Monday, October 22, 2018

The Witch Elm by Tana French

Toby Hennessy lives a charmed life. He's wealthy with a great girlfriend, Melissa, and everything has always gone his way. But one evening he's attacked in his home by two men and suffers a brain injury. He has a hard time remembering things from the past and also physically isn't the same. Not able to go back to work, Toby decides to go live at Ivy House, the Hennessy family house for many generations--now occupied by Toby's Uncle Hugo, who dying from cancer, with only months to live. Since Toby and his cousins, Susanna and Leon, have spent a lot of time with Hugo since they were very young, Toby figures it would be a good diversion from his own issues. When a skull is found in an old tree on the Ivy House property, Toby's life is thrown even more into disarray...

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Goodnight from London by Jennifer Robson

When journalist Ruby Sutton is offered a job in London working at Picture Weekly, she jumps at the chance. Having no family or close friends tying her down, leaving New York City even while the war is heating up in Europe in the summer of 1940 seems like a great opportunity.  Ruby fits in great with editor, Kaz, and photographer Mary, but a few others are not happy about her being in the position. She also finds herself developing a bond with Captain Bennett who is doing secret work for the English government. Bennett also introduces her to his godmother, Vanessa, and her two daughters, Viola and Beatrice, who become like family to Ruby. Goodnight from London traces Ruby's journey through World War II in England. Filled with details of daily life and real historical events happening throughout the country, the novel is an engaging read.

Friday, October 5, 2018

To Die But Once by Jacqueline Winspear

In the spring of 1940, London pub owner Phil Coombes asks Maisie Dobbs to look into the whereabouts of his youngest son, Joe. Joe has been travelling around the country with a painting company fireproofing buildings for the Royal Air Force. Phil reports that Joe has been feeling sick lately and has headaches, so Maisie wonders if the paint might have been making him ill. On a personal front, Maisie's best friend (Priscilla) and Billy (Maisie's long-time employee) worry about their sons who have already gone off to war or aching to enlist. Maisie, too, has heartache of her own as she attempts to adopt Anna, the young girl who has been entrusted to her care. To Die But Once is another satisfying mystery in the Maisie Dobbs series.

Friday, September 28, 2018

A Borrowing of Bones by Paula Munier

After serving as an MP in Afghanistan, Mercy Carr has moved back home to Vermont to try and recover from losing her fiancee, Martinez, while deployed. Mercy lives with Martinez's dog, Elvis, who worked by his side and was with him when he died. While out walking with Elvis on the 4th of July weekend, Mercy discovers a baby abandoned in the forest. Game warden Troy arrives at the scene and they realize that they knew each other as teenagers. In fact, Mercy recalls that she had a huge crush on the older Troy. Mercy then finds herself entwined in the case of the baby and a series of murders, even though she's been warned to stay out of it by Troy and other law enforcement officers. A Borrowing of Bones is a debut for those who enjoy mysteries featuring dogs and the outdoors.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Not Our Kind by Kitty Zeldis

In 1947, an accident between two cabs brings Eleanor Moskowitz into the world of Patricia Bellamy and her family. Eleanor is Jewish and has just left a position at a prestigious school in Manhattan when Patricia offers her a job teaching her daughter, Margaux. Margaux had polio, has trouble walking and has been very reluctant to go back to school, hence the tutor. Margaux takes an immediate shine to Eleanor, but in the upper class New York society, Eleanor is encouraged to keep her religion a secret. Things get even more complicated when Eleanor falls for Patricia's older brother, Tom, and Patricia's husband, Wynn, becomes increasingly angry about Eleanor's presence. Told through the eyes of Eleanor and Patricia, Not Our Kind explores the two women's very different lives in a time of change.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

The Glass Ocean by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White

In 1915, wealthy Caroline Hochstetter is sailing to Europe with her husband, Gilbert, on the Lusitania, even though there is danger that  the ship could be sunk by a German U-boat. Also on the ship is a young woman named Tess, who is working in tandem with her older sister, Ginny, to secretly copy an unfinished waltz by Strauss that is owned by the Hochstetters. Tess comes into contact with an old friend of Caroline's, Robert Langford, while observing Caroline on the voyage. Robert has been in love with Caroline since they first met and Caroline has feelings for him, too, but she also loves Gilbert, even though Gilbert has been distant lately and feels it's  his duty to shield Caroline from his business dealings and any unpleasantness going on in the world. Meanwhile, in present time American writer Sarah Blake is desperate for a good idea for a new book. She decides to travel to England to contact Robert Langford's great-grandson, John, to see if she can look at the Langford family archives. Sarah's great-grandfather, Patrick, was a steward on the Lusitania and Sarah has a watch that was given to Patrick from Robert all those years ago. In The Glass Ocean, the reader learns what happened to Caroline, Tess, and Robert on that fateful crossing through their eyes and from the contemporary research of Sarah and John. An enjoyable read for those who like historical fiction.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Summer at the Garden Cafe by Felicity Hayes-McCoy

Hanna has succeeded in saving the library in Lissbeg from being closed, and also was instrumental in having the medieval manuscript, The Carrick Psalter, displayed in a brand new exhibition. However, she's afraid to start a relationship with Brian Morton, even though they both have feelings for each other. Her daughter, Jazz, meanwhile, is finding it hard to get behind the wheel of a car after a serious car accident. In this second book of the Finfarran Peninsula series, the reader gets to catch up with a lot of the people Hanna and Jazz hold dear including Mary, Hanna's mother, Conor McCarthy (Hanna's co-worker at the library), Aideen (Conor's girlfriend, who's also a chef), and a lot of the people who frequent the cafe near the library. While I really enjoyed the first book in the series, this one was a miss for me. Not enough plot, and the characters seemed not to be able to make up their minds about anything.