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Monday, February 6, 2023

No Life For a Lady by Hannah Dolby

1896 was not a good time for a lady and certainly not for Violet Hamilton. 28 years old, a spinster, outspoken but still hemmed in by antiquated rules of decorum and blighted in the eyes of local society because her mother the beautiful flirty woman that shewas has just disappeared. Nearing the tenth anniversary of her disappearance Violet is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery. There is a lot of pressure on the hapless Violet. Her father has started bringing a series of ineffectual and vapid young men as suitors, hoping one of them will take Violet offhis hands, his hope is that he himself wants to get married. After a disastrous interlude with the detective in town, whom Violet instinctively distrusts (but cant get out of his clutches) she appeals to the honest Mr Blackthorne for help. He is dragged into it much against his will but the entire story ends well for all. The hypocricy of the age, with its well delegated rules and roles for each gender heavily in favor of the males does not make for pleasant reading. It is however what it was. To have to navigate that and come out victorious one had to choose one's battles. That is what Violet strove to do. A bit slow at times, this was Victorian romance and life well written about Sent by Aria & Aries for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Three Widows by Patricia Gibney (Detective Lottie Parker series)

This story has all the elements of a thriller. A cold blooded calculating psychopath of a killer. Elements of deep seated hatred and revenge towards his victims. Three women - all have suffered loss of husbands. Detectives try to put the pieces together to find out what links the random women together. No one is talking and the trails are getting old, anyone on the periphery of tgr crimes are aggressively not divulging any information and when one of the final abductions hits close to the detectives themselves, you know the case is accelerating. I enjoyed the writing, the painstaking detective work but three quarters through it became very complicated to keep the plot in mind, along with many strands which were being woven together tocome to the end. I am willing however toread other books by this author because the storyline and characters were well portrayed. Sent by Bookouture for an unbiasedreview courtesy ofNetgalley.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Post afterPost Morten by E C R Lorac

The setting of the story was idyllic. We had the Surrays five children, sensible loving parents. All the children high achievers - no one failed at anything they put their hand to. All gathered for the holidays with a handful of friends. Very harmonious till the body of Ruth their daughter was discovered, dead from an overdose suicide note by her bed with explicit instructions. With minimum fuss the coroner gives his verdict and the family curls into itself to try to heal. The arrival of a letter written by Ruth arrives after the funeral and all hopes of tranquility is shattered. It indicates that there is a strong possibility that Ruth was murdered and now Scotland Yard in the form of the affable but determined Inspector Macdonald is called into play. Deciphering Ruth's life was not easy as many things were not disclosed to anyone and the detective work unraveling her secrets were slow. The story was not boring in the least and one never knew who the final murderer was. Very descriptive, full of varying characters this held my interest throughout. Sent byPoisoned Pen Press for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Monday, January 30, 2023

A Novel Disguise by Samantha Larsen

1794 not a good time for women. Especially for a woman like Tiffany without a cent to her name totally depending on her brother Uriah, a mean character who begrudged his half sister every penny he had to spend on her. When Uriah died in suspicious circumstances Tiffany took a wild risk. Impersonating Uriah she took on his tasks at the big house, knowing that this would be the only way, she could keep the cottage, have a small income and feel safe. There were underlying currents in the house too. Another death in similar circumstances ofa flirtatious maid was an indication that there was a murderer around, but Tiffany had no way of disclosing this to the local constable without confessing her own part in the tale. The story had several twists and turns, accusations went every which way and when her secret came out Tiffany herself was thrown into jail for the crime of impersonating a man. slowly the story unravelled, justice was served eventually. Apart from the story of Tiffany, the bigger point of interest was the manner in which people lived, the divisions between the rich and poor, and the sheer arrogance of the aristocracy who felt like in this case, that they could get away with murder. High moral standards were expected of ordinaryfolk, but a blind eye would be turned to the liaisons which abounded amongst the aristocrats. Sent by Crooked Lane Books for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

The Jeweller of Stolen Dreams by M J Rose

The stories written by this author never fail to fascinate. This one combining the elements of mystery, a transference through decades of lives apart being brought together, a thread of psychic powers running throughout the story, family saga against the historical turbulence of World War II. Set in two timelines 1986 and 1941 we have two very strong, character driven women with strong personalities forging careers and trying to do thebest they can. Suzanne Belperron a reputed jeweller with a complicated family background is running an atelier despite restrictions, catering to the elite and Nazi higher ups in Paris, mainly as a front for her attempts to raise funds to send Jewish families out of France. Her close friends Dixie, Xavier and her lover all work behind the scenes all part of the Resistance. In 1986 Violine is called to assess an estate of Paul Osgood and she discovers a secret cache of jewellery hidden cunningly in a trunk. Violine comes from a long line of women who have powers which were described as witchery, but in her case she feels, hears and sees the past when she touches an object, especially one with a past. The jewellery items discovered in Paul's case evoke feelings of despair and terror. This sets the story of Violine delving into the past history of the jewels, also uncovering Paul's aunts connections to the story and secrets of his own family closely guarded upto now. This was a magical read. Despite the atrocities of Nazi occupied France, the story of loyalty, faith in family and friends, love that surpasses all held the whole story together. The supernatural psychic phenomenon was an added attraction. Sent by Blue Box Press for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley. I have been on a trip out of Colombo, after a very long time. Hence the delay in reviewing and visiting blogs. Blogger is playing havoc with me. I cant comment on many blogs, I've resorted to commenting on their facebook pages instead. Even autocorrect is not working now which makes blogging so hard.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

The House that is Our Own by O Douglas

The description says Scottish novel and that encapsulates the entire description, though a good part of Canada also comes into play. I read about this book on Cornflower Books and was pulled in by the rather old fashioned narration. Two ladies, one is Isobel just comfortably off not rich lives in a little hotel in London. She is happy with her circle, her small accomplishments and the stuff she dies. A bit humdrum butshe is happy. Kitty has been widowed after a long spell of caring for a sick husband and has lived eight months with Isobel. Kitty feels the need to change, to get to grips with actually living, not merely existing. She finds a flat she falls in love with, does it up beautifully, pulling out her furniture which has been in storage and making in the process a veautiful home for herself. For me this brought such a feeling of joy, reading about the minute details of housekeeping needed to set this house in order. Isobel though Scottish has never had a hankering for Scotland, upto now. She embarks on a sort of discovery program starting with Glenbucho a tiny village, promptly falls in love with the village, the inhabitants, the scenery and a house which she buys, moves in. Tge story could have ended there because the two women made huge decisions, vast changes in their respective lives. It goes further though with Isobel's adventures into a trip to Canada and how romance enters the picture. I found the book so descriptive that I lingered over every stage. The hotel, the change to the London flat, the Scottish village and house - the minute housekeeping details added to the lustre of a good old fashioned read. A way of life which is very idyllic and which I hope still exists. I am grateful I was introduced to this Author.The bookwas purchased by me from Amazon

Monday, January 16, 2023

The Secret of Summerhayes by Merryn Allingham

This was the sequel to the book which initially introduced all our characters. Everyone is much older, many have died, WWII has commenced, Summerhayes is now being used as a base for soldiers and still life in this small part of England goes apace. The story winds on at an easy pace. People still have romance, despite odds, the spectre of war looms over all. The ones who are really old still live in anticipation of something good turning up, and it does. Family always an important thread in stories, becomes even more important in this one. Preordained, destiny, karmic forces call it what you will all come to life here. Then we have the darker elements of greed, arrogance, envy, the feeling of superiority of birth that some people can never get quite rid of despite democracy and a steady levelling in society. The final chapter in the Summerhayes story brought all the characters to life and more. It had many very human elements woven into the story and this was delightful. Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.