Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Mother's Promise by Sally Hepworth

When Alice Stanhope is diagnosed with ovarian cancer, she tries to stay strong for her teenage daughter, Zoe, who has severe social anxiety. Alice and Zoe have been each other's only family for many years, although with her diagnosis, Alice needs extra support from Kate (a nurse) and the hospital's social worker, Sonja. Alice keeps the news of her cancer from Zoe, but when she has complications, mother and daughter find that Kate is a godsend. Kate, though, is going through issues in her own life--mainly the sadness with not being able to carry a baby to term. Sonja, meanwhile, is hiding her own secret that her husband, George, abuses her. The Mother's Promise explores all these women's lives in detail and, while I enjoyed the story, there was a plot point near the end of the novel that I thought was unnecessary.

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

Forty years ago, Anthony Peardew's fiancee passed away. Since that day, he has picked up things that people have left behind or lost, such as a puzzle piece or an umbrella, cataloged them and then devoted a room in his house to the possessions. After Anthony dies, his housekeeper and secretary, Laura, is given his home in his will. She is also tasked with reuniting the items that Anthony has collected back to their owners. Laura is slowly regaining her sense of self after a divorce and has feelings for Anthony's gardener, Freddy. Will she be up to the task? The Keeper of Lost Things is a story of interesting characters and how their lives intertwine. Give this heartwarming tale to readers who enjoy the author Helen Simonson.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Death of a Ghost by M.C. Beaton

Retired police superintendent Handy Ebrington has bought a run-down castle in the town of Drim and wants the authorities to investigate, because he believes there's a ghost lurking about. Hamish Macbeth and his assistant, Charlie Carter, decide to spend the night in the castle and end up finding a dead body. Then the body disappears, and Hamish wonders if the crime might have been the work of smugglers. Soon, there are more murders, and Hamish attempts to wrap up the cases, all the while letting someone else take the credit (so he's not promoted and can stay in his beloved village of Lochdubh).

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Nearness of You by Amanda Eyre Ward

Successful, driven heart surgeon Suzette is caught off guard when her husband, Hyland, tells her that he'd like them to have a child. Married now for fifteen years, they had agreed that they weren't going to have children, because Suzette feared passing on her mother's mental illness. Hyland explains that he would like them to have a baby with a surrogate. Reluctant at first, Suzette agrees. After several false starts, a young woman named Dorrie agrees to be their surrogate, hoping that she can use the money she receives to go to college, but things don't go as planned... Taking place over the next fifteen years, the book explores the bonds of motherhood, marriage, and what it means to be a family.

Monday, February 27, 2017

My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

Living and working in London hasn't exactly turned out how Katie Brenner has planned. Barely scraping by on her salary at Cooper Clemmow and having to do the most menial jobs at the company have at times left her pretty depressed--albeit in a funny way. When she meets co-worker Alex, Katie--or Cat (as she has now christened herself to everyone)--feels really alive and attracted to him. Her boss at the firm, Demeter Farlowe, however, treats all of the staff in a demeaning way. Katie, though, feels Demeter is creative and really good at her job. Soon, however, Katie is fired and ends up back home in Somerset trying to help her dad with his latest business venture, a vacation spot for people who are into glamping. Will Katie show everyone that she really has the talent to make it in London? My Not So Perfect Life is a light, humorous tale of a woman trying to make her dreams come true.

Shadow Man by Alan Drew

Police detective Ben Wade moved back to his hometown of Rancho Santa Elena from Los Angeles four years ago. He and his wife, Rachel, have since divorced, but are co-parenting their teenage daughter, Emma. Life in Rancho Santa Elena has been quieter than L.A., but Ben finds himself tracking down a serial killer and trying to determine if a high school student's death was suicide. The boy who possibly committed suicide was on the school swim team, like Ben was at his age, and the boy's death brings back memories of Ben's childhood and teen years that he would really like to keep buried. Set in the 1980's, Shadow Man, features a changing Southern California along with a character-centered mystery.  It will be published in May.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Garden of Lamentations by Deborah Crombie

Gemma James finds herself both professionally and personally drawn to investigating the murder of nanny Reagan Keating, who was found dead in a Notting Hill communal garden. Working with DCI Kerry Boatman, Gemma tries to uncover who would want Reagan dead. At the same time, she's worried about the boy Reagan looked after, ballet dancer Jess. Meanwhile, Gemma's husband, Duncan Kincaid suspects possible high-level corruption in Scotland Yard when his former boss, Denis Childs, is viciously attacked. With help from their colleagues Doug and Melody, will both Gemma and Duncan be successful in discovering the truth? While I enjoyed catching up with the characters in this long-running mystery series, I found that the use of four points of view diluted the storyline. Also, a substantial part of the novel relied on events in the two previous books, and I wished I had retained more of the plot points. An ok read, but not one of her best.