THE MOLTEN CITY by Chris Nickson

Molten City (A Tom Harper Mystery Book 8) by [Chris Nickson]

Detective Superintendent Tom Harper senses trouble ahead when the prime minister plans a visit. Can he keep law and order on the streets while also uncovering the truth behind a missing child?

Detective Superintendent Tom Harper has a bad feeling about the Prime Minister making a stop in Leeds. It’s September of 1908 and everyone is on edge. Whether it’s the Suffragettes or the massive amount of unemployed men, Tom has a feeling this is not going to turn out well.

As if that isn’t enough, someone has dropped him a letter claiming that a young boy, Andrew, was stolen from his family fourteen years prior. Looking into the case he finds very little in the file. In the middle of trying to hold off a riot over the Prime Ministers visit, he is also in the middle of a child abduction ring and some of the people involved do not intend to be captured.

Will Tom get things under control before the entire city goes up in smoke?

Very Well Done!

NetGalley/ Severn House July 7, 2020

 

 

 

Paris Never Leaves You by Ellen Feldman

Paris Never Leaves You

A story with Paris, a book shop, a publishing house and set in the past and present sounds like a great idea.

Charlotte was a difficult character to know. I didn’t feel as if I knew any more of her story than what we knew at the beginning.

What was her sin? We know people who did whatever they had to do to survive the Nazi regime. They lied, they took food from the enemy, some even informed on their own people. But Charlotte wasn’t one of them. And where this war is concerned, people aren’t so forgiving of those who did what she did.

The entire thing felt disjointed and shallow. Not my cup of tea.

NetGalley/ June 2nd, 2020 by St. Martin’s Griffin

 

 

THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY by NATALIE JENNER

Chawton, England was the final home of the great Jane Austen. It’s little more than a bump in the road, but tourists come from all over the world in hopes of finding something of Jane there.

What is left is the great house, the grounds, and the cottage where Jane wrote. In the great house, Frances Knight lives with her ailing and horribly mean father. The house and her father are falling apart and Frances seems unable to anything but wait. With the cook, Josephine, and 16-year-old Evie Stone, she makes do.

Evie is scary smart. And for the past two years, she has been staying up all night to catalog the over two thousand books in the library, where she has found quite a few serious treasures and secrets!

In a series of events we end up with an odd group of people, brought together by their love of Jane Austen. An American movie star, a young widow, the village doctor, and a local laborer. There are wonderful supporting characters here as well. While this group at first has only one thing in common, their passion to preserve the legacy of Jane Austen. Ah, literature, the great equalizer of humanity!

Each of them has suffered horrible losses and unimaginable hardships and as they get to know each other in their pursuit of a common goal, they find they aren’t so different after all. And I did not see that ending coming! Well Done!

I absolutely adored this mix of fact and fiction! I can’t believe this is the author’s first published work. The characters were perfection and I will definitely read this one again!

NetGalley/ May 26th, 2020 by St. Martin’s Press

 

In the LION’S DEN by BARBARA TAYLOR BRADFORD

 

In the Lion's Den (House of Falconer #2)

 

The House of Falconer #2

James and his Uncle are back in the second House of Falconer book. While his uncle is busy with the newspaper, James has gone from working in the shop of Henry Malvern to being Malverns managing director.

From 1889 to 1892 we watch as James goes through the good, the bad, and the jaw-dropping with all of the poise we love him for, as his feelings toward Alexis go from disapproval to romance. But James has recently been in touch with Georgina Ward and she has a secret to share.

All at once his carefully plotted life plan is turned upside down. The question is will he be the better for it or not.

I would recommend reading book one first, so you know the backstory.  Has there ever been a bad BTB book? NO.

I hope we will see more of this character!

Well Done!

NetGalley/October 6th, 2020 by St. Martin’s Press

 

 

 

A Study in Murder by Callie Hutton

 

A Study in Murder (A Victorian Book Club Mystery #1)

Book One of A Victorian Book Club Mystery

Lady Amy Lovell writes mysteries. In England. In the 1890s. Her father isn’t happy about that and wishes she would use a different name at least.

The tale begins in Bath, England where Amy has received a letter from a mystery person telling her that her fiance’, Ronald St. Vincent, has been engaging in some disturbing and illegal activities. She immediately breaks off the engagement.

A  few days later as Amy is awaiting the arrival of a fellow book club member, Lord William, who should show up at her door but the recently ex-fiance’. She has him sent to the library but when she enters all she sees is his dead body with a knife in it.

As Lord William arrives to find a screaming Amy, the police also arrive and promptly suspect her of murder.

Now she and her friend will have to try and find out who did the deed before Amy goes to the gallows!

I enjoyed this first book in what I hope will be a series. It started slow but was soon going well. The characters were well done. Historical Fiction Cozy Mysteries are the best! You learn so much while you try and solve the mystery.

NetGalley/ May 12th, 2020 by Crooked Lane Books

 

 

 

 

The LOST ORPHAN by Stacey Halls

The Lost Orphan

1754 London. Not the most pleasant time in history. And not a time kind to women. Poor Bess Bright works all day hawking shrimp to make barely enough to scrape by.

When she has a random encounter with a young man that leaves her pregnant, her only option is to give up her daughter. Leaving her at the Foundling Hospital is gut-wrenching for her. But Bess isn’t one of those mothers who won’t come back. She fully intends to come for her daughter as soon as she can. Leaving a token of half a whalebone heart her child’s father gave her, as an identifier.

Six years later and Bess goes back for her daughter only to be told that her daughter was picked up the day after arriving by a woman with the correct identifier. Distraught and confused she is determined to find her child.

I enjoyed the writing in this tale. The atmosphere was easily imagined and while it was horribly sad, it was also full of courage and the relationship between a mother and her child.

Well Done!

NetGalley/ April 7th, 2020 by MIRA

 

 

 

 

Murder at Enderley Hall by Helena Dixon

Murder at Enderley Hall (A Miss Underhay Mystery #2)

A Miss Underhay Mystery #2

It’s the summer of 1933 and Kitty Underhay is still reeling from all of the things that happened at The Dolphin. Where her long-absent and a very criminal father has come and gone in a cloud of suspicion.

But the one good thing to come out of it all is finding out she has family! Hoping it may bring her more information on her mother, who went missing in 1916, Kitty happily accepts her cousin’s request to come to Enderley Hall and stay a bit. Get to know the aunt and uncle and maybe have a bit of fun.

Kitty and her maid, Alice, feel something is off the minute they enter the home. Everyone is twitchy and no one seems to know anything about her mother or the visit she paid them just before she disappeared.  Nanny Thoms remembers though and she gives Kitty just a snippet here and there before she is found at the bottom of the kitchen stairs.

Important papers are missing, people are being murdered and thank goodness Matt arrives to help investigate what is going on.

This is the second in the series and I enjoyed it just as much! Matt and Kitty are such strong characters and I can’t wait for more of their adventures!

NetGalley/ March 19th, 2020 by Bookoture

 

 

 

 

 

SIN EATER by MEGAN CAMPISI

Sin Eater

The Sin Eater walks among us, unseen, unheard
Sins of our flesh become sins of Hers
Following Her to the grave, unseen, unheard
The Sin Eater Walks Among Us.

In 16th Century England, 14-year-old May Owens, an orphan, has been condemned to a life sentence for stealing bread. It could have been worse. Her punishment is to be a Sin-Eater. Apprenticed to the old Sin-Eater. She can’t speak and none should speak to her except the dying. It is she who will sit and hear all of their sins and take them into herself by eating the food that represents each sin.

She is treated brutally and marked with a collar around her neck and an S tattooed on her tongue. She has very little learning except for the letters in her name. And she can barely understand the old woman who is teaching her.

Called to the castle, they enter to hear the sins of a dying woman. A governess at court. When they return to eat the food, there is a deer heart on the coffin. But May nor the old woman heard her confess to murder. When the old woman refused to eat it, she is killed and May is left on her own.

As more women die in the castle, May thinks she may have figured out why. And along the way figured out who she really is. Now she just needs to figure out who! Before she is the next to die.

This was in no way what the blurb said. The Handmaid’s Tale meets Alice in Wonderland.  I think that is a disservice to the book. This was a dark, gritty tale full of mystery and legend with characters both tragic and humorous. May Owens may have been born to be much more than her life became, and her strength and determination was that of a warrior.

Most of the book was hauntingly sad but this was the 16th Century. The one definitely made a mark on my heart.

NetGalley/ April 7th, 2020 by Atria Books

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Woman in the Mirror: A Novel by Rebecca James

The Woman in the Mirror: A Novel

They wanted her land. She didn’t want to give it. He made her fall in love with him. And then he labeled her a witch. She can hear the horses coming. She knows he has betrayed her. But if she is to die, it will be on her own terms and heaven help Ivan de Grey’s family and the cursed land where he will build his enormous Gothic home, Winterbourne Hall. On the bluff overlooking the sea, where once a woman had lived, loved and died.

And so it stood in Cornwall in isolation, looking gloomy and slightly scary.

In 1947, Alice Miller is living in London but can’t wait to get away. Memories of horrible things haunt her. When she sees the advert about a governess position at Winterbourne, she jumps at the chance. Her job will be to care for Captain Jonothan de Grey’s children. Twins, a boy and a girl, 8 years old and motherless.

Alice falls in love with the children as well as their father. The children seem to adore her but when they start behaving alarmingly like little demons and turn on her she is suspicious. The house seems to be cursed. When her one night with her boss leaves her pregnant and half-crazed, Jonothan tells her they are going to Paris. He drops her off with the nuns and hopes she will be safe there.

In the present day, Rachel Wright, just opening her gallery has also just received a letter for solicitors that her Aunt Constance has died and left Winterbourne and everything to her, her niece. Rachel is stunned. She was adopted as an infant and has been searching for her mother for a long time. She sees this as a chance to find out what happened to her mother and who was her father?

The answers she finds are alarming and sad. The house itself is dark and foreboding and you just know there is a dead body or two waiting to be found!

There are multiple timelines here. And we hear Alice’s and Rachel’s and someone or something else. Something malicious that wants them all to die.

Rachel gets answers and decides to stay in Winterbourne. After all, they have destroyed the mirror and the house does seem lighter, but you can bet this isn’t the end!

The timelines were a bit much but looking back, it was the only way the story could be told. And Oh what a story it is!

A good old fashioned ghost story! Witches, Curses, Women driven mad, Scary Children, I would say this one had it all!

NetGalley/March 17th, 2020 by Minotaur Books

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The BORGIA CONFESSIONS by ALYSSA PALOMBO

The Borgia Confessions

‘Under Palombo’s skillful hand, the entangled world of the Borgias comes vividly to life, exposing the dark facets of class structure and the all-consuming greed that comes with ambition–and love.” – Heather Webb, internationally bestselling author of Last Christmas in Paris and Meet Me in Monaco

 

This is my favorite type of historical fiction. The players are real and the facts are real. Palombo has taken the players and the facts and woven them together with what could have happened and created a book I couldn’t put down.
Rome, in 1492, Rodrigo Borgia has been named Pope Alexander. Never mind how he got the job when he had multiple illegitimate children and a mistress living next door. The Borgia family was known for being greedy, ambitious to a fault, and eliminating the competition as this mockery of a pope is intent on one thing. Making sure his children, as well as himself, are all-powerful and wealthy is the goal.
There have been many attempts to explain the Borgias. And while Lucretia is in reality not such an awful person, she has been painted with an ugly brush as a lover of both her brother and her father. Although I nor the author saw any evidence of that.
There was not one redeeming character in this story. They were all equally easy to hate.
Even so, the writing was superb and the story, while not pretty, was fair and informative.
I loved it and would have no problem recommending it.
NetGalley/February 11th, 2020 by St. Martin’s Griffin