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Saturday, July 14, 2018

The Hatmaker's Secret by Jill Treseder




This family story started with just the present generations around. Grandparents, parents, the grown up children and their toddlers. It ended up going back several generations across countries and oceans to solve a puzzle which seemed insurmountable.

Kate and David are expecting their second child. The marriage is already tenuous and Kate hopes that with the birth of this baby things will settle down and they can make a go of their marriage. She did not account for her daughter Flora being born biracial to parents who were white. Davids skepticism as to Flora's origins and the general questions being asked around did not help either. It also did not help when Kate appealed to her mother Vanessa for help, her mother more or less ignored her cry for help in any way. Vanessa was nervous around her mother Thea, now in a stage of dementia and did not want to rock the boat in anyway. That she preferred to be deaf and dumb and not be supportive of Kate was a terrible flaw in her personality.

Thea's past was a secret. Kate knew that Thea was the key to unlocking Flora's antecedents. When Thea met her great grand daughter for the first time she threw the baby away almost causing a major accident. She turned vituperative and vicious but still Vanessa and Ted (Thea's husband) were not willing to find out anything further. It is with Thea's death that Kate persuades Vanessa whilst clearing the debris of Thea's house to seek clues as to what actually was their family history.

The story mainly of Thea's past, difficult and complicated and her present life far removed from what it was unravels the difficulties of being different in a country only used to one kind of people. Not that things have changed very much even today where racism thrives in every country in one form or another.

This was an intriguing story, with especially good characterization of women in very difficult situations in life.

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

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Manton Rempville Murders by Julian Worker



A 700 year old monastery. a couple of snooty aristocrats, a whole bunch of hangers on, shady characters galore, and we have Bingo our retriever whose job it is to find dead bodies. We have a detective as well. Seems a plodder but that is just a facade.

A lot of false clues and a lot of trivia seem to mask the murder. To get to the basics Knowles has to dig deep. Nothing is as it seems (as is very usual for mystery murders) but we get there eventually very nicely.

A simply mystery murder/s solved very well and descriptively told.

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

Monday, July 9, 2018

Becoming the Talbot Sisters by Rachel Linden




Charlie and Waverley are twin sisters who have grown apart. Orphaned at a young age and brought up by a loving Aunt they have drifted but come together for the funeral of their beloved Aunt.

Waverley seems to have it all. A cooking show almost at the top of her game, a loving husband, a very comfortable home. Charlie works for a NGO amongst women in Eastern Europe. She was swindled of her inheritance by a co-worker, she has been raped but all this trauma is hidden.
When she makes an offer of being a surrogate for Waverley who has suffered six miscarriages and is longing for a child of her own they both are shocked - Charlie who was never maternal wonders what made her offer and Waverley is of course over the moon.

Complications set in when Charlie gets back to her routine job and Waverley continues with her life at home. Charlie's inadvertent involvement in a human smuggling ring puts Charlie in danger and when Waverley unexpectedly pays a visit they are both kidnapped but it seems that it is not Charlie who is the target. The kidnappers want Waverley with her TV connections to highlight Albania and the plight of Albanians.

Taking twists and turns (some a bit improbable) the story moves to Charlie having a baby and Waverley facing a predicament of having two children now to choose when an unexpected bonus in the form of a four year old lands at her feet!

The children bring the two sisters close to each other in a way nothing ever can. The story of family set in two locations is descriptive and interesting. The contrast in the two characters was also nicely fitted into the story.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Thomas Nelson Fiction.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Pretty Little Things by T.M.E. Walsh



DCI Claire is not going to have it easy with this one. Six teenage girls are missing. The bodies are not found and when four are found in one area next to each other, it seems the killer is almost egging them on to try to find him. Other than the fact that they are local girls, there seems to be no common link. Typical teenagers confronting authority both society and at home a couple of them had threatened to run away and had done so previously. What had made them accept a lift on a lonely road after explicit instructions had been given not to hitch hike. Did they know their kidnapper and murderer.

Charlotte has just this one child. She is determined to keep Elle safe. Elle is not happy with the situation at all and when her birthday party is cancelled after the four bodies are found she is furious. The story upto this point was the usual thriller/mystery/murder sequel. Detectives trying to piece together fragmented stories, no CCTV footage so the killer seemed to be aware of them, no finger prints, and a community tense and in turmoil.

Midway suspects emerge. As a reader you go through the whole gamut of obvious people around - John who is just separated from his wife, making a play for Charlotte, then there is Iain in whose garage a toolbox is discovered with keepsakes from each girl who was murdered. At this point it looked very bleak for Iain but the end is not in sight for the detectives who are fearful when another woman this time goes missing. A woman who has harassed Charlotte over and over again even in public. The fact that it is a older person kidnapped makes detectives fear that the killer is now spiralling out of control.

The end is twisted, unexpected and I guess no single reader has guessed it until now! I doubt any reader will.

An absolute page turner.

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

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

All That's Left Of Me by Janis Thomas



This was very twisty! there is no way I can describe the way the book went. You had to be very clever to pull this off and Janis Thomas does it very well. I wouldn't want to read many books like this as it does havoc with your mind!

Emma Davis is dissatisfied. With her marriage, with her job and generally with everything. She also does not know and hasn't the courage to start anew with a new job or even to admonish Colin her husband who seems so laid back that anyone would give him a kick in the pants.

Into this scenario we have Emma wishing the way we all do. That something could happen differently, or that a person could change, or just disappear and one by one these things happen. Emma has a son with severe cerebral palsy and I did wonder very early in the book why wouldnt she wish for her son to be well rather than just wishing this one away, or that situation to go away. Once granted it cannot be undone and this becomes Emma's downward spiral once she wishes her son whole and healthy again.

The entire book tests your powers of credibility. Time travel was one genre which took some getting used to, this is entirely different. It is like a separate parallel universe running in different mode, so what happens to the mode that existed before. Just not the individual but everyone in that universe changes to fit the new scenario. It was difficult to digest, but very easy for me to read.

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

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Two crime books. Absolute contrasts to each other!



The discovery of a young woman's body is startling. For her teacher Beatrice to find it whilst out on a ramble with her dog was earth shattering. Amber was her star performer in a drama laid out in school and why would anyone want to murder her was beyond understanding.

Beatrice's daughter Jes is the lead detective on the case and facing demons of her own. Told in several narrations, the story is complex with several strands which have to be unified if we can get to the bottom of this mystery.

The characterization was intense so much so, that I was suspicious of them all and disliked practically all of them!

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





A selection of stories, all with a railway background all set in a particular time and setting very reminiscent of Briish colonial times!

It was nostalgic to read this collection of stories. All mysteries, some murders some could be solved very easily, some inexplicable, and some were sheer genius in the solving.

A book ideal not just for readers of crime, but also for those who love the railways!

Very well put together, extremely entertaining.

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


Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Mistress of Pennington by Rachel Trimble




Set in 1910 with the suffragette movement getting into full sway, women in general seemed to have had a tough time with men during this period. It seemed to be even more rigid than ever before and someone like Elizabeth the only child and heir to the Pennington empire was no match for her father and other males of the time.

Elizabeth was hard working, passionate about her job at Pennington's the finest department store in Bath and was determined to take the store forward but was being held back at every turn by her father who felt that marriage and a family was the best thing for her. Trying to break this was going to be a herculean task and Elizabeth sole aim was for her to let her father see what she was capable of. That she had made a success of the Ladies Department entrusted to her did not seem to count with him. She had to make him see her for what she could do.

Joseph Carter was a small time businessman - making gloves and hats. He knew the day of the small shop keeper was doomed and despite his father not being happy he felt that aligning himself to a big store was the way to survive.

Joseph and Elizabeth were kindred spirits. Both suffered in their personal lives but together they knew there was a way forward.

This story alongside a romance, brought out the fact that hard work and determination pays and that you can succeed despite the odds. Descriptively told it also brings to light the attitudes and what life was like in the early 20th century.

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

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Every Single Secret by Emily Carpenter



Daphne and Heath were soul mates. At least Daphne thought so and she really, really believed that Heath was of like mind. So why did he want to take a week off to go to an obscure, remote part of the country to see a psychotherapist - one whose work though not questionable was a bit suspicious. Why did Heath have these terrible nightmares which made him so different to the person whom he was normally.

This is a book which keeps you on edge. You are taken along to this remote mansion, three couples only in residence all seeking therapy. No communication is supposed to take place, no cell phones, no ipads. You need to focus on your therapy or so it seems. Daphne is not someone who is going to take these orders lying down. For starters she has refused the therapy involved in couples therapy so its Heath going it alone. For a second, she is suspicious throughout of the Doctor involved and despite his very pleasant attitude and conversation with her she is on guard.

Of course the end is completely unexpected - I did not expect it to turn out quite like it did and it just proves that one really does not know a person very well despite having a relationship and thinking that you do understand everything there is to know about someone.

This was a creepy psychological thriller - but it did keep one going where you just had to know what was going to happen to Daphne and Heath and then the good Doctor!

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

Monday, June 25, 2018

Sins of the Father by Stephen Weeks (A Countess of Prague Mystery)



Dealing with a Countess (in Prague) brought to mind the Lady Julia Grey series. Somewhat similar we have our Countess definitely different to ladies of her time - courageous, bold, not bothered about opinions of others very much but still knowing that nothing will be achieved by being too bold.

Having successfully solved a crime in 1904 involving royalty, she has now been brought to the attention of the Emperor of Hapsburg who has sought her assistance in solving a mystery. One which is so delicate, that it cannot even be discussed with all and sundry. How does one go about even trying to solve a case without exploring avenues and talking to people.

Set over several countries and very descriptive with both her unflappable butler Muller and maid Sabine who are her stalwarts the Countess begins on an adventure which she fears she may not succeed at.

Very witty, humourous and holding your interest throughout this was a good mystery read. Of a slightly old fashioned kind.

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

Friday, June 22, 2018

The Undiscovered Country by Mike Nemeth



Dysfunctional does not cover this family. The Marks family is and they are all pulling in different directions all with different motives when it comes to their mother who is now ill, needs permanent care.

The power of money and greed seem to overcome all human emotions and feelings and we have three children in a squabble over their mother's assets even before she is gone. She just wants to go peacefully but she also knows that she has left behind secrets and a can of worms that is just going to erupt. She is not at peace.

Randle the eldest just out of prison finds the path to handling his mother's illness fraught with obstacles. Billy his brother just wants it over and done with. No hospice, no aftercare just done and dusted. Katy his sister is strangely absent, later discovered with a drug addict which has led to her and his brother in law robbing everything they could lay their hands on just to feed her drug habit. How does he fresh out of prison walk a tightrope between them and his fiancee who wants him to return home in time for a wedding in a weeks time!

Family ties, family secrets and family enmities erupt in this book. Very well written. Holds your interest throughout.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Morgan James Publishing.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Mum Who'd Had Enough by Fiona Gibson



This is a fun read, light hearted in parts but it is also a very serious subject handled very nicely.
It is also very realistic, brings home a lot of truths which many of us may not want to face.

People get married, they have a family. Seemingly settled, each in their own career whether home making or high powered both men and women as this is a modern book but after sometime does a shade of complacency creep in? It may in some people be shrugged off as part of life but in Sinead's case it was not so and one day over a simply innocuous act of her husband Nate not putting out the mouse traps despite repeated reminders, it all boils over. Everyone has had that catalyst!

Nate is confounded by the fact that Sinead has walked out. She has also left him a hand written list of shortcomings on his part (sadly no good points) and he genuinely does not know what to make of it. He is very much in love with his wife and just does not get it, till friends and companions gently point out to him that this could be a wake up call, to mend his ways to get his wife back.

Venturing out into fields unknown Nate genuinely tries and a reconciliation seems on the cards. Sadly it does not go to plan but this book was very good both in its plot and characterization and you certainly did not feel left out or down.

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

Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Widow's Watcher by Eliza Maxwell



Jenna stumbles upon Lars unintentionally but it seems like fate. Both have suffered unimaginable loss of family in very hard circumstances. Lars however lives in uncertainty  whereas Jenna has given up all hope. Jenna is suicidal and just wants to end it all. Lars is living on borrowed time. His heart will give up any day soon.

How Lars rescues Jenna from a watery death and how Jenna repays the favor by digging into his past uncovering the sad story of his wife and two children and tries to look at it with a fresh eye investigating what has been painstakingly gone over - over and over again by not just Lars but by private investigators as well. What she uncovers gives a glimmer of hope to Lars, so that he can get some kind of closure and understanding over a three decade misery.

That Jenna herself will benefit from Lars mission was not apparent at first but helping out someone else did work miracles for Jenna herself. That she is able to live for herself is what Jenna gets from the entire experience.

This was a particularly sad story, but very well written. Characterization was spot on and the plot was good.

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

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

A murder on Wall Street by Owen Parr



Two more unlikely private investigators - siblings or rather half brothers - one a retired detective who was pushed out of the force for political reasons despite an excellent track record and the other a Catholic priest.

Part of a series but the first book I've read it held my interest throughout with its mix of detective work, tongue in cheek humour, a very nice Irish bar as a setting and incompetent police detectives also in play.

A suicide  who happened to drink the previous night at the bar and who was in high spirits convinces Father Dom that there is more than meets the eye in this case. Why is everyone trying to hurry the case through. Ruled a suicide and cremated a day later are all clues gone? Not quite so fast because inquiries reveal a real can of worms. From money laundering to drug deals, from scams of every kind and then murder and attempted murder to cover up the traces our two uncovers a long list of culprits being brought to book.

Very nicely told, very light and very plausible.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review.


Monday, June 11, 2018

White Houses by Amy Bloom


White Houses


Two more unlikely lovers are found in this book. We have the first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, aloof, patrician and rich. A lady born with a silver spoon in her mouth. Nurtured and admired by her husband (notoriously unfaithful though!) and then we have Lorena Hickok born on the wrong side of the tracks, disliked Eleanor at first sight and rough diamond if ever there was one.

A forbidden love affair, the friend in the White House which everyone knew but was never discussed. A subject matter which was anyway never up for discussion. A love affair which matured which had its fair share of adulterous relationships on the way, its ups and downs and the tragedy for Lorena that it was never acknowledged openly, that she was always relegated to the background. Photographs with her in it were cropped and the media was restrained (unlike now).

This piece of history is never spoken of but it existed alright. Told very evocatively, very emotional, at the same time pragmatic within the guidelines of its times, the author told this story very well.

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


Sunday, June 10, 2018

Fire in the Thatch by E C R Lorac




This classic mystery murder is slightly different to the other books found in the series. The murder was more complicated than most and what seemed like an accident was then deemed to be not. To find a motive and to unravel the mystery took some doing and it was this that set this story apart.

Set in beautiful countryside, very descriptive and sounding very "English" this story epitomizes country living - especially farm living. It also depicts the insular ways of established country folk who really do not like weekenders and town folk aping them in anyway! The murder apart the story of the farmers and the community who made up this little part of Devon.

When the cottage goes up in flames killing the occupant in the process it affects many people especially since Nicholas despite not being from Devon, was much admired  in the manner he worked and his sincerity to make a success of the farm he leased. Inspector Macdonald has a very convoluted mystery murder to solve. He has an instinct as to the underlying reason why Nicholas was killed but to connect the dots takes a lot of dogged police procedure (which was very well done).

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

Friday, June 8, 2018

The Good Liar by Catherine McKenzie

The Good Liar


A complicated story, told in several narratives all beginning with an explosion in a building in Chicago which claimed over 500 lives.

What happens when something like this occurs is immense. The immediate tragedy is evident. The loss, the grief. Then comes the practicalities of life which involve those left behind. How do wives cope with untold secrets, of untold financial burdens, of marital secrets slowly unraveling.

The stories of the women left behind by this Chicago tragedy are complicated. They are also linked in unimaginable ways. Whilst slowly unraveling you do know where this is going, but the end is totally, absolutely unexpected.

Done with flair, handling emotions so very well this author is brilliant.

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


Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Before and Again by Barbara Delinsky



Mackenzie Cooper is now Maggie Reid. She has tried and been very successful in remaking her life after a disastrous accident took away the life of her child whilst she was driving. The grief following this accident destroyed her marriage and she and Edward are now divorced. Maggie lives a very structured life, alone but settled well into this small community where she is liked with a few friends who have no inkling of her previous life.

Edward buying a Inn and moving into this small town will definitely upset Maggie. On top of it all, she feels her brother has turned traitor when she discovers he is the new chef at the Inn joining her ex husband in this new endeavour. However what really turns Maggie's world upside down is when her colleague's son Chris just fifteen years old is caught hacking into the computers of not just the Inn but of customers of the Inn and now faces federal prison. The ensuing publicity, media frenzy that descends on this town fills Maggie with foreboding as she knows it is only a matter of time when people start connecting the dots and discovering who she is. Someone with a past and a record.

The story though it is about Maggie and Edward mainly also chronicles the life of Grace and Chris - the boy at the middle of the hacking saga, with a lot of secrets that Grace wants kept hidden. How the two stories interact though totally disconnected from each other and how it evolves is very well done.

Friendship, small town support (and gossip) all keep the story going and the love story binding Maggie and Edward is a plus.

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

Saturday, June 2, 2018

The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda

The Perfect Stranger

It seems perfectly plausible that a person can reinvent themselves (only in America!). In my country they would have sussed out from where you came, who your parents were, what did your brother do and even find out what school you went to very early. I doubt you'd get away with this here.

The story fascinated me. Leah has ended a troubled relationship. She has been friends with Emmy over a very long time. Emmy invites her to rural Pennsylvania and for Leah this is ideal. She can make a new start and hopefully the past will remain in the past. Her teaching position in the local school is without any problems and Leah hopes that she can fast track her career in this way baby steps at a time.

When Emmy disappears and Leah is forced to inform the local police about her friends absence things turn tricky for Leah. For one, there is no one who can corroborate Emmy's presence. There is no paper trail, no identity, no bills and when Emmy's boyfriend turns up murdered the police turn skeptical as to whether someone like Emmy actually existed and whether  it is a figment of Leah's imagination. Leah's history does not help either.

It is left to Leah herself to try to find out what happened to her friend and what she discovers is a body blow as it is obvious that Emmy pursued her purely to steal her identity to make a new life for herself. How she did it was ingenious, convoluted and mind boggling.

Apart from the main characters of Leah and Emmy, everyone in this story has something to hide and in a small town, this is not easy. Unraveling the murders, solving them and finding Emmy was more than enough for this story.

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




Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Paris Ever After by K S R Burns



Amy goes to Paris, leaving a husband behind without saying a word. The ability and ease with which she did this took my breath away. Can one just walk away from a husband, home, job, and just jet off to Paris to "find oneself".

Anyway Amy does just that. She lands on her feet, finds a beautiful woman who takes her into her home and heart, links up with her friends and has now made a life for herself. She also did not realize when she left Will her husband that she was pregnant. Now she is well advanced in her pregnancy, still not sure what she is going to do, ambivalent about her feelings towards Will and Manu (whom she found in Paris!) protective of her unborn child and basically not sure of anything.

Fast forward and she discovers Will has come to Paris looking for her. At the same time she is thrown out of her home in Paris with the return of a long lost daughter who does not want her anywhere around her mother. Will seems strangely reluctant to have any conversations with her, keeps putting it off even meeting her and though she thought he was back to ask her to return (on bended knee) it does not seem to be quite so straightforward.

I found all the characters very charming in very different ways. I found Amy to be the least charming of the lot. She sounds like a spoilt brat who expected things to fall into place, the way she wanted it to. I however loved the descriptiveness of the entire story, the Paris setting, the lives and details of the few Parisiens who dotted this novel.

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


Saturday, May 26, 2018

The Girl with no Name by Lisa Regan

The Girl With No Name: Absolutely gripping mystery and suspense (Detective Josie Quinn Book 2) by [Regan, Lisa]


This is the second book in the series of Josie Quinn Police Chief of this small town and maybe I should have read the first one, though after a couple of chapters it did not detract from this story.

Josie has faced problems in the past. Her husband, now dead. Now Josie is confronted with a missing fiancee (who has been over the last few weeks been totally distracted), a missing baby, a dancer at a strip club badly beaten with connections to Josie's fiancee and a girl wearing her fiancee's clothes caught fleeing a scene of a crime with total memory class, pretend or otherwise.

Every link or lead does not necessarily lead to the next lead and with pressure to solve the crimes, especially when the bodies start piling up and with the Mayor's husband being an active suspect, Josie is also in danger of losing her job even before she solves the case, finds her missing fiancee Luke and sort out her own personal problems.

Very slick, quick paced, and descriptive this had all the key elements for a good mystery murder.

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

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Us Against You by Fredrik Backman



This should not have been a book I picked up. I do not know anything about ice hockey and the paranoia almost that surrounded the game in this small town of Beartown was not something I could understand!

Having said that, the petty jealousies, the envy and finally the strong emotions that tie people down to a town, a thing or in this case to a sport was hard for me to understand. The town was overshadowed by the sport and the whole book is about how the sport controlled everyone's lives, their attitudes and how they wanted things to work out. That money was involved was obvious but the sport overshadowed it all.

That pranks and minor jealousies could erupt into this with one person dead is quite imaginable but the story did not do anything very much for me. It was almost a DNF but I plodded on. I get books with a lot of difficulty and I appreciate that publishers send them on to us, so I think it is an obligation to give it a fair go.

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

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Her Name Was Rose by Claire Allan



A seemingly straight forward accident. A car knocks down a young mother and she dies instantly. The ramifications of this accident spread far and wide and despite everything to the contrary nothing is as it seems. When the cops decide it was premeditated murder, especially since the driver of the car commits suicide a bit later things get complicated. When Kevin's death is deemed suspicious as well, the police are determined to get to the bottom of the two murders.

Rose seems very happily married to Cian a very successful writer. With a young toddler Jack, her life seems complete. Beneath the surface however huge cracks have begun to form and in Rose's workplace more than anywhere else the emotional effect of Rose's absence seems to be huge. Why is this so. Why do the two bosses - the dentists in the surgery seem to be so effected that it is making everyone else so tense and uptight. Rose was a loyal, good worker but it seemed so personal that you knew that things were not right.

Cian the husband is the first suspect. He is arrogant, a bully and when Emily falls for him she falls hard. She only sees the widower grieving for his wife, trying to cope. She does not see that he is quite happy with the way events have turned up and it seems till the very end that he is the obvious murderer - of both Rose and Kevin.

The final outcome was a turn up for the books. Unexpected and like all good murder mysteries coming out of the blue.

A very interesting story, though it took me a while to get into it.

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

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Lucknow by Annie Hall



This Lucknow is very different from the Indian town of Lucknow. A small countrystyle town where everyone knows everyone else's business. Maybe not the best place for a townie like Rosie to go settle down with her sister, after her husband walked out on her.

Rosie finds herself almost abandoned when her husband without any inkling walks out on her and their infant son. Very quickly she finds herself homeless, with no money and Rosie is the helpless kind. Landing on her sister's doorstep at her invitation Rosie finds that adapting to this country life is not going to be that easy. Juliette seems hell bent on setting her up with the local laird, whose ideas regarding a future partner is genealogy and how adaptable and capable a woman is. Feelings are not taken into account at all. Rosie for whatever reason (ours not to reason why) is swept into this relationship despite the lukewarm feelings on her side, merely for convenience and financial security. On the sidelines is another attractive man who is just the opposite of our laird but for whom Rosie feels a kindred spirit.

What would Rosie do and how she does it is this story. It seems a little contrived throughout but it was a pleasant read for a weekend.

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


Friday, May 11, 2018

Two short reviews. One historical fiction. One a family saga.

Of Woodbridge and Hedgely: A Historical Fiction Novel Set in England's Regency Era

Regency era setting with the Cotswolds as a background proved ideal and scenic for this historical fiction story.

Although the Industrial Revolution has set in like everything and everyone else change does not come easily. Acceptance of change is even more difficult and there are always people who are not willing to accept that a new philosophy or a new method is better or more efficient than the previous, traditional one.

In this particular town divided by religion we have the Anglican pastor promoting one form of thought and the Baptists who are going on another road. Lots of cross talk and high temperatures abound in this very different novel, particularly for this era.


The Forgotten Ones


A family story with long hidden secrets which all come tumbling out in a rush. It is almost too much for Elle to handle. Having being brought up to believe that her mother and she and her long estranged father  were the only survivors in her family, it comes as a bolt from the blue to know that there is a grandfather who is alive though barely so and a grand aunt as well.

That there is a long complicated history fraught with memories, mental illness, murder and accidents are also part of this convoluted story. That her mother obviously was ill and though allowance should be made for this, that disclosure was not made when Elle was adult was also questionable. The need to protect Elle's mother seemed far too important, at the risk and to the detriment of everyone else.
That secrets eventually have a habit of coming out despite all efforts to the contrary is also clearly seen.

Elle was eventually able to get closure before her grandfather died and for this I was grateful!

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







Tuesday, May 8, 2018

To Be Where You Are by Jan Karon



I did not know this was a series until I read the book and it deals with three generations of Kavanaghs.

This is a story with a big cast and maybe because I have read a book in a middle of a series I got a bit confused. Keeping track of them all was not that easy. Basically two families but with many, many people on the side, all very individualistic, all having issues and problems of their own converging into one community.

Very much a community story and one that takes you into a cleaner (in a metaphorical sense) world that probably does not exist much as I would like it to be around. Nice to indulge in for a bit till one is pulled back into the real world.

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

Sunday, May 6, 2018

The Italian Story by Geoffrey Trease - from Etruscan times to the present day



Only for lovers of ancient history and history in general.

Going back to Etruscan times and coming upto the present day a concise history of Italy. Rather prosaic in the telling this is nevertheless a wonderful story of the rich history behind Italy.

Concise and clever to be condensed into a single book.

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


Thursday, May 3, 2018

The Subway Girls by Susie Orman Schnall

The Subway Girls


Alternate time lines. History as well as a family story with a touch of romance. Whats not to like.

1949 may have been modern but for Charlotte it was still ruled by what her parents wanted for her. Twenty one and wanting a career of her own in advertising was frowned on by her father who wanted her to join their failing store. There was no choice. The Subway Girls advertisement was her way out and she took it. Her family was furious especially her father who saw it as disobedience to his wishes but she wanted to use the opportunity to get attention focussed on their failing hardware business with an idea of boosting their sales.

When the winner unexpectedly failed to turn up, the Subway Girl title fell to Charlotte who thought it was a god given opportunity to use it for her family's benefit.

Fast forward to 1970 and though Olivia is tough and independent, in the business world there is still a sense of male chauvinism and Olivia finds it in unexpected places. Her lover who is also her boss - she expected a degree of fairness and from her colleagues she expected fair play. When they undercut her directly, pinching her ideas as their own she knows she has to find a winning strategy not just for the firm going under but also for her own pride. Stumbling upon the Subway Girls idea of 1949 she knows she has found the winner she was looking for. Tracking down the girls who are now old women and getting their stories and linking the two eras is this story.

Bringing to light a little known piece of history along with a touch of romance and a family saga as well is very well put together.

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

On another note, my computer is playing up. I am finding it hard to do reviews and even worse forward reviews of such books on Goodreads and Amazon and Netgalley. Very frustrating.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

How Hard Can It Be by Allison Pearson

How Hard Can It Be?


I did not know that this was a sequel till I had finished the book, but it did not detract from this particular story. The eternal quest of how do women juggle mother hood and a career and most importantly in this case get back to a career after a seven year gap! Especially when one is 49!

Tackling going back to work as a necessity (a husband who is finding himself for over two years), an enormous house which needs repairs, two teenage children full of needs and demands Kate finds herself at a crossroad. I think any mother could empathize with her at some stage of this book with the various stages Kate is forced to go through. Teenage angst, sheer laziness on the part of all who have been pandered to by said mother, indifference on the part of a husband who has learnt that to be helpless and pathetic has worked to his advantage in the past and Kate who now finds herself in the field of high finance, albeit as a junior has to juggle several balls in a field of all young, selfish workmates who look on her as an old fossil.

When Kate is able to land a lucrative contract, the envy and jealousies start and her mates now hope that she will fall flat on her face with subsequent sales pitches. Kate needs the job and now has to work doubly hard balancing her two lives especially since she now finds that her eldest child is in a world of her own and has excluded her mother from what is happening. Added to this an in law with dementia (who is ignored by her own son), her own elderly mother and Christmas around the corner adds to Kate's burden.

The only bright spark on the horizon is the return of Jack - someone whom Kate loved in days gone by and who now appears on the scene.

So many elements in this story appealed. Women breaking through the glass ceiling (this was a high class hedge fund we are talking about), the attitudes that still exist that women have to look good all the time never mind that middle age spread is inevitable and menopause adds to their misery. That women still consider this so very important (Kate went in for lunch hour lipo!!) and death inducing misery with shaper undergarments!!!!, green eyed jealousy and undercutting that was rife in the office because Kate was not willing to fall in with lecherous offers are all very much out there and still exist.. Adding to that, was the actual physical work involved in running a home where it was understood that children and household work was still part of her responsibilities. I know this has changed considerably but it was not so in this book. Richard was a husband that another woman would have cheerfully strangled.

I loved the story but only wished that Kate would have had a little more gumption to handle her husband and teenage children before the eventual collapse. She certainly knew how to handle her work colleagues well.. I was glad that Kate's story ended very happily too! Richard got his just desserts!

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


Sunday, April 29, 2018

Quick Curtain by Alan Melville

Quick Curtain

Another story told in an old fashioned style, but one that was rather interesting though a bit quirky at times!

Centred around a successful director and a particular set of actors with the famous director Douglas B. Douglas there are actors and actresses who are not all quite what they seem. With judicious and clever publicity stunts, the mediocrity of the play and its actors are not of any importance but our Mr. Douglas has enormous popularity and benefit as a result.

The actors are well known and much sought after (opening night has people queuing for three and four days and nights to get first dibs in) and even a murder cleverly executed as part of the play does not dim the popularity of this particular play.

Inspector Wilson who was present whilst the murder took place, takes immediate charge of the investigation and along with his son who is a journalist tackle the whys and wherefores to get to the bottom of this murder. A suicide by the chief suspect immediately following the murder  adds to the confusion when no reason or animosity existed between the two. 

The suspicion now moves to others in the play and moves far from London to a smaller village where another murder takes place. It is now imperative to get to the bottom of the deaths and our Inspector is stretched to find the evidence he needs to pin the murderer. Assistance from his rather droll son helps and the murder is solved.

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


Thursday, April 26, 2018

The View from Rainshadow Bay by Colleen Coble

The View from Rainshadow Bay (Lavender Tides #1)

Shauna is a young widow with a little boy to raise. She has faced her husband's death in a climbing accident with courage but she knows she has a long way to go facing life on her own.

When her mentor and close friend is also murdered in a planned explosion, Shauna knows that there is danger around. When his wife too is killed, investigations then begin to find whether there is a link between Jack's death and these two deaths along with the death of the couple's daughter which had been ruled as a drug overdose. What is driving the murderer and what is he looking for.

Zach was Jack's friend and partner but the one person whom Shauna has avoided since she blames him for Jack's accident. He is however the only person she can trust with her son and her own life because everything she has known now seems to have hidden secrets. Unraveling the lot is time consuming not knowing what they are looking for and each accident that happens brings Shauna and her son more and more into danger.

The plot was fairly predictable and men being overly protective of their womenkind was a little too pronounced but generally it was a pleasant read. Shauna herself was a helicopter pilot so was no shrinking violet herself but the impression given was that she needed protection. This was the bit that I found a bit too over the top!

The element of romance was inevitable and predictable as well.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Thomas Nelson Fiction.


Monday, April 23, 2018

Murder has a motive by Francis Duncan





Like Miss Marple, murder seems to have a habit of following Mordecai Tremaine around. When visiting old friends in the village of Dalmering, very English, very scenic far removed from the ugliness of murder and suspects, he unexpectedly finds himself in the midst of a murder where suspects are rife and though public opinion is determinedly fixed on one candidate, both Scotland Yard and our Mr. Tremaine thinks it fits in too neatly and seems too easy.

When a second murder takes place, the whole village is in an uproar. Unlike most mystery murders the characters here are not very vibrant and out of place. They seem very ordinary folk who may not even be noticed by anyone. Putting on a play for a charity seems to be the entire scope for the village and all attention is focused on this. There are several undercurrents amongst the villagers not really apparent at the beginning and Tremaine is at times even uncomfortable with his old friend the doctor and his wife whom he has known for years.

Old fashioned detective work goes on here alongside amateur detective work by Tremaine. Not a fast paced novel but not dull either. It is just slightly old fashioned and not as enthralling as an Agatha
Christie though Miss Marple would be of the same vintage.

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


Friday, April 20, 2018

King's Company by Jessamy Taylor




I avoided history of the mid 1200s because I inevitably found them humdrum, hard and relentlessly harsh.

This story was harsh all right but the story telling of William, a young second son of a manor who dreamt of becoming a knight, fighting wars, winning glory but was in reality only looking after the pigs or helping out in the fields and who always was hungry because the harvests were always never quite enough. He knew the responsibilities for his brother Richard were enormous but Richard never sought adventure the way he did.

A chance encounter with Phillip who he rescued and offered a safe stay with turned into something much much more. It would have been eventually described as treason but the road to it was so full of adventure, so convoluted and so much on the off chance as it were that it could be considered a fairy story!

Going from being part of the Kings most ardent supporters to turning against the King was never in William's mind. The fact that it happened, that it got the blessing of his family was beyond belief and it was a story that kept one enthralled from beginning to end.

Not in the least humdrum, not boring but an adventure throughout!

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


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs



I liked that the story was similar to current events and that it was incorporated very smoothly into a story.

Sunday Night is ex cop and ex military and is now retired. She was very good at her job and that is why she is being sought by a very arrogant millionaire to find out what has happened to her grand daughter who she believes is alive after a bomb explosion which killed her mother and brother.

Working with her twin brother Gus who is bubbly and smooth, the opposite of Sunnie they have very few clues to start with. However, the people who start sniffing around obviously know more of what Sunnie is looking for and this is all she needs to start.

Through clever deduction and sound intelligence work Sunnie begins the hard job of trying to find Grace. Whether Grace wants to be reconciled with her grandmother however is another story. Having to confront her own past whilst looking for the girl is another thing that Sunnie did not account for.

Fast paced, going back and forth between the girl and Sunnie's own schemes you had to concentrate on this read to know what was going on.

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

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Love of Finished Years by Gregory Erich Phillips



Pre WWI immigration was obviously as hard as it is now. Escaping Germany a family arrives in the US. Elsa and Sonja are the two girls in the family and they know that in their father's eyes they are second best to their baby brother. With the sudden death of their brother, their father disappears never to be seen again and Nina and the two girls are on their own.

Not knowing the language and finding everything strange to them, they settle down to a life of unrelenting struggle and hardship. All find jobs of the most menial kind but Elsa knows that if she is to get ahead she has to get some form of education and how she is going to get this whilst working full time is hard. But she perseveres and gets it. A fair knowledge of English to begin with and this along with her determination to succeed pushes her slowly but surely out of the bottom rung of the ladder.

Whilst her sister Sonja finds happiness in marriage, Elsa who is a plain girl plans her career as a maid and a translator for German documents for a businessman. The encounter with the family carves out a relationship with the teenage daughter of the family and it is this that is going to be the pivot of Elsa's future. Going through WWI and America's entry into the war turns everything around for Elsa who finds herself without a job, finding a German surname a hindrance of the most dangerous kind and being a maid to the frivolous Dafne who just whiles away her time waiting for the war to end.

The story of Elsa ends happily fortunately (I was glad after all the years of struggle!). Full of detail about the immigrants plight in this time and the sweat shops and factories in the cities and then descriptive of America's entry into the war the story was a piece of history as well as a family story.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Sillan Pace Brown. 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

The Last Suppers by Mandy Mikulencak



In the 1950s Louisiana did not seem such a nice place to be. Unless you were white and then in control. Ginny was a child of a prison guard who met an untimely end. His killer went to the electric chair for his murder but Ginny knew that there was something off about the sentencing.

After her father's death and many intervening years, Ginny herself finds work in the prison where her father worked as a cook. She is particularly renowned for catering to the last meal of those on death row despite there being a lot of opposition to the practice. Her relationship with the present warden of the prison does not do either of them any favours and both Ginny and Roscoe finds themselves on the receiving end of a lot of antagonism and resentment.

Ginny is an emotional, sensitive soul. She also feels that justice should be done and the penal system of the time does not mete out any justice for those in the system. The brutality of the guards or the fellow prisoners and the supervisors turning a blind eye to all that went on under their eyes was something Ginny could not tolerate. That she had no recourse and no one who would listen to her was of course another story.

The story was harsh, unrelenting and unforgiving. It did not leave room in the system for someone who was kind or who was wanting what was right to be done. It also obviously is also a piece of history as this may have been the system of all prisons in the country at the time. Unpalatable but true.

I enjoyed reading this story despite its harshness.

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



Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Forgotten Children by Anita Davison



Part of a series and part historical fiction and part of an ongoing detective series, Flora has been involved with the police before in a murder investigation. Now Flora is married very happily to Bunny and has a very young baby. Very comfortably off her existence is far removed from the extreme poverty in London and the sleaziness of the slums.

An invitation to St. Philomena's Hospital for children depicts a different side of the fate of children in London to both Flora and Bunny. Children from deprived homes who are sick and who because of their very poor environment have very little hopes of recovering from some of their ailments. Meeting the Matron in charge of St. Philomena's also brings a spark of a memory to Flora though it is only later that she can pin her thoughts down to a specific one.

Following the visit Flora and Bunny are notified that young children are disappearing in London and no one seems to know where they end up. The police are not bothered by it as domestic issues like this at the time are considered family matters and cannot be prosecuted. No one seems to be willing to listen to them, that something is amiss specially since the Salvation Army seems to be involved. The Salvation Army works amongst the poor and are seen as just one of the few organisations trying to help the poor.

With the help of friends and the support of the Matron Flora and Bunny unearth a plot of far reaching ramifications. Trying to save the children taken so far puts them all in a dangerous situation from which they manage to escape with the children intact and all the villains under lock and key.

The book was an eye opener as to living conditions amongst ordinary folk in London in the early 1900s. It also highlighted the indifference of the rich to these conditions and very few took any interest in trying to help in any way possible. Those who did were not looked at very favourably either, which I found strange.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Aria, this was a very intriguing read.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware



Harriet is orphaned with no relatives and all alone and now desperate. She has got in with a loan shark who is charging her exorbitant interest and has now threatened her with violence if she does not pay up.

A letter from a solicitor asking her to attend the death of a grandmother she did not know about and the possibility of an inheritance is so tempting that she makes the tedious journey with her last bit of money to find out what it is all about. She knows she is not the Harriet Westaway that the lawyer is talking about and on meeting the three sons of the late Mrs. Westaway she is very quickly able to find out what the entire story is about. It seems obvious who she is but it is only at the end that the tables are turned and the actual story is revealed.

The idea of manipulation from beyond the grave is paramount in this. Malice and sheer devilment as it were to cause tension between the three sons when it comes about that Harriet is the main beneficiary. The eeriness of the surroundings, the fallen down dilapidation of the house and the eccentricity of the housekeeper all add to the heightened tensions of the story that builds to not one climax but a couple.

How the past can eventually catch up with you, secrets hidden for decades come out, and a rectification done which could not be done when alive but better late than never is slowly told and in stages. The story is full of suspense because you do know revelations are going to come about but they come from unexpected places and this is what interests the reader the most and keeps their interest going.

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

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Letters to Iris by Elizabeth Noble



The blurb spoke about love in all its forms and this is perfectly true of this story. The main thread is the immense affection and love that Tess has for her grandmother Iris who was the mainstay of her life in the absence of her mother and father and they were a mutual admiration society for each other. Until now. Iris has early onset dementia and moving her into a home is the only option available.

On top of it all Tess's own relationship with Sean is on the rocks with an unexpected pregnancy and going back to mother is a reluctant option considering their strained relationship over the years.
This is the beginning of the story. Unraveling further we have other characters coming into the story inter twining with the main character Tess and bringing with it parallel love stories of differing kinds. A marriage on the rocks after forty years, the difficulty of getting into a new relationship, the beautiful relationship unexpected and not often found between a mother in law and her daughter in law and the late blossoming of love and respect between an estranged daughter and mother.

It was a story with a very happy ending which was expected but it was not silly or fatuous. It made for a story well told.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Penguin UK Michael Joseph.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Bats in the Belfry - a London Mystery by E.C.R. LORAC



I love the British Library Crime Classics because all the detectives are clever, suave, well balanced men. All the sergeants are heart of gold, plods who do their work wonderfully well. It all evens out in the end! This one was a corker.

Bruce was a promising literary star, but his shine fizzled out and he was overshadowed by his wife Sybilla who after some years was fed up with him but was never willing to do anything about his philandering ways. Not that she was a saint either but each knew that the other would not make the first move.

When Bruce on a sudden overnight trip  vanishes without trace and his suitcase along with his passport is discovered in a decrepit building the search commences. Everyone of his friends are suspect, his wife cannot be found for a couple of days and there are various suspects which keep popping up. But then they all die, and those that are suspect have extremely good alibis because they have been coshed and are in hospital!

A very convoluted drama of a murder mystery with the reasoning behind the murder so complicated that it is almost genius if he could have pulled it off.

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


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende


A very minor traffic accident set into motion a train of events unsought by three very different
people. Richard a human rights scholar, Evelyn an undocumented immigrant and Lucia  who is Richard's tenant and a visiting lecturer from Chile.

Moving from events totally disconnected initially with the discovery of a murdered woman in the boot of the car Evelyn is driving, the story moves from Brooklyn to Guatemala to Brazil to Chile.
To human trafficking, the reasons behind why people like Evelyn move to a country which is so alien to her that it is doubtful that she will ever adapt to being in America. The stories thrown up by the past are very vivid, very emotional and traumatic but they are the reasons why people will always try to escape regimens of violence, forsaking their own country for the wide unknown.

Handled well and fairly forthrightly all the topics in the story were not for the faint hearted but it goes to the heart of the story.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Simon and Schuster UK.

Friday, March 23, 2018

You Were There Before My Eyes by Maria Riva

You Were There Before My Eyes

A story of a very unusual, strong woman for her times. The first half of the twentieth century.

Seemingly without a romantic bone in her body Giovanni just wanted to get out of her time warp of a village in Italy. She knew the only way out was marriage and when one came her way, even though she was second or third choice of the handsome Giovanna she grabbed it determined to make it work.
Arriving in a land totally alien to her, she somehow managed on the arduous journey by sea to America to learn a bit of English or American as described, just to get by.

Her journey, her marriage, her adaptation to the American way of life and to the ways of her husband who though not unjust was bordering on the indifferent would have made another woman unhappy, In Jane's case (which was the name she chose) she felt that this was her path and just made the best out of it.

The story runs along the lives of this immigrant family along with many other immigrants in the same community surrounded by Hannah and Fritz whose boarding house they all land in before they find their separate ways. It is Hannah and Fritz who act as surrogate parents to the differing men who have all left their homes to find their fame and fortune in America.

Apart from the family saga, the story of Henry Ford is of paramount importance in the story. From its initial beginnings to the very end of this story, Henry Ford created a workforce of such loyalty amongst these people that could I think never be duplicated. They believed in him implicitly that all he did he did for the good of his people, and his country.

This was a fascinating story very well told. Descriptive not just about the immigrants and their daily life, it was also descriptive of the Henry Ford story (which was very unknown to me!).

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

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Beyond the Pale by Clare O'Donohue




The story alternates between Hollis and Finn who have now reached an impasse in their relationship at home. Professors and both highly involved in their careers, their marriage is in the doldrums. An  opportunity to find a rare manuscript sees them haring off to Ireland.

This is where the story gets both interesting and a bit long winded. Trying to get the manuscript is several bad guys and gals and these two innocents are like lambs to the slaughter. They know it is not as simple as it sounds - a twenty minute operation is the description originally but escaping the not so good guys at every turn makes one skeptical.

Descriptions of Ireland was one of the highlights of this story on another note!

Good story, but it seemed to get side tracked on the way.

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

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Paris Still Life by Rosalind Brackenbury



The story of a forty year old married woman who troubled deeply by the death of her father, leaves her husband in America behind much to his bewilderment and arrives in Paris - is it to find herself as they would say, to meditate on life and its meaning and what does she eventually hope to do. Right now she is lucky as she has an apartment (owned by her father) and enough money to live without having to work.

Almost immediately she is beset by memories of her father when she sees not once but three times someone who is the image of her father. On all three occasions she is unable to reach him, being either in a bus or somewhere where she cannot access him. On top of that she meets up with her father's mistress whom everyone apparently knew about other than her. This comes to her as a betrayal though the lady is someone whom Gaby begins to appreciate, but slowly. Many characters from her father's hidden double life keep appearing and each one shows another facet of her father's life which he kept well hidden from his wife and family.

Gaby taking on a lover adds to her questions. Where is her life going to take her? Back to her American roots and her husband or to a new life in Paris.

Despite the varying nuances of the story, the story reads as a formal novel. The characters were multi faceted and added to the enjoyment of the story. At the same time it seemed slightly unreal and removed from day to day life as it happens. How many can move from the expected or unexpected death of a parent, move continents, leave a husband, start even temporarily a new life without any clear understanding of where this is taking one.

I enjoyed the story very much. It was the unreal, removed from real life bit that I enjoyed the most.

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

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Wild Justice by Priscilla Royal




The year of 1282 was tumultuous for both England and Wales were at war. The Prioress Eleanor is on her way home and she has been requested by her brother to hand over the rents and a private letter only into the hands of the Prioress Amicia and no one else. Though curious, Eleanor proceeds to do just that.

What greets her at the Mynchen Buckland Priory is chaos and disturbance. The Prioress Amicia has been accused of murder and is under detention and the new Prioress is not very pleased to either accommodate or have Eleanor on the premises. To add to the complications it is her brother Damien who is the preceptor in charge of the brothers who live alongside the priory. The reception of the small party is tense and it is apparent that they are not welcome at all.

On realizing that Amicia has been wrongfully detained Eleanor is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery and it is only by pretense of being unwell that she is allowed to stay. Unraveling the mystery of not one murder but two under cover of ill health and not being able to move out of her room she is dependent on the faithful Brother Thomas and Sister Anne to bring information to her to solve the puzzle.

I did not think that I would appreciate this mystery murder set in medieval times. Surprisingly I did. The setting and the story of the priory was an interesting one and did not weigh too much on religious aspects but on the story itself. Murder is murder whatever century it happens and solving is very much a procedure of investigation and deduction. Very nicely put together.

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

Saturday, March 10, 2018

The Mitford Murders by Jessica Fellowes



It is 1920 and for girls like Louisa the future is bleak. Daughter of a washerwoman her way out of this drudgery is service in a respectable house. Nothing more than that. To add to her misery, her mother is ailing and her uncle who should have been a protector in the absence of her father, now seeks to sell her to the highest bidder as he has got into debt.

Louisa escapes his clutches and ends up in the Mitford household. A large house with a number of children, Louisa is happy for once in her life. She is content with her lot, feels safe, is not hungry and thinks that life is good. However she and Nancy the eldest daughter of the house gets entangled in a murder of a lady on a train and despite not wanting to get further involved knowing that her word will have no hold with the gentlemen of the law, both she and Nancy who will not give up get into the case more and more. Investigating independently and being much more successful along with Guy a railway police young man whose thoughts are also ignored by the higher ups they more or less solve the case with good deductive skills and thorough slow investigating.

This was the first novel in the series and I look forward to the next. This particular story apart from the murder and solving of the crime, depicted in great detail the lives of the aristocracy and the lives of those who lived and worked for them. It also showed the position of women at the time, which is not saying much.

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

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Safe with Me by Amy Hatvany

Safe with Me


Two mothers linked by a strange link. It was a bit too slick to be true but at the same time the story was so well put together that I did enjoy my first read from this author.

Emily is Hannah's much loved daughter. Maddie is Olivia's much adored daughter. Emily dies in a tragic car accident and her organs are donated by Hannah to various receipients. Fast forward Maddie is just weeks from dying if she does not get a new liver and it is timely for want of a better word when Emily's liver becomes available. The two families live in widely disparate worlds. Hannah is a single mother, successful and upto now managing very well on her own. Olivia is in an abusive relationship and though on the surface having everything material available to her and her daughter, she knows that this is not the way to live. She has no choice though, with Maddie so ill and needing so much she in a situation she cannot get out of.

The story goes on and with their eventual meeting, accidental and not contrived and the eventual realisation of who each person was.

The near death escape by Olivia from her husband is the catalyst that sets her and her daughter free  and it is a happily ever ending of a kind though for Hannah her life has changed completely and will never ever be the same.

Emotional but not overpoweringly so read. From the Glen Waverley library and my last book from them till the next time I come to Melbourne. 

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Fragile by Lisa Unger

Fragile

My second read of this author though I have been having her on my TBR for quite a while.

The setting is almost village like though it is just outside New York City. Everyone knows everyone and everyone's memories last a lifetime and beyond.

Maggie has returned to the Hollows and is a psychologist. She is very anxious about her clever son who seems to have drifted into a life of aimlessness, not even thinking of his future and college. His girlfriend is not someone she would choose for him but she is trying desperately to be fair and not comment, Her disappearance puts the entire family on the spot though her son Ricky's alibi is rock solid as he was at home throughout. Ricky's father Jones is the lead detective on the case but Maggie sees anxiety and vibes not quite right in her husband.

Multiple characters and a story and a mystery murder that went almost unsolved thirty years ago is remembered when Sarah a classmate of them all went missing, and then later her body was discovered raped and abused. Why these two very different cases are linked and how they are linked is the story in this book.

Long hidden ghosts in one's past dont stay hidden and in this case they certainly dont. It will tear apart the entire town, outlining a past that all of them will prefer to remain hidden. Though dormant it has affected all of them and not in a good way these past years. For some it is a relief that it is now out in the open for others it is the end of the road for their lives as they knew it.

Well written with a wide cast of characters all different, this was a good read.

Courtesy of Glen Waverley library.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Soldier's Wife by Joanna Trollope



As usual Joanna Trollope gets to the very crux of the story very fast. Dan is in the Army. He has served a very troublesome six months period in Afghanistan and is now home with his mates. Life should be happy. His wife, he has twin daughters and an older step daughter all look forward to his return but why cant they all settle down.

Alexa is a very loyal dutiful wife. She has battled on alone, never complaining but she now begins to feel that his batch mates and the Army is his top priority and that the family trails behind. Dan himself feels caught up in a triangle of how does one choose priorities. A mate returned with him, his wife leaves him, there are those mates who have been badly injured who have to be rehabilitated, there are many social obligations within the Army itself which have to be included in his life and he himself feels that things are getting away from him and he and his wife are increasingly isolated, without communicating what they actually want from each other.

Alexa wants a fixed home, she wants Isabel her eldest daughter to be happy (she isnt), she wants them to be a family again without the third wheel of all of the Army crowding in. How does one cope. Dan's father, grandfather , Alexa's parents are all anxious, all wanting to help. All know that without an intervention the family is going to split.

The story of relationships and mainly the need for open lines of communication are so manifestly important and it is this that for me was the focal point of this story. Dan is a soldier foremost and now he must try to be a civilian father and husband whilst balancing his career as well. Tough calls.


Another book from Glen Waverley library.

Friday, February 23, 2018

I See You by Clare Mackintosh

I See You

Like lots of us Zoe Walker had a routine. Walk a certain route, stand at a particular spot at the train station to get into a particular compartment as this was she felt the optimum position for her. Like all of us it was now in her subconsciousness. Little did she know that she was being watched, till one day idly picking up a discarded paper, her own face stares up at her from a classified advert. Almost an escort service, except for the fact that Zoe was no pin up babe, just an ordinary mid 40s lady intent on looking after her two almost adult children, get out of a marriage and solidify the relationship she has just embarked on.

Going to the police with such a weak story was laughable, the photograph was grainy, was old and did not look very much like Zoe. Discovering that many women unknown to them were featured on these adverts and with the murder of one of them, made the police sit up and take notice. Was there a link by such widely different women. The only thing that linked them all was that they used the underground railway. Could such a tenuous link be a key in solving murders, opening up a can of worms of the magnitude that the London investigators had not envisaged.

Identity theft, cyber crime, money laundering and eventually murder were all on offer. Trying to track down the mastermind behind the operation was almost impossible. With names popping up from the Channel Islands to China, from Russia to London itself it kept winding and winding upon itself until Zoe herself walked into the most improbable scenario with unexpected and scary effect.

Going alongside the story was the life of Kelly, the Police Sergeant and her life and then there was Zoe trying to balance it all and protect at the same time her loved ones. How even the simplest scenario can be misinterpreted very badly is shown up in the story over and over again. We think we have got to the end and the mystery is solved but it is never solved. Even after someone lies dead and bleeding.

A thriller with detailed police procedures for those of you who like it. I did.

Another good choice from Melbourne's Glen Waverley library. Sadly the holiday is almost at an end and there goes my huge choice of reading material!