Friday, January 19, 2018

First Line Fridays 20# The Peacock Throne by Lisa Karon Richardson

That time of the week again. Reading goals are going well this week, I've finished A Song Unheard by Roseanna White. Look out for my review for the Celebrate Lit Blog Tour scheduled for Tuesday.  I've also nearly done with my other book, from last year's to read list, a contemporary mystery by Donna Fletcher Crow. 

I usually read two novels at once, and since I have already done a post on the new fantasy novel The Edict by P. J. Keyworth,  I'm going to include the other book that I have just begun today. Its a historical mystery/Romance by an American author and a British Publisher. 
The book came out in November 2015 so you won't find it on any new release lists: and it 's been on my shelf for a couple of years, but I am trying to get through my to read list. 

When Miss Lydia Garrett's guardian is murdered, and the authorities refuse to investigate the odd circumstances, she vows to catch the culprit. The same night the Earl of Danbury is murdered in his bed. Against all odds it appears that the murders are related - and Anthony Douglas, the new Lord Danbury, is bent on revenge. 
The clues point to the former Earl's first naval command. In 1758 the Earl spirited away and hid the magnificent Peacock Throne at the behest of the Indian royal family. To draw out the murderer, Anthony and Lydia agree that they must locate the throne. 

However, they are not the only ones interested in the Peacock Throne. Marcus Wiltshire, agent of His Majesty's intelligence services, has received hints that Bonaparte intends to return the throne to India and leverage its mystical significance to foment rebellion and cut England off from her most important trading partner. When the amateur sleuths join forces with the professional agent, the quest for the throne leads them around the globe on an adventure steeped in danger, treachery, and romance.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage by Julie Klassen

Tales from Ivy Hill #2
December 5th 2017, 448 Pages 
Bethany House, Print, ebook and audio 
Return to Ivy Hill in The Ladies of Ivy Cottage as friendships deepen, romances blossom, and mysteries unfold.

Living with the two Miss Groves in Ivy Cottage, impoverished gentlewoman Rachel Ashford is determined to earn her own livelihood . . . somehow. When the village women encourage her to open a subscription library with the many books she has inherited or acquired through donations, Rachel discovers two mysteries hidden among them. A man who once broke her heart helps her search for clues, but will both find more than they bargained for?

Rachel's friend and hostess, Mercy Grove, has given up thoughts of suitors and fills her days managing her girls' school. So when several men take an interest in Ivy Cottage, she assumes pretty Miss Ashford is the cause. Exactly what--or who--has captured each man's attention? The truth may surprise them all.

Meanwhile, life has improved at the coaching inn and Jane Bell is ready to put grief behind her. Now if only the man she misses would return--but where is he?
As the women of Ivy Hill search for answers about the past and hope for the future, might they find love along the way?

Its been nearly a year since I finished the last book in this series, and since I have read so much since then I’ve been rather remiss in remembering all the characters from the last book. It took a while and a read of my review to refresh my memory on the background of Rachel, one of the protagonists of this book (one of the Ladies of Ivy Cottage). 
 Leaving behind my lapses of memory though, I very much enjoyed this book with the detailed setting, prose, and colourful characters beloved of Klassen novels. Like the last one, this book was more character driven and could seem a little slow, but that was not an issue for me. The story picks up a few months after the last, with the unmarried ladies Mercy and Rachel starting a new venture with a school for village girls, and a lending library. 

Characters old and new converge on the fictional Berkshire village, and it was good to see the story develop with the established ones. Romance is even in the air for Patrick, Rachel, and even Jayne still struggling to come to terms with past heartbreak. Nods to literary classics were provided with characters having to come to terms with the opposition of family, pride, arrogance, social expectations, and family secrets. 

Even a faint hint of mystery reminiscent of Klassen’s former works. A few Americanisms were my only gripe, and some readers may want to note that there are some references to sexual activity outside of marriage (no actual sex scenes, just mentions of it), with a mention of a woman who was a mistress, and an illegitimate child. 

I received a copy of this book from the Publisher and their UK distributors. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, January 12, 2018

First Line Fridays# 19: A Song Unheard Roseanna M. White

I'm back again after taking an unofficial break last week, so welcome to the first post of the new year. For better or worse, I have set the bar higher this year for my Goodreads reading challenge, as I intend to get through all the unread Christian Fiction books on my Kindle: over 90 of them. 

With the help of audiobooks and text to speech maybe I will reach my target: I know, some people will consider that cheating, but it helps me. In real life, I don't often have a lot of time for reading novels. 

Today I am including the book that I am going to be involved in the Blog Tour of with Celebrate Lit Bloggers, in just under 12 days: so make sure to stop by for that. A Song Unheard is the second book in the Shadows Over England series by Roseanna M. White, author of the Edwardian Brides trilogy, and several other titles. 
Like the former series, its set in Edwardian England and features a gang of young thieves who get involved in activities related to espionage and national security, when a mysterious man known only as 'V' recruits one of them to steal or find an object of importance. 

This book is set partly in Wales: which means Welsh accents, right? Think Tom Jones, Luke Evans, Ioan Gruffudd, all native-born Welshmen with delightful accents when you hear them speak naturally. Well, sadly, I've not seen any trace of a Welsh accent so far, but seeing as the protagonists are a Belgian and a Londoner, is guess that's forgivable. I hope for some trace of one by the end, though. Here's the synopsis:

"Willa Forsythe is both a violin prodigy and top-notch thief, which make her the perfect choice for a crucial task at the outset of World War I—to steal a cypher from a famous violinist currently in Wales.

Lukas De Wilde has enjoyed the life of fame he's won—until now, when being recognized nearly gets him killed. Everyone wants the key to his father's work as a cryptologist. And Lukas fears that his mother and sister, who have vanished in the wake of the German invasion of Belgium, will pay the price. The only light he finds is in meeting the intriguing Willa Forsythe.

But danger presses in from every side, and Willa knows what Lukas doesn't—that she must betray him and find that cypher, or her own family will pay the price as surely as his has."

Yes, I created a graphic on Canva for my FLF Quote. What do you think? 
Join me and the other group's members next Friday for another first line, and a pop back to check out a couple of reviews I intend to publish int the interval.

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