My Blog List

Sunday, February 27, 2022

The Paris Network by Siobhan Curham

Two timelines - always delightful. One in wartorn France and a mysterious woman called Laurence and then a book discovered in an attic amongst her father's possessions where Jeanne discovers she is the owner of a closed and abandoned book shop in a small village in France. The story takes on from this pivotal point and gives explanations as to why Jeanne never had a connection with her mother, and the sadness she feels that her father could not have told her this story before he passed away. Jeanne decides to go back to France and discover the hidden story behind the notebook. She discovers a story of courageousness and resistance, of a strong, supportive mother who decided to give up on her infant daughter to save her life though she herself would die. This is based on a true story and shows the indomitable spirit to overcome obstacles however hard and difficult they may be. For Jeanne to find a community who knew her story, knew about her existence as an infant and who warmly welcomed her back as their own was very heartfelt. As usual WW both I and II have given us innumerable good stories. Add this to the lot. Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Death in Disguise by Emma Davies

I am reading more and more cozies recently. I am slightly disappointed however, that even amateur detectives who though amateur do have a basic understanding of detecting seem to go headlong into places and events where a bit more careful planning should precede. Francesca, our main character in this story is one of them. It leads me to have doubts on the story though this story was interesting enough. Francesca caters very successfully for various events. When she accidentally eavesdrops on a conversation during a lunch between two ladies (and she cannot identify who they are), and when one of the ladies at the lunch dies of mushroom poisoning a two week later her suspicions are aroused. She is joined in her madcap endeavor to discover who the murderer is by the nerdy son of another of the ladies at the luncheon. He has joined in the search purely to exonerate his mother who may fall under suspicion. Following the two, and then another murder both Francesca and Adam know that the murderer is getting cornered and will not hesitate to murder again. In this story the police detectives are notably absent other than an appearance or two. The murderer found and all ends well. Sent by Bookouture for a unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Monday, February 21, 2022

The Lady's Keeper by Coirle Mooney

My reviewing has fallen behind mainly because my husband was ill and hospitalised. I dont know the system elsewhere but here in Sri Lanka someone has to be with the patient 24/7 and in this case it was me. I was able to read quite a bit whilst in hospital but reviewing had to wait till I got home. This story though described as medieval romance, is also quite historical. Detailing the life of Joanna and her guardian Aunt Alice, it also describes in fair detail the intricate, complicated lives of Eleanor of Aquitaine and King Henry and the King's hold on the lands of both his and his wife and his refusal to let go. He was also of the "divide and rule" policy even between his sons which certainly did not leave room for sibling love. Eleanor had to fight tooth and nail for the rights of her sons. Joanna was a headstrong girl who arrived at the Court as a maiden along with Alice. Alice was a retiring personality who only wanted to secure a good, secure marriage for Joanna but she had her own ideas and followed her heart. She was swayed this way and that and also taken advantage of because of her personality, which did not win her any favours either amongst her colleagues or her suitors. The story was for me more historical than a romance and one I enjoyed very much. Sent by Sapere Books for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Small Town Shock (Some Very English Murders No. 1) by Issy Brooks

Penny is tired of the rat race. She has retired (semi she hopes) to rural Lincolnshire. Everyone knows her as the Londoner. They also seem to know each other's business. It sounds quirky and quaint, but not I think if you have things to hide and value your privacy! Penny is a bit brash. She has not learnt the policy of thinking and speaking, it just comes out of her mouth. She acts first and thinks of the consequences later. All with genuinely good intentions and in this case, coming across a dead body in a field, Penny thinks she gets first dibs on finding who the killer is. The local Police constabulary seem very kind, very patient with her poking about in what is obviously police business but other than a gentle warning or two, she is left on her own and hence she tries and succeeds in uncovering the actual murderer. Told in a light hearted vein, this was slightly different to the other English village murder mysteries I've read. Different but interesting. A free download from Amazon who still do not allow me to post reviews! Sorry Issy Brooks.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

The Valet's Secret by Josi S. Kilpack

1819 and the novel starts out in rather unusual circumstances. A woman out for a walk, the heir to the manor also out on an uncontrollable horse. They meet, he rather knocks her down and then kisses her. Quite unusual for 1819. Completely out of the ordinary. He is taken to be the valet to the above heir, she is just a maid, separated from her husband to boot and in poor circumstances. Not the most opportune background for a romance. But unlikely though it is, it does happen. It was a light hearted romance with a background of arrogance amongst the aristocracy, definite class barriers, an abusive marital relationship and love conquers all. Nice. Sent by Shadow Mountain Publishing for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley. I've fallen behind on reading and reviewing due to personal commitments.

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Murder at Westminster by Magda Alexander - 1920s historical cozy

I seem to be choosing more and more historical or vintage mystery books lately. Not a conscious decision but just seem to be drifting into that genre more and more. Kitty Worthington is drawn into a murder investigation when someone dear to her and her sister Sebastian - is the suspect in a murder of member of the nobility. His uncle and he did not get on at all, he despised his uncle and vice versa so it did not bode well for him when he could not provide an alibi for his whereabouts. Taken in by London detectives it is upto Kitty and her team assisted by Scotland Yard Inspector Crawford to try to find out what happened to the despicable duke, Romance, murder, the suffrage movement all highlighted in this story. Women's lib movement at the fore which made for an interesting side story. The detection hindered by 1920s traditions of women's place but Kitty with the support of her family shoulders on full speed ahead. Very good reading and an author I will be looking out for. Sent by Hearts Afire Publishing for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

The German Wife by Debbie Rix

Despite the story being set towards the end of WWII, military and authoritarian regimes still exist sadly. Slow annhiliation of people based on ethnic, religious lines still go on apace and the rest of the world does nothing. We do not seem to have learnt anything from the Nazi experience. The Nazi regime, WWII and Hitler has brought about a whole world of writers - all the stories excellent reading, all convoluted and dealing with so many aspects of this horrible era in world history. This was another such book - told from the part of a SS family living in Germany - half of them faithful followers of Hitler until they were faced with the brutality of the regime. Dr Vogel was a research scientist. He considered himself a good German, faithful to Hitler's teachings until his career came head on with the torture and brutality of the camps. Dr Vogel was too involved in his work, and not made to suffer or allow his family to suffer and he went along with whatever was doled out till the end. His wife Annaliese far removed from his actual working life, did not know or rather preferred not to know what was going on in her husband's working life. The chilling factor in the story was that though Annaliese and Hans were married for eight years there were no children. This was a failing from the Reich's point of view. It was the duty of SS officers to have children and this could mean banishment for the Vogels. A machiavellian plan came up in Hans's mind to use the services of their gardener Alexander, a Russian prisoner to father a child for them. Annaliese was halfway in love with Alexander when the plan was discussed but Alexander himself was not aware of the plot till years after. The story takes over from there - continuing to the fall of the Nazis and the Vogels making their escape to America (separately) and a time apart. The twist in the story is different from other books dealing with the era - even from the Nazi angle and made it quite unique. Thanks to Bookouture who sent me this novel to read and give an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.