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Thursday, April 28, 2022

Allegiance to Alsace by Marta Anne Tice

1804 in the backdrop of Napoleon's victories over all countries he roars through we have Anna Liese daughter of a wine maker. She is horrified at the progress of Napoleon and the damage he is causing throughout Europe but she knows that dissention carries a heavy price as well. Discovering that her father is actually a spy and working against Napoleon strengthens her resolve to do whatever she could in the smallest way possible to stop the tide but her mother and Uncle are very much pro Napoleon and are only interested in bettering themselves in whatever way possible. When romance also happens in Anna Liese life she is very confused because Hans her lately found love is very much in Napoleon's army and very much following his principles. It is only much later that she comes to know that he is secretly woring with her father as well. The story of romance on Anna Liese's part, her elopement with Hans ending with his death, her imprisonment as a suspected spy and her later rescue and marriage set against the war waged by Napoleon also in the background of a working winery added so many strands of interest to the story. The history part of the story was also detailed and interesting especially when added to the wine industry and the workings of a winery at the time. Sent by BQB Publishing for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

In Place of Fear by Catriona McPherson

Helen is a newly appointed almoner. She is so looking forward to her job but knows that there are many obstacles. She herself comes from a working class background and knows that females working in jobs like this is not something quite acceptable from people amongst her peers. She also knows that those are the very people she has to work with. Thrown out of her home by her mother who thinks this will be the ultimate challenge to get her to change her ways, Helen lucks out when she and her husband Sandy are offered a beautiful home to live in whilst doing her job. She has never lived in such a "posh" house and is determined to make a go of the job, so as not to lose this home as well. Finding a dead body in the shed at the end of the property on the first day she moved in was not the beginning she envisaged and discovering that it is her mentor's daughter (or so she thought as the resemblance was uncanny) was also strange and too much of a coincidence. It set off an enquiry on Helen's part because she felt that there was a conspiracy on the part of everyone around her including her boss to cover up the tracks of who this woman is, and to just assign her to a list of Jane Doe's and forget about it. The story apart from the murders, is very descriptive in the lives of Edinburgh citizens of the 1940s. The class divide so very strong, that that in itself seems to be a story of its own. Good reading. Sent by Hodder & Stoughton for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

The Art of the Decoy by Trish Esden

Edie Brown returns to the small town in Vermont to help out her uncle at his request. Her mother has been sent to prison for art forgery and Edie knows that though her mother was set up, she willingly did the deed. Their reputation of the business is on the edge and business is bad. A business that had been flourishing and with an excellent reputation. Edie seeks to find a way to set the business back on its feet and return to her own life in the city. It was not to be. Immediatley drawn into a massive find which could make both Edie and the shop's reputation for ever, she is again like her mother drawnn into a well thought of web of intrigue, fraud and finally murder till she, her uncle Tuck and Kala who is an assistant try to make sense of the whys and hows of the fraud. Dealing with plover decoys (totally unknown to me) made for interesting reading and the business of this was an education in itself. Well spun and well told this was a good one. Sent by Crooked Lane Books for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Her Last Holiday by C L Taylor

I read this a while ago and had to refresh my mind as to the story. Fran's sister Jenna disappears on what was going to be an idyllic retreat and was never heard or seen again. Now the man who owns and ran the retreat is out of prison but will not disclose what happened to the third victim at the retreat - Fran's sister. Fran wants to discover what happened to Jenna, and books herself for the retreat coming face to face with whom she considers her sister's murderer. Is Fran putting herself into too much danger because there are secrets that people would like to stay buried with Jenna. Told in two separate time lines - when Jenna was alive and the present the suspense is quite electric. A well written thriller. Sent by Avon Books UK for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Sri Lanka - an episode of gigantic proportions

This is a post just to explain the lack of posts. Sri Lanka is having a turbulent time and its not due to Covid. We are in the midst of political upheaval and right now we have hundreds of thousands of people - young and old, middle class and poorer sections of the people in a peaceful protest series right across the country The main objection is of course the present government, which due to mismanagement of resources and blatant corruption has managed to bring the country to bankruptcy. We have severe shortages of diesel and petrol and long, long queues for both. Fisticufss galore, high tension at all these petrol stations right across the country. People staying for twelve hours in a queue does not create an ambience of patience. We have a severe shortage of cooking gas. One has to register with an agent, get on a waiting list and wait. For those who live in houses - they have resorted to reverting to cooking on wood fires. For those of us like me, who live in apartments this is a no no. It was a nailbiting time for me last week when we finished one gas cylinder and could not get a replacement. On the foodstuffs line, apart from shortages of milk (and butter which is anyway not a necessity) prices have doubled and tripled due to the lack of transportation amongst other reasons. A severe scarcity of foreign exchange means imports are very restricted and since we import almost everything from sugar to flour to medicines, I need not explain! Insulin which I need for my husband is in short supply and my job is trying to find a vial here and a vial there. There is a severe scarcity of medical supplies in hospitals but the government denies this! anything to keep a good face on things rather than appealing to the Sri Lankan diaspora scattered across the world who will step in and help. With power cuts running upto eight hours a day (went up to 10) then came down and now just 4.5 hours per day computer time is also restricted. I will be back with my usual reviews asap.

Friday, April 8, 2022

Murder at Primrose Cottage (Flora Steele mystery) Merryn Allingham

It was the bookshop owner bit that drew me in first time around and this is my second read of the series. The books are fine as a stand alone, always a good thing. Flora is accompanying Jake on his writing expedition. He has to write a book (he has promised his publisher) and Flora is there to make sure that research and helping him out to achieve this. She did not expect in rural Cornwall in a most picturesque setting to find a body. The body of the owner of the cottage brutally murdered just a few hours after they met. Local detectives seem to be taking their own sweet time in linking the dots, finding suspects so Flora decides to pursue her own investigation into the case. Both Flora and Jake did not imagine it would take them to the post WWII years and a secret that had to be hidden at any cost - both of them were totally oblivious of what was happening but when a series of accidents could not be written off as mere coincidence they do realise it is imperative to find out who is behind the whole dangerous game. This was a beautiful setting, very descriptive and though Flora and Jake are sometimes quite quirky it all dovetails very neatly into a very readable story. Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

The Peculiar Fate of Holly Banks by Julie Valerie

A young woman trying to hold it all together. The description is that of a contemporary novel and this is a light hearted read of a woman hoping to achieve all what she wants to do, over extending herself and in the process creates this story which is very easy to read. Holly is a young mother, part of a community and a wife plus a budding film maker. She wants to establish herself very much as part of the this small community and not just be an isolated person. To this end she tries to adapt to changing circumstances, changing people and still keep true to her dreams. The book was sent by Lake Union Publishing for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley. On another note our country is going through such turmoil and trouble that it influences your every waking moment. We have power outages of upto ten hours, queues for petrol and diesel and cooking gas. The loss in employment will come soon enough - we have thousands of daily paid workers who are on the front line of losing their jobs. Everything is in shambles and we are going to accept that it is going to get much worse before it gets better.

Friday, April 1, 2022

Shadow in the Glass by M E Hilliard

Greer is there to celebrate her friend's wedding and to help out in the elaborate arrangements made at the various events. It is a posh, upscale wedding, no expenses spared and a murder is not what you would expect. It casts a pall on the post celebration because we have detectives all over the place and Greer herself feels that there is more to it than meets the eye, because the entire Whittaker family seems to have secrets which they have successfully hidden for decades. Whether the wedding was the catalyst for it to all come breaking down is left to be seen. This is more or less an amateur detective trying to link clues together with no help from others because the family themselves want history kept as history. It begins to unravel slowly but this was a slow detective read not a page turner. The police do not seem to be doing anything at all, and whether it is the influence of the family or sheer ineptitude I never could find out. Sent by Crooked Lane Books for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.