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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

The Sailor from Casablanca by Charline Malaval

18 year old Guillame was out to conquer the world when he set forth on his travels and landed in Casablance. Sadly cut off in his prime by an explosion that was the end and the year was 1940. Fast forward to 2005 and the discovery of a whole lot of love letters leads to the surprising conclusion that Guillame could very well be alive and with one of his many girl friends. Each chapter is told by someone who is trying to unearth the mystery of Guillame but none by himself so that he remains fairly enigmatic throughout. A mix of genres which added to the interest - lots of actual history, then family stories and romance as well. Sent by Hodder & Stoughton courtesy of Netgalley for an unbiased review.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

The Paris Children by Gloria Goldreich

WWI and WWII have given us such a lot of literature from both sides of the Wars and from every angle possible. This is another very good read dealing with the Resistance in France and with a particular emphasis on the Jews in France, trying desperately to look after not just their own French Jews but also lending a hand to those flooding into France seeking refuge before going on to safer shores. Madeline and Claude are young people caught up in the violence and trying their very best to help their fellow men just escape. Madeline has been put in charge of saving children and this is fraught with danger and there is such a lot of emotion involved. The children know that they have lost their parents forever, taken before them brutally and their only hope is to escape. It is a sad story repeated over and over again in stories and each story is never boring, never repetitious as each child or adult facing the Nazis is unique. I am so glad I got to know Madeline Levy through this book though I was sad that her ending was brutal. The grand daughter of Alfred Dreyfus a hero of WWI she and her family were earmarked by the Nazis very early on and their hopes for survival was poor. For those who like history this is a must read. Sent by Sourcebooks Landmark courtesy of Netgalley, for an unbiased review.

Friday, October 16, 2020

The Best of Friends Lucinda Berry

Three best friends, friends from school are now faced with the worst tragedy one can imagine. The death of one of their boys, and the worst part - was it an accident, was it a murder at the hands of one of the other boys or was it a suicide driven by something that not one of the parents are aware of. Whilst one boy is in a vegetative state, the other is a gibbering mess who will not talk the three families try to make sense of this heedless tragedy at the same time trying hard to give support to each other, whilst harbouring silent, secret doubts that the other person's son is the cause of this tragedy. The families themselves begin to unravel under the relentless pressure of the investigation by the Detectives and their own doubts not just on the other person's son but also their own and how much or how little each of them knew their own child. Instead of drawing closer together in the face of tragedy the parents themselves begin to grow distant from each other when secrets and hidden facets of their personalities begin to emerge under the pressure. All hopes of future happiness dashed faced with losses like this families now face not just children they knew little about, but even their own partners who now seem like strangers. Interesting take on how tragedy can blow families apart and how cracks in a relationship widen into a chasm. Sent by Thomas and Mercer courtesy Netgalley, for an unbiased review.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

The Deadly Hours by Susanna Kearsley, C S Harris, Anna Lee Huber, Christine Trent ( Four novellas)

Four authors seemingly seamlessly collaborate in a series of novellas dove tailing one into the other about a golden watch cursed for some, good for some and the stories that entail all as a result of this looted watch. It is unbelievable how four different authors could write these stories each one bewitching (for want of a better word). I am a fan of all these authors so it was of particular interest to me how they would combine to produce a single story and did they produce one which held my interest from the first page to the last. History, mystery, lives of survival and hope from 1733 Italy to 1831 Edinburgh the stories criss crossed Europe and so many lives. Each life detailed and engrossing and then going on to the next chapter. For those who like historical fiction, this is a must read. Sent by Poisoned Pen Press (thank you) courtesy of Netgalley for an unbiased review.

Monday, October 12, 2020

The Stepdaughter by Georgina Cross (Good detective work)

A stepmother has a tightrope to walk. She can never do enough it seems and in this case it was a case of doing a hell of a lot and then looking away for just a few minutes. Mia is a very talented swimmer and her stepmother is a caring woman but Mia does not seem to appreciate all that she does. Recently Mia seems distracted and out of sorts and it is put down to teen angst. When Mia goes missing in a matter of a few minutes, Detectives in charge of the case look squarely at the stepmother. Unravelling the mystery of how a girl could go missing from her own backyard sets up a story that is plausible and at the same time unbelievable keeping you tense as you first suspect the stepmother, then the father, then the swimming coach and once all of them get eliminated the secrets the family is hiding slowly unravel to disclose the actual suspect and why they acted the way they do. How a secret can impact on so many lives, the way they impact, the consequences of actions all spiral way out of control to sad results. Mia's body is eventually found and then it becomes not just kidnapping but a murder investigation. The story is chilling and holds all the elements of a good mystery/thriller. Sent by Bookouture courtesy of Netgalley, for an unbiased review.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Death Comes but Twice by David Field

1893 England great strides are being made in the field of forensic science. The art of finger printing as an aid to assisting forensics is in the baby stages but getting support from all. Dr Carlyle and his daughter are working in the morgue trying to find out as much as possible about a murderer who has now died twice! Adelaide is herself a pioneer as a woman in the field is unique. On another note, she is hoping to put herself forward as a candidate for the local elections and this again has created waves because women are now only able to vote, and that too only if they own property in their own right. The story of Adelaide, and the elections and the on off romance with Pastor Matthew West is one story and the other is the investigation into how and why Skuja was apparently hanged, did not die but died again later in a murder incident. Who helped Skuja to escape the hangman's noose and when it is slowly revealed that bigger names are involved the plot widens and becomes more complicated by the day. Old fashioned detection work but thoroughly enjoyable as the setting is old English style. A touch of romance adds interest too. Sent by Sapere Books courtesy of Netgalley, for an unbiased review.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

The Wolves of Venice by Alex Connor

16th century Venice. The contrast between the rich of Venice and the life of Jews in the ghetto is startling and brutal. There is also a hidden society in Venice. Those on the fringe of the very rich serving them as a matter of survival but inwardly hating their way of life and what they stand for, but with no choice in the matter. We have Arettino and Baptista are two of the biggest controllers of all that goes on in Venice. Using the art of blackmail, they squeeze as much as possible out of the rich and famous, all of whom have secrets they have to keep. Having done as much harm as possible to Jacopo, they now go after the son Marco and in turn to hurt him hit out at those closest to him. Rosella and her brother the clever Doctor Tarbat looked upto even in Venetian circles are drawn into this tight net and ultimate end up paying with their lives. The Wolves of Venice show the lascivious, and the corrupt belly of Venice leaving aside the arts and the beauty of Venice aside. Not a very pleasant, uplifting read because we only associate Venice with much beauty but a side we would like to ignore. A intriguing story. Sent by Aria courtesy of Netgalley for an unbiased review.