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Monday, October 14, 2019

Death in the Village by Betty Rowlands

Adelaide Minchkin's body was found by the milkman dead on her bathroom floor. Apparently cardiac arrest but when her doctor insists that something is not quite right and that the coroner seemed to have overlooked or rather decided rather quickly that her death was due to natural causes, and causes a stir, the local Constabulary are called in.

When Sukey delves further into the happenings of this sleepy little village, lots of stuff surfaces. The previous owner herself, elderly in that case died suddenly and Adelaide who inherited the estate was an outsider, causing much ill will amongst the three siblings of Muriel. The owner before Muriel himself had died - sozzled, falling into a pool and drowning. The three deaths in succession are all quite self explanatory but now that a question has been asked, it is upto Sukey to investigate further.

Systematically going through the history and evidence around, and questioning all the villagers who are characters in themselves from the char lady to the local bar keeper was very well done and slowly a picture emerges of someone trying to hide something. When an old "cold" case seems to be somehow linked with the present deaths, Sukey knows she is on to something suspicious.

Told in a slightly old fashioned style, very reminiscent of this author's style the book is totally engrossing.

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

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Christmas at Pennington's by Rachel Brimble

A department store in Bath brilliantly preparing for Christmas but behind the scenes there is a lot of drama. A killer stalks the streets of Bath preying on women - and women who are respectable and doing good for the community.

Cornelia desperately trying to carve a niche for herself and her two sons in a contested divorce case. Stephen head of security at Penningtons, finds himself drawn into a murder investigation which he does not want to even know about. Stepping down from Scotland Yard he just wants to keep his head down and get on with his daily life. Joseph and Elizabeth cannot get past the tragic murder of Joseph's first wife and this is affecting their marriage and when murder strikes again they know they cannot sit back, despite Police inaction.

The drama of individual lives going on apace, set against the backdrop of the murders was balanced very well. It was several stories interspersed with each other and though set against the backdrop of the impending festival it was not a Christmassy book per se and could be read at anytime.

The characterization was spot on and the mystery murder detective theme was well thought of and detailed.

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

Thursday, October 10, 2019

the second chance supper club by Nicole Meier

Anything to do with good food interests me immensely! This book apart from the food aspect has another good combo Sisterly relationships.

Here Ginny and Julia's one is fraught with tension. One feels that she did it all when their parents died suddenly, uprooting herself and her family to deal with the aftermath of a sudden death. The other cut herself away from everyone, building up her career not thinking deeply of the consequences of her sister's life. When one of them is faced with a crisis, she runs away to the only place she knows she will surely not be turned away - her sister's home.

Coming home to Arizona was not the homecoming Julia expected. A home which is being run as a sort of illegal restaurant, catering for exclusive diners and a sister who seems to be living on the edge - facing financial disaster as well as a disaster of a relationship between her daughter and herself. Stepping into this minefield Julia feels out of place and she has to find a way to mend fences with both her sister Ginny and try to bridge the gap between her niece and herself.

The relationship part and how the story evolves from this was the best part of the book and the story is a commonplace one where miscommunicationn and no communication results in such a lot of misery and misplaced judgements.  I enjoyed the story emotional though it was.

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

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Everybody's Somebody by Beryl Kingston

Rosie was not just somebody. For the late nineteenth century, she was certainly no pushover. She was not going to be happy or resigned to her lot, which seemed to be the idea of the working lot. They were born to it and there was no choice about bettering themselves. Rosie had ideas and she certainly was not going to let a bit of adversity or hard work get in the way of getting there.

I admired her spunk in the face of so much opposition. It was a time when women did what they were told to do by their parents or their husbands and most of them just buckled under. Rosie first as a maid - an understudy to a nanny made it her business to learn her trade and from there better herself.

After getting married, she ended up as a model for a famous artist, despite her husband's objections. Her first aim was just economic. It paid well and secondly it proved to be a learning experience in love for her. She balanced her career as a model, and on the other a loving mother and a wife admirably.

Set during the beginning of WWI and the ominous beginning of Hitler the story told how these wars affected directly and indirectly the rural population of Britain . It was insidious but a deep rooted effect on the entire population and affected entire generations.

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

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Deep Waters by Martin Edwards

This was a lovely theme of historical fiction mixed liberally with mysteries on anything water. Canals, lakes, seas, everything connected to the murder or the mystery was linked to a waterway and they were all picturesque, all descriptive and some of them remote.

All the stories are slightly old fashioned form of detective work, many of them were solved by laymen in collaboration with the police force and all conducted in a very gentlemanly like and orderly manner, despite the final brutality of the act itself!

Very easy to read, very pleasant to read.

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

Reading this mid September here in Sri Lanka and very apt, because we are having floods right across the country. I just got up this morning to see the river alongside my home flooding the opposite bank.

Friday, October 4, 2019

The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen by Ada Bright & Cass Grafton

I knew this was going to be a variation of the Jane Austen theme but this took me way out of any comfort zone I had! In a very good way.

The idea that what would have happened if the Jane Austen books we know were not written or not published is unimaginable.

September and in Bath it is  all about Austen. Finding someone in period costume is nothing unusual at the time and Rose begins to think that the lady she glimpses everywhere is another of those who has immersed herself fully into the Austen saga. When Morgan arrives from America and Rose's entire present world is turned upside down with the appearance of a necklace which has brought Jane Austen to present day times and then takes Rose back in time, things get complicated.

Rose desperately wants to get back to modern times and Jane Austen needs to go back to write and publish her books but how are they going to do this, when the only way back is a necklace secreted in a safe in a place hidden by double walls and in a building which is now an office!

Taking innumerable twists and turns, you do know this story is going to end well. Otherwise there would be no Jane Austen novels today!

A fun read, for lovers of Jane Austen a must.

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

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The Postcard by Zoe Folbigg

Maya and James journey starts with an idyllic, sumptuous fairy tale wedding of someone for whom James is the "fourth" photographer. It is a typical Bollywood style wedding and the accommodation and the luxury is overwhelming. What follows their journey in India is also typical. Ranging from horrible train journeys to middle of the road guest houses interspersed with the beauty and culture of India the story is almost a travel memoir.

The romance part of the story is that James and Maya are unsure of their own personal wants. At some point in their travels Maya knows that she wants a baby. She has just left her friend Nena back home with an adorable baby and this has set off Maya's yearning for a baby for herself. James does not seem to want the commitment, just yet.

In the same time frame of the story - a separate story of Nena and Tom is played out. Nena coping with motherhood, trying to be the "best" mother and maintaining a facade which will crack soon. Tom knowing something is not quite right, but not knowing how to put it right.

Then we have the missing French girl Manon - which has been covered by the International Press. The girl missing initially from Vietnam, then spotted in Thailand and now it is told at a very later stage that the girl has a mental illness and this adds to the problem of trying to locate her.

How the three widely different stories are linked, all with the background of exotic travel starting from the luxurious and going to the spartan, back packing lifestyle and finally coming to what James and Maya actually want from their lives.

Descriptive and captivating as any travel memoir, the story of James and Maya and the other characters all blend in well.

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

Monday, September 30, 2019

Last Pen Standing by Vivian Conroy


It is an idyllic story. You use your inheritance to set up a partnership in an idyllic village background to do what you love to do. This was the beginning of Delta's dream to set up a paper craft business in association with her best friend in an area which was a village but also a tourist destination.

They never expected to find on the their first day of their much anticipated workshop, a body of a well known figure murdered whilst a full scale party was going on, and that her friend's brother seems to be implicated upto his neck in the whole thing. Her friend Hazel trying her best to protect her brother and not divulging very much does not help the scenario and she ends up getting arrested too. It is now upto Delta to try to figure out who had to gain by the death and by a series of elimination work out who was responsible.

With a Chief Constable who is more obstructive than helpful, and not wanting assistance of any kind Delta battles it alone with the help of Jonas an ex cop himself unpopular with the local police.
Complicated plots and characters abound but with all the hallmarks of a good cozy mystery murder this is a good one.

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

Sunday, September 29, 2019

A Shadowed Livery by Charlie Garratt

On the brink of war, Inspector Given is trying to deal with the wave of Anti Antisemitism sweeping the United Kingdom. Two people who were caught in the latest killing are being hanged though the masterminds behind the attack are still free and very much pursuing constant attacks against Jewish businesses.

Surprisingly he is taken off the case and given another one - a triple murder cum suicide (apparently) for the flimsiest of reasons. Suspicious about the reasoning behind the murders and thinking it is an inside job Inspector Given is swept into a case with much wider repercussions. It is not a family saga, with family secrets to hide but goes back decades and uncovers a very long trail of coercion, deceit, cover up and many secrets.

Told in a slightly old fashioned style, not detracting from the story or the detection the story is well told. Characterization was spot on and very good reading.

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

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Today We Go Home by Kelli Estes

My knowledge of American history is scant. I think this was a good one for me. Set in 1861 and present day times, we deal with women (and to a lesser degree men) involved in the military not in a supporting role of nurses and carers but both front line soldiers.

We have Emily who after the death of her father and brother, joins hands with her surviving brother Ben to join the Army to fight not as a woman, but disguised as a man. She goes through several skirmishes, and when she is found out she is demoralised to see that her achievements as a soldier are not taken into account - only the fact that she disguised herself as a man. The story of "Jesse" and her brother Ben in the heart of the Civil War fights and how the only survivor was Jesse is remarkable. Because she maintained a diary which was found by Sarah who was one of her descendants and this in turn came into the hands of Larkin, our present day soldier.

Larkin has her own devils to contend with. A survivor from Afghanistan, she carries the overwhelming guilt that she was directly responsible for the death of Sarah, her best friend and Anahita a girl she befriended in Afghanistan. Suffering from PTSD and unwilling to seek counselling or therapy Larkin is battling it alone, with just the help of her grandmother and her cousins.
Till Larkin comes to peace in her own mind with Sarah's death, she knows she will have no solace at all in her life.

What must be a common problem amongst many soldiers, unable to bear the overwhelming guilt of death - whether to friend or foe is dealt with, with  empathy in this story. The personal lives of both Larkin and Emily and how they cope with their worlds is handled delicately. The history of both periods are also detailed well and gives one an inside view of life on the ground in both situations.

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

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Sweep Out the Ashes by Mary Clearman Blew

Diana took up an appointment at a University in Versailles to find out the truth about her father. Set in Northern Montana the landscape is icy and bleak at times and fellow colleagues in the university are antagonistic, misogynists mainly, racist and basically unpleasant.

Diana has to learn how to balance her teaching career, give of her best to her students, handle her superiors who seem determined to either get her into bed and failing that get her sacked and also find her father. Finding her father was very fast track. The man was in plain sight, he knew her the moment he saw her and things seemed good. Handling a relationship with someone who was of mixed race, and in a town where strong feelings about race existed was a harder task.

Like now in America, the 1970s seem not very different where strong feelings survive re mixing between two races.

Informative read.

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

Sunday, September 22, 2019

The Art of Dying by Douglas Lindsay

This book with its Scottish setting was very atmospheric. Starting out with a murder after an altercation at a football stadium, it appeared to be one of those type of random murders. We then get involved in big corporations, the Russians, forgery of paintings, retirement homes with people getting murdered there as well.

All seemingly random, all seemingly unconnected but our detective knows that there are dots that just have to be connected. It comes about through the most unlikely candidate - a woman who is considered psychotic, never having spoken for years who sits in front of  one of the most horrific paintings imaginable, and just stares at it all day.

How the detective connects the dots and finds out the solution to the puzzle is amazing and this is what makes this thriller so good.

With touches of spirits in the form of ghosts from past experiences the Detective combines them all into a very good read.

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

Friday, September 20, 2019

Relative Fortunes by Marlowe Benn

1920's New York was not a good place for women. Independence was scorned on, working for a living was considered not quite right, a woman's inheritance passed from her father to her guardian (brothers who were tyrants) and then to husbands who could squander the whole thing away and no one questioned the right.

When Julia is thrust into the Rankin's life through the sudden death of Naomi, she little knew that by befriending Glynnis whose character and personality are totally different to Julia, that she would raise the antagonism of the entire Rankin clan who close ranks against Glynnis and in turn Julia for raking over this sudden death. Within a couple of days, with no post mortem and a death certificate issued by an ancient family doctor, Naomi is cremated.

Unraveling the sordid story of Naomi's death was sad. A life lived in penury, all because her brother did not let go of the purse strings, his need to dominate and get his sisters to acquiesce to his strict standards of how society viewed them and the need to maintain the showmanship amongst high society in New York was uppermost in all their minds. If getting rid of someone who proved to be over and over again an embarrassment, so be it. Even murder could be excused because what was important was the family name.

This was not an easy story to read. You felt the hopelessness and the huge odds against which Julia was fighting for. Not just for Naomi but for herself personally in her war with her guardian brother who refused to acknowledge that she was part of her father's will. For women of today, this is not an easy read at all. This was a good story and however hard it was to accept women's role in society at the time it depicted it very well.

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

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell

If ever a book could persuade you to leave your present hectic life, and escape to a countryside town where you could bury yourself in the local life, have an income in the form of a bookshop and be so very comfortable, this is it.

Shaun has a bookshop catering for a very wide, eclectic audience. The requests are wide ranging and very often accompanied by bizarre statements. Shaun is also easily put upon and is easy going from offering coffee free to the free wifi to the facilities. He seems to have utmost patience with adults and children who rummage, involve him in inane conversation and finally end up buying nothing.

In the form of a daily diary, this book was a delight to read. I carried my kindle with me to appointments in order that I could sneak in a few pages as this was one of those unputdownable books.

Loved it from the word go. I understand it is to be made into a TV series. Wonderful.

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

Monday, September 16, 2019

The Last Post by Renee Carlino

Laya has been widowed very young and is finding it hard to cope with widowhood. She felt that her husband courted death with his dare devil antics and escapades and that he was constantly seeking a new thrill (sponsored of course). Having watched him actually die was not going to make it easier on her and she resorts to Facebook posts giving the impression that he is going to come back (some day). Much to the distress of his family.

Trying to get back to what is considered a "normal" life for Laya was not easy. A promising surgeon she gave up on life and seemed to be just existing until she met up with Micah a architect in her father's firm and one who was attracted to her from the beginning but who did not know how he could get through to her - let alone falling in love, to just acknowledge his presence.

The story of survival, of letting go, of coming to grips with the fact that the world just goes on despite all the heartache and despair you may have is not an easy story.. It made for an interesting read though. Not emotional to the point that you are overcome with sadness and throw the book away. On the contrary it made for a page turner.

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

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Murder in the Mill Race by E.C.R. Lorac

I got my computer working again and it makes writing reviews so much easier!
I'm slow on the Ipad with reviews.

The British Classic Crime series is a style apart from the myriad excellent mystery/murder/thrillers which abound. There is a sort of slowness and a quiet deduction, which has its own attraction.

Dr Raymond Ferens is taking over a practice by a doctor who lived in the village for decades. It will be a very long time, however good Ferens is , to be totally accepted by the village as one of their own. There are several fixtures of village life from the gossipy post mistress, to the lady of the manor who seems to rule everyone with her ways, and then there is the spinster caretaker of the local orphanage who is strict, gives no quarter, but not a single word will be spoken against her.

When she is found dead, drowned in a nearby stream the consensus is determinedly that she slipped and fell despite the local Constable having his suspicions of it being a murder. He is not merely shut up, but to the extent that he calls on higher powers that be because he realises very early on that the village has decided to gang up against him and not give him any clues as to what really went on.

The story takes on from there and slowly the plot unravels. Very little will surprise me when dealing with villagers in England or otherwise. Human beings are all complicated and this story illustrates this in full measure.

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

Thursday, September 12, 2019

The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan

I've been to Paris just once. I want to go again. What Colgan does is that she makes me want to now. Just up and go because there seems to be a myriad things I've not experienced.

Anna lives a humdrum life. In her little world,  to her family and friends she has it all. Tight knit family, few friends, nights out at the local, blokes interested in her. Till a freak accident makes her ill, despondent and depressed and her former French teacherdecides to step in and send her for a kind of apprenticeship to a chocolatier in Paris. There she discovers another world of taste and luxury, of fine distinction between mediocre mass produced chocolates and chocolates produced with so much passion. She also discovers discreet good taste, a palate for the finer things and love as well.

With its ups and downs Anna comes to terms with life and love, reconciling two people who've left it very late to find the love they once had (this part was sad. Of what might have been if things were different). But Anna finds out she is stronger than what she thought she was to face a future alone, if the path of love does not run smoothly for her.

Descriptive of Paris, and very matter of fact about relationships this was an excellent read.

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

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Beyond The Moon by Catherine Taylor

We have it all in this story. Time travel, a good deal of history, a love affair, the tragic workings of a mental hospital in the present century. This book was good. The story fascinating. Almost too good to be true. So though you know its a bit of fantasy, deep down you'd like it to be true.

1916 Captain Robert Lovett is convalescing at Coldbrook Hall. He cannot see though doctors have assured him that there is no physical impediment to him getting his sight back.
In 2017 Louisa Casson through a number of sheer coincidences, finds herself in a mental health institution called Coldbrook Hall. The premises is their connection and one day Louisa disappears and turns up as Rose Ashby a Volunteer Nurse. Her stay as Rose is not permanent as she keeps going back and forth to 2017, until she realises she wants to be with Robert despite him returning to the Front, and so goes back to Amiens to the battlefront herself.

The two time frames are both intense - not everyday life. One is an institution run like a prison with Victorian attitudes to mental health and brutality and cruelty to match. Then we have both England and Europe in the grip of WWI , Robert a POW the harshness of life at the front, and the sheer numbers one is faced with in the hospitals. In the midst of this the love story is the only hopeful, bright spark amongst the misery.

Characters spot on, descriptiveness very good, fascinating story.

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

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Snap Shot by Marilyn Todd

1895. London is rather strait laced at least on the surface. Taking risqué photographs is not the occupation you'd expect a young woman to follow, but photography is her passion and if this is the only way she can achieve her dream to travel, see the world and photograph it, then so be it.

When her models start dying one by one, in the most awful manner however, Julia knows she is being set up. Despite her covering her back at every turn, she knows the law in the shape of the canny Detective Collingwood is going to catch up with her. To top it all, she really likes the detective, and hoodwinking him is not going down well with her personally.

This was Victorian England, veiled in hypocrisy as to the way one should live and Heaven help you if you were discovered not keeping to the straight and narrow.
I enjoyed the contrasts in the story - the character of not just Julia but the other models as well and their very matter of fact approach to the photography which was very unusual for the times.

Ending was a complete turn around for me. Never saw it coming.

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

Friday, September 6, 2019

Death on a Summer Morning by Betty Rowlands

Arthur Soames missed his footing on the stairs and died. Retired school teacher living a quiet life in this rural village his death seemed straightforward enough. But we have his youthful fiancée and angry young daughter both insisting that the Police investigate the death, as they suspect foul play.
They cite the other party as suspects with reasons to support their arguments.

The Police dutifully follow up but Arthur had no enemies, no colorful past history to hide or so it seems, until Sukey on her own, with no reference to her seniors starts an investigation into the case and she really unravels a can of worms. With each fact being uncovered, as to who could be responsible for his death widens. The final outcome is totally surprising.

Set in a beautiful rural area, the descriptiveness of both the geography and the characters is old fashioned but spot on.

Love this series of old fashioned detective work.

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

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

The Daughter of Hardie by Anne Melville

Lucy and Gordon had a big family of boys and one girl. Lucy was intrepid and courageous and daring. She ran away to be with Gordon who was in "trade" despite being in the wine business, still below Lucy's background. She adapted to her life of being wife and mother though what she longed for was the expeditions to China, looking for that elusive specimen.

Their daughter however was mild, subservient and at times for want of a better word a plodder. Despite changing times, WW almost upon them, the position of women becoming more and more important, conscription into the military depriving her of her brothers, Grace seemed to be cocooned into a small world of her own. She did not hanker for change, for excitement, she felt that marriage and children would naturally follow and when a "suitable" partner appeared she accepted his proposal.

Grace came into her own much later as a young woman. Single, independent, determined to make her own way and save the family firm almost single handedly. From being a wishy washy individual she became a confident person.

Though Grace's story was rather simple, the setting and accompanying background was anything but simple and this carried the story till the adulthood of Grace came about. Then it became all systems go and almost beamed with anticipation for what the next page would bring.

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

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Grave Expectations by Heather Redmond

This book deals with several aspects of Charles Dickens personality apart from his superior writings. Dickens was a champion of the under dog and the marginalized part of society and suffered much personal trouble as a result of constantly being embroiled in others affairs. In this case the story starts with the murder of an elderly, reclusive lady in unusual circumstances and then begins a rather complicated story going back decades and involving long lost relatives and lovers.

Dickens despite penury was supported by his very patient fiancée who saw with every episode her chances of having a wedding sooner rather than later fading away. Dickens had to maintain his newspaper job, whilst balancing his detective work and trying to cope with a family who tried his patience and was a huge burden on his purse.

The sleuthing was one aspect of this book. I enjoyed very much the exposure of the person Dickens was and for me, this was the real story.

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

Friday, August 30, 2019

Just Another Girl On The Road by S. Kensington

I've always found it difficult to post from my iPad reviews, but I'm going to try.

The setting of WWII for stories is always emotional and evocative. There is so much courage, bravado, grit and determination shown and at the same time the lesser attributes of betrayal, cowardice and envy and very often the more basic " fear for your life" and for those around you.

This story encompasses all that is a girl of mixed background who found herself in circumstances and places beyond her control and displayed a sense of compassion to the dying which was not understood by all.

Displaying courage way beyond her 18 years our heroine is made of sterling stuff.

Slightly different to the usual settings of WWII.

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

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Death at Ivy House by Betty Rowlands

Sukey Reynolds is not a detective. She is a photographer of crime scenes but that does not prevent her from having her own ideas of how and why murder happens. Her instincts have proven her right before but it does not go down well with her superior officer who thinks she is giving in to her fancies of how and why things should be done.

When a young woman is found battered to death in a gruesome way, many incidents at the same time seem to be linked to this crime but not in an apparent way. The links are hard to find and sometimes surface accidentally, and in some cases after a long time but there are many links and Sukey manages to connect the dots.

Sukey going off on her own investigation however brings with it, its own hidden dangers and the killer is now on guard knowing that the net is drawing closer and closer.

Old fashioned detection, though I did not care very much for the attitude of the senior detectives towards the women working in the force!

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

Sunday, August 25, 2019

The Tuscan Secret by Angela Petch

Anna's mother has died and has left her a sort of diary, scribbles in Italian in her native language. Her mother died of dementia and her siblings scoff that the writings amount to anything very much. Anna however feels that there is a message somewhere. Being at the cross roads of her life, with a broken relationship behind her Anna decides to go to Tuscany and try to bring some sort of comprehension to her mother's life, which was not a happy one.

Going back decades to WWII, to partisans, to traitors and to the resistance in Italy is the story and Anna's mother's role in this story in this small village who tried to hold out against the Nazi invasion.
Generations later, very few want to talk of the past but Anna wants to get to the bottom of her mother's story. What she found was unexpected and very sad, but Anna finds closure of some kind and love for the future. She discovers family which was totally unexpected and explains why she always felt that she did not quite fit in with her English family.

Delicately told of the horrors of the war and invasion, the deprivation of livelihood of food and basics and making do. Of not knowing who was your enemy, and who would betray you must have been living on the edge. The descriptiveness of this part of Tuscany was particularly beautiful.

As usual another story set in WWII depicted very well.

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

Friday, August 23, 2019

The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt by Andrea Bobotis

The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt

The Kratts were a power to reckon with in the town of Bound. Father had built up a store from nothing and one which sold everything and monopolized the sale of everything in the town. That he ended up in poor circumstances, embittered was another story.

Here we deal with Judith and her unerring love of things, the value she puts on stuff with a long ago sell by date, inventorying all that she has and reminiscing about what she has lost. She also lives in the past remembering past days, the intricacies of her Mamma's history and her involvement with a man of colour (unheard of in those times), and her brother's murder which sent her father into a spiral downwards and finally the return of the prodigal sister home.

It was a complicated story. Whether it was meant to depict a family from the South of the time I couldn't say but it was not a "nice" family that much for sure. Segregation was very much part of the scene and it was disquieting when one of the family got involved with the help. The remedy was drastic.

Disquieting story anyway.

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

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

There is No Going Home by Madalyn Morgan

There Is No Going Home: A Bletchley Park Cold Case (The Dudley Sisters Saga Book 7) by [Morgan, Madalyn]

Another story with two separate time lines. A bit different though WWII related. Ena Green recognises a woman who is dead, whose funeral she attended. She is also very sure of this woman as she worked with her for four years and was a very good friend.

That there is something fishy in the discovery, and that the discovery will not be good for Ena is apparent from the beginning. Ena worked for the Secret Service and her husband Henry still does. Ena now works on cold cases at the Home Office and it becomes more and more apparent that many people are being used in a cover up because the entire case history has disappeared from the archives.
When people whom Ena interviews or talks to start getting beaten up and murdered both Ena and Henry particularly are worried that Ena will be their next victim. What is being hidden in this story which is a good depiction of history of the time.

Very descriptive and with good characterization the two time lines though not very far apart were distinct and well detailed.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of General Fiction (Adult)

Monday, August 19, 2019

Lucy's Last Straw by Debbie Viggiano

Lucy's Last Straw: A feel good, laugh out loud romantic comedy

After a number of very suspenseful reads this was a lighter read but the moral of the story was not light at all. It was couched in a very light hearted style in both language and setting but it undermined the very important part that marriage plays in society.

Lucy and Leo are married for 25 years. Three children who do not live at home and Lucy is now getting exasperated with Leo. His obsession with his pension, and then being made redundant overshadow their life and now he is insistent on moving to a derelict cottage giving up their big comfortable home because he feels that for just the two of them, the enormous house is too much.

When Leo unexpectedly lands a job which involves travel, a nymphomaniac of a neighbour who decides that Leo is her next target and when Lucy meets Will the builder who ignites all her senses in the most irrational way , you do know fireworks are in the offing. Whether Lucy and Leo will let rationale and common sense prevail or go with the flow is the story.

Add to this the travails of three children who feel they have a right to tell their adult parents what to do, how to do and when to do stuff, you end up with a thoroughly modern marriage which has to be navigated carefully.

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

Saturday, August 17, 2019

The Violin Maker's Daughter by Sharon Maas

Any story which has a WWII background whether it is from any country involved in the war is poignant and very emotional. This one is no different.

Even when the Nazis walk into Colmar Josef a secular Jew believes he will be safe. He produces beautiful violins for a living and thinks that it is all a question of too much hype. When the actual situation dawns on him it is very late, and he has to think of a way to get his children away. He succeeds with his eldest sent at the age of 17 from an extremely protected background to one where subterfuge and lies becomes a way of life.

Sarah's painful and difficult journey across France from being a Jew to being a German from Alsace with a change of name and personality to match her goal is Poitiers.  It is not smooth the journey and meeting Ralf who saves her from rape, and then becomes a deserter from the German army is not going to help matters at all. Germans are the enemy and having Ralf as a protector is not helping at all.

Love and loyalty, a lot of sacrifice and plenty of betrayal make this a wonderful story for lovers of historical fiction.

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

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Last Summer by Kerry Lonsdale

Ella is a lifestyle journalist (a new definition for me). After years of investigative journalism and many high celebrity scoops, she has settled into a married life with another high powered entrepreneur who was also a subject of her interviews.

Now Ella is seeking an interview with a subject whom she has interviewed before, also very high profile but who cancelled the entire interview. What is puzzling is that for one Ella cannot remember any detail of this interview, the man or the details and secondly anything related to this subject is not found on her data bases. The first is understandable. Ella is traumatised after an accident in which she lost her baby but the second is the strange part. Ella is a professional through and through and details of her past work is all recorded except this one.

Damien and Ella and Nathan form a triangle which is not quite what it seemed to be. The story is suspenseful, the ending even more so.

I read this story quite skeptical and looking at it from afar. It will appeal to many though.

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

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Testament by Alis Hawkins

The two time frame story is becoming very popular. I've seen it so many times and every time it works like a charm.

Here too we go to medieval England to Salster to 1385 and to a master mason Simon and more unusually his wife a master craftsman too. The building of any place is in this time a massive achievement. A lifetime honor for a craftsmen and from the details found in this story, obviously a massive undertaking. Stones were chiselled and part of a building as a labour of love, of much pride for not just the master but also for his workmen. The story of this couple and their unusual child and the complications of local politics and pride is one story.

Fast forward to 2019 and we have Dalmia taking over as Marketing Manager of the college Kinetton and Dacre. The college is bankrupt and is left vulnerable to take over bids where the main concern is turning over a fast buck. Whilst undergoing renovations, a grotesque series of paintings is uncovered. Will this be the saving of the college? but first the story has to be uncovered as to what it signifies.

Two stories of history in two separate time frames, two personal stories one of Simon and his wife and son and then we have Dalmia and her partner trying to find a balance between career and love.

I loved the detail in both time frames. The procedure of building, of architecture in the 14th century and the machinations and marketing of a college which is behind the facade of a well run institution in the 21st century.

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

Sunday, August 11, 2019

The Murmur of Bees by Sofia Segovia

Translated into English the book is a mix of history, a family saga with a touch of mysticism, something faintly not quite of this world which is not understood by all and misunderstood by many.

Mexico is on the verge of revolution, bandits and the rule of force apply but in this small town
Francisco is able to maintain his position as head of the estates he owns by a mix of firm discipline and kindliness to all.  In the midst of all this is born a mute, a child who is led and protected by bees and seems to have his own fore knowledge of events about to happen. Francisco is blessed with a son years after the birth of his two daughters who are now married. This boy is the link between the mute Simonopio and the little boy whom he takes under his wing as a guide and protector.

The story evolves with the background history of Mexico turbulent at most times but the story seems to be set in an oasis of peace till of course strife hits out in the most heinous way.

Unlike others I found the story very slow moving at the beginning, but by midway it picked up and I did want to know how it all ended.

A very unusual read combining many genres all fascinating.

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

Friday, August 9, 2019

Death Comes to Dartmoor by Vivian Conroy

My first read from this author and I've been looking forward to this. Love the cover too.

Merula and Lord Raven are both zoologists but they also share a history of detecting. Having saved one person from the gallows they now search for mythical creatures in the wilds of Dartmoor in the home of the reclusive Oaks. What they encounter is not exactly what they were looking for. A young woman working in the house has been found murdered with the marks of the kraken around her neck and the villagers are out for blood.

How Raven and Merula jointly try to uncover who and what and why of this senseless murder is the story. Village life in all its detail - superstitious, incredulous to the outsider and how to bring justice about is painstakingly done in this story.

I liked the Victorian setting but I also liked Merula's modernity and the touch of romance over hanging the whole story though nothing actually materialised in this one. Lets hope it happens in the next!

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

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

The Dead Girl in 2A by Carter Wilson

There are times we feel we know someone but just cannot figure out from where. This is what happened to Jake on a usual flight he took. He knew her from somewhere but all the usual connections of college or work place or mutual friends did not turn up a clue. The same connection went with Clara herself. It remains a mystery.

On the startling revelation that Clara is flying out to a destination to kill herself, and then coupled with the recent realisation that things are not good with him too, too many coincidences seem to come up leading to a most remarkable beginning of their lives which were inextricably linked and which accounted for the almost immediate recognition of a like minded spirit.

Part fantasy, this was a likeable story.  Lots of twists and turns as said by many reviewers.

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

Monday, August 5, 2019

Tudor Dawn by David Field

Tudor Dawn: Henry Tudor is ready to take the crown... (The Tudor Saga Series Book 1)

Described as historical fiction, this is more or less a historical account of a particularly turbulent period in British history.

The war of the roses was full on - bringing war and strife as a permanent part of the English landscape and the war between factions supporting Henry VI and Edward IV were vast and widespread. The young Henry Tudor grew up in exile, not a very warrior like king, to the dismay of his seniors. It was only with his sudden accession through the efforts of his mother and uncle when he actually got to the throne that his more arrogant king like features began to emerge.

The story of the emergence and strength of the Tudors very well told in this concise history lesson. Of particular interest to fans of English history.

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

Bethlehem by Karen Kelly

Historical fiction coupled with a family story and the build up of relationships between adults, especially when it is a joint family. Rather unusual I thought for America.

We have Joanna from a middle class background with her two children moving to Bethlehem with her husband to a home where her in laws live. She has to find a fine balance of keeping her values and especially her parenting ideas intact, in the face of somewhat more lenient attitudes especially since money does not seem to be a problem.

Joanna is fearful that she is no longer a wife or a mother in her own right. That she is losing her identity and her spirit and she wanders away from the marriage dispirited. That is her story of the 1960s. Then we have the story of Susannah her mother in law, reserved and reticent, not really allowing anyone to get too close. There are too many secrets in the family and she is used to burying them deep underground hoping that the scandal will never be revived.

The two time lines were handled well. The two women were different in character, but both were strong women who handled issues head on. It was the women who were the main characters in the story.

The story was very well told and you do want to know how it is going to end.

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

Saturday, August 3, 2019

The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms

   Amy is a single mother of two teenage children. Overworked, stressed, worried how to manage expenses with an aging house and two children who need stuff, a lifesaver in the form of a seemingly dejected husband turns up. Missing for three years, abandoning Amy to a sudden change in lifestyle she is now firmly in grip of her life but all the time feels that something is missing.

When an opportunity comes to attend a work related event which she likes in New York, she takes it albeit reluctantly wondering how the two children are going to cope without her. To her chagrin they manage themselves very well, seemingly getting on with their absentee father as if he was never absent. Getting in touch with her friend Talia opened a new world for her - a momspringa - a reawakening of herself and of her interests and of things she wants to do for herself. That she found plenty of romance was an interesting element to the story but the main theme of Amy's revival of spirit was the best part of the book.

Refreshingly humourous, light hearted fun this was a very good read.

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

Friday, August 2, 2019

Only Ever Her by Marybeth Mayhew Whaler

Annie Tafts is going to have the wedding of the year in the small town where she was born and brought up. She is looked upon with much fondness amongst the inhabitants of this town, mainly because of her mother who was found brutally murdered and whose killer was put away mainly by the evidence given by Annie a three year old at the time.

Now four days before the wedding Annie has gone missing. It is also no small coincidence that after 23 years the man convicted of killing her mother is released from prison. Could the two events be connected but it seems too pat, too contrived to be that. The list of suspects grow and the tension in her Aunt's house mounts as there seem to be so many secrets hidden for decades that are all going to burst upon the unsuspecting.

How well people know the persons they live with is reiterated in this story. It is amazing that very often we hardly know the people whom we are most intimate with, people whom we have spent our entire life with. In this case is the discovery of Annie going to be too late.

An interesting story of thrills and secrets.

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

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Have you seenn Luis Velez by Catherine Ryan Hyde

This was a joyous book to read. Like it said in the book, most older folk seemed to have given up on young people. Their indifference, their attitude to very old, slow folk is degrading and some of them look through them as if they didnt exist. Then you come across someone like Raymond and your entire view of life changes. You think there is hope for the human race.

Millie is old and blind and dependent on a young man called Luis Velez for assistance - to the bank, to the grocery. When he does not turn up for three weeks, she is on the point of starvation but she does not want to worry social services or anyone for that matter. She steps out of her apartment and for her good fortune and also for our young man, they meet and the rest is the story.

The search for Luis Velez goes on privately by Raymond who is horrible conflict at home. He is the odd one out in a family of white, he is black and is made to feel alone by all, including his mother who shows no empathy and particularly no sensitivity to her son who is struggling to just fit in. At his father's house, his father's second wife shows no hesitation in showing her dislike that he is part of her husband's responsibilities even though it is only twice a month. She resents this and shows it.

That Raymond turns out the way he did, is a marvel. He could have been a grouch, he could have been frustrated, angry and annoyed at the deal the world dealt him but he just handled it and went on with it.

The story was descriptive, detailed and though there were no entirely happy endings it ended on a note of hope and love.

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

Saturday, July 27, 2019

A Well Read Woman by Kate Stewart (a biography of Ruth Rappaport)

A fascinating biography of a woman with a colorful history and one with ambition.

Ruth Rappaport was a child in Nazi Germany. With Romanian origin parents and a passport which helped  since it was not a German one, she was a Jew and faced great danger in Nazi Germany. She was fearless and even as a young child was daring and bold. Faced with an uncertain future, she like thousands of others was shipped to Seattle to join a family and to try to live a life without the luxury of parents or family or money.

How Ruth survived the treacherous journeys through Switzerland then to America to Vietnam and back to America all sustained by her love of libraries and books and how she used this to her advantage to seek a life of some sorts despite being without roots, without a home, without a family is an emotional read. For anyone to be not really welcomed, to be just tolerated by family  more as an obligation or duty to extended family is a hardship that cannot be endured for long. Ruth had to bear this for a long time because with no money, no education she was dependant on others.

How she carved a life for herself out of her libraries, the work she did in Vietnam setting up a fine system for all the forces stationed there was immense. Even on her return her work with libraries continued and even in retirement she was an active force within the community itself. It makes one life seem very dull and mediocre in comparison!

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

The Two Lila Bennetts by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke

Lila Bennett is one focussed individual. Focussed on what is best for herself mainly. To this end some hard decisions have been made in the past. Some deliberately so, with the idea of promoting herself and some just because she wants to win and come out ahead of everyone else. Tough upbringing has to an extent made her the way she is.

We have two aspects here - (I did find it confusing at the beginning). Lila kidnapped, kept in an underground bunker, not ill treated but not treated well at all, disoriented, without any clue as to who and why she has been taken. When her captors start focussing on her past decisions and getting her to accept and apologise to those she has wronged, Lila though knowing her own career is going down the drain, has a strange sense of relief.

In the other alternate,  she eludes her captors but someone is unravelling her life piece at a time deliberately. In this scenario, she knows exactly who and why but is left helpless. When Lila in this case decides to do the "correct" thing, she literally sets the cat amongst the pigeons unleashing a series of good decisions, and upturning all what went before.

Both scenarios were equally fascinating. Both were equally ruthless. In both Lila became from being the strong victor to the submissive person who knew she has to set right her original faults.

Very intriguing. Very well written. A page turner and one that keeps you on edge till the end.

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

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Duplicate Death by Georgette Heyer

Duplicate Death (Inspectors Hannasyde & Hemingway #7)

A card party hosted by a woman whose credentials do not seem very sound. But she is able to attract to the table very high flying people including the aristocracy. She has also been able to get one of the most capable hostesses to introduce her daughter to high society. There seems to be a history behind the woman but no one knows anything about it.

When two deaths in identical manner take place at the house within a short period of time, the hunt is one to find a very determined and bold killer. When the Secretary to the hostess Miss Birtley is suspect Timothy who is madly in love with Miss. Birtley will leave no stone unturned to prove her innocence. With two capable detectives also following all leads, the story is a bit complicated with side stories of drug running, blackmail all in high society adding a piquancy to the story.

Nor like Miss. Heyer's usual Regency Romances which I love, this was also very good in a different style.

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

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

The House of Hardie by Anne Melville

Young love, idealistic dreams, dreams far removed from what your parents envisage for you and the determination to achieve them form part of the story.

Two families two very different social situations. One in trading, one very upper class. Very unlikely that either family will tolerate a marriage within the two. Lucy is headstrong and Gordon taken quite unawares. Midge had to learn the hard way that a man may not feel the way he behaves and may be very different to what she is expecting.

Midge is ahead of her time. She is clever and wants to be educated. Unfortunately not encouraged by the world in general though her family is supportive. Her idea of teaching and then becoming a Head of a college seems such a feasible idea now. In Victorian England it was far fetched. Midge was determined however and after her disillusionment with Archie she channelled all her energies into her education and career.

In Midge's brother's case despite being expected to take over his father's business, his love of nature drew him to explore the world and he somehow was determined to trek in China seeking for elusive plants and herbs. He did this not expecting the determined Lucy to escape the confines of her home and join him on board the steamer to the Far East. Their adventures are a travel memoir of the difficulties of travel in the time and make for a fascinating read.

The stories of the two separate families and how their lives entwined and how fate played a role is very well depicted.

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

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Fire of The Sun by Simon Laffy

This was a complicated story crossing several time lines and several countries. A nurse talking to a cancer patient who she discovers is a famous scientist partially responsible for the Apollo missions. He tells her of the Nazi search for proof that they were a pure race and descendant from the Gods . In their quest for this, they did come across something which proved to be beyond the understanding and imagination of the scientists of the 1940s.

British Intelligence is also keen on knowing what this subject was but it seems as if all doors are closed to them and they always arrive a tad late to discover what actually happened. The story is fantastic, but very plausible and in this lies its attraction.

Can this knowledge be used constructively and why is it that so many people die in the pursuit of finding out the truth.

This was not an easy read, I took a number of days to read the book but when I finished it eventually, I did think it was an unusual subject.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of ACM Letro Ltd.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Tell No One by Barbara Taylor Sissel

Caroline's father disappeared from her life over thirty years ago. She had no hankering to look for him because what she knew and was told about him was disappointing. But his sister Lanie, the aunt who brought her up is at death's door and her wish is that she see her brother once more before she dies and Caroline is trying very hard to track down the illusive Hoff and bring him to Lanie's bedside.

Caroline does not realise that her quest for her father is going to make many people uneasy. From the people he worked with to those whom he had relationships/children with all are determined to block Caroline from her search. Caroline is determined however and despite a dangerous episode where someone runs her off the road, causing her to crash she still pursues the trail.

Disappointing though it is with the end result, the story of her search was a good one. It unearthed clues not only to her father's past but also to the histories of those who were linked to her father - and they were for the most very unsavoury. That is why people were not keen to allow her to unearth information about Hoff.

There were quite a few stories here apart from Hoff and Caroline and it detracted a bit from the main story.

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

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

I Know You're There by Sarah Simpson

The four inmates of the four flats seem like a very nice bunch of people. Differing ages, differing personalities but they all get on well. There are no hidden tensions or agendas. It seems so.

Natalie  permanently afraid of her bullying and father who is now in prison, sent there by her complaint. Morwenna motherly but with a past addiction and a fear that she killed her husband whom she was devoted to, Nigel serious and just right and then there is Daniel the young boy who is fearful and has everyone looking out for him. We have Mark their landlord who is also now in a relationship with Natalie.

Under the blithe surface all of them have secrets and when a series of anonymous postcards keep appearing in their flats and when Natalie always fears that there has been someone in her flat in her absence though she cannot pinpoint exactly why and how the house of cards begins to tumble. It is an exercise in living on the edge, fearful of shadows, fearful of the dark and now fearful and suspicious of your neighbour.

Fairly tense, living on the edge thriller. Nice characterization. Nice setting.

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

Monday, July 15, 2019

The Tubman Command by Elizabeth Cobbs

Very detailed and with accurate historical information of the life and work of Harriet Tubman who worked tirelessly to free slaves.

In this story, we get to know much more about Harriet than is generally known. Due to the generally secret nature of the operation, the fact that she was a slave and because she was female, her role has generally not been highlighted but rather downplayed which is totally unfair because she played the greatest role in freeing 750 slaves which is huge for the time.

Meticulous detail to history was part of the story and will endear history fans for this fact alone.

My knowledge of American history is scant, almost non existent so this was very good reading for me.

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

Friday, July 12, 2019

The Silver Ladies of Penny Lane by Dee MacDonald

Tess and Orla are good friends, blunt to each other but honest - there is a no holds barred conversations going on between the two all the time. I thought it was a bit too blunt but it worked very well for them both.

Now in their sixties, both are looking for love in almost any place possible. Their pursuit of happiness was a bit forced but both were determined to get it by any means. Companionship, a physical relationship were both goals for both of them and the story of how they achieved it is this story.

I was not very enamoured by the whole process but then I think I am prejudiced! The story was light, funny in parts, a farcical in parts.

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

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Only Charlotte by Rosemary Poole Carter

Lenore James is a good natured woman. She has outlived three husbands, is financially independent, fair and non judgemental and worried over her brother Gilbert. He has tragically lost his wife and child and now seems enamoured by the young woman Charlotte Eden. Herself married with two children and whose husband is very much part of New Orleans society.

The story revolves around Charlotte and her supposed death under mysterious circumstances whilst at a weekend with mutual friends (of her husband). Gilbert as the doctor was brought in to take the body away and prepare it for burial. That the husband did not accompany the doctor gave us the first inclination that things were not quite what they seemed and when Charlotte is found to be alive and has to be given some kind of place to recover apart from her husband and children, this is where the actual story unravels.

New Orleans society was lax and amongst this circle of society rather immoral. The Judge who overlooked all legal matters of the area was corrupt so that there was no way that Gilbert could bring about a case against Charlotte's husband. It was a very cliquey society a sort of old boys network which worked well for them against all outsiders.

The story was slow paced but descriptive of the society in which Lenore and Gilbert lived and was interesting for its depiction of New Orleans society from their viewpoint.

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

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

The Brighton Guest House Girls by Lesley Eames

It must have been so difficult to be intelligent and street smart for women in the early part of the century.  They were expected to conform, not to argue, to be supported by a plethora of parents, brothers, husbands and just expected to look helpless and pretty.

For someone like Thea who saw through her stepfather's wiles and was disenchanted with his drunken ways life was hard. Not only did he run through all the money that was available, he sold everything her mother possessed to fuel his drinking habit. When he died, his son turned up on Thea's doorstep with a will which showed that her mother had written everything to her husband, and her husband had written everything to his son. His son wanted Thea out of the house asap.

Thea knew that either the will was forged or that signatures were forged or witnesses were coerced. She did not know where to start though.

In a parallel zone we have Anna, single and pregnant  her partner lost at sea off the coast of Brazil and now she has been thrown out of her home. We have Daisy who wants to see the outside world a bit before returning to the loving embrace of her father. How these three women meet, give each other the support each one needs and form a bond over riding class particularly and becoming good friends is this story.

The story was a charming one of the support people can be for each other, and how greed for material wealth over rides morals or ethics.
A simple story of all's well that ends well but put together very well.

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