When Olivia Kavanagh finds an old manuscript in her grandfather’s bookshop she finds herself pulled into the mystery within its pages. Her grandmother has been placed in a home and her memory is disappearing rapidly, but once in a while she is just lucid enough to feed the fires of Olivia’s curiosity.
Decades earlier, two young girls create a sensation when they capture photos of fairies near a brook in the local woods. Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright were two young girls who became famous overnight. News of their fantastic photos, seen as evidence of the existence of fairies, reached all edges of the world and even attracted famous figures such as Arthur Conan Doyle.
Olivia Kavanagh holds the key to the answers, if she can only solve the riddle. How was her grandmother involved with the girls at Cottingley? Who put together the manuscript in her grandfather’s book shop?
Finding the answers suddenly becomes a quest for Olivia to find herself and her own place in the world, both fantastical and otherwise.
The Cottingley Secret, by Hazel Gaynor, is a novel for history fans and mystery lovers. If you liked Hazel Gaynor’s other works (I know I did), or if you like authors like Kate Morton or Kimberley Freeman, then definitely give The Cottingley Secret a try.
Kate Moore is a governess looking for a better life than she knew from her childhood. Her mother raised her to keep her eyes on the prize and marry a wealthy man who can take care of her. Kate gets her chance when she meets the mysterious bachelor, Matthew Lemont, and he is beguiled by her sensible nature and quick wit.
In a very short time, Kate becomes Mrs. Lemont. Her fairy tale beginning is short lived, however. The newlyweds are naturally headed to Lakecrest to meet Matthew’s mother and sister and surprise them with their good news. Upon arrival, however, Kate realizes that things are not as they might appear. A missing aunt, a winding labyrinth, a cellar dungeon and secrets upon secrets hide within the grounds of that strange, eccentric house.
Just when Kate realizes she needs to escape for her own safety, she realizes she is pregnant, and suddenly everyone, including her husband, seems to think she should be confined to the house until the baby comes.
Can Kate escape the tyranny in that toxic house before it steals her sanity? Could she be reliving the tragedy of the lost aunt?
In the Shadow of Lakecrest, by Elizabeth Blackwell, is a mystery novel with an essence reminiscent of V.C. Andrews. If you enjoy suspense you should pick it up!
Miss Mary Channing can think of nothing more lovely than an early morning spent in the garden reading a book. She is not perturbed by the prospect of spinsterhood or a life of quiet and solitude. Her sister, unfortunately, is set on making her be social and experience something outside of her small little world.
Mary finds herself called to London and thrown into society unceremoniously. But not before she encounters a drunken Lord in the back garden who can only be a terrible rogue, the likes of which she has only read about in her precious novels.
When Mary finds herself thrown into a conspiracy with the very gentleman she is trying to avoid, and no one will believe them about a possible plot to assassinate a prominent government official or perhaps even a member of the monarchy, Mary Channing’s life takes a very exciting turn, full of ladies of the night, corruption, scandal, duels, espionage and intrigue.
Will Mary survive her London adventures? Can she spend time one on one with a scoundrel Lord with her dignity and virtue intact? If you enjoy novels of the bodice-ripper genre, you will love this amusing, easy weekend read. Perfect for a rainy day in your favorite blanket.
1942 Philadelphia and World War II is pulling able-bodied men and boys from every corner of the country. Young Maddie Hyde and her husband, Ellis come to blows with his crusty, uptight, disapproving upper class parents and are thrown out, disinherited and with limited financial support. Along with Ellis’s best friend Hank, a crazy plan is formed to travel to Scotland and finally find proof that the Loch Ness Monster exists…Thereby exonerating his father’s reputation which was ruined when he tried to do the same…And putting Ellis back in his father’s good graces.
But the spoiled, entitled little rich kids are about to learn what war has done to the rest of the world while they have been throwing back champagne at parties. The Scots are less than impressed by the rude, drunken American travelers and Maddie is about to learn what it is to be a friend, to serve the greater good, and to be grateful for life’s little blessings… If she can manage to survive the horror that becomes her marriage in the process.
At the Water’s Edge, by Sara Gruen (Water for Elephants), is a novel about the monsters that come in all shapes and sizes, a touch of magic (some helpful and some very, very dark), love, loss, and the importance of thinking about what good you can do in the world. Not quite a coming-of-age story, but a story about how one young woman becomes the woman she was always supposed to become, despite the many people in her life who have tried to stand in her way.
One little boy disappears in the night. The family is devastated. Alice Edevane is a budding teenager with a flair for mystery fiction writing and she’s concocted the perfect crime. When it appears to have come to fruition in real life and the gardener has gone missing, the weight of what she might have put into motion weighs heavily on her for the rest of her life.
Decades later, a young London detective named Sadie Sparrow is taking some time off after she makes a terrible career mistake. She heads to Cornwall and the mystery of the disappearance of the little boy calls to her, piquing her curiosity and prompting her to fill the long days with investigation into what might have truly happened. Two plucky heroines meet in a crossing of paths as they find they both have an interest in whatever happened to the Edevane baby that night at the Lake House party…And the plethora of family secrets held in the walls of the estate are more than anyone could have ever expected from the private, respected family.
The Lake House, by Kate Morton, does not disappoint. I waited years for the release of the author’s most recent novel and as always, I adored the novel. Kate Morton is a genius in all things secretive and long buried, and she crosses time periods so perfectly so the past has no choice but to slowly resurface, creating perfect page-turning intrigue that will leave you reading deep into the night. If you read The Forgotten Garden, The Secret Keeper, The House at Riverton, or The Distant Hours (or in my case, all of the above), you will not want to miss The Lake House. Kate Morton takes long-buried secrets and mysteries to the deepest, and most intricate levels, leaving readers feeling drained and bereft by the end of her novels…And craving more.
If you are a regular follower on my site you probably already expected me to adore The Lake House. If you have the time and energy for a book that will rob you of all your reserves, you will want to pick up The Lake House today. If you don’t…. Too bad for you.
The Maisie Dobbs series was an accidental slip of fate which I’m pleased to have stumbled upon. Like many of you, I have Netflix. Also like many of you, I tend to watch an entire series consecutively (night after night) once I’ve begun watching. Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries was one such Netflix find. I was also happy to discover that there is indeed a book series by Australian author Kerry Greenwoodbook series by Australian author Kerry Greenwood, about a sassy flapper-era female detective who is no stranger to adventure and intrique–Miss Phryne Fisher. Unfortunately, my library didn’t have any of the Phryne Fisher books and it wasn’t available as an ebook on Overdrive either. Which means if I want to read the Phryne Fisher books, I’ll have to buy them. And it’s a long series. Anyways, I came across an article which listed authors you should try if you like the Phryne Fisher books-historical mysteries with a plucky female heroine. Which is how I encountered the Maisie Dobbs books.
Maisie Dobbs is not a flapper-era female detective but she is a detective of sorts. She is a well-educated British ex-nurse who opens her own detective agency with interest in helping people. She’s not a scandalous, sassy flapper, she’s a lady with dignity and composure and a strong sense of decorum.
The first novel in the series by Jacqueline Winspear is simply called Maisie Dobbs, and it’s her first case after the Great War ends and she comes back home. She investigates a sort of commune in the country where wounded war veterans are going to get a break from the outside world and live together in peace and harmony among other men who understand them…The problem is that they never seem to come back, and there are some very suspicious deaths out there in the commune. When a close friend in the aristocracy asks for Maisie’s help finding out what is going on out there, Maisie doesn’t hesitate to jump on board.
If you like historical mysteries, definitely try the Maisie Dobbs series. Worth reading.
A Pattern of Lies, by Charles Todd, is the 7th novel in a series starring the heroine Bess Crawford, a Nurse during World War I who uses her wit and solid reputation to help friends and acquaintances to solve mysteries and get out of dire situations.
A Pattern of Lies is set in Kent in 1916, Bess is on leave and visiting the Ashtons, a well-to-do aristocratic family beset with tragedy. Their gunpowder mill burned down, killing more than a hundred men, and the town seems set on blaming the father of her friend and watching him hang on the gallows. But Bess thinks there is more to the story and she uses every resource available to her to find the truth. Someone is sabotaging the Ashtons, vandalizing their property and even setting fire to their home. Who could want to harm the Ashtons and can Bess sniff them out before someone is hurt, or worse?
The Bess Crawford novels are a dignified, proper read with intelligent language and a slow, simmering pace that can’t be rushed. The reader is tickled with details gently up until the final climax and it’s a slow burn with a satisfying ending. If you like novels that are perfect for a slow, breezy, quiet day, A Pattern of Lies, by Charles Todd, will be a great choice for you.
The setting is a New England prep school. Everything seems squeaky clean and controlled from the outside…But there are too many secrets. One night, the unimaginable occurs. Sixteen-year-old Nica Baker is killed, her body found in the nearby cemetery. What reason would anyone have to kill a rebellious teenage girl? Her sister, Grace is determined to find out what happened to her sister, determined to find closure so she can fight her own demons.
The sleepy little prep school is hiding some very toxic secrets, ranging from drugs to sex scandals, possibly even leading to murder and suicide. Can Grace sort out who is responsible for the death of her sister? Can she sift through the unimaginable sordid details and find a common vein? Is the killer still out there? Are her own parents somehow involved?
Dark Rooms, by Lili Anolik, will appeal to readers in the Gillian Flynn genres (Sharp Objects, Dark Places, Gone Girl). Definitely for adults only, definitely dark and heavy suspense, uprooting the most miserable aspects of human nature and revealing all that people try to hide from the world. This suspense novel is a top pick for 2015, so if you are in the mood for creepy, thrilling suspense, order Dark Rooms today. If you are sensitive and prefer more “cozy” mysteries, steer clear.
A woman is found wandering, lost, confused and ill during World War I. A kind and generous couple takes her into their home and nurses her back to health, realizing with time that the self-named Stella Bain actually has no idea who she is, and has no place to go. The couple observes only that she has been serving in the war, based on her uniform, and that she has an American accent.
Stella must overcome her amnesia and get her life back-but how long will it take? Does she have family and friends who are worrying about her? Why can’t she push away the nagging guilt that arises whenever she tries to remember who she is? What if she doesn’t want to know the truth about her past?
Suddenly, it all comes back to Stella, and she must decide what to do with the rest of her life and rediscover who the real woman inside her wants to be.
Stella Bain is very historical fiction/women’s fiction in genre. The tone is very serious and rich in description and sentiment. I found it to be an excellent audiobook to hear at work- but I also have a special weakness for historical fiction set during the Great War-I just think it was a great time for women to start showing the world what they were made of, don’t you?!
John Gower is commissioned by Geoffrey Chaucer with a very vague and mysterious mission-find a book of songs that has gone missing. He is intrigued by the mission, but he has no idea how deep the plot will go until bodies begin to pile up. What is in this book that seems to be traveling in London’s underground? Does it have the power to set in motion terrible events, including the death of King Richard II? The more Gower learns, the more danger builds up around him. The surprise arrival of his formerly exiled son makes for very suspicious timing amid it all-how do all of these events tie together? What is the connection between a dead Lady in the woods, a handful of prostitutes, the famous Geoffrey Chaucer, a group of butchers, and his majesty, the King of England? Only the book will reveal all-and someone is killing to get their hands on it. Can Gower solve the mystery before the ultimate crime occurs?
This novel portrays 1300s London in a very harsh light-nothing is sugar coated, so if you are looking for something pleasant and romantic, this is not the book for you. The language, while probably very accurate, is a lot to take in, especially from the mouths of the prostitutes and the men who commission them. All in all, however, this novel is great suspense fiction, and an incredibly detailed account of what life might have been like during the time of Chaucer. If you enjoyed The Bones of Avalon, by Phil Rickman, you will want to pick up A Burnable Book, by Bruce Holsinger.