Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Red Address Book – Sofia Lundberg

Contemporary Fiction
4*s

When she was a child her father bought her a beautiful red address book and Doris faithfully kept a note of the addresses of those who crossed her path throughout her life. At the grand old age of ninety-six it is sad but perhaps not wholly unsurprising that many of the names in the book are crossed out with the word ‘dead’ written against them.

The Red Address Book
tells the story of one woman’s rich life honing in on some of the names and addresses held within the address book.

Doris lives in Stockholm and her only living family is Jenny, her Grand-Niece and her family, who live in America. Doris is not doing so well and has devoted some of her waking hours to penning the story of her life to Jenny, to keep those names in the address book alive.

I loved this book, the tone spot on for an elderly woman who has lived, loved and made good choices, and bad, and learn to live with them. I know I sound old myself but it is simply so refreshing to read books about people of this generation before everyone had to be a victim of something or another. Here we have some of those old-fashioned qualities that if I were Prime Minister I would insist were some sort of rite to becoming a fully-fledged adult. Doris has lived. After the death of her father she was more or less pushed out of the home by her mother to go and earn some money as a maid. Did Doris dwell on this rejection for the rest of her life? Did she hell! She recognised the hurt it caused at the time, and moved on treating it as a passing incident in her life, her springboard to becoming a living mannequin in Paris, rather than a hurt to be nursed for her remaining eighty odd years. During the course of the book we see Doris face a multitude of situations as she criss-crosses between countries, lives through a war, heartbreak and more and each one is faced square on, no matter what.

In conjunction with these adventures, Doris is portrayed as a ‘real’ woman, she is unwilling to do exactly what she is told by her caregivers and hospital staff, if it doesn’t make sense to her. After all this is a woman who has mastered skype to keep in touch with her family, she does not need to be told when to go to sleep as if she was a child! But at the same time she is accepting that her end is coming near and so is portrayed as a mixture of toughness and vulnerability or in other words like a real woman who has lived a full life.

I did have a lump in my throat towards the closure of this book although I’m pleased to report that it didn’t have the feeling of overtly playing with the emotions and nor did we have the stereotypical cantankerous elderly woman instead we have a thoughtful piece that will invariably cause its reader to recall many of the paths that have crossed their own, briefly or otherwise, and for whom few will be recorded in our lives particularly with the demise of written records.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to the publisher HarperCollins UK and the Sofia Lundberg who allowed me to experience some of the highs and lows of Doris’s life by allowing providing me with a copy of The Red Address Book. This review is my unbiased thanks to them.

First Published UK: 8 January 2019
Publisher: The Borough Press
No of Pages: 305
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The One I Was – Eliza Graham

Historical Fiction
4*s

Eliza Graham is one of those authors we simply don’t hear enough about in my opinion as each and every one of her historical novels is not only a joy to read they also have a real feeling of authenticity about them no doubt from the careful research that she undertakes.

The One I Was is split between the past and the present. In the present Rosamund Hunter is returning to a house she knows from years ago, Fairfleet. Rosamund has great memories of the old house but she is also wary of letting her potential employer know that she knows the place.

So what job is Rosamund applying for? A nurse for a man dying of cancer who wants to remain in his own home. There is a housekeeper and the potential for other medical professionals to come on board and help as the patient’s condition worsens and it seems like she’s a good fit for the household.

Her patient is Benny Gault. He is a successful man, one who originally arrived in England as part of the kindertransport in 1938 when he was just eleven-years-old. Benny lived at Fairfleet as it was home cum school for him and a few other boys who made the journey and were adopted by Lord and Lady Dorner.

The story is told in the main in the present tense by Rosamund and in the past by Benny and there are some distressing scenes as might be expected given the nature of the job Rosamund has undertaken.

That said, this aspect is softly done with enough ‘truth’ that it doesn’t feel whitewashed but not so raw that it becomes far too distressing to read. This isn’t a straight dual time-line novel as the scenes that we see are those throughout Benny’s life and we are aware of the connection between our two main protagonists from the off.

There are a number of strands to the story, the most poignant of all is that Benny remembers his friend Rudi Lange as he was when he last saw him in a secluded area shortly before he made the trip that was to change his life beyond belief.

I have to admit that I preferred Benny’s story but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t plenty of drama for Rosamund, particularly when an unwanted visitor comes to call at Fairfleet.

The author tackles this aspect of the war without drama, one of the reasons why I enjoy her books so much. The characters don’t tend to have an overblown sense of their own importance and so I find their stories all the more believable. Harriet Dorner flies planes, a female pilot would surely have had plenty to boast about but she doesn’t although her excitement comes through it does so without being muddied by any feeling that she’s boasting.

There are some moral questions that are posed within the book and although some of the reveals weren’t the surprise that they may have been intended to be, that didn’t stop me enjoying the journey through the years.

First Published UK: 21 April 2015
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
No of Pages: 320
Genre: Historical Fiction
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Mount TBR 2018

The New Mrs Clifton – Elizabeth Buchan

Historical Fiction
4*s

The Second World War is the basis for a whole raft of historical novels and The New Mrs Clifton takes a different approach in viewing the conflict from a different angle.

Gus Clifton returns from the war to the home he shares with his two sisters with his new wife. This turn of events would always cause shockwaves because he was expected to marry their friend, his fiancée Nella. But Gus hasn’t just broken this loyal woman’s heart, the one who waited for his return, he has married a German woman Krista.

Of course along with the rest of Britain Gus’s two sisters have seen the brutal effects of the war on their country, and those they love the most. Julia is a widow while Tilly is determined to live life to the full.

Elizabeth Buchan recreates the time and place with haunting accuracy. There are bombed buildings, rationing and queues and the concrete fury at the Germans for causing the war. How can Krista damaged by her own experiences of the war can ever be happy in a country where she is hated?
Gus was a member of the British Intelligence forces based in Germany during the conflict and the reader along with his sisters and fiancée are forced to wonder what happened there to choose such an unsuitable wife.

Not only has the author meticulously documented the aftermath of the war in England she has also created some complex characters who interact with each other in an entirely believable manner. The legacy of the polite society is still firmly in place with the snubs against Krista of a low level but persistent nature rather than the locals storming the house and throwing bricks through the window. But the reader gets to peek behind the curtains soon realises that there is something other than love that binds this couple together with Krista battling vivid nightmares and clearly having had no choice but to bind herself to a man she does not love and travel to a country where she is viewed with the highest level of suspicion.

This slow burn of a novel examines how the war has fundamentally changed both Gus and Krista but it also looks at the lives and expectations of those who had no choice but to wait out the conflict with hope diminishing with every piece of bad news. The three British women, Julia with the loss of her love, Tilly with her tentative approaches to their new sister-in-law and Nella who is bewildered and shamed by the turn of events have to find a way to carry on, and to heal. This is a story that will have you asking yourself some difficult questions and to put yourself in the shoes of a woman whose quest for survival has led her into a hostile environment.

The New Mrs Clifton is a deeply moving and sympathetic portrait of life which had the power to examine the way that the perception that a whole nation of people were rotten through the actions of its leaders still persists till this day. It is far easier use the broad brush strokes of the atrocity to paint a picture than to acknowledge that war isn’t kind to anyone, least of all the civilians that are innocent bystanders.

I bought my copy of The New Mrs Clifton after reading a whole heap of great reviews from my fellow bloggers – my friends you did me a great service!

First Published UK: 2016
Publisher: Penguin
No of Pages: 405
Genre: Historical Thriller
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Three Things About Elsie – Joanna Cannon

Contemporary Fiction
4*s

Florence Claybourne is in her eighties and lives in sheltered accommodation named Cherry Tree. One afternoon she falls and contemplates the events of the previous few weeks, and her life. Elsie is Florence’s best friend, the one who keeps her on the straight and narrow, even more important now that she has been threatened with expulsion due to her behaviour.

It was called sheltered accommodation, but I’d never quite been able to work out what we were being sheltered from. The world was still out there. It crept in through the newspapers and the television. It slid between the cracks of other people’s conversation and sang out from mobile telephones. We were the ones hidden away, collected up and ushered out of sight, and I often wondered if it was actually the world that was being sheltered from us.

In some ways this book reminds me of Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey, a book I found too hard to properly enjoy because reading a story about a woman with dementia when my own mother was suffering of this awful disease, meant that I made unfair comparisons with the real-life situation whereas the book was by its very nature fictional. I have a feeling that if I’d read this book at the same time, I might have drawn similar comparisons. I mention this because I firmly believe that each of us brings our own life’s experiences, our hopes and our fears with us to each book we read, and because of that our take on the story is bound to be slightly different. Fortunately I found this a charming read albeit one with a solid mystery which kept me entertained and softened the sometimes harsher intrusive thoughts about the realities of old age.

Florence is clearly in the early stages of dementia but she’s a fighter. When a man she recognises from some sixty years before turns up in the same sheltered housing complex, a man she believes died all those years ago, she’s switched on enough to try to find some proof. With the help of Elsie and the brilliantly portrayed General Jack, she finds out the man’s name is Gabriel Price although once she finally remembers, she believes he is in fact is Ronnie Butler. What significance Ronnie Butler played in Florence’s life is very gradually revealed during the time she lays on the floor of her flat, waiting for help and looking at ‘all manner of nonsense under that sideboard.’

The characters make this book, Florence and her friend Elsie are a wonderful double act with some gentle, wry humour to lift the spirits. The Manager of the care home Miss Bissell who seems to need to lie down a lot of the time, when she isn’t doing Sudoku. Miss Bissell wisely lets Miss Ambrose, one of our third person narrators, a supervisor at Cherry Tree, have the difficult conversations, even if she’s rarely allowed to make any decisions. Through Miss Ambrose’s eyes we get to see a different view of Florence. A woman who is decidedly not keen on joining in with the other residents, a woman who talks or quite often shouts to herself and someone who buys twenty three Battenberg cakes that are stacked high in the sideboard, a fact Florence staunchly denies.  The other third person narrator is the adorable Handy Simon, the handyman who over the course of the book has a leap forward in terms of character development from a shy young man welded to the image of his hero fireman father to a man who begins to imagine, and realise. that there is a world outside the facts he’s been so attached to.

With the time ticking away while Florence lies on the floor, imagining who her saviour will be, the story is bought up to the present, although the truth of course is buried deep in the past.

One thing that can’t be denied is that this is a story that will imprint itself on your mind, the language is absolutely beautiful, the observations knife-sharp so although the story on the surface is seemingly gentle, has a hard kernel at the centre which made spending some time with the residents of Cherry Tree an absolute delight.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to the publishers HaperCollins UK who allowed me to read Three Things About Elsie ahead of publication on 11 January 2018, this unbiased review is my thank you to them and the hugely talented Joanna Cannon.

First Published UK: 11 January 2018
Publisher: HarperCollins UK
No of Pages: 464
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Amazon UK
Amazon US

 

 

Posted in #20 Books of Summer 2016, Book Review, Books I have read

Testament of Youth – Vera Brittain #20Booksofsummer

Book 15

Non-Fiction 3*s
Non-Fiction
3*s

An alternately moving and exasperating memoir written by a woman who moved from childhood to adulthood during the lead up to World War I, this book published in 1933 uses her diaries and letters from that time to give us a picture of what the realities of war meant for a young woman of her generation.

The book opens with Vera’s desperation to go to Oxford despite her family’s, particularly her father’s objection to this course at odds with the opportunity to study being freely offered to her brother, Edward. It is exceptionally hard to picture a life of the fairly privileged, intelligent and inquisitive Edwardian young lady whose life was still mapped out by the strictures of the Victorian Era. Funny also to read her comparison to the young people of the day when she was writing this memoir who she viewed with envy for the freedom offered to them. Of course from my perspective the generation she envied for the easiness of their lives; the freedom to court without chaperones, to receive degrees even as women and to be employed despite being married, appears to be wildly exaggerated compared to the freedoms we have nowadays. This is just one example of why I’m glad I finally made time to read this book as it demonstrates how feminism wasn’t one wild gallop to get the vote, the struggle was long and incremental and yet women like Vera appreciated the progress made towards a better future.

The book covers Vera’s coming down from Oxford to join the VADs nursing in England, Malta and France throughout the war whilst she simultaneously worried about her brother and her friends fighting in the conflict which as the war progressed she began to hate with a vengeance for its waste of life at the behest of political masters. She saw through the treaties for the young to become heroes to give up their futures for egos. She also records one of the rarely recorded views of the older generation, those who had to live without servants for the first time in their lives, the men and women who had given their children to the fight both on the battlefields and to other war-work thereby forgoing the previous right to call on their unmarried daughters when required.

Following the end of the War Vera retakes her position at Oxford this time to study History rather than English becoming ever more interested in international politics which I’m regretful to report I found in the main a struggle to read as they referenced matters that my knowledge simply wasn’t great enough for me to fully appreciate. With my interest far more keen on the politics relating to women’s lives, this section wasn’t a complete right-off as the considerations proposed for women during the War were under attack following the conclusion of it – to have these put into wider context was enlightening.

My exasperation with the book was in part with her condescending tone which covered whole swaths of the population; the locals from her teens, those women who wanted to seize life rather than study or grieve, those who hadn’t worked through the war because they were too young, men, in general who weren’t her brother or her friend etc. etc. and whilst some of the earlier sections can be considered a faithful recording of her younger self, this continual holding herself up as a paragon of one whose life has been more meaningful than those that didn’t share her experiences, her political ambitions or her daily preoccupation with being taken seriously by everyone got a little wearing.

This is a huge book at over 600 wordy pages with parts, such as the experiences of nursing during the war that I found exceptionally interesting and poignant and those latter pages which detail her work with the League of Nations that frankly I found less so. That said, with a book full of detailed accounts of life before, during and after the war I felt that I truly put flesh on the bones of what I understood life to be like in the UK during this time and even more when right at the end of the book Vera and her friend Winifred take a tour of Europe to have a taste of what those nations lives looked like a decade after the war started compelling reading.

A worthwhile book to read and one that although this short review merely highlights a small proportion of its content, has broadened my knowledge of the time period, albeit for one section of society in particular. At times desperately sad and a reminder of quite what an entire generation went through in the hopes of forging a better future at others I was cheering Vera on with her ambition to make the world a better place. Sadly my overall feeling when I reached the end was discomfort as I couldn’t help but consider Vera’s hopes for peace were to be dashed with the Second World War already looming on the horizon at the time of publication.

First Published UK: August 1933
Publisher: Virago
No of Pages 640
Genre: Non-Fiction (Memoir)
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die – Marnie Riches

Crime Fiction 4*'s
Crime Fiction
4*’s

The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die is a fast-moving thriller and grittier than my usual choice of read but if you want excitement by the bucketful this is a book to consider, especially as it is currently available for the kindle at the absolute bargain price of just 99p!

Georgina McKenzie, is an Erasmus student at the University of Amsterdam when a human bomb blows up the library, it has all the hallmarks of a terrorist plot and when George and her friend Ad stumble on the scene she is asked to help the policeman draw the person responsible out by writing a blog post for the student magazine. Detective van den Bergen got more than he bargained for when he asked the student criminologist for help because George wasn’t about to leave it at one post, especially when her fellow students start dying at a rate of knots. No George gets stuck into investigating the crime, working from her already well-honed reading of people she feels she is well-placed to find the person or people responsible. She is also slightly worried that she is being watched, but by whom and why she doesn’t know but she’s determined to find out. To do so she takes part, and encourages Ad in turn to do the same, in some breathtakingly risky escapades to root out the killer.

As well as being quite gruesome in places, there are a lot of characters to keep track of as well as a number of different themes and places; The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die takes in Amsterdam, England and Germany as it hurtles from one scary event to the next. At first I was confused about the part of the story set in London which full of drugs and gangs but I really liked the atmosphere created by the author with young Ella terrified of the local boys Danny and Jez who terrorised her and her mother on a nightly basis while all Ella wanted was a quiet life and to escape.

There are some well-drawn characters to back up a plot that does need the reader to be in the moment and not to ask too many awkward questions about protocol etc. Inspector van den Bergen being one of my favourites. George was a little to full-on at the start but as I got to understand more about her my feelings towards her softened. I liked the interplay between her and her friend Ad and her friendship with her prostitute neighbour and the local coffee-shop owner and landlord. If this book wasn’t so full of action I fear I would have lost track of the numerous characters who populate this novel although the author has done well in giving the majority of them interesting traits so they are easily distinguishable.

I recommend this book to those who enjoy Scandi-crime fiction, and yes I know my geography is poor but I am aware that neither Amsterdam or London are in Scandinavia, but this book has the same feel to it with the big plots, the gruesome retaliations and the complex individuals.

I’d like to thank the author Marnie Riches and the publisher Harper Collins Maze for giving me a copy of this book for review purposes. The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die was published on 23 April 2015.

 

 

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Wildflower Hill – Kimberley Freeman

Historical Fiction 4*'s
Historical Fiction
4*’s

I chose this book as I like dual time-line stories and this one has the twenties for the past and I am fascinated by the period sandwiched between the two wars. The stories shared are those of Emma, a ballerina who travels the world and Beattie, her Grandmother, a young woman, living in Glasgow in straightened circumstances.

Emma has it all, a nice apartment in London, a long-term relationship with Josh and her career as a famous ballerina when she is forced to take stock following an accident. She returns to her mother in Australia and is given the news that she has inherited Wildflower Hill from her Grandmother. As she starts to clear out the house still packed with Beattie’s belongings she finds a photo that leads her to discover more about her Grandmother’s life.

When the story opens in 1929, Beattie is living in Glasgow with her idealistic father and her downtrodden mother when she is introduced to a man who will alter her life forever.

Not only is this story set between different time-periods but their stories criss-cross between Scotland, England and Australia as we follow their trials and tribulations. For me Beattie’s story was the more compelling of the two as she battles many of life’s injustices, heeding her friend Cora’s words:
“There are two types of women in this world, those who do things and those who have things done to them.”
As the story switches from sleazy clubs to sheep-farming in Australia; from domestic servitude to success and we see Beattie ostracised for being a woman who didn’t follow the social dictates of the time.

Beattie’s story is far more interesting as she battles against the odds as the reader is constantly reminded that Emma’s life as a ballerina was a cossetted existence, because of this she was selfish until she goes to Wildflower Hill and learns more about her Grandmother’s life and appreciates those around her and takes the time to reassess her life and her values.

There were a couple of places in the book where the timing of events were muddled which should have been captured prior to going to print but these were minor and didn’t spoil the flow of this tale that touches on a number of issues that a woman such of Beattie would have encountered. There were some lovely touches where the narrative linked the two women’s lives however, I didn’t feel Wildflower Hill compared directly to Kate Morton’s books, as the publicity suggests. because although this is a dual time zone tale it didn’t have the same element of mystery. As book with two linked stories this made for an enjoyable foray into not only a different time period but also cross continents.

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The September Garden – Catherine Law

Historical Fiction 4*'s
Historical Fiction
4*’s

I won a signed copy of this book from a Goodreads Giveaway which was an excellent Christmas present as I rarely win anything.  Even better despite early misgivings about the depth of the characters this turned out to be a really good read.

Blurb

Set in London during the Blitz, in occupied France, and among the rolling Chiltern hills, this is the story of two cousins thrown together by the outbreak of war. Nell and Sylvie grow up quickly during the early days of rationing, blackouts, and the arrival of RAF planes in the skies. But even as the war rages on around them, the competition and jealousy between the cousins battles on – especially in romance.
When the girls fall in love with the same man, he is spared having to choose between them as the war pulls them all apart and changes the course of their lives, with devastating consequences. For Nell, the only place she can ever find solace is inside the September Garden, her father’s walled sanctuary. It is here that she decides to hide her most dreadful secret . . .

The September Garden is the patch of ground that Nell’s father has turned into a beautiful autumn haven, full of wonderful blooming flowers. Nell’s father fought, but never really recovered from the First World War and it is at the advent of the second is where this book begins.

The story centres around Nell and her cousin Sylvie who lives in France, the two cousins a year apart in age but a mile apart in attitude share an uneasy relationship which only intensifies when Sylvie has to stay in England when the war breaks out.

At first I was unsure about this book. I thought the characters were simply outlines at the beginning but as the book commences and the two girls face up to life in wartime Buckinghamshire they soon become filled in. Alongside the cousin’s story we have the tale of life in France, shown to us through the eyes of Sylvie’s maid, Adele. What looks from the cover to be a fluffy romantic book, is anything so although there is a romance, Catherine Law does not spare us the details of life in either country with some truly horrifying events befalling each of the young characters. The young Nell doesn’t simply shrug off an air-raid with the insouciance of so many books, no stiff upper lip and her feeling of sheer terror leaps off the page and the details of life in France as the Germans began their occupation in France were often brutal but never left me feeling they were anything but true.

A well-researched novel that makes me truly grateful that I didn’t have to live through those terrible times. Published by Allison & Busby on 15 November 2013 I’d recommend this anyone who is interested in a realistic
interpretation of life in England & France during the Second World War.

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

The Silent Tide – Rachel Hore

Dual Time Zone 5*'s
Dual Time Zone
5*’s

For me there is something magical about a book set around the literary word. This dual time zone novel is set around the world of publishing and authors which combined with the dual-time zone device, made it the perfect read from this book-lovers perspective.

The past is 1948, features Isabelle, a young woman who left her oppressive home life as a teenager. Isabelle is really leaving a life dominated by her father who had been damaged by World War II and a life of drudgery helping her mother with the house and her younger siblings. She turns up at her aunt’s house in London and soon becomes immersed in the literary world.

The present is Emily who is the editor for Hugh Morton’s (a famous author) autobiography. Having been given a copy of a little-known early book Emily is captivated by references to Isabelle and keen to find out more about this young woman’s life.

Rachel Hore has done a fantastic job of research for this novel and it speaks volumes about women’s lives in post-war England, not just Isabelle’s but those of Emily’s mother and aunt too. The characters are life-like being complicated and making decisions that are not always easily understood. The interspersed stories move the book on at a good pace. As with many of these books you do need to suspend belief at times particularly in the way Emily is drip-fed pieces of information about Isabelle but I was captivated by both women’s vulnerability which was sensitively portrayed.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable read with a plot that holds its ground despite the inevitable co-incidences to tie up the loose ends neatly in a bow.

This is the sixth book written by Rachel Hore

The Dream House – The past is Victorian England

Its owner is the frail elderly Agnes, whose story – as it unravels – echoes so much of Kate’s own.

The Memory Garden – Some paintings found in the attic spark the mystery in this one

Then Patrick finds some old paintings in an attic, and as he and Mel investigate the identity of the artist, they are drawn into an extraordinary tale of illicit passion and thwarted ambition from a century ago, a tale that resonates in their own lives.

The Glass Painters Daughter – this is my favourite, set in Victorian England in a shop that deals in stained glass.

In a tiny stained-glass shop hidden in the backstreets of Westminster lies the cracked, sparkling image of an angel.

A Place of Secrets – a connection to an 18 Century Folly drives this novel

‘Rachel Hore’s intriguing Richard and Judy recommended read, which is layered with a series of mysteries, some more supernatural than others’ –Independent

 A Gathering Storm – The role of female SOE Agents in the Second World War

spanning from Cornwall to London, and Occupied France, in which friendship and love are tested, and the ramifications reach down the generations.

 

Posted in Weekly Posts

WWW Wednesday (September 18)

WWW Wednesday green

Hosted by Shouldbereading.wordpress.com

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

I am reading Teatime for the Firefly by Shona Patel which is so much more than I ever expected. This is a tale set in a different time (1943), a different culture and has informed me so much of what World War II meant in India as well as including loads of information about the tea gardens of Assam.

Teatime for the Firefly

Blurb

My name is Layla and I was born under an unlucky star. For a young girl growing up in India, this is bad news. But everything began to change for me one spring day in 1943, when three unconnected incidents, like tiny droplets on a lily leaf, tipped and rolled into one. It was that tiny shift in the cosmos, I believe, that tipped us together-me and Manik Deb.

Layla Roy has defied the fates. Despite being born under an inauspicious horoscope, she is raised to be educated and independent minded by her eccentric Anglophile grandfather, Dadamoshai. And, by cleverly manipulating the hand fortune has dealt her, she has even found love with Manik Deb-a man betrothed to another. All were minor miracles in India that spring of 1943, when young women’s lives were predetermined-if not by the stars, then by centuries of family tradition and social order.

I have just finished Bellman & Black by Diane Settterfield
which is going to be published at the beginning of October

Bellman & Black blue
Click the book cover to see my review

Next on my list is The Bridesmaid by Jenny Scotti

Jenni Scott contacted me to see if I would be interested in reviewing this and I looked at the blurb and couldn’t resist (again) This looks like it has everything I will enjoy in a murder-mystery. It is set in England, the victim has secrets to be uncovered and best of all it has connections to the past.

Wedding Bouquet

  Blurb

Haddley, a quiet English village in the Midlands. Kelly Evans — a sixteen year old girl — is brutally murdered. Her body is discovered by a neighbour, and the police are called in to investigate. Kelly was young and beautiful, and her untimely death comes as a shock to all who knew her … or does it really?

The dark side of Kelly’s personality soon comes to light. She was ruthless and promiscuous, and stopped at nothing to get what she wanted, even if it meant wrecking other people’s lives. She made quite a few enemies, and among close friends and neighbours are some who might have had a very good reason for wanting to get rid of her.

The investigation takes a new and unexpected turn when a locket goes missing, and a connection is made with the twenty-year-old murder of a wartime movie star. As the police search the past for answers and gradually piece the mystery together, the respectable veneer starts cracking exposing a web of jealousy, sexual intrigue and deceit.
Goodreads