My (last two) Week in Books (w/e 15th May 2022) #booklove #bookupdates #MeAndMyBooks

First things first, I want to say a huge and massive thank you for all the shares over the last couple of weeks. I was on annual leave, the first week I went up to see Mum and Dad, and the second week was some me time and a chance to step away from Social Media for a while.

As well as catching up with Mum and Dad I was able to read the odd book or two!

I have already published a couple of the reviews on my blog, so I have included a quick link. I have also managed to catch up with a few NetGalley titles as well 🙂

Outcast by Chris Ryan – brilliant action, adventure, conspiracy read. Full review HERE

A Most Private Bank by Andreas F. Clenow – intense, crime and suspense set in finance. Full review in a couple of weeks.

The Reckoning by Kerry Kaya – gangland, crime thriller and fab read. Full review HERE

Retreat to the Spanish Sun by Jo Thomas – it is a Jo Thomas book so need I say more! Gorgeous romance, review to follow.

We All Have Our Secrets by Jane Corry – family, secrets, contemporary fiction, fab read. Review to follow.

The Island by Adrian McKinty – tense mystery, family, secrets, crime, thriller. Full review to follow.

Codename Edelweiss by Justin Kerr-Smith – historical fiction, conspiracy, action, adventure. Brilliant book. Full review tomorrow.

Have a fabulous week ahead,

Happy Reading

Yvonne xx

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

May God Forgive by Alan Parks @AlanJParks #HarryMcCoy @RandomTTours @canongatebooks #crime #histfic #policeprocedural #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for May God Forgive by Alan Parks. This is a brilliant book and series, although I do still have the first two to read!!! I do have them and I really must get to them.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of the book via the Publisher –

Detective Harry McCoy returns in the suspenseful, atmospheric fifth instalment in Alan Park’s internationally bestselling thriller series.

Glasgow is a city in mourning. An arson attack on a hairdresser’s has left five dead. Tempers are frayed and sentiments running high.

When three youths are charged the city goes wild. A crowd gathers outside the courthouse but as the police drive the young men to prison, the van is rammed by a truck, and the men are grabbed and bundled into a car. The next day, the body of one of them is dumped in the city centre. A note has been sent to the newspaper: one down, two to go.

Detective Harry McCoy has twenty-four hours to find the kidnapped boys before they all turn up dead, and it is going to mean taking down some of Glasgow’s most powerful people to do it.

MY REVIEW

Wow! Wow! And Wow! This is a brilliant read and if you like your crime to be dark, murky and set in the 70s then you really need to pick up this book. In fact, pick up the series so far!

Harry McCoy, well what a brilliant character he is. He is the epitome of the 70s style copper. He drinks too much and smokes too much and he is suffering because of it. When he is given a case there are those who don’t think he is up to it due to his health. If you have read the previous books you will understand more of McCoy as a character, this latest book however does delve a little further into his past. Does it have connections with his present case? Well, you know what? Read the book and you’ll find out!

This is set in Glasgow in 1974. Three young men, as the synopsis states, have just been taken from a prison van. They had been charged with arson and the death of five people. Tempers are high within the community and the city. When one of their bodies is found there isn’t much sympathy for them. Just what they deserve, is the overall opinion.

Whatever the opinion is though, McCoy has a job to do, discover where the remaining men are, discover the motives and also deal with an apparent suicide. Not bad considering McCoy has just come out of the hospital!

I really enjoy this author’s writing, he does slip in some dialect, but nothing that is not understandable btw. He also does such a brilliant job of showing the reader the darker, murkier side of Glasgow. The tenements, the alley and back streets are not the places anyone would want to be, especially a copper. But McCoy is different, he knows these streets and while he isn’t afraid to walk them he is very wary.

Using his knowledge of the area and the locals he gradually pieces things together, well he thinks he does! This is the part of the book I adored, as the author teases the reader just as much as he does McCoy. It feels like things are just in grasp, but the answers are just out of reach, tantalisingly close but slippery and elusive. As I was r4eading this book I kept thinking, “I wonder if it’s…” and ” Oh what if…”. It definitely kept me turning the pages.

The way the author moves in between procedural and, well let’s say, slightly off the book, is great. It introduces the criminal and gangs to the reader. Some very nasty characters to say the least. It is a credit to the writing skill of the author who managed to give a sense of unease, danger and doubt as McCoy carefully walked the grey line between legal and illegal activities on the streets.

This book, in case you haven’t realised by now, is brilliant. I didn’t want it to end. The story is so addictive and draws in some worthy moral dilemmas. McCoy isn’t alone in his search for the truth, he has Wattie, at times a bit of a hapless character, but one who does have McCoys back. He also keeps an eye on McCoy, and yes, he does need a bit of looking out from time to time.

If you are looking for a series or a book that allows you to wander vicariously, yet safely through the underworld of Glasgow during the 70s then you need to have a look at these books. I started this series with the March one (Bobby March Will live Forever) but I did buy the previous two… I still have them to read! So, yes you can read it as a stand-alone but I for one, wish I had started this series at the very beginning.

Gritty, with some not altogether likeable characters, dark, murky, full of tensions, public opinion and an all-in-all amazing book to read. I would highly recommend it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

ALAN PARKS captures the dark beating heart of 70s Glasgow in his highly acclaimed Harry McCoy series.
Parks has spent most of his working life dealing with the production of images for Musical Artists, as
Creative Director at London Records in the mid-1990’s then at Warner Music. From cover artwork to
videos to photo sessions, he created ground-breaking, impactful campaigns for a wide range of artists
including All Saints, New Order, The Streets, Gnarls Barclay and Cee Lo Green. He was also Managing
Director of 679 Recordings, a joint venture with Warner Music. For the past few years, he has worked as
an independent visual and marketing consultant.
Alan was born in Scotland and attended The University of Glasgow where he was awarded an M.A. in
Moral Philosophy. He still lives and works in the city as well as spending time in London.

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A Taste of Greek Summer by Mandy Baggot @mandybaggot @EmblaBooks #romance #Greece #contemporaryfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for A Taste of Greek Summer by Mandy Baggot. It is so nice to travel vicariously and especially when it is to Greece!

My huge thanks to Embla Books for my e-copy of this book and to join the Blog Tour to share my review.

Next summer, on the Greek island of Corfu, sparks will fly as dreams come true…

Lydia Broom is living her second-best life. With her dreams of being a chef left in the dust she instead finds solace writing about the dishes she wished she created. When Lydia’s sent to Corfu on an assignment, she’s excited to see what culinary delights the island has to offer, but nothing seems to tickle her fancy – until she tastes the creations of local cook, Thanos Nicolaidis.

After one sizzling afternoon in the kitchen together, Lydia and Thanos both allow themselves to dream of the futures they desperately want. And as they grow closer, sharing secret ingredients and family recipes, Thanos begins to realise he has to show Lydia the parts of him he’s done so well to hide… 

MY REVIEW

What a wonderful summery romance read A Taste of Greek Summer was. This author knows how to tickle the tastebuds with sumptuous sounding food and with a nice helping of romance as well.

When Lydia is hoodwinked by her best friend and co-worker Caroline she doesn’t expect it to have such an impact on her life as it does. Once a brilliant chef and now a food critic and columnist, Lydia still loves food but has put her knives away. What on earth could have happened for her to turn her back on a wonderful career that made her so happy. Well, you will find out when you read this book!

Lydia is the quieter one out of her and Caroline. While Lydia savours and thinks about things, Caroline rushes in and demolishes. The two are real chalk and cheese characters and it would have been so easy for Lydia to disappear in Caroline’s wake, instead, the author balances the two characters and does so with a wonderful storyline and also with some fun.

Going to Greece to get content for articles for the magazine they work for is a great way6 for Lydia to relax and go with the flow. She has got rather stuck in a rut and the trip to Greece may well revive her writing, but it also revives something else.

Food is never far from the pages of this book, from simple mouthwatering local Greek dishes to extravagant and minuscule portions, there is a gastronomic theme throughout, and of course Caroline and her love of chips!

You may think that the wonderful scenery and gorgeous foods would make for a completely happy and fulfilling holiday. Well, that would be too simple and we know that life is never that way. So the author has written a rather interesting story of Lydia and it gives the explanations needed for her backing away from creating menus to just writing about them. It was a revelation that I didn’t expect, but one that felt right. Caroline also has a past that comes out as well.

So. a holiday wouldn’t be a holiday without a little romance. And what a wonderful romantic theme this was. Again wrapped around the love of food and done so well. Tempting, tantalising and tasty.

This book was a one-sitting read for me, I started it while sitting out in the garden on a sunny afternoon and finished later the same night. I needed to know the ins and outs, the mystery and also to find out how things would wrap up. This is definitely one for those who love to travel vicariously, love food, and like their romance. It is one I would definitely recommend.

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The Caretakers Amanda Bestor-Siegal #NetGalley #LittleBrownUK #contemporaryfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today from The Caretakers by Amanda Bestor-Siegal. I had requested this one from Net Galley. My thanks to Little Brown UK for granting my request.

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Set in a wealthy Parisian suburb, an emotionally riveting debut told from the point of view of six women, and centered around a group of au pairs, one of whom is arrested after a sudden and suspicious tragedy strikes her host family–a dramatic exploration of identity, class, and caregiving from a profoundly talented new writer.

Paris, 2015. A crowd gathers outside the Chauvet home in the affluent suburban community of Maisons-Larue, watching as the family’s American au pair is led away in handcuffs after the sudden death of her young charge. The grieving mother believes the caretaker is to blame, and the neighborhood is thrown into chaos, unsure who is at fault–the enigmatic, young foreigner or the mother herself, who has never seemed an active participant in the lives of her children.

The truth lies with six women: Geraldine, a heartbroken French teacher struggling to support her vulnerable young students; Lou, an incompetent au pair who was recently fired by the family next door; Charlotte, a chilly socialite and reluctant mother; Nathalie, an isolated French teenager desperate for her mother’s attention; Holly, a socially anxious au pair yearning to belong in her adopted country; and finally, Alena, the one accused of the crime, who has gone to great lengths to avoid emotional connection, and now finds herself caught in the turbulent power dynamics of her host family’s household.

Set during the weeks leading up to the event, The Caretakers is a poignant and suspenseful drama featuring complicated women. It’s a sensitive exploration of the weight of secrets, the pressures of country, community, and family–and miscommunications and misunderstandings that can have fatal consequences.

MY REVIEW

Every now and again I come across a book that leaves me a little unsure. The Caretakers is one such book. It is a mystery of sorts, but the mystery is more a way to a means. By this, I mean that the mystery gave the author a chance to create storylines around her characters so that the focus was more on the characters than the mystery.

The story focus on Au pairs who live and work in France, they are The Caretakers. The caretakers of the children, the house and the secrets. The author takes various characters and gives each of them a story, about the family they work for, where they have come from and also their thoughts and opinions. This means there is a lot of back and forth between characters and also timelines. I did find this easy enough to follow and keep up with who was who.

While there are several sub-stories in this book they do eventually intertwine, some more than others. The au-pairs of foreigners to France and so they are alone, it is natural that they navigate towards one another and this is done via a French Speaking school for au-pairs and also when they meet up socially. They form tentative bonds and some friendships are more of a way of feeling not so alone in a foreign country.

The time of the story when the girls are working is around the time of the 2015 attack on Charlie Hebdo, the author uses this to add a touch of friction, and unease and it gives a chance for opinions to surface from differing perspectives. It was a way of discovering more about living in France and being French, very interesting.

This is very much a character-driven story, at times I did actually forget that there was a mystery that started my journey with this book. This is a book where I kind of want to say not huge amounts happened, but actually, there was. It has a subtle dramatic feel and for me, I got a sense of nervousness, trepidation at living in a new country, trying to start a new chapter in life, or just trying to prove people wrong. There are several different voices in this book and each one brings their own story, thoughts, personality, history, hopes for the future or just to escape something from their past.

This is a slow burner, but it was also very captivating. There was something about this book that didn’t allow me to put it to one side. As I mentioned earlier, it is a subtle book because it isn’t always immediately obvious where the author is going as she flits from character and time.

This was a really interesting read, it is one for those who like character-driven novels, contemporary and literary fiction. I would happily recommend this one as it did keep me hooked.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

How to Spot a Psychopath by M.Q. Webb @marswebb1 @RandomTTours #psycological #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for How to Spot a Psychopath by M.Q. Webb. This is a very good psychological thriller, the title does kind of give this away 🙂

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this book.

We’ve all wondered about someone… are they… how do I know?

How to Spot a Psychopath is a thoughtful, intelligent, psychological thriller full of conflicting accounts and sharp turns. How to Spot a Psychopath will keep you questioning who is hiding what, and why.

When four-year-old Mia Edwards goes missing on a play date, everyone suspects that Jessica Green knows what happened to her, especially Mia’s mother, Holly, but Jessica isn’t talking.

Psychiatrist, Dr Oscar de la Nuit, is determined to save Jess from the same mistakes he’s living with.

Will Jess lead to his redemption, or will she be his downfall?

Is Mia safe, and will Jess be able to return to the life she had before?

MY REVIEW


What a great introduction to Oscar de la Nuit the author has created with this first book in the series. It is a series I am looking forward to reading more of.

Oscar is a psychiatrist and he transfers a high profile person into his care as he believes he can help her. The person is Jess, she is accused of killing the missing child Mia, but won’t talk about it. Public opinion and the police have already decided on her guilt, but what exactly is she guilty of, or is she guilty of nothing at all?

This is a wonderfully intriguing and twisted psychological thriller. It is one that is told in a now and then format and I do like this method of storytelling. Information is given from the past when it is relevant to what is happening in the now.

As well as this being a story about Jess, this is also a story of what happened in Oscar’s life. This becomes relevant as he tries to help Jess.

There are several characters in this book and some have a larger part to play than others. There are a couple that felt a little clunky in being there but were needed for part of the story development. On the whole, the characters bring their own traits and agendas, but not everyone plays the role they are supposed to. Not all professionals act professionally.

There is a strong sense of mistrust for many of the characters and I do think this is what really helps the story move along at a good pace. The constant doubting and second-guessing yourself as a reader is brilliant. By the end of the book, I didn’t know who I could completely believe or trust, but I had hoped for a certain outcome.

I really liked this book, it felt full of suspicion quite early on and this carried on through the story. It is a good pace and I did feel it quickened over the latter half. This is one for those who like suspense riddled psychological thrillers and one that I would happily recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

MQ Webb enjoys writing thrillers, suspense, mysteries and horror. They once worked in an office in a building that was actually an old goal.


How to Spot a Psychopath is the first book in the Oscar de la Nuit series.

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Run Rose Run by Dolly Parton and James Patterson @PenguinRandom #NetGalley #mystery #contemporaryfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Run Rose Run by Dolly Parton & James Patterson. It is a fabulous literary pairing and a cracking read. I also treated myself to the CD that goes with the book, after all the lyrics are mentioned throughout the book! The CD is a mix of a modern country sound as well as a more classic country, ballads and some nice bluesy numbers.

My thanks to Penguin for granting my request to read this title via NetGalley.

From America’s most beloved superstar and its greatest storyteller – a thriller about a young singer-songwriter on the rise and on the run, and determined to do whatever it takes to survive.

Every song tells a story.

She’s a star on the rise, singing about the hard life behind her.

She’s also on the run. Find a future, lose a past.

Nashville is where she’s come to claim her destiny. It’s also where the darkness she’s fled might find her. And destroy her.

Run, Rose, Run is a novel glittering with danger and desire – a story that only America’s #1 beloved entertainer and its #1 bestselling author could have created.

MY REVIEW

I had high hopes for this book when I first saw it, I mean Dolly Parton and James Patterson teaming up to write a book sounds amazing. Both are amazing writers in their own fields and they both have had amazing success over the years.

Run Rose Run is a wonderful story about a young singer, AnnieLee Keyes. She hitches her way to a run-down bar and asks if she can sing on their small stage. A random bloke happens to be there and has a slot after AnnieLee. A chance meeting or fate, either way, is the start of something for them both.

So, who is Rose, and why is she running? That is something that you will soon discover for yourself.

The authors have mixed the goings-on of Nashville and Country music with a fabulously tense mystery. I really enjoyed the way that the older legends of country music get a mention and how the industry is explored in this novel. Yeah, there is the glamour, glitz and rhinestones. There is also the damp bars, the hitch-hiking, and being one of the thousands hoping to see their name in lights. The balance between the up and coming singer against an established legend was great.

Around the music is an underlying mystery, this starts in quite a subtle way. If you are like me and don’t tend to read the synopsis for books, then the obvious title kind of hints at things. Quite how we get there though is an addictive and compelling story.

As this is Dolly, there are snippets of songs and these can be found in full at the end of the book. There is also an album that she has recorded with the same songs on, and the title is the same as the book.

This story was all I had hoped it would be. It is a mix of contemporary fiction, a journey of discovery and a mystery. If you are a fan of all things Dolly then I do think you are going to love this. It was a cracking read with some wonderful heartwarming and heartbreaking moments. At times dark and it is one I would definitely recommend.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

My Week IN Books (w/e 13th March 2022) #booklove #bookupdates #MeAndMyBooks

Hello and welcome to another weekly update of books I have read over the past 7 days. I have had this past week off so have managed to get caught up with some reading. The weather took a blustery turn again this weekend and we did have rattling roof tiles but no damage.

The usual “after the storm survey” of the garden to see what plants had been knocked about was on the books. It was a gorgeous morning, sun shining, birds singing and it was also quite warm. It was almost like a proper spring day. My rosemary shrub is busy flowering away, daffs are opening as are the primroses.

This week I have managed to read quite a few books, and if you are a regular visitor you will know that I hop genres like grasshopper…

Fair Game by R.D. Nixon is the second book in this series. Full review later this week – recommended reading for mystery, crime and thriller readers.

Life’s a Catastrophe by Kirstie Pelling is a cheeky rom-com that also has some serious sides to it. Great for rom-com, contemporary fiction and readers who like a chuckle. Review later this week.

The Vanished Collection by Pauline Baer de Perignon is a non fiction book wher ehte auhtor looks for her families missing artwork. Brilliant book and one for readers of history, WWII, art and real life mysteries. Full review next week.

Bad Penny by Michelle Gorman is a wonderul and amusing at times rom-com and contemporary fiction story. Full review next week.

Run Rose Run by Dolly Parton & James Patterson is a tense and edgy story and one I loved. Brilliant story and one I woudl defintiely recommend. Full review next week.

Finding Love in Positano by Lucy Coleman, is a fabulous story to read in these colder months. Another stunning story about love, family, duty and commitment. Full review this week.

There we go, a 6 booker week 🙂

Have a great week ahead,

All the best

Yvonne xx

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

My Week IN Books (w/e 27th Feb 2022) #booklove #bookupdates #MeAndMyBooks

What a week this past week has been. We now have heating installed and we have had to turn it right done as we just are not used to having a warm house! We have spent so many years with just an open fire heating one room that we have become rather acclimatised to a chillier house, well at least I have! Next week the start of the decorating, pretty much the whole house needs doing. Good job I have taken two weeks of annual leave.

Compared to what is going on in mainland Europe though, my week seriously pales into insignificance. We live in very scary times, we are getting there as far as the pandemic goes, I will still wear my mask though.

As things seemed to be improving Putin has now sent the world into major crisis mode. I don’t do politics on my blog, but on this occasion, my thoughts are with the people of The Ukraine and those that stand against Putin.

Here are the books I have read this week…

A gritty addictive gangland thriller – The Family Business by Alex Kane. Full review on Wednesday.

A gorgeous historical fiction – Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter by Lizzie Pook. Full review on Friday.

Tense, edgy, thriller – The Curfew by T.M. Logan. Full review on Saturday.

Fabulous domestic thriller – The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen. Full review next week.

Wishing every one a safe week ahead.

Yvonne xx

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This Charming Man by C. K. McDonnell @Caimh @Thomassshill @TransworldBooks #crime #mystery #magic #fantasy #bookreview

Vampires do not exist. Everyone knows this. So it’s particularly annoying when they start popping up around Manchester . . .

I am delighted to share my review today for This Charming Man by Caimh McDonnell. This is the second book in The Stranger Times series, I adored the first book and this one is just as good. Great for fans of crime/mystery and Magic/fantasy novels.

My huge thanks to Thomas Hill at Transworld Books for sending me a copy of this book and also the first one.

Vampires do not exist. Everyone knows this. So it’s particularly annoying when they start popping up around Manchester . . .

Nobody is pleased about it. Not the Founders, the secret organisation for whom vampires were invented as an allegory, nor the Folk, the magical people hidden in plain sight who only want a quiet life. And definitely not the people of Manchester, because there is nothing more irksome than being murdered by an allegory run amok. Somebody needs to sort this out fast before all Hell really breaks loose – step forward the staff of The Stranger Times.

It’s not like they don’t have enough to be dealing with. Assistant Editor Hannah has come back from getting messily divorced to discover that someone is trying to kidnap a member of their staff and while editor Vincent Banecroft would be delighted to see the back of any of his team, he doesn’t like people touching his stuff – it’s the principle of the thing.

Throw in a precarious plumbing situation, gambling debts, an entirely new way of swearing, and a certain detective inspector with what could be kindly referred to as ‘a lot of baggage’ and it all adds up to another hectic week in the life of the newspaper committed to reporting the truth that nobody else will touch.

This Charming Man is the second book in the critically acclaimed The Stranger Times series.

MY REVIEW

The Stranger Times is the first book in this series that I read and thoroughly enjoyed last year. It is also the name of the newspaper that caters for those with a slightly obscure/different/unique view of the world. This is the sort of paper that will report on alien sightings, mysterious noises in the basement and weird and wonderful goings-on that regularly appear.

It really shouldn’t come as a surprise when a Vampire suddenly turns up, but then everyone knows such things don’t exist! I love how the author uses this vampiric occurrence and it is almost tongue in cheek that his reporters don’t quite know what to call a pale, pointy-toothed anomaly. It struck me as funny that the reporters are fine with demons, aliens etc, but not calling a vampire a vampire. Anyhow, I do digress.

The main characters are the same that appeared in the first book, so we have Banecroft the editor, along with Grace, Stella, Ox, Stanley, DI Sturgess, Hannah who gallantly report the news while Banecroft is breathing down their necks, wanting answers and a story to print in his paper.

The bodies are a unique find and they are shrugged off as such, some things are not that easy to hide and it doesn’t take long for things to start to heat up. Tensions are brittle as lack of sleep and deadlines are approaching as well as some interest from someone higher up!

This is a humorous and quirky read that I really adored, it is a great mystery novel and the one-liners, little snide comments and the unrelenting thick-skinned Banecroft just add to the humour. Magic and special powers work alongside many other phenomena in this story and as I immersed myself in this story I found bizarre things as quite normal.

This is one that those of lighter fantasy and humorous fantasy readers will enjoy. It is witty and fun to read. There is mystery and magic, the odd body because even though Vampires do not exist, you need a corpse, don’t you? I would suggest reading the first book as it does bring you in and introduce you to the characters that you will also find in this second book, and it is also a really good read. This Charming Man is a fabulous read and one I would definitely recommend.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Pandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman @HarvillSecker #mystery #historicalfiction #NetGalley #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Pandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman. This is a wonderful story that mixes historical fiction with myth and mystery in a Georgian era.

My huge thanks to Harvill Secker for granting my request to read this title via NetGalley.

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‘Weaves together Ancient Greek myth with suspenseful mystery and beguiling romance…utterly irresistible’ Jennifer Saint, author of Ariadne

A pure pleasure of a novel set in Georgian London, where the discovery of a mysterious ancient Greek vase sets in motion conspiracies, revelations and romance.

Perfect for readers who loved The Binding and The Essex Serpent.

London, 1799. Dora Blake is an aspiring jewellery artist who lives with her uncle in what used to be her parents’ famed shop of antiquities. When a mysterious Greek vase is delivered, Dora is intrigued by her uncle’s suspicious behaviour and enlists the help of Edward Lawrence, a young antiquarian scholar. Edward sees the ancient vase as key to unlocking his academic future. Dora sees it as a chance to restore the shop to its former glory, and to escape her nefarious uncle.

But what Edward discovers about the vase has Dora questioning everything she has believed about her life, her family, and the world as she knows it. As Dora uncovers the truth she starts to realise that some mysteries are buried, and some doors are locked, for a reason.

Gorgeously atmospheric and deliciously page-turning, Pandora is a story of secrets and deception, love and fulfilment, fate and hope.

MY REVIEW

Set in 1799 London, Pandora Blake, known as Dora does not have the happiest of lives. She lives above her parents’ antiquities shop, once a place that was frequented by wealthy customers. After the death of her parents, the shop belongs to her Uncle. He is an odious man and one that is devious.

This is a mystery that I absolutely adored. Using some facts from history the author has taken some liberties with dates for the benefit of the story. All of this is explained at the end of the book and makes for interesting reading in itself.

Dora is the main focus of the story, she is a budding designer and she has her mothers talent for her artistic flair. Her parents sourced items to sell in their shop from their own excavations, legitimate and above board. When her Uncle suddenly brings in an object that he hides away from Dora, she knows he is up to something, but quite what it is will take time to discover.

This is a fabulous blend of history, fiction, fantasy and with a strong mystery to it. The setting was great as society at the time still travelled the world on their “tours”, adventures and exotic destinations that took weeks to get to are something for the upper echelons of the society of the day. This was balanced with the ordinary, working folk or those that have no homes, very little clothing and with little in the way of life. These different sides of society and the contrasts were a great part of the story and I think the author used them to great effect.

This is a mystery though, a mystery about Dora, her Uncle, a large vase and the death of her parents. Chance and fortune bring Dora into contact with several people, some helpful, some unsavoury and some just plain rude. They do however play their parts well and give a broader picture of life in London a the turn of the century as well as adding valuable details as part of the story.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story and although some of the smells and sights might have been unpleasant to read, the author does a cracking job of describing them. This does have the feel that this is something that could be part of a series as I do think it has the potential to be expanded upon. I do hope this is the case as I would definitely be looking to read another book that features Dora.

A wonderful mystery, historical fiction and crime that I would definitely recommend.

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