Anna the mother of two and a nurse at the local school has a very good reputation as being professional and empathetic as well. When she is charged with hitting a pupil and when subsequently the pupil is found dead the investigation turns ugly with a town divided as to whether Anna is guilty not just of abuse, but of murder.
The implications reach far and wide and little by little stories emerge from the part and role played by both of Anna's children in the story as well as her husband and then it moves on to other people who surround Anna. People whom she has had a loving relationship, people whom she has entrusted her own children to and whom she cannot believe would ever let her down.
Like stories of a psychological suspense nature, this story too weaves around what one does not actually see, envisage or imagine about so that the final outcome is always riveting.
This did not disappoint.
Sent by Hodder & Stoughton for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.
At 91 Millicent seems independent, content and happy. She is also harbouring secrets which she has kept close to her chest for decades. She now thinks it is time to come clean and to try and repair the rather tense relationship she has had from the very beginning with her daughter Jane. Her grand daughter Abbie brings delightful news about a pregnancy and Millicent is drawn back into her own turbulent past.
Set in two time frames the past of six decades ago and the present with Jane and Abigail the story runs on parallel lines of how the past and hidden secrets do affect the present. It also speaks of maternal love but the problems of miscommunication and passivity and negativity especially brought about by the morals and what is considered right and wrong by society itself.
The story of the three women could be right out of your own family or neighbourhood. Grandmothers getting along beautifully with grand children and not with their own children. Some kind of restraint holding them back. The possibility of talking things through helps in this story but it is not easy to open up after decades of closing a door on certain chapters of your life.
This was a rather emotional read and not one to be read in a hurry.
Sent by Lake Union Publishing for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.
Amsterdam 1616 is not a very pleasant place for a woman especially one who is a servant, with no family and no protection of any kind. Her fortune changes when she becomes a domestic in the service of Master Reynst who along with his daughter Sontje treat Jana as a human being something she is experiencing for the first time in her life.
Whilst everything seems to be good Master Reynst falls on hard times due to bad investments and Sontje and Jana embark on an adventure to Batavia (Indonesia) as brides for settlers. (This was a practice even with the British in India). It worked out well for some, not so well for others.
The story of The Company's Daughters takes us through Jana and Sontje's lives - one in deep unhappiness and abuse, the other a loveless marriage but someone who was kinder. Jana survives the marriage and goes on to make a surprising life for herself and for the community she finds herself amongst.
The story is descriptive of life both in Amsterdam and Batavia at the times. The hardship faced by people in Europe as well as the settlers who had to adapt to a different lifestyle, culture, weather were very well detailed and provided such an interesting read.
Historically full of detail this is a must read for those who like history with a colonial flavour.
Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.
1923 London is not for the faint hearted. It is hard trying to upgrade yourself as a woman and Alice from the time she was a young teenager was determined to better herself. Coming from Lancashire where the only occupation was either to work in a factory or in domestic service, she was determined to better herself and move out of the stifling, tradition bound village she was born into.
Alice did that admirably over a period of time, becoming a fully fledged nurse and then working with the disabled after the War. Meeting Thomas Linford and marrying him was an additional bonus because they were very much in love. Despite being from a lower social class, Alice was accepted by the Linford family but due to bitterness and anger hidden in Thomas the love she had for him slowly began to drain away leaving her open to her brother in laws advances.
When the affair blew wide apart Alice was thrown out by her husband and had to start all over again in Lancashire. This was not for long and she soon found herself wanting to set things right with Thomas whom she felt she still was in love with - she needed to know which way to go and with this in mind found another job in London.
Alice story, more than her own was a lesson in how to survive and how if you are determined to, you can change the circumstances of your life and get what you want. This had a happily ever after but it was so much more than that. Alice was a gritty, level headed person who did not allow one failure on her part to bring her down.
Sent by Books Go Social courtesy of Netgalley, for an unbiased review.
Lillian was a misfit for 18th century England. Freakishly tall, only wanting to wear breeches, cut her hair short like a boy Lillian was not transgender but just different.
Finding her way to a a owner of a menagerie of animals (all exotic at the time) she found her niche and was for the first time happy. The animals loved her and it seemed almost as if she was a whisperer to them. She kept an eye out for their welfare and knew that the owner could not mistreat his animals with her in charge.
Love also found its way into Lillians life and when subsequently she conceives and bears a child who dies Lillian is heartbroken. When given a baby chimp to mother and care for, Lillian finds a substitute in the baby whom she looks after, nurses and cares for as her own. The story finds its way to the Prince of Wales own menagerie owner who is curious about this strange woman.
The story winds its way from London to Brighton to the Prince of Wales own zoo he wants to set up but over riding it all is Lillian's deep love for the animals in her care, irrespective of their being exotic or expensive. The story is not just about the exotic animals that were so attractive to the British, but also about the history at the time in London including the executions at the Tower. The story of Lillian finding love and contentment in her marriage was another dimension to the story.
Sent by Skyhorse Publishing for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.
This is part of the Stationery Shop series but I think you can come into this book as a stand alone.
Delta Douglas has achieved her dream of owing a paper goods shop in a small town and is very happy with her work. Being offered a workshop at a socialite's birthday party did not really fit in with the celebrities and people who were the invitees but Delta and her partner Hazel were very happy to be invited. They did not expect the birthday girl to be threatened and for the police to arrive and a murder to take place when the police were actually present on the premises!
In a typical cosy mystery style, the story develops from there with missing items from a museum, missing husbands and daughters set amidst the gossipy ladies of a small town who seem to know everyone's business before they know it themselves. No secrets can be kept in this town.
This was a light hearted mystery murder read, which was ideal reading material in the present pandemic.
Sent by Poisoned Pen Press courtesy of Netgalley for an unbiased review.
The period after World War One was unsettling. Verity Kent just returned after an arduous stint across Europe and happily reunited with her husband is finally at peace that he is safe. This is short lived however. The intrigue and machinations of the War does not seem to want to let go and she is unwittingly drawn first into a family intrigue involving her aunt, and then on to a wider scope of murder and intrigue.
As in the past Verity has to face many obstacles, many people who do not know how clever she is at the same game and dismiss her as a fashionable piece of fluff. Her value is immense and her powers of observation and skill in deduction is huge and she leaves the opposition far behind. With her husband by her side they sort out the mess left by several seemingly natural deaths and deal with the aftermath.
Set in beautiful countryside which is equally enticing to read about and a lifestyle which is fashionable and almost aristocratic, this was another excellent story from this author.
Sent by Kensington Books courtesy of Netgalley, for an unbiased review.
Lizzie Tabor was no shrinking violet despite being born in the 1850s. She did not follow the conventions of the day. When her husband sank into despondency, drinking and drugs refusing to work or make something of their lives, she herself did the unthinkable. She got into the mines with the men working to salvage whatever she could to make a life for herself.
When Harvey turned out to be a total disappointment, she divorced him. That too was unheard of and got her ostracized from society almost completely. When she remarried a wealthy silver baron this time she gained further notoriety (the priest refused to sign the marriage certificate despite formalising the marriage)and battled it alone, with the loving support of her husband.
When their world of wealth came crashing down, she lost everything she had. She also had two daughters who were spoilt and who could not and would not accept the riches to rags story their life had become. She was alone once more when her husband died. And she remained alone, almost forgotton by all especially her daughters for thirty five years until she died.
A story of a courageous woman, who defied convention and based on a real life story. Sad but true one.
The book was sent by Serving House Books courtesy of Netgalley for an unbiased review. Thank you.
Angelica is ill and at the end of her life. She has three nieces whom she is close to and she also knows that each of them is harbouring a secret, some of which are sad and which cannot be openly discussed.
She invites them all to a weekend at her home, knowing that this will be the last one she has, and hoping for a settlement both in her mind and her nieces that she has done the best she has for them. She herself has secrets, which she had hoped to carry to the grave but she now knows that talking about her own will help her girls to unburden themselves.
The weekend starts out badly. Each niece has a difficult temperament and one particularly is bossy. She also wants to portray her life as picture perfect and when her Aunt starts her story she is alternately shocked and delighted at the news. One by one each niece tells her hidden story, and a definitely a rapport and peace is established.
More than just secrets the story is about being a woman whether it was a hundred years ago or today. The hardships, the strengths you have to dig out to keep on going and the need to survive society's quips and barbs. Most importantly the strength of being united as a family.
This was sent to me by Backlit PR courtesy of Netgalley for an unbiased review. Thank you.
I like Jane Austen variations and I like to read them as a change from the
normal genres I read which need a bit more concentration. Right now with coronovirus taking such turns in our country, I thought this was a good choice for me. Boy was I wrong. It was nothing like the other off shoots of a Jane Austen story.
Starting with Darcy and Elizabeth only we find them on a cousin's house trying to sort out his estate which responsibility fell to Darcy as a beneficiary. Samuel Darcy has been killed, buried and then his corpse has disappeared. Add to this very strange domestic servants, lots of signs of witchcraft, financial misdealings and then the discovery of not one but several bodies in a row add to the stories general mayhem.
When Elizabeth is almost killed by one antagonist, the game steps up and Darcy along with his cousin the Colonel is at their wits end to find out the reasons for the killings which have rocked this tiny village.
Completely different from other JA variations, this was a strange but good read.
Lots of strands to bring together and the author brings it all home very well.
The book was sent to me courtesy of Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of it being Independently Published and forwarded to me.
Maggie is in Rome working for a tour agency which specializes in everything cultural and specifically painting. Her husband works there and rather than join the expat crowd who socialize and gossip she feels she ought to do something.
When her boss is found murdered at her desk Maggie is immediately fired up trying to find answers and solve the crime herself. She is rather impetuous and first does something and then thinks of the repercussions later. When she discovers the Italian police side stepping the issue and closing the investigation before it even begins she decides to take things in to her own hands - rather rashly. Despite warnings from several others, to mind her own business she goes into the case and when another death happens, one of her group actually, it begins to hit home that this is not just a personal vendetta but something bigger.
Unravelling it is complicated, the murderer is well hidden and all the apparent clues of forgery, drug handling, money laundering are all put aside when the final outcome is reached.
I did not much care for Maggie's style or her manner of work but the story was a good one, the setting and descriptions were very readable.
Sent by Level Best Books courtesy of Netgalley for an independent review.
The story may appeal to those who like historical fiction, particularly that section of history involving the Borgias. At every turn the Borgias generally throw up some interesting tidbit hitherto unknown and this adds to the general interest in the family.
1497 Pope Alexander VI in power and surrounded by acolytes all of his own choosing. When one of his own gets murdered
and the suspect is a court painter all hell breaks loose.
An intriguing story set amongst the backstabbing and political intrigue of the Vatican at the time.
Sent by Aria courtesy Netgalley for an unbiased review.
Like other readers I thought I was going to read a cozy mystery but ended up with something quite different.
Clemmie turns out to another character to make another life for herself. She sails through her entire life with two different identities and everything is very smooth sailing till she unexpectedly gets caught in the activities of a neighbour who incidentally is also have double identities! The story unfolding through a series of unexpected scenarios, with murder being just a part of the story.
You root for Clemmie, a hardened campaigner in this game!
Sent by Poisoned Pen Press courtesy of Netgalley for an unbiased review.
I invariably end up midway in series and try hard to play catch up. In this case I start with the first in the Gilded Gotham series.
1888 New York City is full of its prejudices and traditions. Genevieve is an unusual case. Her family rich and part of the upper crust, fully support her journalistic ambitions - absolutely different to the rest of tradition encrusted New York society and she finds herself in the middle of the story of the decade.
A modern day Robin Hood robbing from the rich and distributing to the poor. When a change in the scenario of murder enters the scene Genevieve begins to suspect that either Robin Hood has become a murderer as well, or there is someone working on the theme to get their own dirty work done.
Meeting up with Daniel who is her first suspect of being Robin Hood, uncovers a world of corruption both in the mayor's office as well as with local police. Daniel in turn trying desperately to protect both Genevieve and a friend very dear to him, is caught in the middle of a gang war which erupts over both the corruption enquiries which makes a number of people uncomfortable and the quest to find Robin Hood by Genevieve.
Well written, very descriptive of the era and setting which was a story in itself this was a very good read.
Sent by Crooked Lane books courtesy of Netgalley, for an unbiased review.
Lark, Jessica and Holly are three successful women. They are bright, professional, well adjusted. What was it that made then go overboard for Jon, Jack or Jonathan Wright all at once. How on earth did the man juggle three relationships keeping all the women happy, one was with three children keeping them happy as well.
More than being a sex addict as what is played out at the end, he should be called a master juggler - balancing time, thought, care and affection to three women whilst also managing business/es giving off an image of a successful businessman and he was, and then also being a bigamist so blatantly, so openly it took your breath away.
The three women fortunately were strong enough to come out of the whole game of his bested but not beaten. That was the good part of the story for me. They came together to beat him at his own game. hit him where it hurt the most (the finances) and he ended up the loser though like a Sphinx he metamorphised himself again. Not in their worlds fortunately.
Very well written, nice characterization, keeping you wanting to know more, this was a good book for me right now in time of a second lockdown.
Sent by Lake Union Publishing courtesy of Netgalley for an unbiased review.
I came to this book first which was unfortunate as its part of a triology but I went on reading anyway.
Jasper Lewingdon has unfinished business. He cannot put behind him the plot in Albania and those who sent him there and who have now very conveniently forgotton about it and him.
Avery Goodchild has information to sell. He has to find who will bid the highest for him. He is aware he is also in the sights of Jasper. Who will hunt him down.
An espionage thriller set between Albania, Berlin and settling in London, this was a fast paced read.
Sent by BooksGoSocial courtesy of Netgalley for an unbiased review.
The story is so whimsical you think it is comic, then it becomes tragi comedy, then you get serious stuff thrown in and then you get down to earth stuff so the whole cycle is represented.
I would not call it laugh out loud funny but it is quirky definitely. The story is about a bridge, attempted suicide and actual suicide, then it devolves into an apartment viewing, an idiotic hostage situation and then how it is resolved, a family tension on the side between a father and son due to miscommunication more than anything else and it all dovetails neatly.
A lot of strange, strong characters somehow mesh. You have to work your way through this story.
Sent by Atria Books courtesy of Netgalley for an unbiased review.
Scotland 1912 and two very different women. One is retiring, willing to accept decisions of others on her behalf and though inwardly quite ruffled does nothing about it. The other has had responsibility thrust on her by a reckless or rather feckless husband. She does not shirk from a task however unpleasant it is for the protection of her young daughter mainly and goes forward quite boldly, even in very difficult circumstances.
Cicely Pick arrives at Balmarra a run down manor house from India expecting much more. She arrives unannounced and to Antonia the resident and daughter of the house this alone is very suspicious. She knows it is only due to an inheritance issue that brings Cicely here. Despite her initial misgivings Cicely brings a touch of color to Antonia's life and a small spark of rebellion is lit where Antonia feels that she must now make her mark in their small world.
The factor of race in Cicely's case with a touch of Indian ancestry plays no small part in the story but it is the descriptiveness of Scotland that entrances one. Together with the story of both sisters in law and their husbands playing another part in the story, this was a very good read.
Sent by Flatiron Books courtesy of Netgalley for an unbiased review.
Livy and Margot became close when they were working in the closed atmosphere of espionage during WWII. Livy did not make friends easily but Margot was special. When Margot disappeared it was presumed she had died in one of the internment camps under Nazi Germany.
Suddenly years after the war is over her call sign so very distinct to a good signalsman is received loud and clear indicating she is very much alive. When this is followed days later with a SOS British Intelligence knows they have to do something to get her out.
Livy is more than willing to be a pawn in the espionage game, especially since her opening to the Berlin scene would be her former lover Soviet spy Kostin. What unfolds is that things certainly never go to plan and Livy makes the sacrifice to save her friend.
This was good writing - into the world of espionage, but also about friendship and survival. Another excellent read about WWII and aspects that we may as civilians not know anything about.
Sentby Crooked Lane books courtesy of Netgalley.
18 year old Guillame was out to conquer the world when he set forth on his travels and landed in Casablance. Sadly cut off in his prime by an explosion that was the end and the year was 1940.
Fast forward to 2005 and the discovery of a whole lot of love letters leads to the surprising conclusion that Guillame could very well be alive and with one of his many girl friends.
Each chapter is told by someone who is trying to unearth the mystery of Guillame but none by himself so that he remains fairly enigmatic throughout.
A mix of genres which added to the interest - lots of actual history, then family stories and romance as well.
Sent by Hodder & Stoughton courtesy of Netgalley for an unbiased review.
WWI and WWII have given us such a lot of literature from both sides of the Wars and from every angle possible. This is another very good read dealing with the Resistance in France and with a particular emphasis on the Jews in France, trying desperately to look after not just their own French Jews but also lending a hand to those flooding into France seeking refuge before going on to safer shores.
Madeline and Claude are young people caught up in the violence and trying their very best to help their fellow men just escape. Madeline has been put in charge of saving children and this is fraught with danger and there is such a lot of emotion involved. The children know that they have lost their parents forever, taken before them brutally and their only hope is to escape. It is a sad story repeated over and over again in stories and each story is never boring, never repetitious as each child or adult facing the Nazis is unique.
I am so glad I got to know Madeline Levy through this book though I was sad that her ending was brutal. The grand daughter of Alfred Dreyfus a hero of WWI she and her family were earmarked by the Nazis very early on and their hopes for survival was poor.
For those who like history this is a must read.
Sent by Sourcebooks Landmark courtesy of Netgalley, for an unbiased review.
Three best friends, friends from school are now faced with the worst tragedy one can imagine. The death of one of their boys, and the worst part - was it an accident, was it a murder at the hands of one of the other boys or was it a suicide driven by something that not one of the parents are aware of.
Whilst one boy is in a vegetative state, the other is a gibbering mess who will not talk the three families try to make sense of this heedless tragedy at the same time trying hard to give support to each other, whilst harbouring silent, secret doubts that the other person's son is the cause of this tragedy.
The families themselves begin to unravel under the relentless pressure of the investigation by the Detectives and their own doubts not just on the other person's son but also their own and how much or how little each of them knew their own child. Instead of drawing closer together in the face of tragedy the parents themselves begin to grow distant from each other when secrets and hidden facets of their personalities begin to emerge under the pressure.
All hopes of future happiness dashed faced with losses like this families now face not just children they knew little about, but even their own partners who now seem like strangers.
Interesting take on how tragedy can blow families apart and how cracks in a relationship widen into a chasm.
Sent by Thomas and Mercer courtesy Netgalley, for an unbiased review.
Four authors seemingly seamlessly collaborate in a series of novellas dove tailing one into the other about a golden watch cursed for some, good for some and the stories that entail all as a result of this looted watch.
It is unbelievable how four different authors could write these stories each one bewitching (for want of a better word). I am a fan of all these authors so it was of particular interest to me how they would combine to produce a single story and did they produce one which held my interest from the first page to the last.
History, mystery, lives of survival and hope from 1733 Italy to 1831 Edinburgh the stories criss crossed Europe and so many lives. Each life detailed and engrossing and then going on to the next chapter.
For those who like historical fiction, this is a must read.
Sent by Poisoned Pen Press (thank you) courtesy of Netgalley for an unbiased review.
A collection of four stories - all mystery, suspense genre and all very emotional, a couple of very tense stories.
Ranging from an unexpected inheritance and with it an unexpected turbulent past, covered with intrigue and twittering aunts who cover a good deal of information under misinformation and seemingly mindless blabber.
A student who falls pregnant for her Professor and then a young boy who survives his mothers suicide and murder of a sister and a friendless girl only befriended by a cat hounded by a step father whose interest isn't healthy and a mother whose loyalties are torn.
They were not calming stories to read right now, and right now I need something less somber.
They were good stories very well told, not their fault that my mood is awry.
Sent by Grove Atlantic courtesy of Netgalley for an unbiased review.
A stepmother has a tightrope to walk. She can never do enough it seems and in this case it was a case of doing a hell of a lot and then looking away for just a few minutes.
Mia is a very talented swimmer and her stepmother is a caring woman but Mia does not seem to appreciate all that she does. Recently Mia seems distracted and out of sorts and it is put down to teen angst. When Mia goes missing in a matter of a few minutes, Detectives in charge of the case look squarely at the stepmother. Unravelling the mystery of how a girl could go missing from her own backyard sets up a story that is plausible and at the same time unbelievable keeping you tense as you first suspect the stepmother, then the father, then the swimming coach and once all of them get eliminated the secrets the family is hiding slowly unravel to disclose the actual suspect and why they acted the way they do.
How a secret can impact on so many lives, the way they impact, the consequences of actions all spiral way out of control to sad results. Mia's body is eventually found and then it becomes not just kidnapping but a murder investigation.
The story is chilling and holds all the elements of a good mystery/thriller.
Sent by Bookouture courtesy of Netgalley, for an unbiased review.
1893 England great strides are being made in the field of forensic science. The art of finger printing as an aid to assisting forensics is in the baby stages but getting support from all. Dr Carlyle and his daughter are working in the morgue trying to find out as much as possible about a murderer who has now died twice!
Adelaide is herself a pioneer as a woman in the field is unique. On another note, she is hoping to put herself forward as a candidate for the local elections and this again has created waves because women are now only able to vote, and that too only if they own property in their own right.
The story of Adelaide, and the elections and the on off romance with Pastor Matthew West is one story and the other is the investigation into how and why Skuja was apparently hanged, did not die but died again later in a murder incident. Who helped Skuja to escape the hangman's noose and when it is slowly revealed that bigger names are involved the plot widens and becomes more complicated by the day.
Old fashioned detection work but thoroughly enjoyable as the setting is old English style. A touch of romance adds interest too.
Sent by Sapere Books courtesy of Netgalley, for an unbiased review.
16th century Venice. The contrast between the rich of Venice and the life of Jews in the ghetto is startling and brutal. There is also a hidden society in Venice. Those on the fringe of the very rich serving them as a matter of survival but inwardly hating their way of life and what they stand for, but with no choice in the matter.
We have Arettino and Baptista are two of the biggest controllers of all that goes on in Venice. Using the art of blackmail, they squeeze as much as possible out of the rich and famous, all of whom have secrets they have to keep. Having done as much harm as possible to Jacopo, they now go after the son Marco and in turn to hurt him hit out at those closest to him. Rosella and her brother the clever Doctor Tarbat looked upto even in Venetian circles are drawn into this tight net and ultimate end up paying with their lives.
The Wolves of Venice show the lascivious, and the corrupt belly of Venice leaving aside the arts and the beauty of Venice aside. Not a very pleasant, uplifting read because we only associate Venice with much beauty but a side we would like to ignore. A intriguing story.
Sent by Aria courtesy of Netgalley for an unbiased review.
I am a fan of colonial literature - the memoirs, the experiences which can never be repeated and all the fanfare that went with it. Of course the positives on the British side are balanced by the negatives where the natives were oppressed, cheated and penalised at every turn.
This story is full of memorablia, of history in spades in families of all the connections made and unmade, a few scandals and general life in India during the time of the British Raj. The day to day life, the fear of illness, of climate, the danger to women in childbirth, the high rate of infant mortality, the necessity heart breakingly to send children back to England for education and their safety and the loneliness on both sides of families torn apart. An interesting tidbit here were the recipes - the making do and making of what was known and traditional to the Britishers who tried very hard to follow what they knew best.
This was ideal reading after a diet of murders and mysteries galore.
Sent by Red Door Press for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.
The dream of many would be to own their little holiday home somewhere. This is what these friends did. Castignac in the South West of France was their personal idyll - their hopes of renovating, decorating and enjoying their own place.
When one of their number was inexplicably killed - falling off a decrepit staircase in an abandoned farmhouse building it dampened the spirits of all. Almost unanimously they decided to sell but with this hanging over their heads they knew the sale will not happen quickly.
Tessa however was not keen to sell. She felt that the farmhouse had untold secrets and she set about trying to uncover them. This was without the support of the others who felt that it was better to keep past histories closed. The stories going back in flashbacks to WWII, the Resistance, the boys of the village who fought in the war, and the one who was the deserter are all retold in this story bringing back the tragedy of young deaths to the fore.
There is a lot of history that is retold in this story, the significance of the orchid which resembles a Hanged Man was for me not really relevant and Tessa was at times too intrusive and almost bullying in pursuit of news.
The storyline however delving into both Wars and the reminiscences and memories of a generation past are very well told.
Sent by the Book Guild for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.
Epitomizing a wife who has always put her husband's needs and demands first Sheila has just retired from a job she loved and which she excelled at. She looks forward to a retirement as her husband has also scheduled his own retirement around hers. They had planned to spend more time at their property in France and had several ideas in the pipeline.
All Sheila's dreams go up in smoke when she realises that John has no intention of keeping to his promise of retirement and that life for him is even busier than ever. He, like always seems to only hear what he wants to hear so that any complaint of which there are very few from Sheila's side is brushed aside as if of no importance.
Sheila starts looking at other things which she is interested in and one is a History group but at home she is being swept into a scheme of baby sitting her grandson without a by your leave even, on a joint effort of both her husband and her daughter Caitlin. It is almost a passive bullying tactic which makes Sheila begin to realise that she has to assert herself or go under.
A pleasant reminder that life does not end at retirement and that you are never too old to stand up for yourself even in a marriage of over forty years! Not being taken for granted is very important and this highlights this.
Sent by Troubadour Press for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.
Hannah works for an NGO in Alleppo with her partner Oskar a Swede. An American who also holds a Syrian passport on account of her father being Syrian, Hannah is right now in a vulnerable position as everyone is trying to get out of Syria as tensions and conflicts mount.
Caught up in an accident and ending in hospital Oskar is now immobile and in the hands of Dr. Sami a surgeon who is desperately trying to help the average man on the street and one of the few not affiliated to any side. He is walking a tightrope because he knows several members of his family are working against the regime and his one fear is that he and his family will get embroiled in the circuitous revenge which is paramount in Syria.
The story of Dr. Sami inextricably linked with Hannah who does not not know what should be filtered in conversation or not, speaking out what she considers the truth, sets off a chain of events which lead to murder and mayhem and which sadly at the end amount to nothing because it was the wrong end of the stick. The reader is saddened at the un necessary loss of life, the constant pursuit of a so called murderer, the pursuit of revenge, a life for a life which hounds Dr. Sami despite all his intentions to do good to all who seek his help.
The personal against the general war is pictured very well in this story for
it atrocities are very well known. The various factions and intra wars between groups may get confusing but the general idea of mayhem, absolute destruction and no value for human life is very apparent.
Sent by Blackstone Publishing for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.
The London Restoration ticked off many boxes for me and I was delighted with the read. There was history in spades, archaelogy, nice ancient churches and a touch of romance with lots of mystery as well.
The story set in post WWII deals with a couple, both returning from the War with secrets to hide. Diana wants to get back to married life with Brent the love of her life but her signing of the Official Secrets Act and her involvement post WWII puts paid to that. Brent has to put up with a wall of silence as to what his wife did, and what she continues to do and obviously with a degree of danger.
Diana is in love with churches and particularly those built by Christopher Wren and when the churches are linked to an espionage network, she becomes the obvious candidate who can decode the mystery and uncover the mole. Balancing a fragile marriage despite a lot of love on both sides is hard when so many secrets cannot be told and Brent and Diana have to reach far inside themselves to trust their partners that things will eventually work out.
The story throws another aspect of WWII ( perspectives and stories are endless and imaginative always) and this was no exception.
Sent by Thomas Nelson - FICTION for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.
Lucy has been a doctor with Medicine without Borders serving in one of the most conflict associated areas in Africa. Escaping literally at the last minute and under fire, she wants a period of recuperation and rest away from any turmoil. After a short stay with her family she goes to the South of Italy to stay with old friends and there come to a decision regarding the rest of her working life.
It was an idyllic setting and when an offer of a job came in a most exclusive hospital serving the rich, the famous and celebrities it was a question of her ethical sense. Whether her hard won skills were best served by saving the lives of the rich or whether she should continue with her work with the poor. Finding love was also not on the cards but it found her and Lucy had to decide which way her life was going to take.
This was a light hearted read, set in beautiful country with with very descriptive places and settings. I enjoyed the story.
Sent by Canelo for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.
Friends for sometime, with a common thread of young children amongst them, they meet up for play dates, at the school gates, for a coffee on a casual basis but the relationship builds slowly and you think you know them.
Mothers and their relationships with their children are a secret group here. No one can fathom how the other will react in a certain scenario, though you think you know each one. The calm, collected stay at home mother, meticulous about schedules, hygiene, method. The career mother who is trying to balance double and triple lives and hoping it will all work out well. The careless, couldnt care less mother who actually abuses her children but for the solidarity of her children who do not rat on her, carries her secret with her after causing untold anguish to her offspring.
This was a telling, an emotional read for all women. For whatever reason who cannot express their feelings, their inadequacies and when an incident as what happened here does occur, goes on a trip of one lie covering another and another till it becomes a web of deceit leading to untold misery for all.
A very good read, characterization of different women portraying modern day mothers very well done. Holds your interest throughout.
Sent by Atria for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.
1899 Newport genteel and with very rigid demarcations of society. Emma is not part of famous Four Hundred families and hence though on the fringes related to everyone is not quite accepted as being within the famed group. It does not bother Emma who has now landed the position of Editor in chief of the Messenger but it does affect her marital chances with someone whom she has fallen in love with.
An automobile parade is a highlight of the summer events, but a death seems to uncover a string of suspects, hidden histories and past events which everyone is trying very hard to conceal. The blame seems to fall on young Philip King a notable young man prone to gambling debts and a very likely suspect in the first murder. For the sake of his mother Emma along with the help of Douglas the owner of the paper who is also the man she is in love with, pursue various avenues trying to find out who could want the butler dead.
Past incidents with long histories of animosity and revenge surface and now there are multiple suspects all have to be researched and eliminated to come to the truth.
The mystery murder was one story, but the social setting of 1989 Newport was the one which I liked very much. Reveals a world stepping into the modern era but with strong holds to tradition sometimes hidebound tradition and customs which surely must be eliminated.
Interesting social history reading.
Sent by Kensington Books for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.
London 1919. Lily is a very mixed up woman. Torn between her love for her tutor Louis and then her love for the lady whom she considers a mother Mrs. Ramsay, she is heartbroken to overhear that her half done portrait of the lady is not pleasing to her. For Lily has put her heart and soul into this painting and this almost destroys her.
The story with its strong connections To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf draws its world from St Ives in Cornwall and London and the ten missing years of the story. Lily Briscoe was very much part of the Woolf scene visiting the Isle of Skye before the War, then during the War and then after the War returning to Skye after the death of Mrs. Ramsay.
The feeling of such a close connection between Lily and Mrs. Ramsay - almost spiritual despite the aggressiveness of the Mr. Ramsay in the story. Lily's unfortunate love for Louis which was never reciprocated because as she discovered at the very end that he was gay are very well enumerated in the story.
The book mixes historical fiction, as well as actual history with a lot of imagination and combines all the elements to give you a very factual story.
Sent by She Writes Press for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.
1942 occupied France is not a good place for a patriot. There are the Nazis and then there are Petain supporters even more dangerous than the Germans. They could be anyone and everyone around you. You never knew when someone had turned, for whatever reason. It could even be your sister.
Adele is a courageous young woman, trying to live an independent life but finding it hard. Her marriage has been promoted by her father for strategic if no other reason, her mother finds it abhorrent but is helpless, her sister is all for it as it promotes both her and her husband's well being in the current political climate but Adele is looking for a way out.
Escaping to a convent, acting as a postulant, getting embroiled in Resistance activities and then finding love and consolation in the arms of another is good. Having to return to her former fiancée and pretend to be in love with him and then go on planning a wedding with him is very hard for anyone and for Adele it is the breaking point in her work for the Resistance and for herself as well.
The extent to which people work for the love of their country, never mind their own loves is boundless and inexplicable. To sacrifice all for love of country has happened countless times and will happen again and again and it is a huge sacrifice. This is that story.
Part history, with threads of a love story as well and a family striving to survive amidst so many threats.
Sent by Aria for an independent review, courtesy of Netgalley.
Mackenzie is the Detective in smalltime Lakemore. She is known for being rather reserved, not much of a mixer and this does not bode well when one is part of a team. Right now Lakemore is facing their biggest unsolved crime - an abduction of a young woman daughter of one of the founding fathers of the town as it were, and a very big cheese both for the town and everyone else.
Finding Erica is top priority, and when one year exactly on the date of her abduction another girl coincidentally her best friend disappears the town is galvanized into action. Something has to be done and fast. The second girl is a nobody, and the action is slow but when Erica's body is discovered a couple of days after the second girl's abduction, Mackenzie and everyone on her team knows that time is running out for Abby. Further enquiries uncover that during September of the two previous years, two girls were also reported missing and through very convenient channels, the files got buried, misrepresented and forgotton.
Now four girls are missing and the onus is on the detectives to discover who is responsible. A bizarre finding of a few clues leads them to all the leading citizens of the county and the head is very very reluctant to allow for even questioning let alone arrest. How the detectives are going to go ahead with this elite few is the question facing them. Especially since everyone is in awe to them, obliged to them for their jobs and even the whole town is dependant on them for their living.
Corruption found in police and politics abound everywhere. Magnified here. How do you get around it and still do your job to the best of your ability is the problem. Nice police work, small town politics, corruption all found in this story. Captivating reading.
Sent by Bookouture for an honest review, courtesy of Netgalley.
This encapsulated everything I like in books - history, family saga, mystery, detective, a touch of geography and politics of the glass ceiling. All hot topics for me.
The story set in post partition Bombay involves Persis a Parsi (tiny minority in India and in the world actually) eloquent, educated and determined to hold her own in a terribly male dominated profession - the police force in India. The only and first female detective in India but one who has to fight every step of the way to get recognition from her peers, from her superiors and even the public whom she tries to help.
A murder of a English diplomat at the height of a dinner party despite lots of people around, security, his personal servants etc and no one saw or heard anything. The victim was found minus his trousers which added to the mystery and Persis and her team are put in charge of the investigation. Mainly with the reason that if the investigation falls flat, the blame will squarely fall on her shoulders and those of her precinct, all of whom other than her have come there as a result of what is usually called a "punishment transfer" for some misdeed done. Her colleagues all have a chip on their shoulder and some of them are out gunning for her, not liking her status, her position and her confidence.
Going back and forth from the victim's mansion and his coterie of domestics to the far outskirts of Amritsar and the Punjab and coming back again the story winds around with a sad ending. Not the ending that was envisaged but one which sought to cover political ills in a system and one where everyone came smelling of roses. Persis is not happy but she cannot endanger the careers of many with her wanting to speak out the truth. A fine enactment of what happens everyday in most countries even today.
I loved the setting, the detailed history of the antagonism which exists and which politicians try to play down, the insistence on one's community, religion and caste so important in not just India but many Asian countries and the deep rooted hatred built up over centuries sometimes not understood by those outside these realms. Beautifully written about and fascinating reading. This was a real winner for me.
Sent by Hodder & Stoughton for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.
A Yorkshire Murder Mystery - that is the description and certainly more than the murder or the mystery or the detective work, the Yorkshire dales are so beautifully described in this book that anyone will want to go right now see what it is all about.
The names of the villages themselves are enchanting and add to the mystery of this story. Add a detective that loves poetry and the dales, a mix of very realistic village folk, cautious with "in comers" and everyone who loves a pint the story is very good reading.
One murder at point blank range, the murderer almost wanting to be recognized as so and so and then the murderer disappears. No one knows where he lived, though he worked for many as an odd job man and gardener - the victim was obnoxious and disliked but tolerated because he spent quite a bit around the village (though never paid his bills on time). When a second murder happens in the same manner, where the murderer faces a witness so that he will be identified Detective Oldroyd knows that there is something much more than meets the eye.
Good detective work, plodding book work connects the dots and how revenge is really served cold in this case.
Sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Amazon Publishing UK.
Still unable to upload the picture of this book!
Alex returns home after a spat with his new wife and discovers her missing. Her rings are in a wineglass and that's that. The police treat it as a person who wants to be missing and do not take his pleas seriously. The story begins to unravel at that point.
Alex has not met his parents in law other than on a single occasion. He knows that his wife is not on good terms with them but they are his last resort to find out any clues as to what has happened to her. Meeting them and feeling the tensions and hidden stories behind their steely façade, Alex knows there is more than meets the eye and it is somehow connected to his wife's disappearance.
The story of Layla is running parallel to Mina's story and one is definitely linked to the other. How Alex has to work to unravel the mystery of his wife's past and somehow find her is this story.
The book was good but meandered a bit to the point that it became rambling and it was difficult for me to fix events and how they connected.
Sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Sourcebooks Landmark.
The story is told in two time frames. 1538 and 2019 five centuries apart. The story which we read in present times is an eerie similarity to what went on five centuries before and you do kind of think that there is much more to life than what actually meets the eye.
Saffron Hall is a crumbling manor house lived in by Amber's grandfather. Amber after a miscarriage almost at the end of a normal pregnancy has fled to her family home as she cannot bear to live in the house with her husband who is also grieving but who seems to be able to cope better with the emotional trauma of this loss.
Amber's reason for being there at Saffron Hall is to deal with the enormous collection of books that are lying around, to archive it and to bring it to some sense of order. Discovering an ancient manuscript when one tower of the Hall comes down, reveals a story that Amber feels compelled to follow. She feels that Eleanor is trying to tell her a story about the child she carried which died, and which was never properly buried. Trying to unravel this piece of history and bring it to completion is what Amber feels will also bring peace to herself and a reconciliation with her husband. Till this is resolved, she is determined not to leave Saffron Hall.
The story alternating between two centuries is a poignant one in both time frames. Both Eleanor and Saffron suffered immensely from their loss and both had to come to peace before they could move forward.
Sent by Avon Books UK for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.
Very atmospheric from the word go, Rose and Dylan with their little son are returning home from tumultuous Somalia after a long exile away from home.
Home is Dylan's ancestral pile in the quiet village of Hurtford. The house is eerie, sitting on a hill and the Kynaston name alone is spoken about with derision, scorn and disdain. Rose is unaware of the tension surrounding her husband's family until she actually arrives in the home to find Gwendoline - Dylan's mother herself eccentric, displaying all the characteristics of dementia but is not acknowledged by her son to actually be a danger to anyone.
To the outsider Rose, there are lots of things very wrong both with Gwendoline and the house but Dylan persists in being blind to all this. The scandal attached to Dylan's father persists despite there being no proof at all (case dismissed) but it is not a happy situation at all. Rose is fighting blind an enemy that she does not know or even can perceive, and when human remains are discovered the entire old scandal is reopened like a festering wound and it is upto Rose to protect herself and her son even against her husband who is now a prime suspect in a murder investigation.
The whole village of Hurtford itself added to the suspense of the story as it seemed as if small time villages have very long memories and thirty years is a mere few days in people's memory. It does not fade with time nor is it allowed to do so and it is kept very much alive - the animosity and hatred particularly.
This was a good read with a lot to ponder over - how family ties, loyalty to a clan to a village can sometimes be too much of a good thing!
Sent by Lake Union Publishing for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.
Another story with a World War II background set between the coasts of Cornwall, scenes of quiet rural life with hidden secrets and then moving across to France and all the turmoil there with German occupation.
Alice is a survivor of a ship torpedoed by the Germans and washed up on the Cornish coast. With her shorn hair and secretive speech, her rescuer knows that there are secrets behind the façade of the washed out, exhausted woman found at his doorstep. When her life story is told which in itself is intriguing (a convent in Africa, a questioning of faith, an idea of leaving the strict no feelings to be shown policy of the convent) and with her knowledge of French, Alice becomes a key person in the permanent quest of finding people who can infiltrate the French coast and bring back airmen and others who need to get back to England.
Following her adventures both in and out of France at great personal risk to herself and reading about her life in the convent in Africa, both the highs and lows - you can see how far the church has come since those difficult times of strict laws, and rules and nothing else. It was a tough time for anyone who chose a vocation unless you were devoid of any natural feelings.
The story of survival, of faith, and finally of a peaceful end and love finding a way is all told in this imaginative story.
Sent by Lake Union Publishing for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.
I am going to the pile of books unread at home and picking up one at a time. The first is an all time favourite P D James.
I love her style of writing, formal, precise and so very informative. All in one sentence. The feeling conveyed in a sentence is so good that nothing is superfluous. Never get tired of reading her books.
The Lighthouse set on Coombe Island is a isolated place. It serves as a resort for those "captains of industry" or politicians who need a quiet, restful place to recuperate and relax, free from the intrusions of modern life. It did not prove to be so for Oliver Nathan, a cantankerous author who from several accounts was described as evil. His murder set in motion a series of events starting with Detectives from Scotland Yard arriving on the island and with a second murder, an episode of SARS, it soon racked up the tensions on this small island with just a few people.
Uncovering a history that went back decades in the lives of those who were on the island, not just islanders as such of whom there were only a couple but the lives of those who were on the island at the time of the murder showed that coincidences is not acceptable when it comes to murder.
On an island with such a few inhabitants even the lives of the detectives - just three of them mesh in a way that does not happen in a more "open" environment. This added another dimension to the story.
This was a gorgeous read, I can see myself reading it again in a year or two.
The saga of Blogger not allowing me to paste the picture of the book continues. Sigh!
Unusual memoir. At 36 the author finds herself (presently for descriptive purposes only) married and with a small baby. Happy in her marriage, financially stable, happy with her domesticity as well. Called up for jury duty Molly finds herself hopelessly and irrevocably attracted to Nora a lawyer and she cannot get her out of her mind. It is not a momentary feeling of lust but one that seems to take over Molly's entire thought process.
The story proceeds how Molly (and her husband) have to handle this new intrusion in their life, come to terms with it (which they do), and proceed with their separate lives, causing as little disruption to the lives of their child and those around them.
It seems all very civilized, a minimal amount of heartbreak over a failure of a marriage but it
seems a bit strange all the same. It is a memoir which feels like a bit of therapy is going on with the writing itself, expunging itself as it were and on the other hand gives a clearer perspective of how harsh it is to have a gender identity crisis at the age of 36.
Unusual reading, got me thinking.
Sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Abrams Press.
Divided into three segments of the past, present and future Alys quiet life - controlled and more than controlled manipulated very quietly by her unassuming husband Hugh - is about to take a nose dive.
Alys is made redundant - the manner in which it was done was surreptitious (Hugh her husband is her boss too). He never mentioned it to hr earlier, she was just given her notice at the end of the day in an envelope with no fair warning. The fact that Alys just took it like a doormat was irritating. But Hugh had a habit of turning any conversation to the way he wanted it to be and for sake of peace and their daughter Esme let it ride.
When Esme gets a job of her dreams in The Green Cafe, one that has a stellar reputation Hugh is miffed, Alys is elated till she one day meets up with the co owner Sam who incidentally happened to be her ex husband from whom she separated under very tragic circumstances.
The story actually evolves from there - the path that Alys must take, the secrets that have to be told, the ugly truth of what happened twenty three years ago all revealed and then Alys must decide what she wants to do with her life even in the mid fifties better late than never.
A story of a very late blossoming, of facing facts full on, unpalatable and earth shaking as they may be.
A lovely story which I enjoyed reading tremendously.
Sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Bookouture.
PS still not resolved the picture issue here.
We have a list of very strong characters in this book. Joan is a very powerful woman, used to getting her own way. Tyler her son and heir knows that his mother will only give anything if there are conditions attached and all are in some way or the other beneficial to her. Sarah his wife, impressed by the family wealth (she comes from very humble background) and then there are the twins Cody and Rachel.
The story set in the South at a time of racial inequality is reflected in this book and it is at times disturbing and makes one aware of how hard it was for the average American black man to live or even to survive unless he toed the line and did everything that was expected of him by his white neighbours or his boss.
The story of Joan Chandler, the control she had over her domestics, her grandchildren and the manipulative way she went to circumvent justice, just to get her own way in obtaining sole custody of her grand daughter were beyond imagination.
The detectives in charge of the case saw it as an open and shut case. It was the determination of a private investigator instructed by a sister who knew that her father's absence was no missing runaway but that it hid a deeper secret and who pursued her belief that uncovered the whole sorry mess.
Complicated, and a family saga this was a long story but it did hold my interest throughout.
Sent by Mascot Books via Netgalley for an unbiased review.
A little girl is abducted whilst playing with her friend, the two mothers are chatting just there. It is in broad daylight and very bold. There is a difference however, this little girl is returned unharmed physically 92 days later. Slightly different to other child kidnappings we hear about.
The family of course are the first suspects - the mother on the road to ruin by drink, the father does not know what to do to keep the family together, at the same time having a long term affair with the lady next door, both spouses know of their partners infidelity and do not want to bring it into the open and we have the children involved who are the victims here.
Fast forward twenty years and a similar case crops up and now detectives ponder whether the man serving the prison sentence is innocent. Is this a copycat case or is someone just continuing the work started twenty years ago. Eleven little girls missing, some found, some not all dressed in the same way when found eerily similar.
The story goes in chapter form from one character to another - each of their stories is a story in itself and all center around Holly's abduction and return. The actual links appear very slowly and only at the end.
A different kind of mystery story.
Sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Lake Union Publishing.
On another note reading vintage classics is turning out to be rather fun. As an alternative kind of read to the mystery or suspense stories of present times, these rather slower books are catching my fancy big time.
Can one hide a love affair for 28 years. Mallory and Jake have done just that. Jake is now married, with a family. He comes every weekend just one weekend mind you to live with Mallory and he has done that for 28 years unknown to his friends, to Mallory's own family and to his own wife.
The circle is close, they are all known to each other and one thinks what is the love that binds Jake to Mallory but that is not sufficient for him to actually leave his wife (now a US Senator) and an aspiring Presidential candidate to boot.
The story set in Nantucket in a quiet town and then going back and forth over
the lives of each character appearing now in one city and then the next, the cross referencing between all of them and underneath it all the thread of Mallory and Jake's love story.
Very poignant, sad and emotional this was inevitably a sad story of a different kind of love story.
It has to end it cannot continue - one begins to feel that from midway through the story.
This is one of the author's best ever books.
Sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Hodder & Stoughton.
Bridget and Will have a relationship which is close, intimate friends but nothing more. It is something that is platonic but very deep rooted. Bridget is with her head in the clouds on most practical things and would drive most people nuts! she is lucky her children see the goodness in her beyond the slightly scatty behaviour!
Bridget has also got a egoistic father Edward who is famous and at 94 thinking of embarking on marriage (on a big scale at that). Bridget has also just been dumped in the most appalling fashion by her lover and Will has just fallen head over heels in love with Emma in the most unexpected of places (in the small village lives) Will is not a village type!
Bridget and Will are musicians part of a trio. The third party has now led them down and Will has now approached Gavin a former member of the trio to rejoin them without running it by Bridget who has a history with Gavin, unknown to Will and when she does unveil the secret it catches all of them unaware of the repercussions.
Slightly muddled, absolutely fascinating, me wanting to know what new mess everyone has got into because believe me they do. Chaotic and excellent reading. Family loyalty above all lots of love around.
Sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Atria Books.
PS If anyone can explain how I can get an image on this post I would be very appreciative.
I dont seem to know how to post a picture of the cover of the book. In this case you are not missing much as its rather drab!
The story was not though.
Very fast paced and you have to be on your toes to see whether Max Geller is being pursued by M16 the CIA or the Russian Police or the Russian mafia, actually both.
The story moves very quickly between one location and the next and seems slightly fantastical to a layman but I suppose this is the way high treason/spying works!
Lots of betrayal, a President out for himself (money laundering in a huge manner) do you see the trend and a familiar figure peeking out! Very easy to relate to despite the quick work on the part of all parties involved.
Interesting read of this genre to have. Sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of OceanView Publishing.
I've not read a book with several murders involving a character who is autistic, asexual and very much part of a community. At 40 Motts has just moved to a quaint village in beautiful Cornwall with her cat and her turtle. She wants a quiet life, to become independent of her parents who hover over her all the time and get on with it.
What Motts did not expect is to find a body buried in her back garden. This was where the murders start. She did not expect to be personally attacked either because she started an enquiry of her own with her eccentric friends in the village, who all had her back but who could not protect her from someone in the village who was determined to put a stop to all the enquiries.
As is usual in villages, there is usually a lot of history in personal quarrels and this was no exception.
A British cozy mystery set in (again) stunning settings of Cornwall, and this time with a very mixed cast of characters, a touch of romance (just starting btw) and probably more to come.
Very fun read.
Sent by Tangled Tree Publishing courtesy of Netgalley for an unbiased review.
The series was new to me and I am definitely looking forward to reading more about this particular forensic archaeologist (what a good combination).
The setting was the marshes of Norfolk and it was very evocative of the bleakness, the quietude and the stillness and loneliness that was the marshes. It did not detract from its attractiveness though. It was the ideal setting for a series of kidnapped, missing women and a suspect already in prison. More kidnappings happen and the detectives think there is either a copy cat killing going on or Ivor March is still controlling someone behind the prison walls to dally with the detectives.
Full of suspense and clues going all over the place, the detectives in charge of this case have a lot of personal relationships which may tend to cloud their judgment as well. At the middle of the story, I thought maybe this would affect the case as well as there were histories and tensions which could, but it straightened out anyway.
I found the personal relationships and connections added to the richness of the story, apart from the police procedural work and the history itself of the area. Very well told and full of promise this book was an excellent read.
Sent by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt via Netgalley for an unbiased review.
Lady Amy is a mystery murder author but incognito. Her father would consider it shameful if the word got out because her work is a bit gruesome. It is Victorian England and everything is governed by what will people say, with rigid rules for behavior especially for women. Lady Amy is as it is considered eccentric, a bit on the shelf as it were though she is very young by modern standards.
When her fiancée from whom she has just severed ties, when an anonymous note is delivered to her saying that he is involved in the opium trade, is discovered with a knife sticking out of his chest in her home, in her library - Amy knows that she is coasting dangerously precariously to the wind. The Bow Street runners have no other focus other than that Amy out of a sense of pique murdered the man. On the sidelines is another interested suitor who is more than willing to help Amy despite his doubts on the suitability of a woman doing all this dirty work! Together they uncover step by step the murky details of Vincent's past and how and why his murder happened.
Sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Crooked Lane Books.
Paris in the 1940s. A rather frightening place to be especially for those who were "slightly different" even a wee bit. Hitler was on the rise, approaching Paris and anyone who wanted to flee had to do it now.
Michel takes refuge as a stowaway on a train housing a circus of all things and when discovered, with his aptitude for being a horse whisperer he is taken on to train a particularly skittish beauty and then tolerated by Werner the owner of the circus, despite his always taking a crack at Michel for no apparent reason.
Going further on the journey, we see that many of the performers hide secrets that they are terrified to reveal - past Resistance, Jews, Roma all enemies of Hitler. They are all fearful for their lives and this story takes on the vista of people on the run fleeing from one small village to another gradually losing their performers who either leave or are taken away by the German Army till finally Michel and Frieda the ringmaster's daughter both flee for America.
A story of a family because the circus becomes their family in the absence of any, and how people survive. A story of loss and sadness but also hope always for something better tomorrow.
Sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Bookouture.
There is a house which has held good memories of summers past for the Bennet family and now Kaye wants to recreate the same atmosphere that was there in the past. But the children are grown up now and nothing ever remains the same.
With good intentions two adult children are summoned for a holiday - Stacy and Ryan who is an easy going man with two kids and another on the way. Brad turns up with Iona his partner who from the word go is definitely not in sync with Kaye the matriarch of the family. Stacy and her mother do not really get on well and she needs her brother Brad to run interference. Chase the father is over protected by his wife after a near fatal heart attack and is now allowed any decisions of his own by Kaye. It does not augur well for a peaceful and happy summer.
Families - the threads of anxiety, of competitiveness, of animosity and feelings of overbearing as well as not being compassionate are common in lots of families. This is a story of one such family who try over one summer to iron out differences so that the family unit can be maintained.
Descriptive of the area in which the Shore House is situated almost idyllic in fact this was a family saga.
Sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Bookouture.
Four generations of women - all strong willed and all thrust under one roof almost to manage as best as they could.
Zoe and her daughter Isabel are returning to the home of Zoe's grandmother who is now ailing. Lillian the matriarch is a well published writer but who is now beginning to show the onset of dementia. Poppy her daughter abandoned her daughter Zoe at the age of seven and this wound has never healed for Zoe. Despite decades gone by Zoe does not want to have anything to do, or even see her mother. Living in the same small village, and knowing that Poppy has been a care giver for Lillian does not make it easier. Also realizing that she alone has held out against Poppy is gall, because even Isabel who is such a troubled spirit seems to find solace in Poppy.
The focus then shifts with the absence of Diana, a caregiver for Lillian who goes missing and who over a period of weeks is feared dead. The story of why and how this happened is a secondary story because it is the four women's story which is the primary one. It is an emotional, heart breaking one because the hurt caused by actions of abandonment and seemingly lack of love for a child is something that is seemingly un bridgeable.
It was not easy to keep track of four different stories - but the fact that they are divided into separate chapters helped.
Sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Lake Union Publishing.
Clare Carlson was a tenacious journalist. She had learnt from an old timer Martin Barlow and to her regret she found that during the last year she had not made enough time for him and now it was too late as he was found dead. No one wants to believe there was foul play but Clare knows that there is a story behind his death.
How big the story was, was the unknown part as it took a lot of digging, a lot of threats from the mob and from other important people including Martin's own family and she ruffled a lot of feathers both at the TV station where she worked and the Police with her reveals.
There are cover ups and conspiracies, there is a lot of guilt over neglect and over extra marital affairs, there are lots of strands but they are woven together very well to bring forward an exceptional story.
The series is new to me and though this was the third book, it did well as a stand alone.
Sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Oceanview Publishing.
This was a different kind of read. History and a lot of it, some of it rather obscure but as you read the story it did get very interesting because it showed me particularly how limited people were. The world was a smaller place and your village, your clan, your race was the most important.
In Elazar's world having a son was the most important thing and however good his wife was, until she produced this boy there was no worth at all. This was sad particularly because the only son that was born to him was deformed in his face and for Elazar this was an insurmountable problem.
Plenty of violence, betrayal and battles this was a novella set against the great Jewish war against Rome in AD 66 to 73. The violence was extensive, the damage to life and property immense and the value given to life was minimal. Primal almost the desire to be famous, and in the process as savage as you can be.
And most importantly a question that continues to be asked - Is God present in a world which has so much evil?
Sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Christian Faith Publishing.
If you want a page turner, a book that will keep you guessing almost to the end this is it. Leah is a dedicated doctor, her husband Ian a computer geek and Emily their daughter a gifted child. Theirs is a happy home. When things go awry and Ian is found brutally and inexplicably murdered detectives are not aware as to where to start.
Luka Jericho the Detective in charge does not believe the wife is suspect but he is working alone on this as his team are very sure that she is at the bottom of it. Their suspicions arise because Leah is clinically composed, not emotional and does not burst into tears with people. Leah on the other hand knows that there is much more than this being a random killing or a home invasion and that she must be the one to protect the child Emily at whatever cost.
Fast paced, clues falling all around you - even the reader wonders whether the wife is the suspect here despite evidence to the contrary. It all seems to point to her and so many pointers are towards her only. It takes good detection skills to see the cleverness and trickery of a twisted mind who is behind the killings.
Characterization was very good because it showed that not everyone goes to pieces in a crisis. Some people can think things through in the most desperate of situations.
The cover was I felt completely at odds with the story.
Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.
1894 and two families one white one black lead very different lives. Decades ago they were united in one household but marriage and domesticity have pushed them thousands of miles apart. The bonds of deep friendship, loyalty and love remain and that topic is one that was well enshrined throughout the story.
The other sad highlight is the racism that existed then and sadly more than a century later still exists today. Segregation was severe and the rules and laws existed to keep the black people of the country down and to make sure they stayed down. That more rebellions did not happen seems very strange because it was so obviously racist and mean and horrible.
The story is apart from highlighting the injustices of society then, was also about the intense loyalty and feelings that the two families had for each other despite the divide.
It was a solid emotional read for me.
Sent by Lake Union Publishing for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.
Two murder mysteries one after the other is something I try to avoid. This just happened!
Each Spring a young woman's body is discovered near a pool of water. It is something that Detective Geena looks with dread because it has been happening so regularly. After many investigations and with her senior partner's retirement, she discovers that he has been hiding one fact. That there was one girl who survived the attack but who has selective amnesia and who cannot help at all with any clues. The survivor however has a child and Geena realizes that the dates synchronize with her rape and that this must be the killer's own child. With clues in the form of DNA surfacing from the last killing and DNA from the little boy the circle is narrowing to find the identity of the killer.
Eliminating people one by one from the circle and trying to find a common link between such varying women was not easy and when the discovery comes it is a surprising one. It also comes with so much of cover up within the agency itself that it is surprising that any headway was made in the case. It costs our survivor much in the way of security, her job and the future for herself and her child. But at least the killings will stop.
The book was an emotional read with the killer on one side, the sole survivor who was balancing on a thread on the other and the detectives on the third side.
Sent by Thomas & Mercer for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.
Agent Melina Shepard is not without courage and sheer brass. A number of women have gone missing with no trace whatsoever. The pick up area is known and when a full search of missing women are done, it seems the number is quite high. No remains have been found either. Melina goes undercover alone without support to try to nab the Killer.
One chance encounter with the killer gives clues which no one can do. She is the only survivor. Along with an officer from Quantico both of them try to unravel the mystery of the missing women and uncover a story which reads stranger than fiction. And very close to home. Pieces of Melina's own past get uncovered as a result as the story unfolds and it is very much a story of Melina and her past as well as the gruesome killer's rampage. Finally it is not one killer but two that have to be uncovered.
Melina is our main character but Jerrod and others in turn play their part in this fast paced thriller. The build up was quick and the reader was always left wanting to know what the next stage was.
My first read of this author and I will be looking out for more in the future.
Sent by Montlake Romance for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.
In hindsight one can see how a sociopath works. Carefully, clinically and soberly. No passionate spur of the moment decisions for him unless he is goaded by something beyond his control. This was a carefully thought out, planned kidnapping and murder and Evelyn did not have a clue that she was his victim, his ultimate goal in fact.
Moving to a small town to escape a very similar stalking situation which never got resolved (more on that later) Evelyn thinks that at last she has peace but from the word go, Jeff has his eyes on her. The Police Chief himself is a victim where his wife and daughter were abducted, never found. With a Native American population in the area Evelyn has arrived to handle artifacts check on authenticity, history and return them if possible to rightful owners. This is something she is passionate about and she is looking forward to working in this tiny town.
She did not envisage that a series of abductions and murders of girls would take place and all where she is the first person to discover their bodies. It is obviously she is a target and the Police Chief is sadly using her as bait to find out what has happened to the numerous women missing over a long period including his wife and daughter.
What follows is a cat and mouse suspenseful story where the killer is always one step ahead of law enforcement and where Evelyn eventually takes the law into her own hands, knowing fully well that she is finally responsible for her own life. That the law will come in too late for her.
Very well told, and a fabulous read.
Sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Polis Books.
Small country side girl wants to make it big in the city. This is a recurrent theme for many girls and boys as well. But this is 1920s and Sydney is rife with many pitfalls for a young innocent girl. Coming to the house on Boundary Street and working as a maid seems perfectly respectable, but everyone knows that it is just one step away from servicing the many clients that step over the threshold of No. 54.
A chance encounter with Jack of her childhood days and the instant attraction that they feel for each other and slowly unraveling the underbelly of the sordid side of Sydney life with the discovery that Ted her brother is very much alive and not killed in a plane crash creates mixed feelings for Dolly.
A story of family, of love and of survival in a competitive world where girls like Dolly can be swallowed whole in a jiffy. This was a lovely read for me following the TV drama series of Miss Fisher. 1920s Melbourne.
Sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Escape Publishing.
From being a vicar's daughter to going to live with her Aunt Madge with a very comfortable existence and then to be on the streets and to end up in a bawdy house, albeit a more discreet and comfortable one was a huge journey for H.
The story was beautifully written and was like a daily account of H's life with its tribulations and sad nesses, the rape at the hands of her cousin, her loyalty to the end not to divulge to her Aunt what had happened even when things were very bleak and her loyalty not to claim relationship with her Aunt when it would have helped her all account to H's steadfastness and her character.
What H did was a career move to survive in the harsh world of London of the 17th century where women were treated as chattels and if you did not have your wits about you like H you were crushed and annihilated. H was shrewd and careful but she had heart and her story was really heart warming.
The history of London of the time is very well told and in the midst of the great plague which beset London is explained in great detail. Very good reading.
An excellent read from the historical fiction angle, as well as the social history angle of the times.
Sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Legend Press.
This was a rather heart breaking read. It is also true and very representative of how mental health was treated and worst of all how pre marital pregnancies were treated. Nora is a young girl who has got pregnant and of course, considering the times the first thing her mother says is "what would the neighbours think?" but in Nora's case the situation becomes worse. Her father, a tyrant at the best of times very free with his belt, calls in the authorities who declare Nora mentally deficient and she is admitted to an institute.
Nora's nightmare begins for decades and the story highlights the cruelty, the masochism and the sadism of doctors, attendants and nurses who were there to look after these patients. The murder of her baby was the most cruel thing imaginable and it is a miracle that Nora emerged from the whole stay not deranged.
Very hard to read in sections, it is nevertheless factual and it has to be said however hard the facts are to take in. A very good story. Well told.
I need a really light read after this one.
Thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for sending the book to me via Netgalley, for an unbiased review.
Captain Matt Bryant seems to be made the fall guy for the murder of a girl on the golf course. It was he who first made the detectives aware that he was the last person to have seen the murdered girl . The Davenports are the rich family of the area and seem to be able to make a lot of noise so it is upto Kitty Underhay who has worked with Matt before to make sure that he is not made the scapegoat for the Davenport's actions.
The Davenports seem to be a rum lot. Peter the son is typical of a high flyer - lots of money, no sense or purpose and then there is his "friend" Seb giving rise to lots of speculations as to his sexual identity, the daughter who is a frumpy girl but the brains in the family ignored by both father and mother, the mother the neuroitic dipsomaniac and the father only wanting to keep his reputation clean with an impending peerage in the reckoning.
Uncovering a trail which is complicated and involves blackmail, a second girl is killed and when an attempted murder of Kitty goes unsuccessful those who are sleuthing know that the killer is now becoming desperate.
Full of contrasting characters all which added depth and color to the story, the second in the Kitty and Matt series this was a page turner set in a slightly older vintage than the current thriller reads.
Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley books.
A complicated case going on with someone turning witness and under threat, an ethical hacker working with the Police in Scotland trying to find a leak and a corrupt policeman and a young student found murdered and his best friend missing.
Detective Clare has her hands full. The workload is heavy and all the cases are ongoing and have to be sorted out as quickly as possible. The links between the murdered student and the witness turning against her husband came out almost three quarter of the way through the story so the strands were not pulled together till the end. Each story was distinct but the way they were brought together was very good reading and wonderful detective work.
The hacker was another piece of magic and the ending was totally unexpected and out of the blue. It was excellent writing.
I loved the various bits of the story - the touch of a romance was just that - a light touch but it did add a bit of lightness to an otherwise sober read.
Sent by Canelo via Netgalley for an unbiased review.
Girls from a remote village in England want desperately to see London. One of them has also aimed very high - the stage albeit an almost impossible task for a girl with no training other than a very good voice and good looks. No influence, no connections. In this escapade Annie is joined by her friend Rose and they link up with Joyce who is already in London and all of them want to seek their fortunes.
The girls are brave and forthright but they have huge odds stacked against them. They are naïve and trusting and this almost lands Annie especially in spectacular trouble. It is also the very beginning of WWI and although this is a new aspect to everyone's lives, it is something that is going to affect all of them immensely.
The story and setting is very good reading. How life was in the theatre at the time, the background and workings of it was imaginatively described. It was a bit too idyllic and the endings were too sweet to be true, although it does make for comfortable reading.
Set against the London and a rural background and the way the two areas run as well as the onset of WWI makes this an interesting read.
Sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Aria.
Imogen has to return home for the funeral of her father. Dying in a car crash was not a surprise for Imogen as he was a rotten driver. Imogen is returning to her roots after a very long time because she is also trying to put behind her memories from thirty years past. A school girl incident which left one of their number dead, and which no one wishes to talk about at all.
Finding her estranged husband's body in the orangery during her father's funeral adds to Imogen's misery as she now finds several clues not adding up at all. Detectives in charge of the case seem to find Imogen as their chief suspect in the murder of her husband anyway but it is retired detective Adam who runs the local pub who sees a link between not just the death of her husband, but also her father and the death of the school boy thirty years ago.
How to link the three together in this village of eccentrics, cranks and those hell bent on revenge is the task before both Adam and Imogen.
Set in beautiful Somerset countryside the story is full of characters of a village where everyone knows everyone else's business. This adds to the atmosphere of the story. The mystery murder is just one component.
Sent by Boldwood Books via Netgalley for an unbiased review.
After a spate of gruesome mystery murder books, this was a welcome change.
Rather frivolous but sometimes we need this kind of light hearted read. Twins insistent only on marrying another set of twins. Rather hard to find but their brother scouts around and does find an unlikely pair.
A fun read.
Sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Backlit PR
The year of 1892 and a spiritualist is whipping up a frenzy in London, saying that the spirits of a mass grave discovered where hundreds were buried in 1665 are going to rise up and create chaos, mayhem and revenge for their death two centuries before.
Before long, several citizens have actually seen these horrible sights and died as a result and now the hysteria is spreading. Turning to a local cleric Matthew West seems logical for the parishioners but he himself is nonplussed and turns to a local doctor who may have a more clinical view on the happenings. Is this some phenomenon beyond their understanding or is a clever serial killer let loose on unsuspecting Londoners.
As usual more than the actual mystery, my interest lay in the description of London of 1892. This was spot on. Methods used were unorthodox but then we are talking of 1892 and it seems perfectly alright at the time!
The book was sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Sapere Books.
Pauline and Barbara are sisters with widely different personalities. Pauline recently widowed is a bubbly person willing to look on the bright side of anyone and Barbara is a negative, gloomy pessimist always thinking that everyone is out to either cheat her, rob her or do something to her. It does not make for a good mix when Barbara comes to convalesce at Pauline's home
From the word go you realize that sparks are going to fly as Barbara is critical not just of Pauline's home to her friends and to Bisto the man Pauline accidentally runs over and who to all accounts looks like a tramp. The story goes on covering a whole series of events in a rural village with all the usual characters from the lord of the manor to the publicans to the doctor and his wife, to the newcomers who seem a bit distant. Each one is a different type of person and the characters make up for an interesting whole.
Dealing with relationships, mellowing and relaxing as you get older, getting less judgemental are the lessons to be learnt from the older sisters in this story.
Sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Boldwood Books.