Margreete’s Harbor by Eleanor Morse

Margreete's Harbor: A Novel

Set in Maine’s coastal area during the late ’50s through the ’60s, this novel takes us through the lives of Margreete and her family.

Margreete is an independent woman who is slowly forgetting who she is and was. So when she accidentally starts a fire in her kitchen, her children know they need to do something. Margreet isn’t going anywhere as she flits through the book wondering what these people are doing in her house.

Her daughter Liddie and her husband and children move in with her to try and keep her in the house and out of a nursing facility. None of them are happy about it and soon we are dealing with an unhappy wife who just wants to play her cello, kids who are dealing with the turbulence that was the sixties, a husband who can’t be quiet about the Vietnam War and who cheats on his wife. All the while Margreete is fading into the background, almost forgotten herself.

Against the backdrop of all the craziness of the sixties, there were a lot of things happening in this book. But the one thing that wasn’t was communication. A very dysfunctional family dealing with a matriarch who doesn’t even know who they are. The question of when to let someone you love live a better life outside of their home is never an easy one. I felt so bad for Margreete and by the end of the book she was almost invisible.

NetGalley/ April 20, 2021 St. Martin’s Press






WHAT YOU NEVER KNEW by JESSICA HAMILTON

What You Never Knew

Meet the Bennett family. June, May and their mother. Imagine finding out that everything you believed about your family was a lie.

The book is told from the POV of May and June. One is dead and one is alive. June is all grown up now with her own family. When her sister dies, she finds out that the place they loved the most, Avril Island, which her family owned and where her father disappeared in a mysterious way had not been sold as their mother told them, but is still sitting waiting for her.

Feeling lost and looking for answers, June heads to the island. But not everyone is welcoming and there are as many secrets as trees. Things begin happening that are hard to explain. And the answers she gets are shocking.

The point of view May tells is rather disjointed, but then she is dead. I have to say the ending left me unsatisfied. The writing seemed a bit stiff. This is not anything like The Lovely Bones that it is compared to.

NetGalley Reviews/ April 13th, 2021 by Crooked Lane Books



THE GOOD SISTER by SALLY HEPWORTH

The Good Sister

Fern and Rose are twins. And as different as two people could be. Rose is married and seems to be happy with life except for the fact that she can’t get pregnant.

Fern is more of a free spirit but has severe sensory issues. The world and it’s inhabitants are a bit too extra for her.

But they both have secrets. Rose protected Fern from their crazy mother. Or did she?

Rose manipulates Fern into having a baby for her. And as soon as she is pregnant Rose turns into someone Fern doesn’t know at all.

I loved Fern. She has all these issues but she finds love with someone who understands them perfectly. But in the end, will she be able to stand up to Rose? Or will her mother actually save the day and expose who is the sociopath here?

That was some ending! Did not see that coming!

NetGalley/ April 13th, 2021 by St. Martin’s Press

 

 

 

Lost in Paris by Elizabeth Thompson

Lost in Paris

When a deed to an apartment in Paris turns up in an old attic trunk, an estranged mother and daughter must reunite to uncover the secret life of a family matriarch—perfect for fans of The Little Paris Bookshop and The Beekeeper’s Daughter.

Hannah Bond fled Florida for a quiet life without her mother, Marla. Marla is unstable at best and an alcoholic to boot. Her specialty is choosing good for nothing men. Well he was good at the black eye part. So Hannah has fled to London to lead Jane Austen tours through the countryside. And she loves it.

Marla is about to shake up Hannah’s quiet world. Since Hannah isn’t answering her calls, she shows up in London at Hannah’s flat. She is here to solve a mystery and she needs Hannah’s help. Hannah isn’t too keen on anything to do with her mother. But Hannah is a bookworm and we can’t run from a good adventure. Marla has a key and a deed to a Paris apartment.

There are also old newspaper clippings about the death of Andres Armand. A famous writer who great-grandma Ivy seems to know a lot about. The two of them set off for Paris to find a perfectly preserved apartment that hasn’t been entered since 1940.

These are the things I dream of. A mysterious key, a secret Paris apartment and lots of nude paintings of Granny Ivy.

They are keeping the apartment, no matter what.

Hannah and Marla are not close at all. Hannah resents her mother for not being there for her and Marla comes with baggage and lots of sketchy behavior. Is she drinking again? Can Hannah trust her? 

All I had to see was “a secret apartment from 1940” and I was hooked. This was such a good look at mother and daughter dynamics. And the secrets. The half-truths and the misunderstandings. But there is always a chance at forgiveness and acceptance.

What a lovely story.

NetGalley/April 13th, 2021 by Gallery Books

THE UNKINDNESS OF RAVENS by M.E.Hilliard

The Unkindness of Ravens: A Greer Hogan Mystery

A GREER HOGAN MYSTERY

Meet Greer Hogan. Librarian and murder mystery lover. A puzzle solver. A widow whose husband was murdered. Who would have thought in the smaller Village of Raven Hill she would again be stumbling over a body? In the library no less!

Unfortunately, the body is also a friend of Greer’s from school. Who in the world would want her dead? When Greer finds a cryptic note left for her by the victim, she decides this time she is not going to let it go.

There have already been a couple of deaths that the police say are accidents. But are they? Who are these people in this small village and what kind of dark secrets are they harboring?

Stirring up all kinds of trouble with her questioning, Greer is soon the object of the killer’s fury.

This was a good first book in the series. Greer is a strong female with a few soft spots. I would have liked to have heard more about her background and I’m sure we will.

Well Done!

NetGalley/ April 13th, 2021 by Crooked Lane Books

When the Stars Go Dark by PAULA McLAIN

When the Stars Go Dark

A detective hiding away from the world. A series of disappearances that reach into her past. Can solving them help her heal?

The beginning of this book had me imagining all kinds of reasons Anna is hiding out from her own past and present. A Detective in San Francisco, it’s obvious that something has happened to make her leave the city and head to Mendocino, where she lived as a kid.

The day she arrives the first thing she hears is about a missing girl in the area. This is bringing up a lot of emotions and flashbacks from her time living here with her foster parents. A girl went missing then as well. And that crime is still unsolved. When another girl goes missing Anna realizes she may be exactly where she is supposed to be at the moment. With all of her experience and knowledge of predators, she can’t help but get involved.

There are some true crimes and names here that you will recognize. There is a lot about trauma and human nature. This one had everything. I’m sure I bit my lip at least twice. What I loved about this book was the rawness of the emotions. There was no attempt to pretty up the facts. They tore at your heart to the very end.

When you are brave enough to face your demons, then maybe you can reclaim your life.

NetGalley/ April 13th, 2021 by Ballantine Books



THE BOHEMIANS by Jasmin Darznik

Dorothea Lange has had her share of pain in her life. Surviving polio was a major one. Left with little to no self-confidence and a limp, she finds her passion in a small photography shop in New York.

In 1918 she arrives in San Francisco. A city still rebuilding itself and full of men returning from war and the hideous behavior of the people toward the Chinese. She is way out of her comfort zone until she meets Caroline Lee, a mixed-race woman with a mysterious past who has also known her share of sorrow.

Caroline introduces Dorothea to the Monkey Block, a large colony of artists of every medium. Caroline is an expert seamstress and clothing designer and it is her dream to open her own salon. Dorothea wants to open her own photography studio.

Caroline introduces her to all the names we know and love, such as Maynard Dixon, Ansel Adams, Mabel Dodge, Frida Kahlo, and more. Dorothea falls hard for Dixon, a brilliant artist but a horrible lover.

Dorothea and Caroline open the photography studio and do very well. Things are going well, they are making money and Dorothea is neck-deep into this new world of art and political upheaval as many see the Chinese as less than human and want them out of the country. Sound familiar?

I so enjoyed reading about how Dorrie got to San Francisco. The 1920s were not kind to minorities or women but Dorrie pushed a lot of boundaries. Everything in her life is changed with an act so horrendous it sends Caroline far away and Dorrie is on her own.

In the first half of the book, I was really interested. Then there came the part about her feeling guilty for being gone from her sons for so long while taking pictures documenting internment camps and the people suffering during the depression. Wait…she had children? When? With who? Not another thing was mentioned about it and it felt unfinished. The rest really made no sense.

The people in this book are real and the author kindly elaborates on them in the end. All in all, I was rather confused by the end.

NetGalley/ Expected publication: April 6th, 2021 by Ballantine Books

DEADLY EDITIONS by PAIGE SHELTON

Deadly Editions (Scottish Bookshop Mystery)

A Scottish Bookshop Mystery #6

Edinburgh bookseller, Delaney Nichols, is at the Cracked Spine Bookshop working hard as usual, when a mysterious person in a cloak brings her a note. The note is from good old Shelaigh O’Connor, who at age 70 is still causing trouble. This time Shelaigh has come up with a treasure hunt.

A treasure hunt that will net the winner a first edition of The Strange Case of Dr.Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson! And that’s not all, the winner also gets her entire library and some cash. Delaney is definitely in the race.

After their first meeting of the group of treasure hunters, Edinburgh finds itself with several home invasions. Some look a lot like Shelaigh’s previous tricks. When they find a man dead, a man Shelaigh knew, people are suspicious. Until Shelaigh herself goes missing.

Is this part of the game? A red herring? Or has a killer taken her out of the game permanently? And could Delaney be his next target?

This is such a good series. I really enjoy the characters and the setting.

NetGalley/ April 6th, 2021 by Minotaur Books






THE DROWNING KIND by Jennifer McMahon

Be careful what you wish for.

It’s 1929, and 37- year- old Ethel Monroe, watches her husband play with the local children and is desperate to give him a child of his own. She’s tried everything, including superstitious legends about keeping a robin’s egg in your bra. Nothing is working. Until her husband takes her to a fancy hotel in Vermont where there is a spring that seems to be able to cure the sick.

The fancy new resort caters to people coming to take the waters. Well, not the town people. They know all about the springs. When the owner befriends Ethel she also tells her a secret. The spring can grant wishes. But we all know nothing is free, there is always a cost. And the cost Ethel will pay will ensure that her family and their family will always be at the springs.

Cut to now and we meet Jax. Jax is a social worker. She works with trauma victims and children. Maybe she chose that path because her sister was haunted by mental illness. Lexie hasn’t been in touch with reality for a long time so when Jax finds nine missed calls from her sister and a voice mail that is scary and manic, she ignores them. The next day Lexie is found dead. Drowned in the pool full of spring water. Black as the devil’s soul and already quite crowded.

As she cleans up the house and all the paperwork and journals that Lexie had, she realizes that Lexie was researching not only the history of their family but the history of the property and the springs. Measuring them at different times and areas and recording the depth and what she saw. Now she wants Jax to join her.

McMahon is brilliant at ghost stories. Tales we tell around the campfire and scare ourselves silly. I am not ashamed to say I lost a fingernail to this book. Spooky, ghastly, ghostly, this one is twisted and horrific. Just the way I like them.

NetGalley/ April 06, 2021 Gallery Scout Books

VALCOUR-The 1776 Campaign That Saved The Cause of Liberty by JACK KELLY

Valcour: The 1776 Campaign That Saved the Cause of Liberty

The wild and suspenseful story of one of the most crucial and least known campaigns of the Revolutionary War when America’s scrappy navy took on the full might of Britain’s sea power.

Valcour is about the people involved in the 1776 three-day battle of the fledgling American Colonies against the pesky Brits. In the summer of that year, word came that the British were coming from Canada.

The Americans had wanted to maintain their hold on the upper rivers and knew that to do so they would have to make a stand. And what a brave stand these soldiers who were really just volunteers, made. A stand that would change the course of history.

You will recognize the names. Washington, Schuyler, a General who would become Alexander Hamilton’s father-in-law by marrying Eliza. We also see a different side of Benedict Arnold. A bit rougher than some, but a brilliant strategist.

While Washington routed them in Trenton, Arnold sent the British Gates packing in a three-day battle on Lake Champlain and forced a retreat.

This is a well-researched book. I think we all are familiar with Benedict Arnold as a traitor, but he really is so much more. These men were young and untried but passionate about not being under the thumb of Britain. This was more than a history lesson. These were real people who overcame incredible odds to hold up our fledgling country against more powerful enemies and prevailed.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one.

NetGalley/ April 6th, 2021 by St. Martin’s Press