women he fell in love with.

General Ike Eisenhower was a character. Leading from the front, he was successful combining the Allied forces with American troops to halt the German Nazi tide in Europe. Success came to him slowly. Very slowly. For sixteen years he languished almost forgotten and then the rise and the promotions came very swiftly. It took him to London first and then to Europe and Africa. His wife of very long standing was very set in her ways - she thought she would not be able to travel, she thought she had a weak heart, could not take any stress, decided not to bring the army and his professional life home at all. Mamie Eisenhower sounded a very selfish and a self centred woman. The General getting attracted to Kay Summersby in London seemed fated from the beginning. Kay was young, attractive and determined to do her job well. She did it too showing extreme bravery during the Blitz and carrying out all duties entrusted to her, including driving the General around London in blackout conditions.

Their relationship was doomed however as he would never be able to get out of his marriage for both political and personal reasons. Kay knew this. She had been warned about it but she lived for the moment and loved him very deeply.

The poignancy of their relationship is very well told in this book. You feel sad, happy, overjoyed but the sense of an ending comes is always there. Kay came out of this badly, Ike also but not as badly. He had options open to him which he took becoming President of the United States.

For lovers of history, this is a must read. My knowledge of the American involvement in the War was sketchy. This filled out all the blanks. From a very deep love story angle, this was a classic.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Independent Book Publishers Association. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Finding Secrets by Lauren Westwood

Seemingly straight forward but uncovering secrets by the score. One lead to another and Alex's world was turned upside down. What was a normal occupation - manageress of a country home and expanding the business, being the adopted daughter of a very nice set of middle class parents and then you sort of ending up having royalty ancestry, lots of money and a very complicated background.

It was a bit difficult for me to follow the various strands of the story as it was very involved but they all came together very well. The mystery and the ancestry was one section, the romance was another and they blended well.

The setting of the old English manor, the bits of history adding to the interest in the story were good and kept me going throughout the book.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Aria. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Three short reviews. Three different genres.

Three  short reviews. Two different genres!

Based on Jane Austen's Emma this Emma has also got the match making gene along with a Knightley in the background and a Weston who likes a bit of dalliance. There are lots of other characters in this charming Southern background book and the old fashioned style of story despite its modern setting echoes the Emma of Jane Austen.

What I really liked is that our Emma here had all the faults of the original character and more! she was not a good two shoes but someone who liked to have her own way and who thought she knew it all and was superior to lots of those around her. This characterization made her much more easier to like in the book.

The setting in the US I thought could detract from the rural village setting of England but it was not so. It seamlessly blended into the story and worked out very well.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Adalia Street Press.

Guy is a very successful landscape architect. Sybille his wife is administrator cum excellence. It is she that does the nitty gritty in their business. An argument like any other, on a deserted road Sybille gets out of the car, storms off and is never seen again. Two people do not accept the story and file a report against Guy. It is Guy himself who is his own worst enemy. His laid back attitude, his telling of the facts in an extremely factual way, does not endear him to authorities or friends alike who do not know what to make of this.

The resolution was not for me, quite right. An unresolved ending may have been better but the writing, the story told in chapters by different people all added interest to a mystery.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Ipso Books.

The Lighthouse Keeper

Living in a beach cottage would be idyllic for Laura who has come on a holiday to do a series of paintings. She did not envisage anything other than a peaceful time - not for a holiday romance as she was just getting over a break up and certainly not for ghosts and hidden spirits trying to tell their story.

Though this was a ghost story, it did not come across as eerie or creepy. Maybe it was the setting and maybe it was the relationship that developed between Laura and Ben who are two very likable characters. The town itself, the characters in the town all add interest to this story and it being a very short read was enjoyable in itself.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Lily Night. 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

the lying game by ruth ware

Four girls, friends from the time they were young teenagers in a boarding school in Salten have remained friends though their lives have taken them in diverse paths.  They have not met for years but when a message comes from one of them "I need you" it draws them all back immediately despite each one having responsibilities which they cannot shake off easily.

A secret they share buried so deep that should it get out, consequences will be very tough on all of them. They could lose their careers, their families, their marriages and their lives. Arriving in Salten the four try to come to terms and to organise the identical story that they should come up with, in case the worst scenario happens. Unravelling slowly first through a dead sheep left on their doorstep following up with unsigned notes, they know that they are not the only ones privy to their deadly secret.

The setting of a very closed village where the four girls are even decades later disliked and shunned, the isolation and general desolation of the village all add to the scenic gloom where you know that sooner or later things are going to come to a climax which is not going to be good for any of them.  Descriptive of the marshes and the tides and the seas around Salten are so good that you can feel how much the environment added to the story's telling. For someone who has not seen this kind of scenery, it was very evocative of the dangers and the treachery of these tides and seas.

This is not the happy reunion of school girls meeting after seventeen years. This is a dark and dangerous period in their lives. It was as good as watching this in a movie. You felt the atmosphere pull you into the story.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Random House UK Vintage Publishing. 

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Two short reviews. Donna Leon's Earthly Remains and Bette McNicholas's Farragut Square

For me its both Brunetti and Venice that draw me in. I know the setting will be Venice - drawbacks and all and told from the point of view of an actual resident, not the romantic version of tourists and then there is the Police matters told in minute detail with an Italian flair! Irresistible.

This time the setting is out on the islands and adds another dimension to this author's work. A sudden drowning of a seasoned seaman - is it enough to be suspicious or is it just one of those freak accidents. Brunetti decides to investigate with surprising results and sequences which goes back decades to uncover a tale of corruption, hidden stories and very present day problems.

As usual a fabulous story.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Random House UK, Cornerstone.

Lindsay McCallister is almost you could say undercover in the Washington investigative division. She has earned her stripes the hard way but no one knows exactly who she is and she intends it to stay that way.

Her entire focus is on finding out about the abduction of Tricia Avery who went missing from the streets of Washington years ago. Determined to find out more, Lindsay sets out on this mission not knowing how dangerous it could be to herself as well. Till almost midway no one in the department knows that Tricia is Lindsay's sister.  The element of romance brought into the story by the handsome Dragani for me, took away from the depth of the story which was a good one.

Highlighting a common feature of missing people, this was a good well told story.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of The Wild Rose Press Inc.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

I'm Still Here (Je Suis La) by Clelie Avit

Elsa is thirty and after a mountaineering accident, in a sort of irreversible coma in hospital.
Thibault accidentally barges into her room to avoid going into his brother's room as he is also
in hospital after a major accident. The story unfolds from there in alternating chapters told by both parties.

Unknown to doctors, friends and family Elsa is able to hear all that is spoken around her but not able to communicate by even a blink that she is functioning on one level at least. It is only Thibault, the absolute stranger who believes that Elsa is able to hear and that she is not brain dead.

A debate on whether to turn life support off is supported by the medical staff at the hospital but her family is dithering on the decision. Will Thibault's intervention help to save Elsa.

A little too bold on Thibault's part and a bit fairy tale ish the book was nevertheless engaging and unusual.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased read, courtesy of Grand Central Publishing.

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Awkward Age by Francesca Segal

It is a bit of a lopsided family. Julia after being devoted to her daughter Gwen for five years, where she has been the total and only focus of her life, has fallen deeply in love with James. James brings to the mix his quirky son Nathan. Then there is Iris and Phillip very much part of Julia and Gwen's lives. The loyal and supportive parents of David, Gwen's father and Julia's husband who died five years ago.

The story traverses the pitfalls of such situations - and the frailty and perverse nature of humans who are selfish and only see their situation from a point of view which is advantageous to them and them alone. Gwen cannot bear that her mother is happy and not just happy but incandescently happy with James. She cannot believe it either. She feels abandoned and alone. Nathan is sneering and rude, disruptive and a mess. That eventually two teenagers living in one house will develop feelings for each other is inevitable, but not obvious to the two parents who live there. When it does happen they are shocked out of their wits and each one secretly hates the other person's child. How is a loving relationship going to survive in the midst of so much secret antagonism. Then Iris and Phillip - Iris strong willed and Phillip very mild who springs the biggest surprise of it all.  The impact on all is felt and on Iris it is an avalanche of feeling, repulsion and revulsion!!!

The story told from the three different units of couples was complex, interesting, varied and kept me on the go from the first page to the last.  Human nature at its best and at its worst.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review courtesy of Chatto & Windus. 

Saturday, September 2, 2017

the good at heart by Ursula Werner

The Good at Heart: A Novel

I've been reading many stories set with a WWI and II background but this one is from a different perspective altogether. We hear of the persecuted and the persecutors but this is from a civilian German outlook, forced to live their lives under Hitler and for some members of the family only beginning to realize what was actually happening much later on in the day and then the utter horror of knowing that their men folk knew, understood and followed orders in the persecution of their fellow neighbours and others.

The story resulted as the author herself discovered papers regarding her great grandfather and this piqued her interest. This story is based on a family now living on the border to Switzerland, just because they wanted to escape the bombings of Berlin. Whilst Edith the mother was blindly believing in whatever the media turned out, her daughter, her adopted son and a pastor of the village knew otherwise. Clandestinely helping out sending Jews to the other side Marina and Johannes needed not to be the focus of attention. This was not to be. It is also ironic that it is children who on the one hand played games of make believe like all children would, believing that the enemy would come over and spy on them and kill them all would endanger an operation which would lead to disaster.

The arrival of the Fuhrer in this little picturesque village sets off a series of events including an attempted assassination which goes awry leading to arrests and immediate execution and a general uproar in the village.

For me the highlight of this story was the gradual awakening in Edith (the matriarch) mind that her husband too was part of the atrocities that took place and this was something she could never imagine. For her, her husband was a good man and that he could be responsible for such things was beyond her imagination, belief or understanding. She naively believed that the Jews were sent on trains for resettlement and that her neighbours and good friends were now happily setting up home elsewhere. The horror of the whole Holocaust hit her later.

The story was a mixed saga of War, family and the need for survival amongst a great many risks. That fathers would give up their lives even for the sake of family is very well outlined in this story. It must be one that would be replicated in hundreds of homes in Germany of that era. It must also be a very hard legacy to live with.

A very moving story.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Constable by the stream by Nicholas Rhea and Late of this Parish by Marjorie Eccles (Short Reviews)-+

Image result for constable by the stream goodreads

The book is set in a gentler time and this Constable is definitely much more diplomatic, more gentler than most. The stories are told almost in a lyrical way, very soothing and though the underlying theory of justice and law enforcement are inherent what is more apparent is the milder and more caring way of handling people Apart from our constable, the characters themselves are quirky, and interesting as well.

It is a time long gone with methods which worked then, but may not work at all now!

The book was sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review courtesy of Endeavour Press.

Late of This Parish (Gil Mayo Mystery, #5)

Revd Cecil Willard was not the easiest of people to like, let alone love. Even his daughter who blindly and faithfully looked after him knew that he was not easy. But finding his murdered body takes the equation a step further. Who hated him so much that they wanted to kill him.

As DCI Gill Mayo begins the investigation he finds many many people who were interested in getting rid of the Reverend mainly because of information he possessed. Every interview produces more evidence, more suspects till it seemed that almost all surrounding the Reverend wanted to see him gone.

This book like the one reviewed above was set in a quieter time, and also in a village, and kept me interested throughout.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review courtesy of Endeavour Press.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Indian Summer by Marcia Willett

Set in Devon in a small village, the inhabitants are those whom for foreigners are quintessentially English! Hereditary farmers Archie and Camilla and his brother Sir Mungo. Archie and Camilla are small time farmers and trying to manage a losing battle on their property. They do not want to sell to developers either but there seems to be no way out. Sir Mungo is very rich but Archie is highly principled and does not want to take money from him. We then have other characters like Billy and Phillip whose home it has been for generations on the same property and others like Kit and Emma and James and Marcus who are part of the plot and support the story.

More or less like a very interesting drama the whole story goes forward on seemingly small incidents. One leading to another.  Like all family/village stories secrets abound. What you dont know does not hurt but once you are in the know, dragged in unwittingly then you have a dilemma on your hands and this is what Mungo and Archie eventually face.

Then there is the story of Kit and Jake - a love affair left too late, decades too late and the ghost of Izzy and Ralph hovering around them all.

Strands of different stories, very well woven together to give one a very balanced view of family life in a small English village! Loved it.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of St. Martin's Press.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Break Down by B A Paris

As usual B A Paris brings about an edge of the seat, nail biting hours of reading pleasure. From the word go, though the story starts out placid and very nice you know the ending is not going to be so nice. It is not going to be expected either.

Without spoilers, it is difficult to get into this story but believe me it is good. A seemingly placid happily married couple, lots of friends, easy social environment, one unexpected murder seemingly random, no clues and then wham!

If you seek mystery murder thrillers/psychological thrillers, please go read this one. It is a must.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of  St. Martin's Press. 

Friday, August 25, 2017

The Munich Girl by Phyllis Edgerly Ring

The Munich Girl

Germany at the time of Hitler's ascendancy (and downfall) told from the very personal point of view of a friend of Eva Braun - unacknowledged mistress of Hitler and the ramifications and the story behind Eva and Hitler from a friend's point of view. It also disclosed the life of ordinary Germans who were caught up in the vicious cycle of Hitler's Nazi Germany whether they liked it or not. They were just caught up in it and people like those who inhabit the story just wanted to survive and get out of it alive.

Anna never dreamt that her mother's German beginnings held such secrets. Secrets she managed to keep away from her American husband who hated all things German!  Unraveling secrets after her mother's death pieces are slowly brought forward which disrupts Anna's life and what she believed in upto then. She cannot imagine that her life and that of her mother's was so convoluted, so secretive, so full of hidden things that are now coming to light.

A marriage going bad, an airline accident and a new love interest all add twists to a very engaging story.

I had this on my Kindle for a very long time and am only sorry that I took so long to get to it.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Wardrobe Mistress by Meghan Masterson

Described as a book on Marie Antoinette, that is not quite right. The book is so much more. It details the life and times of a woman who worked for the Queen before the Revolution, her life during and finishes with the death of Marie Antoinette. As such, it is descriptive of the time of the Revolution and the life and time of Parisians particularly at the time.

It was a turbulent time and Marie Antoinette did not help herself at all by her behaviour. Her reserve was put down to arrogance, she was detested because she was foreign (Austrian) and whatever the King did or did not do, was put down to her influence (it was not). The King was indecisive and twisted every which way. Even after a decision was made, he could easily be swayed by any one of his Ministers who did not help his situation either.

Giselle is one young woman who works for the Queen particularly looking after her wardrobe. This is an area which has special interest to Giselle who hopes one day to design and make dresses for a living in her own shop. She is also a spy. This she does in a very unobtrusive manner in which no one, neither the Queen or her trusted woman Madam Campan is aware at any time of the double life which Giselle leads. Though she has been instructed to keep her ears and eyes open for any untoward happenings in the Royal Household, Giselle is sympathetic to the Queen and her plight because she realises very early on that the Queen is being held accountable for any wrong that goes on in the country. Unfortunately for Marie Antoinette, rising prices and the power of the nobility is so great , that nothing is done for the masses and the time for rebellion is ripe. Nothing is going to stop it now.

The end of the dynasty in France was pathetic, demeaning and aggressive. It did not bode well for France but people who were starving just wanted a change. They saw the opulence of the court and saw the poverty of their own lives in stark contrast. Giselle herself was not aristocratic but from a middle class background and she saw and understood life on both sides of the divide. She understood the hardships of the ordinary people very well but she also knew that the King and Queen were being guided by the wrong people and nothing could be done to save them.

Giselle herself was a self contained soul, she wanted what most young people want. A decent future, a husband and a happy home. She got out when she could because as she and her young husband knew a witch hunt would start to weed out any Royal sympathisers and having worked for the Queen loyally throughout, Giselle would be suspect.

The story of Marie Antoinette though in essence the story, the life of Giselle is for me the more focused part. The Revolution itself is the background.

The story was descriptive, and detailed.

The book was sent to me by Netgalley, for an unbiased review courtesy of St. Martin's Press.

The Swap by Nancy Boyarsky

It was going to be a simple swap of houses. Her condo in LA for a house in London. It was also an attempt to rekindle her marriage and she felt that by paying more attention to her husband and being with him full time, things may improve.

It proved to be an adventure of a different kind.  There were many strands in the story. People began following Nicole. Her husband did not find it strange even when a bomb exploded in the vehicle she was going to drive, just a few seconds before she got in. It killed a neighbour who was very kindly trying to show her how to start the car. Even then Brad felt that she was imagining things. This was when Nicole began to think that Brad's preoccupation may mean bigger things than just a flirtation with an office assistant.

Throw in thuggery, drug smuggling, money laundering, sleuths and the local police on a trail of everyone and you have a complicated plot which did not seem that it was going to have a happy ending for lots of people.

The book is fast paced but it is not quite a mystery or a thriller. Interesting reading though.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review courtesy of Light Messages Publishing. 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Way Back To Florence by Glen Waybittle

I never tire of reading about WWII and WWI war stories. This set in Florence detailing the lives of ordinary citizens in the face of fascist Italy is remarkable.

Freddie, Isabella and Oskar are friends at art school. That they are three different nationalities is of no consequence but it becomes very important when war breaks out. Oskar is Jewish, Freddie is English and only Isabella is Italian. It puts them all in very precarious positions and Isabella more than most. Freddie returns to England to fly for the RAF and Isabella is left alone to fend for herself in very trying and suspicious conditions. Oskar's life becomes a nightmare.

The day to day workings of life under a foreign invader, made much worse by the workings of your own neighbours and friends against you made life much harder. You never knew who was a spy, who was out to get you, sometimes just for spite nothing else.  They just did not like your attitude, or what you stood for before hostilities started. It could have been that you had more money, you were popular or that you were pretty. You could get arrested, thrown into prison and after that never seen again.

Isabella had to work with all the above and still try to survive. She had to survive because she knew that Freddie was not dead and that she must be around to be with him when he returns. She also knew that she must survive to try to help out whoever she could, in whatever way she could. That this would endanger her life and put her under torture and imprisonment was to be expected.

This was a sad but a very good story well told.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Cheyne Walk. 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Deadly Treasures by Vivian Conroy

Deadly Treasures (Lady Alkmene #3)

I am reading books with unusual names for the ladies! In this one Lady Alkmene Callender is anyway an unusual lady for her times. Disinterested in marriage and deaf to the match making tricks of all her relations including her father, a visit to an archaeological site is one she cannot resist, in spite of a prospective groom being the bait!

Finding the groom to be a suspect in a murder case does not deter Alkmene who uses all her detective skills to find out who the real culprit is. The fact that she and journalist Jake are also under threat does not deter her at all.

Told in an easy going style, the characters all blend nicely together to tell a story in a very listenable manner.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of HQ Digital.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

This side of murder by Anna Lee Huber

This Side of Murder (Verity Kent, #1)

I am always looking for new mystery/thriller/suspense authors and this was a really lucky find. It combined my love for the WW era, a strong effective woman and a mystery death as well. The combination was irresistible. Now the difficulty would be to track down the next book in the series. This was the first one in the Verity Kent series.

Verity is a young woman who has worked in the Secret Service during WWI. She has lost her husband as well and is trying very hard to accept this and move on. It is just fifteen months after she received news of the death of her husband, but there was no body. Getting an invitation to visit the home of one of her husband's colleagues to celebrate and engagement was she felt one more step towards closure as she felt that meeting them would bring her peace of mind. That was the last thing she ever felt as circumstances and events took over from the moment she set out on this journey to a beautiful, scenic, isolated part of the British coast to an island where she and the rest of the party would be cocooned together and the entire drama would slowly unravel.

It was a beautiful piece of writing, building up in stages, never erupting but systematically going on to the next event and the next. Unexpected surprises at every turn, kept my interest going till the very end. Very descriptive as well this was such an enjoyable book to read I was sorry it had to end so soon.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of 

In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen

An idyllic setting of Farleigh Place. What anyone would envision the English countryside to be like. WWII has now come here and everyone is either working for the forces, or his house is occupied and taken over for a hospital or a convalescence center. Those who are not working directly in the Forces are working indirectly in the form of a land army or a women's center, All work towards a war effort.

At Fairleigh Place Lord Westerham and his five daughters are all also involved in one way or another in the war effort. A failed parachute landing raises suspicions that the man who died was a German spy in British army uniform and Ben Cresswell is assigned the task of unraveling the mystery. Engaging the services of many people Ben has to see who is the traitor in their midst in this small village where everyone knows everyone.

Could Lord Westerham's own family be involved in the treachery and betrayal and could Ben along with Pamela, Lord Westerham's daughter try to prevent an even bigger betrayal and tragedy that could effect the whole of Britain.

The war setting, the war effort and the patriotism and support which the average Englishman gave to both wars are told in numerous stories, each one more poignant and personal than the last. I never tire of reading individual stories, acts of heroism and the stoic support in the face of untold hardship that the average man and woman gave to their country.

This is another of those stories.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Lake Union Publishing.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Harriet Said by Beryl Bainbridge

This was an uncomfortable book to read. To accept that such young girls could be manipulative, obssessive and for me basically something very wrong mentally was not right.

A thirteen year old girl returns home from boarding school. Bored, bubbling with anticipation, frustration, feelings all of it but she does not have the courage to act on anything. Not until Harriet the slightly older teen appears on the scene. Egged on by her they decide to ensnare Peter Biggs, himself bored, middle aged but unaware of sinister plans on the part of the girls.

This is going to be their biggest dare, their biggest summer ever but what will be the end result, what they hope to gain from it, neither of them clearly knows. But it is wrong and in a way evil what they plan and hope to do. Their families and everyone around them are just unwitting partners.

The book was sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Open Road Integrated Media. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Murder in the Dark by Kerry Greenwood

Murder in the Dark (Phryne Fisher, #16)

It is 1928 and it is going to end with the best of parties The rich and not so rich but flamboyant and the risque are going to be present. The Hon. Phyrne Fisher is also invited. She was in two minds about going but when threats appeared telling her not to go if she valued her life, she knew she had to be present.

A sleuthing mystery of a different kind as the setting was unusual to say the least. The atmosphere is full of hash and sex, romance of many kinds, unusual men and women, unusual children as well and the underlying threat that follow in the form of riddles accompanied by the mysterious disappearance of both children. A world of glamour, parties of the most complicated kind and a lot of fun and laughter and high living.

Unravelling the riddles was an experience in itself and Phyrne has to make sure that the children are discovered before harm comes to them.

Unexpected twists and very quaint story telling made this an usual mystery thriller, one of a series.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Poisoned Pen Press.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

By Light Of Hidden Candles by Daniella Levy

Seemingly impossible, beautifully and meticulously and detailed research makes this a story that was poignant, emotional, romantic, historically fascinating and also hopeful.

Animosity against Jews has been universal. It has existed for hundreds of years. We go back five hundred years in this story where a seemingly impossible love existed between a Christian and a Jew and a ring that has come down twenty three generations with a message to each generation that they must find the Christian family who saved a Jew and gave them this ring, and return it to them.

To Alma and Manuel a Jew and a Catholic trying to trace ancestry - one this improbably owner of the ring and the other his father's dying dream of establishing their precedents, two more unlikely youngsters one couldn't imagine. Alma is orthodox Jewish follows the laws and customs of her people, Manuel is on the verge of joining a seminary. Both families look askance at the friendship. Both families are cautious where this will go though both Alma and Manuel have no romantic feelings for each other.

The story is convoluted, long and goes back and forth in time. Told in separate time frames going back five hundred years and then hopping across to the present times is not easy but the author handles this seamlessly. You never have a sense of being jarred out of the twentieth century and then going back to the fourteenth. It is a very smooth transition.

I enjoyed the story very much - all its facets. History, religion, romance, geography the works.

Sent to me by Netgalley, for an unbiased review, courtesy of Kasva Press LLC. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Very early on in this story you knew that things were not exactly as they seemed.  Two young girls went missing - were they abducted, did they run away, are they still alive. The investigation is still not quite closed but its been three years now. Of a sudden the younger girl returns. She just turns up at the door to her mother's house with a very long, perfectly logical explanation as to what has happened to her and her elder sister. Now it is the turn of the investigators to find the elder sister from the clues given by Cass the younger girl.

Abby and Leo are the investigators for this from three years ago and they take over again. Abby has her own suspicions but without proof it is not easy to pin point anything. Cass's explanations are explicit, very detailed with just enough clues to keep the investigative process going rapidly. The background at home is very complicated - parents separated and mother married again. There are step children involved and the mother is not your average lady on the street.

The story was full of suspense. It was a psychological battle between a mother with narcissist tendencies who was manipulative, deceitful and self centred. Nothing else mattered to her other than herself. The story was twisted and took a great deal of step by step story telling to unravel it.

The book was sent to me by St. Martin's Press via Netgalley for an unbiased review.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Skylarking by Kate Mildenhall

A debut novel of exceptional poignancy.

A coming of age story set on an isolated island - with a lighthouse. The lighthouse and its occupants are the chief characters in this story and the others are playing pivotal but important roles. Kate is the light house keeper's daughter. Her best friend is Harriet and they are inseparable. As they grow up however their different characteristics begin to emerge from the time they were very young teenagers and this is what adds depth to the story.

Trying to keep their relationship the way it was when they were just young children is not easy. Each has begun to have secrets not very willing to impart it to the other one and as Harriet matures earlier and begins to have an impact on a man in their community, her parents pack her off to Melbourne. She comes back and the relationship with Kate starts again - albeit on a different level. A tragedy which occurs changes the lives of all the islanders forever. Anything else will be spoilers in this beautiful story.

The essence of the isolation of their life, the closeness of the two girls with no one else their own age, the understanding and compassion of their parents were all beautifully depicted in this very intriguing story of family, love and growing up. I also enjoyed the setting of rural isolated Australia in 1880s.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Legend Press.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

the mother's promise by Sally Hepworth

Living a quiet life Alice and her daughter Zoe seem to be dependant on each other. Zoe has social anxiety problems and Alice is fiercely protective of her. Unexpectedly facing critical illness Alice knows her days are numbered and she has to find solace and protection for Zoe who is going to be alone and ill equipped to face a world alone.

Leaning on two women who are practically strangers, one a nurse and one a social worker she tries to form a protective web for Zoe once she is gone. With no father figure and never having mentioned him, Zoe has no idea of who he is. Now Alice has to prepare Zoe for a time when she will be alone.

The story of families is one which the author seems to have a special knack for. Emotional, tense and uplifting the story is one of both betrayal, forgiveness and love.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review courtesy of St. Martin's Press.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Forgotten by Nicole Trope

A mother's worse nightmare. You just leave your toddler for five minutes, turn around and he is gone.  Malia was a dutiful, good mother. She was also seriously sleep deprived, exhausted and at the end of her tether with a husband who was just that in name. Ian did not care for the "looking after" part of kids and with two toddlers and a baby of five months Malia found the whole business of the family on her shoulders.

The parallel story of Ali from the Police who is assigned to the case is also very much part of the story. Having lost a child to SID she is also a mother to a toddler of eighteen months and is paranoid about Charlie. She has never been able to give him to anyone else to look after and having returned to work, Charlie is in a day care with hourly messages to Mum to update her on his status. Unusual day care indeed!

The twists and turns in a case like this where someone who is mentally ill and already a felon, decides to pick up Zach from his car seat and take him home. Jackie believes that having a ready made baby will make her ex husband return to her obsessive arms.  Tracking baby Zach is a nightmare as CCTV cameras around the shop are broken, no leads come up despite cross questioning of a series of people and the Police know that the longer the case lingers, the more remote the chances of Zach turning up alive.

Turn on to a home which is run by Robbie for felons out of prison and on parole and we have Edna who is worried over the residents of the home. Worried for her personal safety as well. It is Edna the oldest person in the entire scenario who realizes that things are not quite right with the latest resident and it is with this that a happy result ensues.

I was holding my breadth till the end. This was a good thriller and I am just glad that I got it no sooner I requested for it. It was a recommendation from a fellow blogger.

Thanks to Netgalley who sent this on to me for an unbiased review, courtesy of 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A Twist in Time by Julie McElwain

This book brought together excellent elements - historical fiction, mystery and murder and so very surprisingly nice time travel! totally unexpected, fabulously interwoven into a tale of murder. Very cleverly done.

Kendra works at Quantico in present times. Through a phase of the moon and being in a specific spot at a specific time, she is inadvertently thrown back in time to 1815 to the Duke of Aldridge's castle. Fortunately for her the Duke himself was a man of science and though skeptical, and unbelieving he was willing to listen to Kendra and to what had transpired. He couldn't quite figure things out but he was at least a willing listener! In 1815 most people would have had Kendra burnt at the stake for being a witch if they knew what had happened.

Thrown headlong into a murder investigation (her second) the Duke's own nephew is the prime suspect in the murder of a lady. To clear his name and to help the Duke, Kendra is seconded for service. She has to play a low key in the investigation as women are expected not to even glimpse a dead body, let alone a gruesomely murdered one like the current investigation.
Without modern forensic methods Kendra has to depend on common sense and a series of deductions to catch the murderer.

The bit of romance thrown in adds to the spin of the story and all together it is a very interesting book. I liked all the characters each very different to each other and all trying to get to grips with the very modern woman in their midst!

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review,  courtesy of Pegasus Books.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Little White Lies by Elizabeth McGregor

It seems like a very normal day in a conventional marriage. Beth and David had a steady, conventional marriage until the day David left for work as usual, drove head on onto a lorry at high speed and was killed instantly. Unraveling the whys and hows was what left Beth not just with unanswered questions but led her to a morass of never ending lies and suspicions and betrayals. Did Beth even know the man she was married to.

The story led you on gently at first but it was bewildering because each day brought fresh clues to another life, which had seemed so well hidden that it was if Beth and David were strangers to each other not a husband and wife. How well one could have a second life, a second home totally parallel to the other becomes a reality with this book.

The ending was unexpected! It also got you thinking how many of us live duplicate lives!!

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Endeavour Press.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Murder in Montparnasse by Kerry Greenwood

My second read of this investigative officer. Titled, quirky, clever and beautiful. The setting is Melbourne, again different and the time frame is the early 20th century.

Seven Australian soldiers unwittingly and unknowingly witnessed a murder in Paris. They were for the most drunk, never knew about it until one by one death stalks them in uncommon circumstances. Though made to look accidental two of them are sure there is something different about  these deaths and Phyrne Fisher comes to the scene.

Unraveling it further, Phyrne discovers that it is closer to home than she thinks. These are not random killings and she has to go deep to discover why and how and where the next murder is going to take place. The who is told to us half way through. Again unusual.

The style of writing is old fashioned, the methodology old fashioned, accurate and never fails. Not an Agatha Christie style of mystery murder neither is it a Patterson or Baldacci but one in its own right very very good.

I liked the style of writing, the characterizations and the plots and only hope I will be able to get to the rest by this prolific author.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Poisoned Pen Press.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Family Matters by Anthony Rolls

Set in 1933, in a quiet town in England, this domestic crime is one where you felt that the victim should have been got rid of a long time ago. The fact that he lasted this long is itself surprising.

The gentleman in question was Mr. Kewdingham, in his forties who has been out of work for quite some time.  This did not detract from his sense of pompousness and attitude and was a source of frustration for his wife who was the younger and quite lovely Bertha. Mr. Kewdingham thought himself an authority on medicines and herbals and dabbled in self medication all the time. It was this that brought the idea of poisons into the mind of Bertha who sought to murder her husband in a slow and timely manner so that no suspicion would fall on her.

Unknown to her their family doctor wanting to trial a new thought on medicine sought to introduce a new medicine to Mr. Kewdingham not realising that the effects of this medicine, contradicted those being given by Mrs. K. Quite farcical because the doctor kept upping the meds and so did Bertha to no effect till the whole thing blew up and Mr K. finally died!

The ups and downs of the whole saga form the story in this book, detailing the everyday life in a small town just seventy miles from London. The details of the domestic front, the neighbours, and the extended family all add interest to this story. The investigation was detailed and meticulous and the justice meted out was surprising!

The book was sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Poisoned Pen Press.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Murder Between The Lines by Radha Vatsal

Part of a series which I did not know about, this book was a good stand alone one which did not detract from its story or the series.

Set at the very end of 1915 and going into January of 1916 it depicts an era of change in America like it was all around the world especially for women. We have Kitty Weeks employed as a journalist, but in her father's eyes it is more or less a hobby. He wanted her to do this job without pay as she did not need the money at all and for Kitty it was more about asserting herself as an independent woman more than anything else. There was no vote for women as yet, the suffrage movement was just picking up and the position of women in public life was almost nil.

Kitty's assignment is Westfield Hall a prestigious school for girls, forward thinking for their times and supportive of girls higher education. A student found frozen to death supposedly whilst sleep walking makes an enquiry necessary but Kitty is not sure that all is what it seems. There seems to be a cover up from several people including most strangely the girl's parents themselves. That Elspeth was herself of a scientific bent of mind and was trying to disprove a theory re batteries involving the Navy Yard and the new ships being built were all pointers to Kitty that a conspiracy was afoot. Big names are involved with lucrative contracts involved and Kitty puts her investigative journalistic skills to play to uncover what actually happened. A second death under very mysterious circumstances adds to the intensity of the story.

Apart from the actual mystery, the story highlighted American politics in the White House of the time. President Wilson was in the White House and he did not seem progressive at all! there were strong women lobbying for women's rights but they would have a long way to go before they were successful. These stories added much interest to the book.

The book was sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Sourcebooks, Landmark.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Beneath a Burning Sky by Jenny Ashcroft

Olivia and Clara two sisters, separated at a very young age due to the death of their parents. One brought up by a grandmother determined to keep the two girls apart. It was a maneuvered coincidence that brought them together in colonial Egypt, both brought to this country of their birth by marriage. One marriage seemingly happy, the other brutal, painful and abusive of the most horrific.

The setting for the story was excellent. England again in colonizing mode trying to hold this disparate country together in the face of many odds. A hostile people who did not take easily to these foreign masters and people like Olivia's husband who were the lowest of the low, exploiting everyone and treating every person he met so badly that you wondered how he was not done away with before now.

The story reaches a climax with Clara's abduction and the entire facade of both sisters lives begins to slowly unravel as actions of their respective husbands play out on a new scenario which places both sisters in grave danger. The romantic element of Olivia finding love in her own house with a lodger brought by her own husband adds another element to this tense story.

The historical setting of the story added a lot to the story which was one of betrayal and love. Alexandria at the time was colorful enough but with villains, heroes and heroines also thrown into the mix, the story was intriguing.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an honest review, courtesy of Little Brown Book Group UK, the story revealed history from a very personal angle as well.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Exact Nature of our Wrongs by Janet Peery

A family story is never straight forward. This one has more than its fair share of difficult characters. From an AIDS affected younger son, to those who have been indicted for drunk driving, for siblings to whom popping drugs - of any kind is just a day to day "harmless" occupation, Hattie and Abel find themselves perplexed at what they have produced!

Hattie is a woman who is willing to believe the best in everyone and this particularly applies to her family. While everyone knows that Billy is robbing her blind, she pretends that this does not happen but that he is just taken advantage of by all and sundry (not the other way around). She tries to excuse shortfalls in all her children and blindly follows her husband's orders, despite hidden resentments surfacing on and off. These resentments at his high handedness are pushed deep within her mind and she conveniently forgets them until the next time.

Abel on the other hand is aging, with an onset of dementia (?) but is unwilling to accede to any what he sees as weakness on his part to give control of any part of his life to his family. He wants to be the autocrat till the end and greatly succeeds in doing this, despite resentment from all.

This is the background to the story and naturally its ups and downs makes for a good story. Children in their middle age squabbling is ugly, squabbling over stuff which they hope to inherit is even worse but these are facts of life - evident in life around us and this author has descriptively detailed everything out - the good, the bad and the ugly.

Very well told story sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of St. Martin's Press

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green

With migration so much in the news, this was a forced migration of sorts. Set in the 1720s it is factually correct. The story is a fascinating one. France wanted French citizens to occupy Louisiana state in America. They could not find willing participants to their scheme. So they offered it as a way out for people in prison who would have ended their days in the prison. Many would have taken it as a way out of a horrible life, but what made it inhuman was not just being sent to a place which they knew nothing about, but that as soon as they were taken out of prison they were forcibly married to men also released from prison whom they only saw for a few minutes before they were forced to wed.

With such inauspicious beginnings it is surprising that any of the immigrants survived, or that the marriages lasted. Some of them did. And some did not even last the journey to the other side of the Atlantic. Conditions on board ship were primitive and harsh and life in Louisiana was worse.

The story depicted is one of survival. Sheer grit, determination against all odds, and the odds were stacked up so heavily against her that Julianne survived not just the death of her husband, the stigma of being a midwife convicted for murder and her constant fight against men who sought her downfall.

The book was a fascinating glimpse into a part of both French and American history many may not be aware of. The act of colonizing nations has brought about so much of heartache to people, though to governments intent on annexing another country for wealth and fortune, these are not things even considered by them as important. The individual stories are all heartfelt stories of which even in this short period of four years, must be so many and each one different.

This very interesting read was sent to me by Netgalley courtesy of Bethany House Publishers.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Jack and Jill by James Patterson An Alex Cross Thriller

Alex Cross's third foray into crime is as good as it gets.

A controversial Senator found handcuffed to his bed and cold bloodedly executed at point blank range. On the other side of the same town a six year old girl brutally killed. The killings continue apace alternatively with each other. Are the two killing sprees linked in any way or are there two separate cold blooded killers stalking Washington DC. The one killer targets high upmarket stakes and the other is more low key. The attention to the two murders by the powers that be is also markedly different to the disgust of the detectives handling the cases.

The sign offs on the murders of the upmarket killings are Jack and Jill. Coincidentally and frighteningly they are also the code names for the President of the US and his wife. When the killings get more and more linked to the Presidency, it is a high alert for all the agencies across the board to protect their President. But for how long can the President be shielded from events, people and his position. Not for long and the President himself declares that life will go on as usual, come what may.

On the other part of town the killing of children also continues and the neighbourhoods are frightened that nothing seems to be done, despite all the detective work going on. Detective Alex Cross has taken it upon himself personally along with his team to follow up on all leads but they are becoming less and less certain of their suspects.

In both cases, initial suspects are not right so they have to dig deeper and deeper. No clues left around, no amount of profiling turns up suspects and Alex Cross has to find their suspects fast. They know that the killers are clever, very clever and it although late in the day it has to be solved at any cost.

Fast paced, beautiful detective work, painstakingly following up leads and deducing what will happen is always interesting to read about. Patterson does this job beautifully.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Random House UK, Cornerstone this was a book you had to read in one go. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Romilly by Cate Charleston


An Edwardian family/romance story but certainly with many twists to it that it could very well have been set in present times. The over riding sense of protocol and correctness was certainly there but not overwhelmingly so, and whether such a situation could survive in those times I really do not know but it made for a very interesting, fast paced read.

Romilly and her mother have lived a very quiet life. Being Methodist, 'chapel' rules their day to day lives and both of them seem very satisfied the way it has turned out to be. Romilly has never questioned why she is so sequestered from others, not encouraged to make friends even at the academy she went to and certainly not with members of the chapel. Her mother despite being an ardent supporter of chapel, maintains a reserve that is chilling.

With the death of her mother, Romilly's new life begins with startling revelations. It also brings her into contact with the very rich and very social world. A world totally alien to her and which she has been always told to hold aloof from. How she is going to reconcile her natural good sense with what she has been taught from the day she was born is tricky because many things go against the grain. Despite a very delicate air, Romilly survives and thrives meeting antagonism and social disapproval head on because she has the support of her new immediate family.

The romance was for me just by the way as the story of family and support, and women standing up for themselves was much more important. It was however a nice by product!

I loved this read very much which was a free download from Amazon. I only wish the other two books were also available!  

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Legacy by Yrsa Sigurdardottir

The murderer here was calculating, clever and cold blooded. The methods used are unheard of, gruesome but they all mean something obviously. Trying to link the dots and trying to find a connection between the three is what the detectives have to find.

Facing a blank wall of seemingly endless clues with no connection and no idea of where to go next, a random arrest seems to make everyone happy. The fact that the so called murderer gets a stroke, is paralysed and unable to talk from that point on seemingly closes the case. It all seems very conveniently done and you still feel that somewhere down the line, the investigation has slipped.

Seemingly random, seemingly without motive the detectives move slowly but not forward. It is just by a simple deduction right at the end that it even gets closure and then it seems so simple.
Set in Iceland was interesting enough though it did not convey enough of the background. I would have liked to have seen and known more about the setting. I am glad that this author is getting known via translation as her books are certainly engrossing.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review courtesy of Hodder & Stoughton.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Murder is Suspected by Roderic Jeffries

A hit and run with a nondescript description of both vehicle and none whatever of the driver. The witnesses an elderly couple.

Seems matter of fact everyday happening but when pieces begin to unravel at headquarters and when you have an upright chief (very unreal these days) but nevertheless this is the point when things begin to make sense.

Fusili is put in charge of the investigation and when it points to the chief constable's son is ordered to stop. He now has to decide whether he is cutting his own neck by pursuing the investigation. How he is going to balance his moral code with his professional orders is the dilemma. The hit and run is the tip of an iceberg leading to bigger law breaking. The intricacies of police work, the slogging and routine work that goes into an investigation seems mind numbingly dull! but it works and break through s only happen through this method it seems.

Very enjoyable read if one likes police investigation reads!

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Endeavour Press.

Monday, July 10, 2017

This Was Not The Plan by Cristina Alger

Charlie's life is in a whirlwind. He has just lost his wife at thirty three in an accident which is tantamount to murder. His professional life has taken over his entire life. His five year old son Caleb is a stranger to him and his twin sister Zadie is trying so very hard to keep it all together for all of them.

As a lawyer working in a pressure cooker, trying to make partner after ten years of slogging, Charlie only knows about work and nothing else. His life is spent in his office and the whole thing bursts after a seventy five hour sprint in the office without a break which results in a huge settlement for his office and the end of the life which Charlie knows.

The back stabbing that goes on in the corporate world is highlighted in this book. Avarice and jockeying for position, power and money all follow this greed and this firm and its partners are not exempt. Charlie has given them the opening gambit they need and all are waiting to grab his place if he is fired. They want to use the vacuum created by his departure to their own best advantage.

Simultaneously Zadie has decided to get engaged and very quickly married putting Charlie on the spot as to what to do with his son Caleb and how he is going to work around the loss of Zadie. A reconciliation with their long lost father, unraveling of family secrets and trying to get to grips with unsavoury facts however hard it is to face.

The story of loss in its different forms - personal and professional, grief, loss of self esteem and the sheer loneliness of being all alone is handled well in this story. How we reconcile this loss and try to move on trying to hang on to our sanity and not give in to depression and the easy way out is also very delicately told.

The book was sent to me by Netgalley, courtesy of Touchstone Publishers for an unbiased review. 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

A Ring of Truth by Michelle Cox

This book was interesting in several ways. The poor girl marrying rich boy story is always very nice and when it all ends happily even better. In this case our rich man never said he was actually filthy rich and heir to an estate. He was just a chief detective and that is how our girl met him, whilst working on a case for him.  Henrietta realised that he was rich only when she visited his home and saw how difficult it would be for her to fit in. On top of that the other twist in the tale, was that Henrietta's mother herself had a colorful past, one she had successfully hidden from her eight children for all these years.  The fact that she was herself a rich heiress who disgraced her family by running away and then forsaking all attempts for reconciliation is now slowly coming to light.

In these circumstances, Henrietta visits the family home with the idea of getting used to their way of life and also to plan the much awaited engagement and wedding. To add another twist to the story a loss of a ring and the twist in the tale in its finding added another layer to this story.

Several different strands - a mystery, a follow up from a previous story plus a romance and a family saga. Very nicely combined.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of She Writes Press.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline

The story was full of suspense from the first page till the end. Right at the beginning I really thought that Chris was one of the "bad guys". The scheming, the lying, the deceitfulness had me thinking in just the opposite direction to which the story eventually went.

That is the cleverness of this author. She takes you in one direction and then jerks you back again in another. Very nicely done!!!

The story of espionage and eventually terrorism in a small town, which to all appearances is peaceful and very quiet is indicative of the times we live in and very much part of today's world.

An author whose books once you start you can't put down!

Sent to me by St. Martin's Press courtesy of Netgalley for an unbiased review.

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Halo Effect by Anne D. LeClaire

Will, Sophia and Lucy form an enviable family unit. Will is a renowned painter, Sophie is a choral master and Lucy is all what they want from a daughter. An ordinary evening, each one returning from chores and Lucy does not return from hockey practice. A few days later her bloodied body is found. Seven months down the line, her parents shattered, they await some findings about their daughters killer.

Will seeks revenge on his own. He looks into every face in his well loved neighbourhood and thinks that one of them could well be his daughters killer. It drives him and Sophie far apart. Sophie is a Catholic with very strong faith and Will is not a believer. Being approached by Father Gervase to undertake a painting of forty three saints for the new cathedral is ironic. Will finally accepts the challenge and this is the turning point in the story. He chooses for the models people from all walks of life from within the community following in the manner of famous artists of the past.

Will and Sophie have to make their peace as well. They are broken by the grief of their daughters death, but this has driven them apart not brought them together. Will the killer be found as it is now a very cold case. An odd finding of a token loved by Lucy months after her death in a chapel, opens the investigation in another way and this will finally lead to solving the case.

Poignant, very emotional, very sad but beautifully and delicately written, this was a very beautifully told story.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Lake Union Publishing.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Rebecca's Children by Kate Dunn

19th century Wales - not a country or period I was very familiar with and this story a mix of historical fiction along with a complex story of both love and betrayal was portrayed very well.

The setting was tough. A hard setting to have any degree of warmth or much happily ever after and the fact that it achieved a certain degree of it, bodes well for the author's story telling. The spirit of nationalism as well as social upheaval was beginning and  uprisings were becoming common. The ordinary man seemed to have had enough and fighting against tolls and taxes is the background for this story.

Our heroine Mary handles adversity stoically, from the suicide of her father to the injury caused to her brother, the loss of the farm held by her family for generations and the entire burden of the family falling on her shoulders. It was a hard story to follow because there seemed no let up at all for Mary and whatever happiness she had was fleeting and then taken away.
The story telling was very good and characters were spot on.

The book was sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review courtesy of Endeavour Press.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Proud Sinner by Priscilla Royal and The Book of Summer by Michelle Gable

A medieval mystery murder/s set in an abbey. The age old reason - the struggle for power and supremacy. Was there then, is still here now!
The setting was beautiful and descriptive. The workings of the abbey fascinated me and how women of the time tried to manage their lives in the restricted sphere they were allocated to. How men tried to control women, their possessions and their power for their own greed.
Very well told.
Sent to me by Poisoned Press courtesy of Netgalley for an unbiased review.

A story set in a beachside town. The air from the very beginning light hearted. This is a town where people come back for summer vacations and the actual inhabitants of the town are few and far between. Was very difficult to visualise for someone who comes from a crowded city where houses are never closed and always full of people!
The story of a family and their love for a house which they are going to eventually lose to the sea. Erosion has taken its toll on the coastline and their house is one of the victims. Twined into the loss of the house is the failure of a marriage, family relationships and a new love affair which is just beginning.
A light hearted read which was very enjoyable given the background setting.
Sent to me by St. Martin's Press courtesy of Netgalley for an unbiased review.