Hostage by Clare Mackintosh
Are you a person who finds getting on an airplane to be an adventure or are you a nervous flyer? Either personality type may well be riveted by this thriller in which much of the action centers on a long haul flight from London to Sydney (20 hours in the air!). In some ways, the story is a take on a locked room mystery in that much of the action is confined to the plane and the stories of its passengers and crew. However, there is also backstory so some time is spent on the ground and with other characters.
The book’s protagonist, Mina, is on the flight when…a note is given to her. What does it say? How will it influence what she does? In order for there not to be spoilers, it is not possible to say more except that this is a story that may well put readers on the edges of their seats.
My only quibble with this story is that I did not absolutely love some of the characters and I don’t just mean the “bad” ones.. I do, though, admire Ms. Mackinstosh’s imagination and storytelling ability. Readers, remember that this is fiction!
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this title. All opinions are my own.
The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner
I was very excited to receive an e galley of this title; I knew that I wanted to read this book from the moment that I learned of its existence.
I have been reading a number of Jane Austen related works lately including Emma and The Other Bennett Sister. Furthermore, this book looked like it would appeal to those who enjoyed The Chilbury Ladies Choir, Dear Mrs. Bird and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, all of which I read and enjoyed. So…did the book live up to my hopes?
Yes, it did!
This novel tells the stories of a number of characters who were impacted by WWI and are living in the 1930s when the story begins. The characters either live in Chawton or spend time there. As savvy readers know, Jane Austen lived in this village.
Each of the main characters has a compelling back story and all have struggled in some way. Characters include a farmer, an actress, a very smart domestic worker, the owner of a home with ties to the Austens, a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher and more. Each is beautifully portrayed and is multi-dimensional.
The characters are brought together through their love of Austen. One of the pleasures of this book was the observations on Austen’s works and the influence and impact of her novels on the protagonists. Another delight in the book is the way in which the village comes to life.
This book is not filled with the kinds of actions that one finds in thrillers. Rather, it is a novel that takes its time. Readers will find that they are amply rewarded for staying with this gently paced novel. I recommend it highly.
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this title in exchange for an honest review. Note that this is Ms. Jenner’s first novel; I sincerely hope that it will not be her last!
The King’s Justice A Maggie Hope Mystery by Susan Elia MacNeal
I have been reading the Maggie Hope mysteries since the first title, Mr. Churchill’s Secretary, was published in 2012. The King’s Justice is the ninth in this historical mystery series. Any of the books can be read as a standalone but readers of the series will relate to familiar characters including members of Maggie’s family.
The King’s Justice is a complex tale. By the time that this story takes place, the stresses of war and Maggie’s work life (currently as a bomb disposal expert) are taking their toll. Maggie is smoking and drinking too much and pushing for intimacy in a relationship where it does not appear wanted.
Into this tense and chaotic life come new challenges. A Stradivarius violin has been stolen. Will it be connected to the bigger cases of the novel?
Maggie is working with many Italian conscientious objectors in the UXB squad. Why are they disappearing? Are they dead or alive? Where would they go? Who is responsible for what is happening?
As if this were not enough, an imprisoned serial killer from a prior case wants to see Maggie. He tantalizes her with the possibility of helping to solve another serial murder case that is being investigated, the one dubbed the Jimmy Greenteeth case. Readers will gradually watch the aspects of the story come together.
The author has done her research and posed some big questions. I learned a lot about how the Italian community in Britain was treated during WWII. There are also questions raised as to what justice is or should entail.
There are big themes here and a story that reads very quickly. My time with Maggie and her circle was well spent. I already am looking forward to where the author will takes me in the next novel in the series.
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this title in exchange for an honest review. I honestly recommend all of the books in this series.