I am delighted and also saddened to share my review for Dear Jane by Allie Cresswell. Delighted to read the next book in The Highbury Trilogy and saddened because it is the final book in the trilogy!
I have loved all three books and if you have not yet had a chance to read them and you like Austen’s Emma, then have a look at the book by Allie, she has used Emma as the inspiration behind them and has done such a wonderful and beautiful job. It has been my absolute pleasure to read each one.
Let’s have a look and see what Dear Jane is all about…
The final instalment of the Highbury trilogy, Dear Jane recounts events hinted at but never actually described in Jane Austen’s Emma; the formative childhood years of Jane Fairfax and Frank Churchill, their meeting in Weymouth and the agony of their secret engagement.
Orphaned Jane seems likely to be brought up in parochial Highbury until adoption by her papa’s old friend Colonel Campbell opens to her all the excitement and opportunities of London. Frank Weston is also transplanted from Highbury, adopted as heir to the wealthy Churchills and taken to their drear and inhospitable Yorkshire estate. Readers of Emma will be familiar with the conclusion of Jane and Frank’s story, but Dear Jane pulls back the veil which Jane Austen drew over its remainder.
I had been looking forward to reading the final instalment of the Highbury Trilogy, and now I have I do feel a little sad that it is over.
The Trilogy started with Mrs. Bates of Highbury, followed by The Other Mrs. Bates and finally ending with Dear Jane. Each story has takes on a main character and explores their family, friends and acquaintances. Dear Jane focuses on Jane Fairfax, she had a minor role in Emma and Allie Cresswell has made her into the major role, and I will add she has done it superbly.
Jane is taken in by the Campbells and is treated like a daughter with all the privileges that come with one whom lives within a certain class in society. Jane is to be a companion to the Campbell’s daughter Rowenna. Jane’s life is mapped out for her and she is well aware that at some point in the future she will have to make her own way in the world.
I absolutely loved this story, well let me be honest I have loved the whole trilogy. The author has captured the tone and writing style I like when I read the older classic lit books. I love to read about the “ladies”, I say ladies but often they are very far from lady-like with their barbed comments. there are several of these comments within the book as even though some see Jane as an equal, not everyone does.
Dear Jane is told over several years and follows Jane and Rowenna, I have to say that Jane has the patience of a saint as she coaxes Rowenna. But actually even though Rowenna was a bit of a pain, I also really liked her and got to understand her shyness and insecurities.
With society and the standing within society being so important with those in the upper echelons there is a focus on marriage, or rather how much will be brought into a marriage, both on a monetary and also positional platform. Marriage is a business deal rather than one of love, though there is love. Who falls in love and with whom is something I will let you discover for yourselves!
Romance, courtship and falling breathlessly and hopelessly in love is in equal measure with many a furtive glance, stifled giggles and the occasional swoon. Though things often appear to be simple it is not always the case. For some the road to marriage and love appears straightforward but those behind the scenes may have had a hand to stay the route, keeping the recipients unawares.
The story just oozes that old classic literature style. The mannerisms, dress and fashion, conversation style, society and etiquette all feel so right. Mix into this a storyline that has uncertainties, heartbreak, hope and trouble and that was me hooked and avidly reading.
I would say you could read each as a stand-alone, but you know what… Just go and get the whole trilogy and then just sit down, put your feet up and just relax and read.
This book, well, the whole trilogy gets a Highly Recommended from me.
was born in Stockport, UK and began writing fiction as soon as she
could hold a pencil.
She did a BA in
English Literature at Birmingham University and an MA at Queen Mary
She has been a
print-buyer, a pub landlady, a book-keeper, run a B & B and a
group of boutique holiday cottages. Nowadays Allie writes full time
having retired from teaching literature to lifelong learners.
She has two
grown-up children, two granddaughters, two grandsons and two
cockapoos but just one husband – Tim. They live in Cumbria, NW
I have been a huge fan of Tarn Richardson’s The Darkest Hand Trilogy and I am so excited and delighted to be welcoming you all to have a look at the fabulous new look covers for this fabulous and Highly Recommended trilogy. Tarn has recently moved to Red Door Publishing and I wish him all the best for this new journey.
I first became aware of this fabulous trilogy when I read the short prequel called The Hunted. This is action packed from the very start and was when I first got to meet inquisitor Poldeck Tacit. This prequel is available free for download from Amazon and is the start to an absolutely amazing trilogy. If anyone asks me about some of the best books I have read, this series always gets a mention! Get your free copy of The Hunted HERE
In the bustling streets of Sarajevo in June 1914, the dead body of a priest lies, head shattered by the impact of a fall from a building high above. As the city prepares for the arrival Archduke Franz Ferdinand, grim-faced inquisitor Poldek Tacit is faced not only with the challenge of discovering why the priest has been killed but also confronting other menaces: the demon rumoured to be at large in the city and the conspirators of the Black Hand organisation who plan to assassinate the Archduke.
With terrible danger only ever one step away and his private demons silenced only by a strong drink, THE HUNTED introduces us to the damaged soul that is the unorthodox Catholic inquisitor Poldek Tacit. It is a world both like and unlike our own but in which the Inquisition, is alive and well yet existing in the shadows; in which history is poised to take dangerous and unpredictable paths; where evil assumes many horrific forms, from werewolves to the institutional slaughter of the trenches; and the threat to humanity (in all senses of the word) – and to love – is ever constant.
After reading The Hunted I wondered how on earth this author could maintain such a frenetic pace in a full length book? Well not only did he deliver a story he did it in a very intricate way.
The Damned follows and I realised what sort of journey I was on. Referred to as Dark Fiction, for me this series covers many genres. Historical fiction, fantasy, crime, thriller, alternative history, if you love reading any of these or like mystery, thriller and suspense then this is for you as well.
Here is a snippet of one of my reviews… “I fell in love with a little e-book called “The Hunted”. It had so many things going on its 45 pages, I couldn’t help but wonder how it would transfer into a longer book, nevermind a trilogy of them. Tarn Richardson has brilliantly put together a huge story with a vast array of memorable and unique characters. I have loved some, loathed some and have been very wrong in my opinion of some. For me this shows what a great author he is, he has managed to bring his characters and his books alive for me in the words he has written. It is like reading a film. There has been a huge amount of research gone into this book and it shows, through the way he has intertwined his world into our own world history.”
The Fallen and then The Risen just cemented my love for this trilogy and I was gutted when I realised that I had come to the end of my journey with Polek and the other fabulous characters. This trilogy for me was simply sublime reading, it ticked so many boxes because of the many genres it spans. The attention and research to historical events is brilliant and very evident. There is conspiracy and intrigue at every turn as Poldeck battles his own demons and investigates others. This is a trilogy that was perfect for me and I think deserves far more attention than it has had. It is my sincere hope that as Tarn has now moved publishers The Darkest Hand gets the notice, attention and acclaim that it deserves.
So let’s have a proper look at the covers …
Now when it comes to covers I am one of those that tends to prefer the cover of a book I see. So for me I loved the original ones, but I to say that I am impressed with these new ones. I love that the original main colour was kept and the imagery is very suited to each book and link in to the main story. I will definitely be buying these new copies when they are published.
Tarn Richardson was brought up in a remote house, rumored to be haunted, near Somerset. He has worked as a copywriter, written mystery murder dinner party games and worked in digital media for nearly twenty years. He lives near Salisbury in England. The Damned is his debut novel, the first in a series of three featuring tortured Inquisitor Poldek Tacit.
Having grown up in Somerset, he now lives in Salisbury with his wife, the portraiture artist Caroline Richardson.
I am delighted to be sharing my review for Twisted by Steve Cavanagh. Steve’s previous book Th1rt33n was an absolute corker of a read, and I will say that if you think Twisted will follow the same path you will be mistaken, instead Twisted is a very different animal indeed!
BEFORE YOU READ THIS BOOK I WANT YOU TO KNOW THREE THINGS:
1. The police are looking to charge me with murder. 2. No one knows who I am. Or how I did it. 3. If you think you’ve found me. I’m coming for you next.
After you’ve read this book, you’ll know: the truth is far more twisted…
Well how to even start a review of this book… the title… Twisted, yes it certainly suits the book. It is Twisted and full of twists from the synopsis and the 3 things you should know right through until the end. There is a murder, yes the police will charge the murderer even though they haven’t got him yet, they don’t know who it is, and the real twist is that if you discover who the murderer is then you are the next victim… Right keeping up so far?!!!! Good!
Open the cover of the book and the title page reads Twisted by Steve Cavanagh, the next title page…What! Wait a minute! Two Title Pages! haha yes there are two of them and it reads… Twisted by J. T LeBeau who the flaming hell is J.T LeBeau? The next page I came across was an Author’s Note that was very intriguing and signed by the author LeBeau. This is the start of a deceptively clever book that me turning pages as it gradually pulled me further into it’s plot.
What to tell you about the story! Well, I am going to use a line from the authors note at the beginning of the book “From here on in, don’t believe a single word you read.”, as I write this I am sniggering because as I read the line at the beginning it wasn’t till the end that I realised how prophetic it would actually turn out to be!
This is supposed to be my review or my thoughts about a book I have read, but it has left me at a bit of a loss for words. I wont tell you anything about the plot or the characters for fear of spoiling the story. So instead I am keeping this very simple…
This is a ‘twisted’ murder, mystery, crime, thriller read with a ‘twisted’ psychological kick to it. It is deceptive, clever at times bloody and at others times jaw-dropping when you you come across the twists. It blind sided me on occasions and now I have read the book I can see the whole picture a little more clear… which means maybe I now know the identity of J.T LeBeau 😱 or do I?😉
This gets a highly recommended from Me! 🙂
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be great 🙂 xx
Well hello once again! I was going to post this yesterday but as I was taking part in the Publication Day Review for Jaded by Rob Ashman I decided I would change the day for My Week In Books rather than have two posts on one day 🙂
Another month gone!!! April has been a mix of sunshine and showers and a bit windy thanks to Storm Hannah, but my garden survived pretty unscathed, thank goodness.
This week has been a better one as far as my reading has gone and I have managed to read a five books.
So let me share the books I have read this week…
The Queen of Wishful Thinking by Milly Johnson.
I have several books by this author and, do you know what? I have never actually read one! I saw a review post by the fabulous Linda at Linda’s Book Bag for one of this Authors books. As I had just finished reading one book and deciding which to pick up next, Linda’s enthusiasm for Milly Johnson made me go to my TBR and pick up The Queen of Wishful Thinking.
This is a good sized book at just short of 500 pages. I will tell you it was so good that I read it in one sitting! Yes it was a brilliant read that captivated me completely. I am really looking forward to reading the other 7-8 that I have and obviously buying the ones I am missing.
Dead Inside by Noelle Holten
If you are a Book Blogger then I am sure you have seen Dead Inside by fellow Book Blogger and now Debut Author Noelle. Check out Noelle’s Blog at Crime Book Junkie I have been excited to read this book and I had been hearing so many amazing things about Dead Inside.
If you like your crime thriller reads to be hard hitting, emotional deeply intriguing and want a real belter of a read then you seriously NEED to pick this book up when it is published. As soon as I had finished Dead Inside I immediately nipped over to Amazon to pre-order the next book in the Maggie Jamieson series. A fabulous debut and one that I would Absolutely and Most Definitely recommend.
Spring at the Little Duck Pond Cafe by Rosie Green
I was mooching around on my kindle not quite sure what I wanted to read next when I came across this gorgeous cover. It is the first instalment in the Little Duck Pond Cafe series. It is a short read at 127 pages but it is a wonderful intro to a wonderful sounding community that Ellie finds herself drawn to. I am definitely looking forward to reading the rest of this one.
Step Sister by Jennifer Donnelly
I was a lucky recipient of this paperback book via Readers First. When it arrived I immediately picked it up to read, one of those right books at the right time things…
This is the story of what happened to the Ugly Sisters after Ella was whisked away by her Prince. I love a chance to remember childhood fairy tales and I do admit that Cinderella was one I really liked. The author has done a fabulous job of keeping the magical fairy tale feel in her story but also injecting moral aspect that I really, really enjoyed. This was a fabulous escapism read on a rainy April afternoon.
The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
When I read a Hardback book I always take off the cover so it doesn’t get damaged and also so I can see if there is any other details hidden underneath…I love these Magpies on a white cover. The significance of the Magpies are part of the story in this fabulous read, I have had this book since last year and I am so pleased I have finally managed to read it. It is one of those books that has a sad almost bleak style to it, this is not a criticism at all in fact it is this style that really draws a reader in, it plays on the emotional ties that you start to build with the character. This is a fabulously atmospheric and creepy feeling read that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Books In The Post
I have been very lucky with books this week. I enter a few giveaways, yes it is a bonus to win but I do it to help share the #BookLove it is my way of helping the promotions and Blog Tours in the hope that my tweets will help other readers find “new to them authors”. So, as well as winning a copy of Step Sister by Jennifer Donnelly, I also won a paperback copy of…
A Sister’s Sorrow by Kitty Neale
My copy came from the wonderful Avon Books in a Twitter Giveaway, I have seen but as yet not read any books by this author and I am really looking forward to starting this one.
The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins
I recieved my copy of this Hardback, and I have to say it is gorgeous, from Penguin Random House. I entered a Giveaway on Cathy’s blog and you can find her wonderful Blog at What Cathy Read Next. I had seen many wonderful reviews about this book and I am looking forward to reading this so much.
Baxter’s Requiem by Matthew Crow
This is another book I had got on my reading radar, and this paperback copy is one that might just be my next read! Many thanks to Anne who has an amazing Blog at Random Things Through My Letterbox. If I say that Anne has said that she ” adored it” and also that she “adore this author.” I think this is one I will also enjoy!
Well, that’s me rounded up for the week. My total books read for the month of April was 15 taking my Goodreads tally to 72 out of my planned 200 for the year, so still on target.
My Netgalley tally is 18 on my shelf with 2 of those slipping into the older than 3 months, but with my 88% Feedback Ratio I think I can live with that for the moment, but I do hope to get them read soon!
I am delighted to be one of the readers who was invited to take part in sharing reviews for the Publication Day of Jaded by Rob Ashman.
This is the 4the in the DI Roz Kray series and it is an absolute beaut of a read. So why don’t I show you the synopsis so you can see what it is all about…
A body washes up on a Blackpool beach, tortured and shot through the head.
A man is found in an alleyway with his throat ripped open.
A woman is murdered in a hospital bed.
What connects them?
DI Roz Kray’s private life is in turmoil as she struggles to unravel a baffling case and DCI Dan Bagley is hell-bent on making her working life a misery.
Billy Ellwood is a chameleon. What forced him to disappear eighteen years ago? And what was the promise?
When Kray makes a shattering discovery it rocks her world to the core. The stakes could not be higher. She’s left with no choice.
This time … it’s all or nothing.
A small confession from me here… I have read the first book in this series and I absolutely adored the main protagonist Roz Kray, but somehow books 2 & 3 have fallen through the cracks on my reading, so i can honestly say that book 4 does work well as a stand-alone… the author does give snippets and details of past stories and I think he does this without giving too much away.
Jaded is in someways quite a powerful and emotional rollercoaster of a journey for a couple of the characters. Even though they have differences, there are also similarities. Their personal stories are heartbreaking and anchors them to the past. I know, I know this is so vague, but I’m not giving anything away as to spoil your reading of this book!
Roz has to deal with an every increasing workload and for the most part she is doing this without the support of her superior. One thing about her is her stubborn-ness, she is not one to let her superior get one over on her, or belittle her, this stubborn streak has a way of getting up the nose of a certain superior! Thankfully she has the respect and support of a good team who work alongside her. Roz goes with her gut instincts and has the time to listen to other theories and suggestions from colleagues as the cases are being dealt with.
The cases themselves are dark, brutal and are somewhat of a bloodfest. The case are different in their execution or should I say the means of execution are different in each case!
Billy Ellwood, Wow what a character and then some. His storyline is superb in so many ways and his involvment is brilliant. Is he a good guy? Is he a bad guy? I ‘aint tellin’. Decide for yourself!
Before I started this book I had struggled a little with reading a book in one sitting, usually taking two days for a book of this length. This book knocked that out the water, I started this and finished it in one day, I literally could not put it down. I was immediately drawn into what was a wonderfully brutal open chapter… that just sounds so wrong…”wonderfully brutal” but I know crime readers will know exactly what I mean.
This is a crime thriller that really doesn’t hold back on any of it’s punches and each one is fully loaded for maximum effect. if you like hard, dark, brutal crime, thriller reads then this is one for you!
A brilliant book and one I would Highly Recommend!
Rob is married to Karen with two grown up daughters. He is originally from South Wales and after moving around with work settled in North Lincolnshire where he’s spent the last twenty-two years. Like all good welsh valley boys Rob worked for the National Coal Board after leaving school at sixteen and went to University at the tender age of twenty-three when the pit closures began to bite. Since then he’s worked in a variety of manufacturing and consulting roles both in the UK and abroad. It took Rob twenty-four years to write his first book. He only became serious about writing it when his dad got cancer. It was an aggressive illness and Rob gave up work for three months to look after him and his mum. Writing Those That Remain became his coping mechanism. After he wrote the book his family encouraged him to continue, so not being one for half measures, Rob got himself made redundant, went self-employed so he could devote more time to writing and four years later the Mechanic Trilogy is the result. Rob has published Those That Remain, In Your Name and Pay the Penance with Bloodhound Books and has since written Faceless, This Little Piggy and Suspended Retribution which will also be published by Bloodhound. When he is not writing, Rob is a frustrated chef with a liking for beer and prosecco, and is known for occasional outbreaks of dancing.
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx
I am delighted to share my review for Blackpool’s Daughter by Maggie Mason. I am a big fan of Mary Wood she also writes as Maggie Mason. It was an absolute pleasure to have the chance to take part in the Blog Tour.
Before I get carried away I must mention that Mary will be running a #GIVEAWAY so to take part please leave a comment on this post. Mary is responsible for the giveaway and will contact the winner. I have no involvement in the giveaway. **Please note that I approve posts on my site, I may not approve straight away today because I will will sleeping after working a night shift! Good luck everyone 🙂 xx
Right then, let’s have a look and see what this book is all about…
The perfect read for fans of Mary Wood, Kitty Neale, Val Wood and Nadine Dorries
Clara is forced to flee herhome as the Nazis invade the beautiful island of Guernsey
Separated from her mother, far away from anything familiar, she is at the mercy of a cruel shopkeeper. Clara is worked like a dog, but the warmth of her Blackpool friendships will go far to save her.
Julia just wants to find her beloved daughter – but the trials of war will keep them far apart.
They will meet again – but the war will change everything for mother and daughter…
Having read the previous book called The Blackpool Lass, (you can read my review here) I was very keen to see if this author could pull at my heart and emotions again! Well! Oh my goodness! Yes she could! Blackpool’s Daughter is such an emotional rollercoaster that took my emotions once again through the wringer.
The story is of Clara and her mother Julia and I first met them on Guernsey, they do not have the best of life their but do make the most of what they have. As the threat of Germany taking over the island looms ever closer, the decision is made to evacuate the children and younger people off the island to the mainland. Clara eventually ends up in Blackpool while Julia remains behind. A change of circumstance makes it possible for Julia to find the fare for passage as well. She wants to find her daughter… but where she is, well no-one seems to know. She is given a rough idea of where Clara was possibly placed.
Oh Clara my goodness… Blackpool sounds like such a perfect place for her to be posted, but it’s not the Blackpool I imagine. Instead Clara is forced to work like a slave for such her obnoxious landlady. What should be a place of safety is in fact dangerous, dirty and an absolute nightmare. Clara’s situation just seems to go from bad to worse with every decision that is forced upon her. Clara is caught up in the back streets, full of danger and deceit. The Author really shows her research in this book as there are so many mentions of relevant things.
Julia does not find it any easier. The anguish at watching her daughter leave is so heartfelt and I really did feel for this strong character. She is one of those silent women that bear all that is thrown at her but not saying anything about. This silent strength is something that she will definitely need as she tries to earn enough to try and find Clara. The strength her mother has is something that Clara has also taken and she will need all her strength to get through some really tough situations.
Heartbreak and emotion are very strong themes in this book and at times it is gut wrenching to read some of the dilemmas and situations the characters find themselves in. The second world war has such a huge impact on families, communities and the nation as a whole. Pain and suffering is evident, but also that resolve to try to carry on as best as you can is in evidence. But with this resolve there are also the minority that see the war as a means to profit, it is these people who are the real danger.
The stories of the two women are told in quick alternating chapters. Each chapter left me wanting to know what was happening with the other, to see how they were faring and coping. But it was not only the two women that had my interest it was also the people they met along their travels and whose lives they become part of.
Along with the heartbreak and feeling of sadness there is also another emotion, it’s called hope and comes in various different other aspects and from other characters. Hope that mother and daughter will survive, hope they will be united, hope that others are re-united and, hope that futures and lives will eventually get better.
This is such a fabulous read, once I started I really did not want to put it down. The story hit me right from the start and this author really knows how to put her characters and also this reader through the emotional mill.
If you are a fan of historical fiction and family saga’s then you really should check this author out. Blackpool’s Daughter get a Highly Recommended from me! xx
See what other Book Bloggers thought…
Maggie Mason is a pseudonym of author Mary Wood. Mary began her career by self-publishing on kindle where many of her sagas reached number one in genre. She was spotted by Pan Macmillan and to date has written many books for them under her own name, with more to come. Mary continues to be proud to write for Pan Macmillan, but is now equally proud and thrilled to take up a second career with Sphere under the name of Maggie Mason. A Blackpool Lass is her first in a planned series of standalone books and trilogies set in her home town of Blackpool.
Mary retired from working for the National Probation Service in 2009, when she took up full time writing, something she’d always dreamed of doing. She follows in the footsteps of her great-grandmother, Dora Langlois, who was an acclaimed author, playwright and actress in the late nineteenth – early twentieth century.
It was her work with the Probation Service that gives Mary’s writing its grittiness, her need to tell it how it is, which takes her readers on an emotional journey to the heart of issues.
I am delighted and excited to be sharing my review today for Time Will Tell by Eva Jordan. Though the digital version has been out a little while and that is when I bought my copy, yesterday marked the Paperback Publication Day. So Happy Publication Day to you Eva xx
So let’s have a look and see what this fabulous book is all about…
Writer, Lizzie Lemalf, and her loving but somewhat dysfunctional family are still grieving over the loss of a much-loved family member. Lizzie is doing her best to keep her family together but why does the recent death of a well-known celebrity have them all in a spin? The police suspect foul play; Lizzie and other family members suspect one another.
Lizzie begins searching for answers only to find herself being dragged back to the past, to 1960’s London to be exact, and to the former life of her father, that up until now she has never been privy to. Every family has its secrets but how can the past hold the key to a present day celebrity death? They say the past comes back to haunt you. Surely the truth will out? Maybe, but only time will tell…
This is the story of family and the different generations and told mainly in the present over the festive period, and at times I was taken back to the era of the grandparents when they lived in london. There are elements of mystery and suspense that have made their way into this dynamic family. For Lizzie she finally starts to understand and learn what and who her family are.
In the present there is Lizzie, for me she is the link to the whole story. She is a daughter, a mother, a good friend, a partner and a tough lady. This toughness is something that I think is in her DNA, especially when you about her family roots…
I am really struggling with this review because at it’s very basic level this story is about a family, what the different generations have experienced depending on when they lived and worked. But there is so much more to this wonderful story than that. What makes it hard is that there are so many things I want to say but at the same time I don’t want to give any part of the story away and potentially ruin it for readers who have not yet read this book!
Every family member is involved, from the main characters right down to the children who have their tuppence worth to add. It is this attention to detail that adds to the fabulou-ness of the story and the writing.
There are several storylines that are told and what I found about them was the realism that they gave. At times they are shocking , at others there is sadness and other times there is pain and hurt. But throughout all of this there is a sense of togetherness and love, This is a family that is loyal to it’s core and this is extended to those that they take under their wings.
By the end of this story I felt a huge swell of emotion, and those last few chapters…well there is a saying by a wonderful character “life is an adventure” … and boy he wasn’t wrong!
This is a captivating read that has it’s fair share of shocks, but shows that the bond of loyalty, love and trust is unbreakable. It is a captivating , beautiful and wonderful read that I would Highly Recommend.
Eva Jordan, born in Kent but living most of her life in a small Cambridgeshire town, describes herself as a lover of words, books, travel and chocolate. She is also partial to the odd glass or two of wine.
Her career has been varied including working within the library service and at a women’s refuge. She has had several short stories published and currently writes a monthly column for a local magazine. Eva also works on a voluntary basis for a charity based organisation teaching adults to read. However, storytelling through the art of writing is her passion and as a busy mum and step mum to four children, Eva says she is never short of inspiration!
As well as writing, Eva loves music and film and of course she loves to read. She enjoys stories that force the reader to observe the daily interactions of people with one another set against the social complexities of everyday life, be that through crime, love or comedy.
It is the women in Eva’s life, including her mother, daughters and good friends that have inspired her to write her debut novel, 183 TIMES A YEAR, and her second novel, ALL THE COLOURS IN BETWEEN. Both a modern day exploration of domestic love, hate, strength and friendship, set amongst the thorny realities of today’s divided and extended families.
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be brilliant 🙂 xx
I am delighted to be sharing my review for Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel. This is the first book in the Frey & McGray Mystery series. If you like Gothic fiction then you really need to check out this series, this first book was brilliant!
Let’s have a look and see what it is all about…
1888: a violinist is brutally murdered in his Edinburgh home. Fearing a national panic over a copycat Jack the Ripper, Scotland Yard send Inspector Ian Frey. Frey reports to Detective “Nine-Nails” McGray, local legend and exact opposite of the foppish English Inspector. McGray’s tragic past has driven him to superstition, but even Frey must admit that this case seems beyond belief…
There was no way in or out of the locked music studio. And there are black magic symbols on the floor. The dead man’s maid swears there were three musicians playing before the murder. And the suspects all talk of a cursed violin once played by the Devil himself.
Inspector Frey has always been a man of reason—but the longer this investigation goes on, the more his grasp on reason seems to be slipping…
Every now and again I really like to read a good gothic novel. I came across this one on Amazon and decided to give it a go as it seemed to have an old investigative style of murder mystery to it and a touch of superstition. It caught my eye and I am so glad it did as it is a fabulously gothic thrillery read!
Enter Frey and Gray, they are just two wonderful and very different characters, very chalk and cheese. The setting is 1888, Edinburgh and Inspector Frey is sent from London to assist Detective “Nine Nails” McGray in the mysterious and bloody death of a violinist.
Frey is very much a no nonsense type of guy, strictly about the facts. A sharp dresser and follower of proper etiquette. Now then, Mcgray, you could not get much further in the opposite direction than him. He is the master of all knowledge when it comes to the occult and superstition. He definitely follows his own style when it comes to his fashion sense. On meeting for the first time, these two clash! The exasperation from the both of them shows, though more so from McGray, as it would not be fitting for Frey to give such a show of distaste, but believe me he does have his moments. The dynamics between the two are so good and kept me entertained at the various asides. The seriousness of their work does however allow them to find a sort of compromise, or should I say they start to form a somewhat professional respect as the story continues.
Over the course of the story I got to know more about the individual characters and their own stories. Frey and McGray have very intriguing backgrounds that gradually emerged. As this is the first in the series I thought there was a good foundation laid for building further n their characters and filling in more about them.
The timing of this book is at the time Jack the Ripper is at large, so why would a London send one of it’s investigators to Scotland when the death of Mary Kelly has just occured? Having the mention of such an infamous villain at the beginning of this story helps to add to the tone that is to be set as the story continues. A story of murder and malevolent intent.
Their case for the violinist is one that is also bloody and macabre. It gets them scratching their heads at this closed room murder. Who did it? Why was it done? And more importantly…how was it done? The intrigue through the questioning and deducing kept me on my toes as the two made their way through their investigations.
If you are looking for a wonderfully vivid and atmospheric gothic thriller then you really should cast your eye at this author. There are more books in this series and I am so looking forward to getting to see what Frey & McGray get involved in next and also hopefully learning more about what makes them tick.
This book gets a Highly Recommended from me!
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx
I am delighted to be sharing my review for Kin by Snorri Kristjansson. Kin is the first book in the Helga Finnsdottir Mystery series. It is a historical fiction and mystery read that is absolutely fabulous.
So let’s have a look at the synopsis and see what it is all about…
He can deny it all he likes, but everyone knows Viking warlord Unnthor Reginsson brought home a great chest of gold when he retired from the longboats and settled down with Hildigunnur in a remote valley. Now, in the summer of 970, adopted daughter Helga is awaiting the arrival of her unknown siblings: dark, dangerous Karl, lithe, clever Jorunn, gentle Aslak, henpecked by his shrewish wife, and the giant Bjorn, made bitter by Volund, his idiot son.
And they’re coming with darkness in their hearts.
The siblings gather, bad blood simmers and old feuds resurface as Unnthor’s heirs make their moves on the old man’s treasure – until one morning Helga is awakened by screams. Blood has been shed: kin has been slain.
No one confesses, but all the clues point to one person – who cannot possibly be the murderer, at least in Helga’s eyes. But if she’s going to save the innocent from the axe and prevent more bloodshed, she’s got to solve the mystery – fast . . .
It is the summer of 970, the grown up children of Viking Warlord Unthor Reginsson and his wife Hildigunnur re due to visit. Karl, Aslak and Bjorn are the siblings and along with their respective spouses there is a tension surrounding the visit. Helga is the foster daughter of Unthor and Hildigunnur, she is curious to meet the her siblings. Unlike the rest of the family, Helga is a quiet girl, she is clever, mysterious and is the main protagonist.
Oh! I loved this book such a huge amount. The first half is setting the scene and is more historical fiction, this I adored so much and would have quite happily read more about this era in history. When I think Vikings it’s always the raids first and farmers second. This book falls into the second, Unthor is a farmer and family man, though he does have a more serious presence and strength to him when the need arises.
There are quite a few characters to get to know and in all honesty it didn’t take long. The characters who live on the farm were introduced first, then the siblings as they arrived. It was the ideal way to get to grips with everyone and start to form initial thoughts as to whether I would like them or not… Helga I really did like and also the enigmatic matriarch Hildigunnur who is such a strong and impressive character.
Though by far Helga was the star, she is one of those characters that see’s all and keeps it to herself. She tends to be overlooked and blends into the background, she is a people watcher and is able to pick up on the various tells people have in the behaviours, mannerism and during conversations. This stands her good stead as the story then progresses into the mystery section of the story.
The mystery section is the observations and deductions of Helga as she finds herself trying to work out the culprit. She uses her observations to gradually piece everything together. Given the time this novel is set in, the investigative process is very quiet and a nice change to read something that does not include technology. It is investigating at it’s very basic level, about reading people and situations, looking at every aspect of the scene and trying to think of the right questions to ask as much as discovering the answers.
I really enjoyed this book so much, the author provided a good amount of background to this very dynamic family. Yes a slower paced story to begin with but one that that speeded up as the urgency to find the killer increased. It was a book I found myself having to slow down the speed I read, I didn’t want to miss a single word and at times it was almost unbearable as I was so eager to turn the page and see what was going to happen next.
I liked the so much about this book, the characters, the setting, the history, the mystery and then there were the italicised sentences, call them Helga’s conscience if you like, they were her random thoughts as she was mulling over the information she was collecting. As well as really liking them they also infuriated me… in a good way… as they provided more questions than answers, they left odd thoughts from Helga hanging, a good addition by the author to add more intrigue.
In case you had not already guessed it… I Love This Book! It slotted so nicely into 2 genres that I love reading – Historical Fiction & Crime/Mystery. The slower pace fitted the histfic wonderfully well and especially the year of 970. As the pace increased, it it was more suited to the crime and mystery of the book. This is a series I am looking forward to reading more of.
It is one I would Highly Recommend.
Snorri Kristjansson was born in Reykjavik in 1974. He has since lived in Norway, where he found a passionate aversion to skiing, London and now Edinburgh with his wife, where he dabbles in classical acting and stand-up comedy while teaching English.
His fantasy series, The Valhalla Saga, and his crime series, Kin and Council, are published by Jo Fletcher Books. They both have Vikings in, so expect moderate cursing and beards.
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or a share would be amazing 🙂 xx