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Thursday, November 26, 2020

A Resolution at Midnight by Shelley Noble

The description of Miss Fisher meets Downton Abbey sums up the whole character and flavor of this story. Lady Dunbridge, aristocratic escaping from a tyrant father and an abusive husband now dead has arrived to make a new life for herself. Welcomed by New York society who loves the Engish aristocracy she fits in with her new life but when another murder reins her into an investigation she has to try at least to see that justice is served. With a nice mix of murder and mayhem, corruption in the municipalities and police, the mafia and gangs that operate plus a touch of romance amidst the high flyers of New York society this book had a lot of things going to keep everyone interested. I will be looking out for Lady Dunbridge in the future too. Sent by Macmillan Tor Forge for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

A Lie for a Lie by Julie Corbin

Anna the mother of two and a nurse at the local school has a very good reputation as being professional and empathetic as well. When she is charged with hitting a pupil and when subsequently the pupil is found dead the investigation turns ugly with a town divided as to whether Anna is guilty not just of abuse, but of murder. The implications reach far and wide and little by little stories emerge from the part and role played by both of Anna's children in the story as well as her husband and then it moves on to other people who surround Anna. People whom she has had a loving relationship, people whom she has entrusted her own children to and whom she cannot believe would ever let her down. Like stories of a psychological suspense nature, this story too weaves around what one does not actually see, envisage or imagine about so that the final outcome is always riveting. This did not disappoint. Sent by Hodder & Stoughton for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Millicent Glen's Last Wish by Lori Whitaker

At 91 Millicent seems independent, content and happy. She is also harbouring secrets which she has kept close to her chest for decades. She now thinks it is time to come clean and to try and repair the rather tense relationship she has had from the very beginning with her daughter Jane. Her grand daughter Abbie brings delightful news about a pregnancy and Millicent is drawn back into her own turbulent past. Set in two time frames the past of six decades ago and the present with Jane and Abigail the story runs on parallel lines of how the past and hidden secrets do affect the present. It also speaks of maternal love but the problems of miscommunication and passivity and negativity especially brought about by the morals and what is considered right and wrong by society itself. The story of the three women could be right out of your own family or neighbourhood. Grandmothers getting along beautifully with grand children and not with their own children. Some kind of restraint holding them back. The possibility of talking things through helps in this story but it is not easy to open up after decades of closing a door on certain chapters of your life. This was a rather emotional read and not one to be read in a hurry. Sent by Lake Union Publishing for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Friday, November 20, 2020

The Company's Daughters by Samantha Rajaram

Amsterdam 1616 is not a very pleasant place for a woman especially one who is a servant, with no family and no protection of any kind. Her fortune changes when she becomes a domestic in the service of Master Reynst who along with his daughter Sontje treat Jana as a human being something she is experiencing for the first time in her life. Whilst everything seems to be good Master Reynst falls on hard times due to bad investments and Sontje and Jana embark on an adventure to Batavia (Indonesia) as brides for settlers. (This was a practice even with the British in India). It worked out well for some, not so well for others. The story of The Company's Daughters takes us through Jana and Sontje's lives - one in deep unhappiness and abuse, the other a loveless marriage but someone who was kinder. Jana survives the marriage and goes on to make a surprising life for herself and for the community she finds herself amongst. The story is descriptive of life both in Amsterdam and Batavia at the times. The hardship faced by people in Europe as well as the settlers who had to adapt to a different lifestyle, culture, weather were very well detailed and provided such an interesting read. Historically full of detail this is a must read for those who like history with a colonial flavour. Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

The Flame Within by Liz Harris

1923 London is not for the faint hearted. It is hard trying to upgrade yourself as a woman and Alice from the time she was a young teenager was determined to better herself. Coming from Lancashire where the only occupation was either to work in a factory or in domestic service, she was determined to better herself and move out of the stifling, tradition bound village she was born into. Alice did that admirably over a period of time, becoming a fully fledged nurse and then working with the disabled after the War. Meeting Thomas Linford and marrying him was an additional bonus because they were very much in love. Despite being from a lower social class, Alice was accepted by the Linford family but due to bitterness and anger hidden in Thomas the love she had for him slowly began to drain away leaving her open to her brother in laws advances. When the affair blew wide apart Alice was thrown out by her husband and had to start all over again in Lancashire. This was not for long and she soon found herself wanting to set things right with Thomas whom she felt she still was in love with - she needed to know which way to go and with this in mind found another job in London. Alice story, more than her own was a lesson in how to survive and how if you are determined to, you can change the circumstances of your life and get what you want. This had a happily ever after but it was so much more than that. Alice was a gritty, level headed person who did not allow one failure on her part to bring her down. Sent by Books Go Social courtesy of Netgalley, for an unbiased review.

Monday, November 16, 2020

The Candlelit Menagerie by Caraline Brown

Lillian was a misfit for 18th century England. Freakishly tall, only wanting to wear breeches, cut her hair short like a boy Lillian was not transgender but just different. Finding her way to a a owner of a menagerie of animals (all exotic at the time) she found her niche and was for the first time happy. The animals loved her and it seemed almost as if she was a whisperer to them. She kept an eye out for their welfare and knew that the owner could not mistreat his animals with her in charge. Love also found its way into Lillians life and when subsequently she conceives and bears a child who dies Lillian is heartbroken. When given a baby chimp to mother and care for, Lillian finds a substitute in the baby whom she looks after, nurses and cares for as her own. The story finds its way to the Prince of Wales own menagerie owner who is curious about this strange woman. The story winds its way from London to Brighton to the Prince of Wales own zoo he wants to set up but over riding it all is Lillian's deep love for the animals in her care, irrespective of their being exotic or expensive. The story is not just about the exotic animals that were so attractive to the British, but also about the history at the time in London including the executions at the Tower. The story of Lillian finding love and contentment in her marriage was another dimension to the story. Sent by Skyhorse Publishing for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

For Letter or Worse by Vivian Conroy (Stationery Shop Series)

This is part of the Stationery Shop series but I think you can come into this book as a stand alone. Delta Douglas has achieved her dream of owing a paper goods shop in a small town and is very happy with her work. Being offered a workshop at a socialite's birthday party did not really fit in with the celebrities and people who were the invitees but Delta and her partner Hazel were very happy to be invited. They did not expect the birthday girl to be threatened and for the police to arrive and a murder to take place when the police were actually present on the premises! In a typical cosy mystery style, the story develops from there with missing items from a museum, missing husbands and daughters set amidst the gossipy ladies of a small town who seem to know everyone's business before they know it themselves. No secrets can be kept in this town. This was a light hearted mystery murder read, which was ideal reading material in the present pandemic. Sent by Poisoned Pen Press courtesy of Netgalley for an unbiased review.