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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Dauntless Hearts by Lincoln Tuvelais

A romance set in 1812 in Northern England. Kitty was a sensible young woman who wanted to marry someone she loved and respected. The brash Irishman set her heart on fire but his behavior, for her, was boorish and she knew that he was unacceptable in polite English society. Putting her personal feelings aside she proceeds to London for her debut, meets up with another young woman and Kitty throws herself into a whirl of entertainment and meeting new people hoping that her earlier feelings will lessen. When her Irish Lieutenant in desperation to win her back invites Kitty and her family to his ancestral home, all hell breaks loose. The family dislikes Kitty intensely, is disparaging and condescending and is determined to get rid of her by any means possible. The book apart from the straight forward romance highlighted the animosity which existed between the Irish and the English, each side not willing to compromise. This was a Regency setting to the whole story which added to its interest. Sent by BooksGoSocial for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

A Mansion for Murder by Frances Brody

1930 Kate Shackleton arrives in the village of Saltaire at the request of an unknown gentleman who seeks her help as an investigator. On arrival, she finds the man initially missing, then drowned under suspicious curcumstances. Investigating further Kate discovers many facets to the murder - rival suitors for an heiress's hand, control of a business through fair means or foul, old curses which the current villagers believe to be true and prevalent today and unsaid, hidden stories that have to be feretted out. Slowly and diplomatically Kate along with her loyal troop of Mrs Suden and Mr Sykes untangle a web of old and new animosities and a desperation on the part of one man who is determined to escape the gallows. It was also interesting to see how women who were capable and clever had to hide their talents, work discreetly so as not to ruffle tge men's feathers. Sent by Crooked Lane Books for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Now You See Me byDK Hood

A psychopath on the loose in a small isolated area is not easy to find. It is true that people know each other, but when the area is vast, the weather is against you and the abductions are random with no pattern at all, the Detectives are flummoxed. No clues left behind, snatchedfrom the side of the road, snatched from their own house, no forced entry Sheriff Jenna and Detective Kane are at theirwits end to stop the abductions. A chance miscalculation on the part of the murderer, the slip up which every detective waits for and a grisly discovery in church solves the string of murders. Ingenious way of hiding the victims in full sight. Part of a series, my first foray into reading about this pair of detectives. Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Nevermore Bookstore by Kerrigan Byrne & Cynthia St. Aubin

Very much a modern, social media type of story, the setting of the bookstore drew me in. Cady loves her books, she has also got addicted to a caller who only calls on Thursdays andto put it in a ladylike way as possible sets Cady on fire. The calls arefirst innocuous till they start lasting for hours, definitely volatile between the two. The story was romance and fantasy, a lot of conjecture. light reading at best. Sent by Oliver Heber Books for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Friday, March 17, 2023

The Slumber Party by Shannon Hollinger

We go back ten years - four girls its prom nite, also the 18th birthday of two abd everyone is in high spirits. The mood changes swiftly, the buoyancy goes, some become morose, the attraction of their dance partners wanes, and the unthinkable happens. Fast forward ten years, every one of the four young women have something to hide, the fissures appear fast and with it fear, that the secrets they held is unravelling before their eyes. The story was an intimate one of growing up in dysfunctional families and though appearing damage free, the cracks and emotional distress lie just below the surface. How parents supposed to be primary care givers, protectors of children fail in their duties. you wonder whether they are blind or pretend a problem does not exist or that communication is no longer possible with a willful teenager with angst aplenty. Is it that parentsg get selfish too, thinking that their own chances of a life are slipping away when the responsibilities of children overwhelm one. These were the thoughts which came to me, whilst I read this story maybe nothing what the author intended. A murder had happened, kept secret by four girls and now it was forced into the open by a persistent Detective, who knew that the key lay with the girls. Good story, dark though. Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Maid of Steel by Kate Barker

1911 for a working girl was tough. For girls wanting something more than the drudgery and back breaking work in the factories was even harder. Women were old before their time, broken by the relentless hours working. When a factory fire destroyed many women's lives and the life of Martina, Emma's best friend, Emma knew tge time had come to make a change. Arriving in New York for abrecuperative spell, Emma sets about settling in and sees tgat the suffragette movement needs support. This forms the next part of Emma's story. The movement was gathering momentum, despite opposition but needed organisatiin and support whichEmma was eager to contribute to. The other part was the attraction that was building between Emma and Thomas the manager of the hotel where Emma stayed and Alice his wife who wanted to control Thomas though she had no interest in him. Swinging between the events of 1911 and 1912 both personal to the characters as well as those that actually occurred like the suffragette movement getting momentum, as well as the disaster of the Titanic the book was a good read on history at the time. A book that could be described as Womens Fiction with a good bit of history in the setting. Sent by The Book Guild for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Monday, March 13, 2023

No More Secrets by Kerry Lonsdale

Shiloh and Lucas are both trying to escape their past. Lucas six months in a detection centre now riddled with guilt that he failed his family in several ways by ignoring what was happening to his family. Shiloh abandoned by her mother who preferred a boy friend to her helpless daughter whowas being molested by said boyfriend. Now lucas and Shiloh's paths have crossed. Lucas wants to help Shiloh in a way he did not help his sisters but Shiloh after her present experiences with most of the men she met, distrusts Lucas and only sees him as a means to an end - finding enough money to join a boy who she thinks of as a boyfriend someoneshe met online. One knows how the story will pan out for Shiloh and how Lucas will rescue her (once again) but the reunion with the family was a nice touch for both characters. The story draws you in and makes a person realise how important the family structure and support really are. Everything that can go wrong will go wrong without good family relationships and communication without trust and love. The book was sent by Lake Union Publishing for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Death on Deck A Lady Eleanor Swift historical mystery/cozy by Verity Bright

Though there are usually a couple of murders in each book, the way the story is told between the Lady Eleanor, her bulldog Gladstone and her faithful and immensely clever butler Clifford - an element of frivolity or lightness always creeps in. Very different to modern mystery murders Set on an opulent ship (shades of the Titanic) again on its maiden voyage, the Captain with his crew do not want any mishaps, any delays to mar their arrival in New York. When Lady Eleanor witnesses the first murder which is explained to all as a man overboard accident, she knows something is afoot. Finding Detective Hugh Seldon aboard the ship adds to the confusion. The captains table in the first class lounge also throws up debatable characters with dubious reasons for travelling. Unravelling one murder is hard and when the second happens and Lady Eleanor is expressly forbidden to investigate, she knows she has to find the murderer and tge reasons to exonerate Hugh Seldon from suspicion. Very descriptive, class distinctions and all, this was a light read. Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Lay This Body Down (Gideon Stoltz mystery) by Charles Fergus

This was not an easy read. No book dealing with inhumanity, or inequality, or degrading treatment of another being would be easy to read. i had a hard time to keep going but I hoped and did receive brighter, better news as I read on and this was good for my mind, which was quite disheartened through most of the story. Gideon Stoltz is the Sheriff. He is not from the town, considered an outsider being of Pensylvvanian Dutch ancestry, supposedly a minus point in this community. The county is free frim slavery but is being used by many as a conduit for slaves to escape elsewhere. The black community in this town are close knit and free, but live in permanent fear and are thus resentful. Does not make for good neighbourliness. When an anti abolition supporter Potter is found murdered, Gideon starts investigations which also unearth a series of missing free black folk who seem to be kidnapped. That investigation runs alongside the investigation into Potters murder and ruffles many feathers in the community who do not want questions asked. It endangers Gideon's own life but he is determined to see justice down, whether to a white or black man. Very good reading encapsulated into a pocket sized version of black enslavement in America. Sent by Skyhorse Publications for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Priorsford Scottish Historical Novel by O Douglas

I read a lot of mystery murder stories so it is important to balance stuff a bit and this was an ideal read. A domestic novel set in the hometown of Jean's childhood to which she has returned as a Lady, with three children and an entourage for a long vacation whilst her husband travels overseas. For Jean herself the stay is bittersweet - separated from the husband she adores she has to take on responsibilities previously shared and it is onerous. There is the shadow of end of the Great War and all the economic hardships it has brought on the populace apart from the loss of life and structure in Britain. The true British grit, the want to survive and overcome is very much part of the character of the story itself and this was the tone throughout. I am very appreciative that I first heard of this author through Cornflower Books. It was such a good and gentle introduction to Scottish life. Bought through Amazon Kindle.

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Death of a Bookseller by Bernard J Farmer

Books, book sellers, the second hand book trade, the "runners", and the greed and avarice to procure a rare book at any cost is the basis of this story. Michael Fisk dealt in books, Sergeant Wigan's hobby was collecting the books he liked. on the fringe were all the other elements oftge trade. The story of a murder over a rare Keats, the investigation handled by Wigan and the meticulous following up of every detail. When the powers that be decided that Hampton was the murderer because everything pointed to him Wigan was the only one convinced thatthey had the wrong man. He embarked ona private investigation along with Charlie and Connington whom he was able to convert to his point of view, and despite the fact that the accused was a disagreeable character who quarrelled viciously with all even berating Wigan, the end result was excellent with Hopton escaping the execution by a whisker. The story was full of characters - all linked to the trade and it was detailed and descriptive of how bookselling operated at the time. Anyone interested in books should read this story as it told the story of a murder as well as the book trade in equal measure. Sent by Poisoned Pen Press for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Friday, March 3, 2023

Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson. ten Steps from Baker Street by Thomas A Burns Jr

A collection of short engaging stories, typical to Holmes and Watson. Some with a rural setting but many set in the miasma of London slums involving everydayLondoners The intriguing part is the portrayal of the deductive and detective skills of Holmes who at a glance can narrow down the profession, the locality, the status of many who turn to him for support. Holmes isthe quiet, supportive partner meticulouslyfollowing instructions, very protective of Holmes and just trying to keep up with his partners brilliantmind. Loved the stories, never will get tired of them. Sent by Teckrighter. LLC for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn

This was a really good read about older women - four feisty, smart and determined ones taking up a challenge thrown their way and dealing brilliantly withthe chinless wonders they meet on the way. The Four women have worked as assassins,worked very creditably, now retired each one dealing with the new phase in their lives. Not so easy it seems, with one final assignment which on the surface seems reasonable, but as time goes on shows flaws such as an insider threat, betrayal within the over ruling establishment and too many coincidences to be probable. The level of skill in not just executing a person, but the precise forward planning before eachenterprise, the methodical implementation of the plan, the dependance of one and in other words putting your life in your partners hands is fabulous. Enjoyed every second of this read, feasible or not the reading was riveting. I got a Deanna Raybourn book after ages after requests were made and I am appreciative that I got this one. Many thanks to Hodder & Stoughton who sent this on to me for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Monday, February 27, 2023

The Rose Girls by Jennifer Chase

I have not posted or reviewed any books as I was on a short holiday in Singapore and Malaysia. I hope I will do better now and keep my reviews updated. A murder of a young girl is hard on detectives too. A young life cut in her prime, no apparent reason and withe words MORE carved on her torso sounds ominous. Days later her two best friends found in similar fashion and the Detectives nowfeel they have failed in their duty to protect the youngsters. Working blind against a very clever killer who leaves no clues behind, and a town which is hiding a lot of secrets, Detective Katie Scott has to stop the murders which are three times too many for this town to handle. One of-a series (this was my initial foray) the story and detective work are top class. will hold you riveted from beginning to end. Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Friday, February 17, 2023

The Polish Girl by Godiva Nealon

Poland 1944. Not a good place to be for ordinary Poles, for Jews, for Roma for anyone who did not fall in line. There were many ordinary people resisting the enemy, and despite the man power, the fire power and sheer weight of the German army, the Nazis had it hard in Poland. In this setting Wanda has to face her father's murderer, shot in cold blood. She vows she will kill him one day, but when that day comes she faces a quandary. One that she hadn't bargained for. The story evolves through the ravages of war time Poland - losses, brutality, murder, the fear that overwhelmed it all and the need for survival. The story had a unusual twist in the tale, almost from the beginning which roughly foretold the end. The change from enemies to lovers was another difficult feature to accept but then it became an integral part of the story. Very descriptive, even the harsh bits this was an excellent story. Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Jumping Jenny by Anthony Berkeley

What started out as a party in costume - everyone had to come as some sort of criminal or a detective. It was meant to be a fun evening of camaraderie amongst a closely linked bunch of friends. All of whom knew each other. One was a famous writer of what else - mystery murders and the party got off very well. One woman however was not happy. She wanted attentiin, she was unhappy if others were happy and she felt unimportant. Everyone was very aware that she was spoiling for a fight and talking to all that she wanted to kill herself, going on and on and it was hardly a surprise when she turned up dead, hanging at the end of a rope on the top balcony of the house. Our famous author however at the onset knew this was murder but was determined that the initial verdict of suicide be upheld. The woman was vicious and created misery around her so a joint effort had to be made to keep their stories straight with the Police. Each person suspected another , all declaring themselves innocent. Funny in parts, really laughable at the very end, this was planning at its best Sent by Poisoned Pen Press for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

The Summer House at Larkspur by Kay Pritchett

This was one in a series but for me was my first read by this author. Mosey Frye is looking around an old house. An estate agent she is always scouting for a residence which could be sold or rented. she discovers human remains in a half covered cistern and reports it to Chief Oliviera to investigate. On the same day a nun, the only survivor of the family which owns this property is found brutally stabbed to death. The nun was mild,harmless and the killing seems senseless. Mosey is convinced there is a connection between the two incidents but the Chief thinks otherwise. The story set in a Southern part of america in a small town is quite descriptive of a more family oriented, close knit community whose family histories seem inter twined and connected over several generations. Quite old fashioned families with ties of loyalty and respect. The detective part of the story was well done and detailed. Sent by The Wild Rose Press, Inc for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Murder at an Irish Castle by Ellie Brannigan

Rayne and Ciara are cousins who do not know each other, two very different characters to boot. Ciara is prickly, antagonistic not willing to meet Rayne halfway. Rayne is a bridal designer with a posh boutique in California. Ciara is enmeshed in the life of a working farm. Thrown together with the sudden and suspicious death of a beloved uncle and father Rayne has to take over the responsibility not just of the castle but also the livelihoods of 500 villagers. Rayne has been cheated by her boyfriend of her livelihood leaving her bereft mentally and financially. Ciara is bereft by the fact that her father preferred to leave the property to his niece, rather than his daughter. Both of them have to pull together to sort out the mess they find themselves in and solve the mystery of Neville's death where everyone is a suspect. The story dealt with the intricasies of family well, the characterizations of two very different girls done particularly well, the Irish setting and people were spot on and the murder did not seem paramount to the story, though integral at the same time. Sent by Crooked Lane Books for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Monday, February 6, 2023

No Life For a Lady by Hannah Dolby

1896 was not a good time for a lady and certainly not for Violet Hamilton. 28 years old, a spinster, outspoken but still hemmed in by antiquated rules of decorum and blighted in the eyes of local society because her mother the beautiful flirty woman that shewas has just disappeared. Nearing the tenth anniversary of her disappearance Violet is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery. There is a lot of pressure on the hapless Violet. Her father has started bringing a series of ineffectual and vapid young men as suitors, hoping one of them will take Violet offhis hands, his hope is that he himself wants to get married. After a disastrous interlude with the detective in town, whom Violet instinctively distrusts (but cant get out of his clutches) she appeals to the honest Mr Blackthorne for help. He is dragged into it much against his will but the entire story ends well for all. The hypocricy of the age, with its well delegated rules and roles for each gender heavily in favor of the males does not make for pleasant reading. It is however what it was. To have to navigate that and come out victorious one had to choose one's battles. That is what Violet strove to do. A bit slow at times, this was Victorian romance and life well written about Sent by Aria & Aries for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Three Widows by Patricia Gibney (Detective Lottie Parker series)

This story has all the elements of a thriller. A cold blooded calculating psychopath of a killer. Elements of deep seated hatred and revenge towards his victims. Three women - all have suffered loss of husbands. Detectives try to put the pieces together to find out what links the random women together. No one is talking and the trails are getting old, anyone on the periphery of tgr crimes are aggressively not divulging any information and when one of the final abductions hits close to the detectives themselves, you know the case is accelerating. I enjoyed the writing, the painstaking detective work but three quarters through it became very complicated to keep the plot in mind, along with many strands which were being woven together tocome to the end. I am willing however toread other books by this author because the storyline and characters were well portrayed. Sent by Bookouture for an unbiasedreview courtesy ofNetgalley.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Post afterPost Morten by E C R Lorac

The setting of the story was idyllic. We had the Surrays five children, sensible loving parents. All the children high achievers - no one failed at anything they put their hand to. All gathered for the holidays with a handful of friends. Very harmonious till the body of Ruth their daughter was discovered, dead from an overdose suicide note by her bed with explicit instructions. With minimum fuss the coroner gives his verdict and the family curls into itself to try to heal. The arrival of a letter written by Ruth arrives after the funeral and all hopes of tranquility is shattered. It indicates that there is a strong possibility that Ruth was murdered and now Scotland Yard in the form of the affable but determined Inspector Macdonald is called into play. Deciphering Ruth's life was not easy as many things were not disclosed to anyone and the detective work unraveling her secrets were slow. The story was not boring in the least and one never knew who the final murderer was. Very descriptive, full of varying characters this held my interest throughout. Sent byPoisoned Pen Press for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Monday, January 30, 2023

A Novel Disguise by Samantha Larsen

1794 not a good time for women. Especially for a woman like Tiffany without a cent to her name totally depending on her brother Uriah, a mean character who begrudged his half sister every penny he had to spend on her. When Uriah died in suspicious circumstances Tiffany took a wild risk. Impersonating Uriah she took on his tasks at the big house, knowing that this would be the only way, she could keep the cottage, have a small income and feel safe. There were underlying currents in the house too. Another death in similar circumstances ofa flirtatious maid was an indication that there was a murderer around, but Tiffany had no way of disclosing this to the local constable without confessing her own part in the tale. The story had several twists and turns, accusations went every which way and when her secret came out Tiffany herself was thrown into jail for the crime of impersonating a man. slowly the story unravelled, justice was served eventually. Apart from the story of Tiffany, the bigger point of interest was the manner in which people lived, the divisions between the rich and poor, and the sheer arrogance of the aristocracy who felt like in this case, that they could get away with murder. High moral standards were expected of ordinaryfolk, but a blind eye would be turned to the liaisons which abounded amongst the aristocrats. Sent by Crooked Lane Books for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

The Jeweller of Stolen Dreams by M J Rose

The stories written by this author never fail to fascinate. This one combining the elements of mystery, a transference through decades of lives apart being brought together, a thread of psychic powers running throughout the story, family saga against the historical turbulence of World War II. Set in two timelines 1986 and 1941 we have two very strong, character driven women with strong personalities forging careers and trying to do thebest they can. Suzanne Belperron a reputed jeweller with a complicated family background is running an atelier despite restrictions, catering to the elite and Nazi higher ups in Paris, mainly as a front for her attempts to raise funds to send Jewish families out of France. Her close friends Dixie, Xavier and her lover all work behind the scenes all part of the Resistance. In 1986 Violine is called to assess an estate of Paul Osgood and she discovers a secret cache of jewellery hidden cunningly in a trunk. Violine comes from a long line of women who have powers which were described as witchery, but in her case she feels, hears and sees the past when she touches an object, especially one with a past. The jewellery items discovered in Paul's case evoke feelings of despair and terror. This sets the story of Violine delving into the past history of the jewels, also uncovering Paul's aunts connections to the story and secrets of his own family closely guarded upto now. This was a magical read. Despite the atrocities of Nazi occupied France, the story of loyalty, faith in family and friends, love that surpasses all held the whole story together. The supernatural psychic phenomenon was an added attraction. Sent by Blue Box Press for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley. I have been on a trip out of Colombo, after a very long time. Hence the delay in reviewing and visiting blogs. Blogger is playing havoc with me. I cant comment on many blogs, I've resorted to commenting on their facebook pages instead. Even autocorrect is not working now which makes blogging so hard.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

The House that is Our Own by O Douglas

The description says Scottish novel and that encapsulates the entire description, though a good part of Canada also comes into play. I read about this book on Cornflower Books and was pulled in by the rather old fashioned narration. Two ladies, one is Isobel just comfortably off not rich lives in a little hotel in London. She is happy with her circle, her small accomplishments and the stuff she dies. A bit humdrum butshe is happy. Kitty has been widowed after a long spell of caring for a sick husband and has lived eight months with Isobel. Kitty feels the need to change, to get to grips with actually living, not merely existing. She finds a flat she falls in love with, does it up beautifully, pulling out her furniture which has been in storage and making in the process a veautiful home for herself. For me this brought such a feeling of joy, reading about the minute details of housekeeping needed to set this house in order. Isobel though Scottish has never had a hankering for Scotland, upto now. She embarks on a sort of discovery program starting with Glenbucho a tiny village, promptly falls in love with the village, the inhabitants, the scenery and a house which she buys, moves in. Tge story could have ended there because the two women made huge decisions, vast changes in their respective lives. It goes further though with Isobel's adventures into a trip to Canada and how romance enters the picture. I found the book so descriptive that I lingered over every stage. The hotel, the change to the London flat, the Scottish village and house - the minute housekeeping details added to the lustre of a good old fashioned read. A way of life which is very idyllic and which I hope still exists. I am grateful I was introduced to this Author.The bookwas purchased by me from Amazon

Monday, January 16, 2023

The Secret of Summerhayes by Merryn Allingham

This was the sequel to the book which initially introduced all our characters. Everyone is much older, many have died, WWII has commenced, Summerhayes is now being used as a base for soldiers and still life in this small part of England goes apace. The story winds on at an easy pace. People still have romance, despite odds, the spectre of war looms over all. The ones who are really old still live in anticipation of something good turning up, and it does. Family always an important thread in stories, becomes even more important in this one. Preordained, destiny, karmic forces call it what you will all come to life here. Then we have the darker elements of greed, arrogance, envy, the feeling of superiority of birth that some people can never get quite rid of despite democracy and a steady levelling in society. The final chapter in the Summerhayes story brought all the characters to life and more. It had many very human elements woven into the story and this was delightful. Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

The Body In The Shadows by Nick Louth

What looked to be an assault case gone dangerously close to murder, uncovered a complicated series of events - murder, then a clever mastery of a seemingly unbreakable system and millions robbed. Part of a series, and I will be looking out for them, the story winds its way through investigations and police procedures which reiterates the fact that most mysteries are solved by sheer plodding. Witha soupcon of luck and a dash of intuition. This was an excellently crafted story with excellent detective work thrown in It held me so interested that I finished it in one Sunday read. Descriptive especially inner cities lifestyle (which for me looks so far removed from more genteel London) was particularly good. Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Friday, January 6, 2023

The Girl From Summerhayes by Merryn Allingham

Part of a series, this is the first book. 1914 england not an easy place for women. Still sadly very much second class citizens and it seemed the more money you had, the restructions and controls on women were tighter. Elizabeth is living at least from the outside an idyllic life. Her father particularly dotes on her, but on one thing he is adamant. She must make a good marriage, and unlike her mother who married for money and married into trade, very mucha downer, Elizabeth must marry into a well established family. Despite massive animosity between the two neighbouring houses of brother and sister, Henry is persuaded to step in and find an alliance for his niece. The problem arises because Elizabeth has set her sights elsewhere. This was not just a family saga. Emotions of envy and jealousy and even murder and to a lesser extent vandalism all played a part. The setting of rural England against the backdrop of a looming World War, the beginning of the end of service to the great houses and the strengthening of the suffragette movement all added historical interest and a commentary on society as it was then. Characterization was spot on. The husbands portrayed both bullies - one using his wealth the other his background over their subservient wives, children cowering against threats, the independent spirit amongst younger people both Aiden and Elizabeth being in point were well portrayed in the story. Sent by Bookouture for an independent review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Monday, January 2, 2023

Death at Crookham Hall by Michelle Salter

My reads of late have been excellent. Blending the mystery genre with a fair amount of information on society of the relevant times, it has given me a wider understanding of social mores and expectations of the time. This has been relevant to the outcome of those stories. This story was no exception. London 1920 still in the grip of male control. one dead suffragette, one missing suffragette and for the first time ever two women competing for the post of MP. Iris Woodmore is a reporter covering theelection. She is also the daughter of the dead and has not got over the sudden death of her mother - dead drowning in the Thames. When whilst covering the election, she is told by a watchman that her mother actually jumped into the Thames deliberately, it sets Iris off on an investigation which uncovers many incidents in the past including a murder and a scandal of domestic violence, sexual assault and abuse which rocks the town. Small towns have closer knit communities with tighter controls against outsiders and in 1920 a hierarchy that you ignored at your own risk. Aristocracy, wealth and power held sway very much displayed in this story. Sent by Boldwood Books for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley. Very good reading.