My Blog List

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.