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

 

 

 

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 ORPHAN’S DAUGHTER by SANDY TAYLOR *RELEASE DAY*

The Orphan's Daughter: A heartbreaking and absolutely unforgettable page turner set in Ireland by [Taylor, Sandy]

The setting is Ireland in 1924. Nora Doyle is a thirteen-year-old girl, living in a rural area where the struggle for survival is very real.

She and her family live in a small cottage that is cold and cramped. She wants to escape being poor, but she doesn’t let it stop her smile.

One day as she and her best friend, Kitty, are watching another funeral procession they notice the big house on the hill. Nora really wants to see the place where her mother worked at one time and has now forbidden Nora from ever going there but won’t say why.

When Kitty talks her into sneaking into the garden, the adventure begins. They find an opening and in they go. The garden is beautiful and they aren’t the only ones there. A boy named Edward is there. The three form a fast friendship that has Nora spending all the time she can in their secret garden. But Nora is sneaking around going against her mother’s wishes. And Edward is the key to a family secret that could change Nora’s life forever.

This one tugged on my heartstrings. The brutal hardships, the loss, and even the friendships.

Well Done! The author pulls us in and doesn’t let go. I like that.

NetGalley/ February 5th, 2020 by Bookouture

 

The ORPHAN’S DAUGHTER by Sandy Taylor

 

The Orphan's Daughter: A heartbreaking and absolutely unforgettable page turner set in Ireland by [Taylor, Sandy]

The setting is Ireland in 1924. Nora Doyle is a thirteen-year-old girl, living in a rural area where the struggle for survival is very real.

She and her family live in a small cottage that is cold and cramped. She wants to escape being poor, but she doesn’t let it stop her smile.

One day as she and her best friend, Kitty, are watching another funeral procession they notice the big house on the hill. Nora really wants to see the place where her mother worked at one time and has now forbidden Nora from ever going there but won’t say why.

When Kitty talks her into sneaking into the garden, the adventure begins. They find an opening and in they go. The garden is beautiful and they aren’t the only ones there. A boy named Edward is there. The three form a fast friendship that has Nora spending all the time she can in their secret garden. But Nora is sneaking around going against her mother’s wishes. And Edward is the key to a family secret that could change Nora’s life forever.

This one tugged on my heartstrings. The brutal hardships, the loss, and even the friendships.

Well Done! The author pulls us in and doesn’t let go. I like that.

NetGalley/ February 5th, 2020 by Bookouture