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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Pride & Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz

I had got this from Netgalley and neglected to read it. Am sorry for the delay. We need light hearted reads in between the heavy stuff and this romantic comedy fitted the bill. We have Darcy (a girl for a change) partner in a hedge fund returning home after years. A acrimonius separation from her parents, which has gone on for too long. Meeting friends after a long time, pushed into an engagement by over eager parents, Darcy is wondering how to extricate herself from this tangle she has herself woven, without hurting those involved too much. A Christmassy novel with a lot going on - not the usual variation being offered. Sent by Hodder & Stoughton for an unbiased review courtesy of Netgalley.

Unravelled Knots The Teahouse Detective by Baroness Orczy

I am pulling out Netgalley reads which I have had on my kindle for ages and for whatever reason I have not read These were fascinating stories - a collection of them discussed between two people one an average narrator, the other quirky but clever who painstakingly shows in each case who the murderer was,and how he got off. So all the stories are unusually of unsolved crimes though the reader is shown explicitly who killed whom, how and why. I did not realise that the person listening to the stories, bringing up each case was a journalist and a female. All I knew was that the two characters did not like each other. There was a condescending air to one, and a disparaging air to the other. The mystery/murders are all vintage and very clearly outlined. An unusual way of looking at murder. Sent by Pushkin Press for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Murder in an Irish Castle (A Lady Eleanor Swift Book No 12)

The series is whimsical. A bit unusual too. Lady Eleanor Swift has a penchant for ferreting out a murder. wherever she goes murder seems to follow her like a magnet. She has her faithful, and resourceful butler and the podgy bulldog Gladstone Lady Eleanor receives an invitation for a Christmas celebration in the remote village, where she has inherited a castle which she has never visited and has forgotten about. Deciding that this is as good a time as any to look around her inheritance, the three of tgem set out on this adventure. Terrible weather, even worse road conditions, a body on the road (almost dead), a perilous journey to the nearest abode which turns out to be a convent, inhabited by almost hostile nuns not wanting to show much hospitality in such a terrible weather and then the local priest, doctor, policeman and undertaker all denying any knowledge of who the man could be and closing up to even the simplest of questions. we have villains aplenty, almost a local mafia which has kept the locals under their control and attempt upon attempt to get rid of Lady Eleanor. The tables are turned of course, motives are discovered, everything is sorted out and all ends well. Very good vintage detective reading sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley PS I am typing my reviews on an ipad as my computer has gone on the blink.If anyone could explain how do I get auto correct to come back to my Ipad, I will be very grateful.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Bombay Monsoon by James W. Ziskin

1975 Danny is bold, a bit brash and new to Bombay. He has come as a journalist at a time of press restructions with Indira Gandhi trying to hold onto power, in whatever way possible. The government does not like criticsm and very soon Danny is drawn into a maelstrom of intrigue, not just political but into a world of drug dealing, manipulative deals, ruthless big time dealers who will not hesitate to kill any opponent. in addition he is attracted to a local girl, who is already someone else's mistress. Not the best way to cement alliances in a very fast moving world. Danny is in way over his head and to extricate himself and come out alive is hard. The story is fast moving, covering terrorism, drug trafficking, corruption in the government and whether the woman whom Danny is in love with is using him for her own reasons. Nicely displaying the naivety of a newly arrived American and how gullible one can be when transported out of one's usual environment, the story is fast paced and interesting. Sent by Oceanview Publishing for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Monday, November 21, 2022

The Call of he Wrens by Jenni L Walsh

1917 in an orphanage Marion afflicted with what today would be called selective mutism, is almost eighteen and knows she will have to leave the one place she feels safe With just two friends who will support her she joins tge WRENS the women's arm of 5e navy, as a typist. She then becomes a motor cycle despatch rider, joining forces with Eddiwhom she secretly marries, gets transferred to Flanders and runs a very successful pigeon courier service with her other friend Sarah and despite enormous hardships is happy.With the war gaining momentum she and Edie continue at the Front till Edie dies unexpectedly in a bombing. Finding herself pregnant, Marion moves back to England Fast forward to the next War, and again the Wrens feature in the story. Evelyn is a high society girl who wants to do something solid for the war effort. For her the usual society pursuits is not enough and she leaves home to take on the arduous job of being a motor cycle despatch courier. Cut off from family who do not want anything to do with her, ostracized by her team mates, Evelyn is determined not to give up. It is here that the two separate time lines mesh in the most unusual way which added a definite twist in the tale. Hihlighting another aspect of the two World Wars, the important part played by the pigeons and the women who trained them, the behind the scenes bravery of the WRENS who worked tirelessly in the war effort were special features of this story. Sent by Harper Muse for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Saturday, November 19, 2022

The Daughter’s Garden Kate Hewitt. Book No 2 in a quartet

Reading the books in sequence helps and I was fortunate that Netgalley sent me the four. Eleanor and Katherine are the daughters of a well to do family. George and Anna are conservative parents but not hidebound, but they do expect staying within the boundaries of expected polite behaviour of the times. WWI is ending and the family is awaiting joyously the return of their son from the Front and his best friend James, who is Katherine's fiancee as well. Joy turns to grief when the dreaded telegram arrives that Walter has died. Each family member deals with it in the manner they know best. This is the catalyst of the story. The story while outlining the life that follows for each member, focuses primarily on Eleanor. How her attempts to come to terms with her brothers death, her animosity towards those who have survived, her ambivalent feelings towards her sister who has thrown herself into charitable works, her solace in turning the extensive gardens into a memorial for her brother and her falling in love with the gardener, someone whom her parents will never come to accept. The story is descriptive of the turbulent times England was thrown into post WWI - nothing was the same and it took ages to get back to a semblance of normality. It highlighted distinct class divisions which began to be eroded at that time. It also showed resilience of the human spirit to survive, grit one's teeth and go on. most importantly that Love can conquer all. Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Friday, November 18, 2022

The New Person by Loretta Nyhan

Roxy's entire world is her little boy. working two jobs she knows that what she can offer him in material terms is much less than his father and new wife. They have a lavish lifestyle and Roxy can see clearly that the boy is tempted and overwhelmed by what is on offer. When the dice is thrown for a full custody by the father, Roxy turns to the tricky precarious world of being a surrogate. The couple wanting a surrogate have a story of heartbreak, loss of their own and the three try to bond in the waiting period of nine months. This was an emotional story told from many viewpoints - each with a complicated history of their own. This was a no win situation for all the players and looked at not just child custody and the see saw between bickering parents, but the basic emotions of those involved in surrogacy. The book was sent to me by Lake Union Publishing for an unbiased review courtesy of Netgalley.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

The Wife’s Promise by Kate Hewitt . The Goswell quartet Book 1

England 1939 and now. Two women enter this the small remote village of Goswell, Cumbria with trepidation. One is Alice just twenty, lived with her widowed father in comfortable surroundings, and then we have Jane coming from a high powered job, three children raised in New York used to the rush and bustle of big city life now stuck here as an outsider. In different timelines both women faced the frostiness and insularity of village life. one was expected to take on the position notjust ofbeing a brand new wife, but also that of the vicar's wife with Sunday school activities, Mothers Union and be availabke to all and sundry. Janewas set apart from the beginning - she was American and therefore right away in the eyes of the others did not fit in! When Jane discovers slip of paper indicating a grocery listof years ago, she feels compelled to investigate the life of this vicars wife who seemed to have been completely forgotton. This in the midst of Jane's own inner turmoil. Her foundering of her position as a mother, as a wife. Jane herself finds herself wanting. She feels in turn guilty that she has not realised that there are matters that have to be rectified and corrected where her children are concerned and she is inwardly horrified that she was not aware of them before, then she in turn is resentful that she has sacrificed a career and a different lifestyle to what she is forced into now. Alice herself faced immense challenges from the word go. First her miscarriage from which she hardly recovered mentally to David being called up, and Alice having to live alone and fend for herself which was frightening for the now 21 year old. Taking on a difficult 12 year old evacuee, who was resentful and rude, turning over the garden so that they could feed themselves and then facing the news of David's death and her having to leave the vicarage were all immense blows for Alice to face alone. The similarities were there and not there as well for both women. the story ofcourage, resilience and a spirit to overcome initial barriers were remarkable in both women. They were not going under. A very warm story despite instances of sadness it was a very rewarding read. Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

The Jaggard Case by J C Briggs

I have been looking out for books in the series as I love the vintage feel of detection plus the meticulous follow up by both Inspector Jones and the unofficial role of detective played by Charles Dickens. 1851 London from both the Inspector's and Dickens point of view not the most salubrious place to be. The description of the places where the poor live and where crime abounds sounds like hell on earth. This part of the story is itself descriptive enough to be the base of a story. Then the characters in the story like Dickens, Jones, Stemp followed by Elizabeth, Catherine, Scrap, Posy who are present throughout the series makes the book very character driven. You then add the villains in the piece - Jaggard, Phib, the Millers, Craggy and his minions and you have a plot there itself. The crime of murder/s, forgery, robbery, human trafficking is the core for this book. very well written, absolutely engrossing, makes me want the next one immediately - makes me give this a five star review Sent by Sapere Books courtesy of Netgalley for an unbiased review.

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Sudden Death by Rachel Lynch

One in a series which was new to me this book was a good one - the story, the characterizations, the twists and turns and very importantly the setting. In the beautiful calm oasis of the Lake District group of fell runners are on a competitive run. out of the blue a whirring helicopter descends, totally out of control spinning to the ground in a fiery end. The death toll is heavy, the investigation into the crash is high powered. One of the persons being ferried is a peer in tge House of Lords, the other is a millionaire with a very unsavory reputation. DI Kelly is in charge of a highly volatile case - as more and more lurid details are revealed the Home Office looks for damage control and the businessman's family also has an agenda of their own, a cover up as well trying to hide that the remote area was used to provide sexual favors involving minors. Kelly is caught in the middle, trying to find justice for the seventeen dead, especially when it turned out to be deliberate sabotage. The story was intriguing because it reflects the politics in every country - the corrupt and wealthy try to get away with literally everything and very often times succeeding. Very few Police forces can face the wrath and weight of two forces and come out victorious. I will be looking out for more books in this series. Sent by Canelo for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

The Haunting of Abney Heights By Cat Thomas

i have been getting some very unusual and intriguing reads lately, different genres. This was no exception. the story setting is dramatic. Also it was in two time lines 1907 and present times. Megan is a genealogist/archivist and she has been asked to find out whatever she could on a particular inmate of the institute Elle. The present day institute was earlier a asylum, and to Megan resonated with the heaviness and unhappiness of what those institutes were at the time. Delving into Elle's history and sad end, we also delve into the life of Lucy. A person also an inmate of the asylum, admitted for hysteria by her fiancee and family who became very close to Elle. Though not openly spoken of Elle was admitted because she was a lesbian and Dr Wood who was in charge at the asylum worried over the increasingly close relationship between the two women. The story weaving the daily workings of the asylum, with Dr Wood's modern approach of integrating the inmates as much as possible into public life showed up historically the manner in which mental incapacity was treated, the stigma attached to it and for many the hopelessness for the future. The present day building was apartments and Megan lived there whilst unravelling the task she was set to. it had strands of historical fictiin, along with two mystery murders which were solved decades later and altogether was a very interesting read set in Edwardian times. Sent by BooksGoSocial for anunbiased review courtesy of Netgalley.

Friday, November 4, 2022

The Whispering woman by Trish MacEnulty

1913 Louisa finds herself in a peculiar position. once part of the rich, upper class welcomed everywhere now after her fathers financial ruin the family are barely tolerated in society but Louisa is happy doing what she feels she has a knack for. She writes a society column for The Ledger and though it is not the journalism she seeks, it is the family's bread and butter. Forced to face head on the unspoken subject of abortion and the death of a young maid at the hands of an unscrupulous doctor - not a backyard abortionist but a suave well spoken of high society, Louisa sets on a course of investigation which literally turns society upside down. not just abortion, abduction of young women, trafficking them into forced prostitution, a murder of a young female police investigator and corruption in the Police itself and cover ups galore. Louisa puts herself in grave danger and though rescued the story she uncovers shows Manhattan society at its worst, with those at the top equally involved at least some of them in the unsavory machinations of high society. An eye opener at behind the scenes of society - the division between the rich and the poor, the class consciousness and the condescension and discrimination shown to the Irish, the Jews and to those involved in 'trade' are all featured here. The struggle for the female vote is also a small part of the book. Very well written keeping the reader focussed on the story of Louisa as well as the history of the time. Sent by BooksGoSocial for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Murder After Christmas by Rupert Latimer

Set in the 1940s this was not the classic crime I was expecting. I felt the story was all over the place and though it bore all the hallmarks of vintage detective stories - quirky characters, patient detectives, upper class folk - it did not quite fit the bill. It was amusing in parts, but the humour had to be forced and really did not do justice to the genre. Sent by Poisoned Pen Press for an unbiased review.