Nuanced characters with shades of grey

I ordered this book from England and am so glad that I did!  This is the first mystery by M.B. Shaw (aka Tilly Bagshaw) who is a modern Agatha Christie or Ngaio Marsh.  All of the elements for a successful series are in place and I hope that Ms. Shaw keeps writing.  The characters are well developed and nuanced; each is unique and has a backstory.  The mystery is solved through the protagonist’s acute observational skills.  Iris Grey, amateur sleuth, is an artist who brings a certain sensibility to the small English village where she has rented a cottage.  Getting to know her and the victim, successful author, Dom, and his family kept the pages turning.  Highly recommended for mystery lovers with a British bent.

The English Wife (and her circle)

This is the first book that I have read by Lauren Willig. She is well known for her Pink Carnation Series and has also written standalone novels. The English Wife, (a standalone), was a page turner. To me, the book was like Jane Eyre crossed with Rebecca. If those are novels that you enjoyed, you may well enjoy The English Wife too!  Thanks for this book NetGalley.  It will be published in January.

A very enjoyable historical novel

Product DetailsThis novel comes out in the U.S. in August 2018.   Mark your calendar!  I read the British version which has already been published.

Mary Kirk, Bessiewallis Warfield, Diana Spencer…their stories entwine in this historical novel that is largely based on truth.  It is a page turning and fascinating look at life in America and Europe from 1912 until 1997.

Mary and Wallis became friends in their teens;  Wallis married an American pilot; Mary married a French pilot.  Wallis divorced and subsequently married Ernest Simpson. You probably all know who her third husband was… but do you know who Mary married next?  I won’t spoil the book by telling you.

Mary and Wallis’s stories come alive in a glittering London.   The story of Alex and Rachel, who are impacted by Diana’s death, takes place in 1997.  Choices are made by all with implications and consequences.  I truly enjoyed this book and suggest it highly to fans of historical fiction.

Product DetailsTo be published in May 2018.  Thanks for the advance read NetGalley. Clare   O’Donohue has written several series. I was familiar with her quilting mysteries which I enjoyed. I was excited to see that the author had written something in a new series and that it was set in Ireland. The descriptions of places in the Emerald Isle did not disappoint. I also enjoyed watching the relationship between Finn and Hollis evolve, each has a distinct approach to life at the start of the novel. Anyone who has been married or in a relationship will be able to relate. The mystery itself was a bit too based on chases for me. In that way, I think that perhaps the book could have been more tightly written. Nonetheless, a good read. #BeyondThePale #NetGalley

A home worth visiting

This is the first novel that I have read by this Australian author…and I am glad that I did! The story of a home and the people who lived in it is told with warmth and insight. We follow the elderly seller of the house as she is moved to assisted living. She has her memories though and we experience her earlier life and relationships. In the present, a young mom tries to understand her life and parenthood. A warm and lovely book!  Thanks NetGalley.

#HerdingCats #NetGalley  I learned about this talented comic writer from my daughter. The cat cartoons have been especially enjoyed in our household but there is more. Sara Anderson humorously and effectively shows us our anxieties and issues. Try this book. Being able to laugh breaks the hard things down into manageable bites. It will help you to process and digest your experiences!

Product DetailsProduct DetailsI’ve already blogged about the first three books in this series; they are The Seven Sisters, The Storm Sister and The Shadow Sister.  So…that makes The Pearl Sister, book four, with three more  still to come.  I was very eager to read this book so ordered it from England as it has not yet released in the U.S..  (The U.S. cover is on the left and the U.K. one on the right.)   As in all of the novels in the series, this one is about a sister who was adopted as a baby.  CeeCee, learns about herself and her birth family along with the reader.  Parts of the novel take place in the present while the story of CeeCee’s birth family takes place in the past.  The parts of the novel join together well.  The characters are vivid and their stories well developed.  Australia is the setting for much of the novel and the historical background was fascinating; I learned about pearl divers, the fate of children who were sent to orphanages because of being aborigine and Caucasian and about aboriginal art and beliefs.  Some suspension of disbelief is required but I was more than willing.  If you enjoy historical/present tense novels with a good story in a long book, this one is for you!

Dive into this series

Product DetailsThe trend for Scandinavian mysteries continues.  My daughter pointed out an additional trend in these northern novels, when she observed that they include so many enticing food details and scenes of ordinary, daily life.  I wanted to eat with Nora and to visit the island of Sandham where she lives for the summer.

Viveca Sten is an author I did not know.  I just finished Still Waters and have immediately plunged into Closed Circles, the next in the series.  In her own country, Ms. Sten has sold millions of books.  I think that U.S. readers could also enjoy hunkering down with her novels.  The main characters come fully to life in a way that makes me want to follow them through the next books.  The final solution to the mystery is not the strongest part of the book but I did not mind as I so enjoyed everything else in this fun read.  Highly recommended.