It’s 1910 in New York and wealthy socialite, Vera Garland is determined to make it as a reporter. Not the society page, but real, honest and investigative reporting.
Going undercover as Vee Swan, she uncovers the abysmal conditions in the tenements on the Lower East Side. And almost loses her life in the process. Recovering from her injuries and dealing with her father’s sudden death so soon after her Uncle Percy, she is taking a break from both of her identities.
While working on the mystery of her father’s death as well as marching for equal rights and pay for women, she hears that the Hope Diamond is in New York at Cartier’s! The rumors surrounding the stone are legendary. But how much is just hype to entice a better price?
Vera is intent on proving the bad luck theory or disproving it. It doesn’t hurt that it has brought her to an obnoxious magazine publisher who is also a blackmailer and could be responsible for her fathers’ death.
For her plans to all come together she will need help. When she goes to Cartier’s to visit Pierre’s Russian jeweler for assistance, she finds out there is even more intrigue to come and she may not come out of this with the story she wants nor the man.
First, let’s talk about this cover! Absolutely stunning. The story was so real, with all of the ugliness of the women’s rights movements and the men who were violent and did their best to keep the women where they belonged. Allegedly. This is a historical fiction book that speaks to many of the same issues today. Still no equality across the board. But there will always be a Vera out there pulling us along and shouting until our voices are heard.
I loved all of the historical bits about Cartier and the Hope Diamond. It has a long and well-documented history.
Very Well Done!
NetGalley/ January 28th, 2020 by Atria Books
A Gaslight Mystery #2
Dickens and Wilkie are back in the second installment of the Gaslight Series. Along with some of our favorite characters from the first book.
It’s the year 1853, in November and Dickens and Wilkie have been summoned by Inspector Fields to the scene of a murder. The murder of a well-known artist whom they recognize immediately. Wilkie’s brother Charles has worked with the artist who now lies dead along with a painting that has also been slashed beyond recognition. The only thing they know is the title of Winter of Despair.
But they also find several other paintings of people indulging in rather sinful behavior. What makes it difficult is there are no faces. Just hints of hair color or style, clothing style are there. Hoping to flush out the killer Mrs. Collins hosts a dinner with all of the artist’s subjects and there are certainly enough poorly behaved people to go around. But which one is the killer?
Sesina is still working for the Collins family and Charley is her favorite. He’s fragile and is acting awfully suspicious. Sesina is going to make it her business to make sure he is not accused of killing the said artist.
Full of intrigue, history and amateur sleuths, this new series is turning out quite well!
What I love most about this series is these are real people and real events. The story is a wonderful mix of facts and speculation that makes a good read.
NetGalley/ January 7th, 2020 by Severn House Publishers
The Girls with No Names pulls readers into the gilded age of New York City in the 1910s when suffragettes marched in the street, unions fought for better work conditions—and girls were confined to the House of Mercy for daring to break the rules.
Life in the early 1900s was very confining for women and girls. Even the wealthy families who live in their mansions just down the road from the mysterious House of Mercy.
Luella and Effie belong to one of those families. Their father is charming but away a lot and their mother comes off as cold and a bit distant. Effie was born with a heart defect that will eventually kill her. Her older sister Luella has always looked after her. They are good girls with very little to do.
One day playing by the forest they hear beautiful music playing and their curiosity gets the better of them. What they find is a gypsy camp. Luella, a dancer is amazed and never wants to leave, but Effie needs her. All summer they hang out with the gypsy camp and it is here Luella runs after she and Effie find out a secret their father is keeping.
Feeling betrayed and angry Luella has no intention of obeying her father or ending up like one of the girls at school being sent to the Mercy House. She just needs a plan.
And just like that, she disappears. Effie is devastated and believes her father has finally had enough of his rebellious daughter and parked her in the Mercy House.
Effie is determined to find her sister and the way she gets into the house is brazen and fearless. But once behind that door, the house is anything but merciful. This is just another workhouse for girls who won’t knuckle under to society’s rules. How will she get out of this place where no one and nothing is what it seems. Not even their names.
Effie meets a girl named Mabel and we hear her story as well. With all the lies everyone is telling it will take a miracle for her to find her way home. If she doesn’t die in the process.
Historical Fiction with a lot of facts. These places existed everywhere. Magdalene Laundries, all more of the same. If a girl has an opinion she could easily never see the light of day again. Everyone in this book was suffering in some way. Secrets and lies told to protect reputations and instead simply end up making things so much worse.
NetGalley/January 7th, 2020 by Park Row
An unforgettable historical about true love found and lost and the secrets we keep from one another from an award-winning author
Set in London and covering a decade in the life of Selina Lennox, one of the bright young people whose life is one party after another without thought to consequences or propriety, and whose life is turned upside down by a chance meeting with Lawrence Weston. A painter who aspires to be a famous photographer.
Selina has a wild affair with the man but she understands that she must marry for money and not love. And she does. But she has a special gift from Lawrence that will forever change all of their lives.
There was a lot of truth in this beautiful and moving story of love, loss, and redemption. I am not ashamed to admit I cried more than a little. The characters were flawed and real, with a backdrop of one war over and another about to begin.
A truly beautiful story from a talented author!
NetGalley/ December 10th, 2019 by Thomas Dunne Books
Iona Grey has a degree in English Literature and Language from Manchester University, an obsession with history and an enduring fascination with the lives of women in the twentieth century. She lives in the rural North West of England with her husband and three daughters. She is the award-winning author of Letters to the Lost, and her new book The Glittering Hour is on sale October 17, 2019 (UK) and December 10, 2019 (US)
She tweets @iona_grey and is on Instagram as @ionagrey
We’ve made it to the halfway point! Wednesday. What is on everyone’s NetGalley radar?
This week I am reading a good mix of genres.
A Farm – to – Fork Novella from Lynn Cahoon. I love her novellas and updates on this series!
Some very good Historical Fiction from M.J. Rose
Have to toss some serious stuff in there as well. Rachel Maddow is my girl crush!
And of course, we can’t leave out the twisty, spooky, thriller by Erica Spindler.
This is what I’m reading this week, how about you?
In a world of growing nationalism, a quiet few are determined to resist. This gripping historical mystery explores the darkest days of the early 20th century.
Peter Steiner has given us a work of Historical Fiction with a lot of truth in the mix.
WWI has been lost. Germany is in chaos and the new government isn’t anything to brag about. Everyone is in some way corrupted. Detective Willi Geismeier has a front-row seat to the rise of Adolph Hitler.
You have Fascism and Communism and violence everywhere. This is a country that needs a leader desperately. Unfortunately, that leader comes in the shape of Adolph Hitler. Everything is politicized and investigations of crimes become impossible.
We also have the viewpoints of Maximillian and his wife, Sophie, a reporter. Together they will fight to stay alive, knowing that things are not going to end well for many.
This was a historical fiction story with a whole lot of truth behind it. It moved fast and I really enjoyed seeing Munich in the 1920s through the eyes of those who were there. Good plot, good characters, and a fast pace. Well Done!
NetGalley Reviews/ Severn House September 3rd, 2019
A QUAKER MIDWIFE MYSTERY #5
Quaker midwife Rose Carroll must fight bias and blind assumptions to clear the name of a friend when a murderer strikes in nineteenth-century Massachusetts . . .
This is not the first Edith Maxwell book I have read, however, it is the first one in this series. I love a good historical fiction mystery and yet I wasn’t sure if the Quaker part would be a good fit for me. I should never have doubted Ms. Maxwell.
Rose Carroll is a Quaker midwife living in the small town of Amesbury. It may be small but prejudices and judgy attitudes are alive and well. Especially with Mayme Settle. She is not nice and disapproves of everyone. Including Rose’s friend Bertie and her partner.
When Mayme is found dead, a sketchy witness points the finger at Bertie. With her friend the main suspect in a murder, Rose gets down to business and opens a pandora’s box of long-held grudges, money troubles, and some hanky panky. For this one, Rose is going to have to pull out all the stops to get her friend out of trouble!
For me, one chapter into the book I felt such a calm. Rose’s character is just a calm, good person and I felt so much respect for her. I also learned a lot about the attitudes of men and some women towards the female gender. I am extremely glad I didn’t give birth back then!
Now I shall go read the other 4 books!
NetGalley/September 10th, 2019 by Beyond the Page