Flavia De Luce is a precocious young girl in a quiet little town called Bishop’s Lacey, a delightful little warren full of colorful characters located someplace in rural post-war England. Flavia De Luce isn’t any ordinary girl, unlike her more conformist older sisters. The boisterous, incorrigible girl has some unique hobbies, to include deadly poisons, forensic science, and even a bit of dabbling in decomposition of carbon based life forms.
When murder or suspicious deaths occur in her little town, Flavia sees herself as the obvious detective on the job. If only the local police were more appreciative of her insight and involvement…
The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place, by Alan Bradley, is the 9th novel in the Flavia De Luce series. One day while Flavia and her sisters are on holiday during a warm summer, Flavia happens upon a dead body floating in the water next to their boat. Something very suspicious is most definitely happening in the quiet little town. An air of mystery hangs over the local morgue, a shady police constable, and a scandal involving church members and a clergyman in which 4 people ended up deceased.
Flavia, true to form, has decided to solve the mystery for once and for all, despite the inability to use her laboratory at home, and the unwelcome reception from the local police. But can Flavia solve the mystery before the killer decides to turn attention to her?
Bradley fans will adore The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place, and mystery lovers who haven’t given the series a chance should definitely give it a try. You won’t be disappointed!
Miss Penelope Lumley is a governess at the home of the honorable Lord Ashton, watching over three very peculiar but remarkable children. Beowulf, Cassiopeia, and Alexander were found in the woods attached to the Ashton Estate, and were rumored to have been, until the day that they were discovered, raised by wolves. Despite their distinctive canine behavior and habits, they are excellent pupils and quite gifted in many ways.
The children are not the only peculiar things living at Ashton Place, Lord Ashton comes from a line of Lords who have a strange genetic illness which causes them to make strange howling noises whenever there is a full moon…And the matriarch of the family has decided to visit Ashton Place with her new beau, an ex-Admiral who dreams of starting an Ostrich-racing business with the widow Ashton’s money.
Penelope suspects that the Admiral is bad news for the Ashtons, and devises a very unorthodox and supernatural solution…
Can Penelope prove to the Ashtons that the Admiral is not who he seems to be? Can she discover the real secret behind Lord Ashton’s full moon illness? And what about the strange origins of the incorrigible children?
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: the Mysterious Howling, by Maryrose Wood, is an amusing middle grade novel which is the first in a series of books. The writing is light and amusing, and this could be a good novel to read aloud to an elementary aged child. If you would like a darker twist on the Mary Poppins-like stories, then give this series a try.
Charlotte Bill is a nanny with the most prestigious appointment imaginable…Tending the children of the Duke and Duchess of York…children in line for the throne of England. The world of the royals is full of jewels, and gold, and glamour-but it’s speckled with deep dark secrets, and the cold comforts of a royal home-and Charlotte is quickly realizing that these children need her love and care more than she could have possibly imagined.
Despite the challenges, Charlotte, nicknamed Miss Lala by the children, spends years of her life raising an entire generation of children, sacrificing her own chances at love, home and hearth for a duty which has become her greatest life accomplishment. Charlotte sacrifices everything to ensure that the children, especially the last born son, Little Prince John, are safe and cherished until adulthood. No matter what it takes or who she will lose from her own life.
Stretching from 1897 through 1959, The Royal Nanny, by Karen Harper, tells the tale of a devoted nanny, and the details of royal family life. If you like historical fiction, especially the royal variety like Philippa Gregory, you will love this novel. I couldn’t put it down. Check it out!
Two very different women, from very different worlds, cross paths following the devastation of the Great War and embracing the Jazz era. Dolly Lane is a chambermaid from humble beginnings who seeks stardom, glitz and glamour. Loretta May is a beautiful and glittering actress and celebrity who wants to do a bit of good before she is taken by her terminal illness.
In a world of lost love, tragedy, and inhumanity, lives intertwine and a little sunshine peeks out. A musician must come to terms with his war trauma, a wounded soldier must remember what he has lost so he can move on with his life, a girl with a tainted past must face her past decisions and let go of her guilt, and a woman envied by all must use her gifts selflessly to finally get closure and let go of life.
The Girl from the Savoy, by Hazel Gaynor, is a novel about facing demons and embracing the future, and letting go of whatever is standing in the way of life and love. If you liked Hazel Gaynor’s previous works, The Girl Who Came Home, and A Memory of Violets, you will love The Girl from the Savoy. If you’re looking for a quick, fun weekend read, this one probably won’t be your best choice. The Girl from the Savoy will pull at your heartstrings and give you a lesson in human failings and that little glimmer of hope that keeps us all moving. If you want a book with a touch of historical fiction and a literary feel, pick up The Girl from the Savoy, by Hazel Gaynor, today.
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.
Rachel loves to ride the commuter train into the city each day. She loves to look out the windows and see the backyards of the houses which back up to the tracks. She makes up stories about the people who live in the homes, especially the young married couple in one home in particular…so in love, so beautiful, so “together”… Not like her, and her messy life.
But one day Rachel is looking out the window and she sees the lovely blond woman kiss another man in the backyard-a man who isn’t her husband. The next day, the woman is in the news. She has gone missing. Rachel tries to tell the police she saw the woman with another man, but they don’t believe her. They think she’s just a bored, sick woman who wants attention. But Rachel can’t let go. She knows something terrible has happened to the woman and she sets out to find out what happened that night…Because Rachel was in the neighborhood that night, but she can’t remember what happened. She was inebriated and only remembers patched, blotchy memories. Did she see the missing woman that night? Or is she losing her mind?
Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins, is a psychological thriller set in England, in the vein of Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn), Everything She Forgot (Lisa Ballantyne), The Lace Reader (Brunonia Barry), and You Should Have Known (Jean Hanff Korelitz).
If you love edge-of-your-seat reads with unreliable narrators (I sure do) then Girl on the Train should absolutely be on your t0-read list.
Margaret Holloway gets in a terrible pileup on the highway and finds herself pulled from her vehicle by a strange man with terrible burn scars. When she comes back into everyday life she finds herself haunted by his face…Not because of the scars but because something about him was triggering a memory inside her and it won’t let go. Margaret begins to feel like she will never recover from the accident unless she can find out who her rescuer was, and why she is having strange flashbacks from her childhood.
A little girl disappeared on her way to school one day…What happened to sweet, quiet, plain Moll? Who would kidnap a young girl? Is a mafia member somehow involved? But why? Worlds collide as Margaret tries to put together the pieces of the mystery…Hopefully before it’s too late.
If you are a sensitive, delicate person, the harsh reality of Everything She Forgot may not appeal to your sensibilities. This novel is brutal and detailed and for readers who can handle crime at it’s more gory end. Readers, you know who you are…
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.
Polly’s life has fallen apart. Her shared dreams with her husband have come to a disastrous end, they’ve decided to separate and Polly is looking for a new home and a new life altogether. Fate sends her to a small fishing town where she knows no one but the rent is cheap and the view is priceless. Things get off to a rocky start when she realizes the employment prospects are nearly non-existent, her landlady seems to despise her, and the whole idea, once in effect, seems fairly absurd.
But things aren’t as dire as they initially seem. The locals seem to be warming up to her, she’s adopted a wounded puffin to keep her company, and she’s re-discovered her love for baking. Perhaps the most exciting new development is that not one, but two local men seem to be interested in her.
Will Polly be able to make a life for herself in isolated Cornwall? Will she find love again? What will she say when her ex-husband Chris creeps back into her life?
Little Beach Street Bakery, by Jenny Colgan, is a novel about new beginnings and following your own path to happiness. The breakup recovery novel is a favorite genre of mine, because inevitably the heroine discovers a new passion for life and a talent that she never knew existed, and without the help of her failed relationship she would have never discovered her full potential-which is empowering in itself (and the new romance doesn’t hurt a bit either). If you enjoy novels that fit this description, Little Beach Street Bakery is a great choice to start off your summer.
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?!