Friday, March 15, 2019

American Duchess: A Novel of Consuelo Vanderbilt by Karen Harper

Near the turn of the 20th century, Consuelo Vanderbilt is forced to marry Charles Spencer-Churchill by her mother, Alva, and she is miserable because she loves someone else. However, having Consuelo become a duchess and lady of Blenheim Palace is too much of a coup to dissuade Alva from her plans. Moving from America to England and getting used to all the British customs is, at first, a huge task for Consuelo, but soon she finds her stride and place--even winning over members of the royal family. Can she ever be truly happy married to someone she doesn't care for? American Duchess recounts Consuelo's life and loves in an intimate and entertaining style.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson

Artist Henrietta "Hen" Mazur is convinced her next-door neighbor Matthew Dolamore is a killer. While at Matthew's home for dinner one night, Hen sees a fencing trophy that she believes belonged to murder victim Dustin Miller, who lived down the street from Hen when she lived in Cambridge. Hen isn't sure what to do because she has bipolar disorder and is doing well now, but while in college she had an episode and was arrested for attacking another student because Hen believed the student was a murderer. Hen feels the police won't believe her now, but when Hen begins to follow Matthew, she becomes a witness to his violence and her and Matthew's lives become forever intertwined. I always look forward to a new Peter Swanson novel and this one doesn't disappoint. Before She Knew Him is a page turner in the style of Alfred Hitchcock.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

The Victory Garden by Rhys Bowen

As she gets ready to turn twenty-one, Emily Bryce longs to help with the war effort. Her parents, overly concerned with their station in life, consider it beneath them to let Emily do more than visit the local hospital with her mother. After her birthday, Emily breaks away from her parents and ends up working for the Women's Land Army, harvesting crops and doing other farm work. She also falls in love with Australian pilot Robbie Kerr, which brings more of her parent's disapproval. The Victory Garden is a cozy story about Emily finding her own way amidst the turmoil of World War I.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Careless Love by Peter Robinson

When university student Adrienne Munro is found dead in an abandoned car on an isolated road, the authorities at first think it was a suicide. When a man is discovered around the same time at the bottom of a gully, DS Alan Banks and DI Annie Cabbot wonder if the two cases could be connected. Working alongside DS Winsome Jackman and DC Geraldine Masterson, the four delve into the personal lives of Adrienne and the man, now identified as Laurence Hadfield, to try and uncover who is responsible. Careless Love is the latest entry in the long-running Alan Banks series. While I enjoyed spending time with the regular characters, the book at times felt like it was a placeholder to move a bigger ongoing series story along.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton

Lily cannot let her ex-boyfriend, Nate, go. Determined to get him back, she gets a job as a flight attendant at the same airline that Nate works as a pilot for. For a few months she stays under the radar, since Nate had made it clear that he never wanted to see her again, although she still has the key to his apartment and frequently goes there while Nate isn't home. Still, Juliette (aka Lily) is waiting for the right moment to spring her surprise on him and making him hers again, no matter the cost. The Perfect Girlfriend is a suspenseful read, similar to The Last Mrs. Parrish and The Wife Between Us. It will be published next month.

Monday, February 11, 2019

The Lost Man by Jane Harper

In remote Queensland, middle brother Cameron Bright is found dead nine kilometers from his car. His brothers, eldest Nathan and youngest Bub, wonder what could have happened for Cameron to be so far away from his vehicle. Nathan owns a smaller cattle station next to Cameron's, but hasn't seen him in several months. With Christmas approaching, Nathan's teenage son, Xander, is visiting and they all planned to spend the holidays together on Cameron's property, which is the homestead where all three Bright men grew up. The Lost Man details Nathan's search to discover what happened to his brother amidst the isolation and harsh climate of the area. Harper crafts her best book yet (yes, this is better than The Dry), immersing the reader in outback life and a puzzle that keeps you guessing.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

No Exit by Taylor Adams

College student Darby is heading home to Utah for Christmas to see her dying mother when she's caught in a blizzard. Forced to get off the road by the bad weather, she ends up at a rest stop thinking she can wait out the storm and then be back on the highway. When she sees a girl locked in a cage in one of the other cars at the rest stop, she wonders which of the other four people trapped there are responsible. Soon, Darby finds herself fighting for both her life and the girl's in order to see justice done. No Exit is a white-knuckled thriller that's hard to put down, but it's not for the squeamish. Give to people who enjoy Harlan Coben and Greg Iles' 24 Hours.