The Royal Nanny by Karen Harper

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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!

Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

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.

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

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.

The Tide Watchers by Lisa Chaplin

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Lisbeth has nothing left. Abandoned by her husband, her newborn son stolen, she has been forced to work as a tavern wench and unable to leave the France to return to her native Britain in dangerous times with Napoleon plotting to take over the world. A handsome stranger saves her from an unpleasant encounter with ruffians, and offers her a deal she can’t refuse.

He will save her from her miserable situation, get her son back for her and take her to safety…If she will help the British spy network to spy on the American inventor who is working on submersible watercrafts which could change Britain’s efforts against Napoleon and bring them levels of intelligence they’ve never had before. She will, of course, do whatever it takes to convince the inventor that she can be trusted…Even if her virtue is at stake.

Thrown into a world of politics, crime, murder, espionage, and even a touch of romance, Lisbeth’s life is being turned upside down. Can she escape to safety in the end? Can she get her son back? Who can she trust? What will she do to save her son from the clutches of his horrible father? Will she give up all of her principles? Where will she end up, if she fails?

The Tide Watchers, by Lisa Chaplin, is NOT a quick, easy weekend read-the novel is intelligent and full of history and politics. If you want a novel that’s meaty and complex, The Tide Watchers is for you. I, personally, enjoyed it very much and look forward to the inevitable second installment of Lisbeth’s story.

Rutherford Park by Elizabeth Cooke

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Downton Abbey lovers, don’t miss Rutherford Park, by Elizabeth Cooke! This novel takes place in 1913, when Lady Octavia Cavendish learns a painful secret about her own husband on the same night that a servant in the house attempts suicide. Rutherford Park will never be the same place again as the family struggles to stay together amid turmoil and changing times.

Will Lady Cavendish find happiness for once and for all, or will she settle for what she has always had and accept her fate? Will her son come clean to his parents about his own deep dark secrets? Will her daughter be allowed to marry for love? And what about the servants of the house-will they stay on at Rutherford as things change around them? If you love historical fiction, especially of the early 1900s era, you will adore Rutherford Park.

Speaking from Among the Bones by Alan Bradley

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Flavia De Luce is back in this 5th novel in the Flavia De Luce series, which some of you may know is about a precocious young girl who is in love with crime solving and chemistry, and who can’t seem to stay out of trouble. Historians are coming to Bishop’s Lacey to dig up the remains of a Saint who is buried there, and Flavia can’t stay away-of course, the dead body of a church member wasn’t something she was expecting to sight when they opened the tomb. A murderer is at large, quite possibly a church member she sees every sunday, and a stranger has come into town who shares her love of botany and detective work, and somehow knows her father from deep in his murky past.

Who is the killer? Is Bishop’s Lacey safe? Does the murderer have unfinished business? Strange things are happening about town, and strange characters are around every corner. With Flavia on the job, however, things are sure to sort themselves out in the most entertaining way possible.

These Alan Bradley novels are humorous and a little dark, and the cast of characters in the novels is rich and diverse, creating a novel full of entertainment that will entertain mystery-loving anglophiles world-wide. If you have read other novels of the Flavia De Luce series, the 5th installment, Speaking from Among the Bones will not disappoint. If you have not read the novels, you can definitely start them out of order, but I would recommend starting with the first novel, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, and working your way through.

Seducing Mr. Knightly by Maya Rodale

Writer Annabelle Swift has been working for a London newspaper for almost 4 years, and she pines for her boss, newspaper editor and owner Mr. Derek Knightly, until she decides that she has waited for his attention long enough. British humor meets bodice-ripper in perfection in this novel,  Seducing Mr. Knightly, by Maya Rodale, which turns out to be the 4th installment in the author’s Writing Girls series. I was actually a little reluctant to read this one, as I have been bombarded by smutty romance novels (my followers know I use the term “smutty romance” with affection and adoration) by publishers in the last couple of months-but luckily the back cover drew me in and I was pleased with the end result.

To any anglophile and romance reader, this author is a must-read. The main character of Seducing Mr. Knightly is surprisingly lovable, and you will find yourself turning page after page, wanting to see where her misadventures will lead. The Hero of the story, the sexy Mr. Knightly, is sexy and brooding (just how we like our heroes) with a dark secret, and just clueless enough about love that the story is warm and playful.

If you like Anna Randol, Cathy Maxwell, Mary Hart Perry, or pretty much just adore smutty romance novels with a british flavor, this novel is perfect for your next weekend read.

God Save the Queen by Kate Locke

Paranormal Romance meets Steampunk in the first in the Immortal Empire series, staring Xandra, a Royal Guard for her majesty whose sister has just gone missing. In her determination to find out the truth, this saucy british half-vamp faces Goblins, Werewolves, Vampires, and more…And she can’t quite decide who wants her dead among them. Friends and enemies have so much in common-hunger for human flesh being on the list.

Surprise alliances shake Xandra to her core, and a discovery of a secret underground group set out to overthrow the Aristocracy, a sexy werewolf pack leader, and a very creepy Goblin prince are only the beginning of the head-spinning violence and intrigue that fills the pages of this novel.

If you loved The Parasol Protectorate series, by Gail Carriger, then without a doubt, you should pick up this novel immediately. If you think that a British “Anita Blake” sounds like something you might like to try out, the fantasy world created by Kate Locke is elaborate and well thought-out. If you are not really a fan of either “steampunk” or “paranormal romance” then it probably won’t be your “cup of tea”. Pick up God Save the Queen today, if you think you can handle it!

The audiobook is also an EXCELLENT option for those of you who like to listen to paranormal romance. I listened to it while I was painting my house and enjoyed every minute.