What You Never Knew: A Novel by Jessica Hamilton – #BookReview – #ghostmysteries – @crookedlanebooks

Book Blurb:

Told in alternating points of view between the living and the dead, Jessica Hamilton’s debut novel will be perfect for fans of The Lovely Bones.

What You Never Knew - Jessica HamiltonIdyllic Avril lsland, owned by the Bennett family, where their hundred-year-old cottage sat nestled in acres of forest. Forty-year-old June Bennett believed that the island had been sold after the summer of her father’s disappearance when she was only twelve years old. It’s months after the shocking death of her older sister May in a fatal car accident, that June finds out that the cottage was never sold. Avril Island is still owned by the Bennett family and now it’s hers.

Still reeling from the grief of losing her sister, June travels back to Avril lsland in search of answers. As she digs, she learns that the townspeople believe her father may in fact have been murdered rather than having abandoned his family in the dead of night, as she was led to believe by her mother. And that’s when she begins to notice strange things happening on the island–missing family possessions showing up, doors locking on their own, unexplained noises in the night, shadowy figures disappearing into the woods. It takes June no time at all to realize that her childhood summers at Avril Island were not at all what they had seemed to be.

My Review:

Alternating chapters between May and June Bennett spark an interesting hook into this ghost mystery thriller. Extremely close, June loses her older sister May in a tragic auto accident only to set in motion the exploration of family secrets well hidden more than thirty years.

The daughters of well to do parents, they spent their summers on Avril Island. The idealistic laid back warm summer life spent in a gorgeous resort setting is well described and immersive. But their summers on the island ended when June was twelve with the sudden disappearance of her father. Their narcissistic mother divulges that he’d left the family and she subsequently sold the island.

Nope.

What You Never Knew - Jessica HamiltonJune has also recently divorced an overbearing, unemotional husband and left with two daughters of her own, and now without the sensitive support of her sister goes into deep grieving. She is shocked to learn she is sole owner of the island. Her daughters safely with her ex for the summer, leaves for the resort and the island to retrieve some of those good memories, the happy times, and hopefully a lessening in her grieving process.

The reader begins to learn about their mother, emotionally crippling and manipulative, but beautiful mother. She was the catalyst that drew the sisters closer, stronger in their common bond. The POV of May is compelling, drawing mental pictures of an ethereal sentient trying to “talk,” guide her sister—trying in her own way to remember events that led to the tragedy that split the family and those of her family from the local, year-round folks. May is still not sure why she has been drawn back or for what purpose.

Difficult to become engaged with forty-year old June, she is rather one dimensional. Ezra, the son of the family who did some caretaking of the island, is not fully developed either but characterized as being her only close childhood friend. I doubt June could have lived thirty years on royalties from a one-and-done book published in her twenties (or if still family money—how?). Ezra never married, thoroughly embroiled now in caring for his mother suffering from dementia.

The conclusion kinda veers off the rails but confirms what I suspicioned early on and wondered what took so long. The big reveal is certainly not a surprise. There is, however, a gotcha that you don’t see coming—one more little twist—that adds some fun.

There were some edits missed, it’s an ARC, and a couple contradictions that I’ll assume are fixed prior to release. Otherwise, it is certainly entertaining and for the most part keeps the reader engaged. Just a few points of disbelief to overcome and for a debut novel, an ambitious and worthwhile effort.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts.

Rosepoint Rating: Three point Five Stars 3 1/2 stars

Add to Goodreads

Book Details:

Genre: Ghost Mysteries, Amateur Sleuth Mysteries
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

  • ASIN : B08FZMZ6K2

Print Length: 297 pages
Publication Date: To be released April 13, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

 

Jessica Hamilton-authorThe Author: [Goodreads] Jessica Hamilton was born in Australia but grew up in Canada. She has lived and worked in the Czech Republic, Taiwan, India and Japan. She studied writing at the Humber School for Writers as well as George Brown College. She lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband, son and daughter. What You Never Knew is her first novel.

©2021 V Williams

The French Paradox (A Wind Country mystery Book 11) by Ellen Crosby – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

“According to Napoleon, in victory you deserve champagne, in defeat you need it.”

 Book Blurb:

Lucie Montgomery’s discovery of her grandfather’s Parisian romance unlocks a series of shocking secrets in the gripping new Wine Country mystery.

In 1949, during her junior year abroad in Paris, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis The French Paradox by Ellen Crosbybought several inexpensive paintings of Marie-Antoinette by a little-known 18th century female artist. She also had a romantic relationship with Virginia vineyard owner Lucie Montgomery’s French grandfather – until recently, a well-kept secret.

Seventy years later, Cricket Delacroix, Lucie’s neighbor and Jackie’s schoolfriend, is donating the now priceless paintings to a Washington, DC museum. And Lucie’s grandfather is flying to Virginia for Cricket’s 90th birthday party, hosted by her daughter Harriet. A washed-up journalist, Harriet is rewriting a manuscript Jackie left behind about Marie-Antoinette and her portraitist. She’s also adding tell-all details about Jackie, sure to make the book a bestseller.

Then on the eve of the party a world-famous landscape designer who also knew Jackie is found dead in Lucie’s vineyard. Did someone make good on the death threats he’d received because of his controversial book on climate change? Or was his murder tied to Jackie, the paintings, and Lucie’s beloved grandfather?

My Review:

I always enjoy these entries to the wine country mysteries, as I’m assured of learning new facts about viticulture and the historical areas of Virginia. In this episode, protagonist Lucie Montgomery (owner with her family of the Montgomery Estate Vineyard) discovers a DB (dead body) in her fields—the guy she was supposed to have met to consult about problems with her sickly grapes.

The French Paradox by Ellen CrosbyHer winemaker-fiancé Quinn is quick to provide support, but it’s just one of several threads and I’m still trying to decide whether or not I like the Jackie Kennedy inclusion. She is also anticipating the arrival of her 93 year old French grandfather for a birthday celebration with a local friend. There are enlightening discussions on the impact of climate change to certain grapes and a comparison of GMOs with hybrids. Additionally, a major sub-plot involves the daughter of her birthday friend and the big reveal regarding her book and the early women art masters tied into the mystery of Jackie O.

The well-plotted narrative delves deeply into the family drama anticipation of a mini-family reunion with her beloved grandfather and her artistic sister’s commission for the art exhibition that will feature renown paintings tied to the books’ announcement.

I really loved The Angel’s Share and Harvest of Secrets but the pacing of this series entry was a bit slow for me and my attention waned. I suppose in the end, part of my enthusiasm this time was the Jackie thread. Not a lot of elements of a cozy, listed as a traditional detective mystery—but didn’t feel that vibe either. Still, these can all be considered standalone and I’ll be looking forward to the next one.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts.

Rosepoint Rating: Three point Five Stars 3 1/2 stars

Add to Goodreads

Book Details:

Genre: Traditional Detective Mysteries, Amateur Sleuth Mysteries
Publisher: Severn House Publishers

  • ASIN : B08QNF14TD

Print Length: 243 pages
Publication Date: Happy Release Day! April 6, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Ellen Crosby - authorThe Author: Ellen Crosby is the author of the Virginia wine country mysteries, two mysteries featuring international photojournalist Sophie Medina and MOSCOW NIGHTS, a standalone. THE FRENCH PARADOX, the 11th book in the wine country series will be out 1/29/21 in the UK, 4/6/21 in the US and 3/1/21 as an ebook. Before writing fiction, Crosby–who has lived in England, France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and the former Soviet Union–worked as a freelance reporter for The Washington Post, an economist at the US Senate, and Moscow reporter for ABC Radio News. Visit her website at http://www.ellencrosby.com and follow her (very) occasionally on Facebook at EllenCrosbyBooks, sometimes on Twitter at @ellencrosby–but mostly on Instagram at ellencrosbyauthor. She also writes an erratic (but interesting) newsletter.

©V Williams

The Hiding Place: A Mercy Carr Mystery by Paula Munier – #BookReview – #readingirelandmonth21 – Cozy Animal Mystery

The Hiding Place by Paula Munier

Rosepoint Rating: Five Stars 5 stars

“…she said a silent prayer to St Roch. The patron saint of dogs.”

Book Blurb:

Mercy and Elvis are back in The Hiding Place, the most enthralling entry yet in USA Today bestselling Paula Munier’s award-winning Mercy Carr mystery series. When the man who killed her grandfather breaks out of prison and comes after her grandmother, Mercy must unearth the long-buried scandals that threaten to tear her family apart. And she may have to do it without her beloved canine partner Elvis, if his former handler has his way….

Some people take their secrets with them to the grave. Others leave them behind on their deathbeds, riddles for the survivors to solve.

When her late grandfather’s dying deputy calls Mercy to his side, she and Elvis inherit the cold case that haunted him—and may have killed him. But finding Beth Kilgore 20 years after she disappeared is more than a lost cause. It’s a Pandora’s box releasing a rain of evil on the very people Mercy and Elvis hold most dear.

The timing couldn’t be worse when the man who murdered her grandfather escapes from prison and a fellow Army vet turns up claiming that Elvis is his dog, not hers. With her grandmother Patience gone missing, and Elvis’s future uncertain, Mercy faces the prospect of losing her most treasured allies, the only ones she believes truly love and understand her.

She needs help, and that means forgiving Vermont Game Warden Troy Warner long enough to enlist his aid. With time running out for Patience, Mercy and Elvis must team up with Troy and his search-and-rescue dog Susie Bear to unravel the secrets of the past and save her grandmother—before it’s too late.

Once again, Paula Munier crafts a terrific mystery thriller filled with intrigue, action, resilient characters, the mountains of Vermont, and two amazing dogs.

My Review:

Even as an adult I still gravitate heavily to dog stories, albeit a stronger more aggressive type than Lassie. This is the story of Elvis, a military trained, sharp as a tack, fierce, loyal, and gorgeous Belgian Malinois. Okay, the story includes Elvis, who is the canine protagonist, but I like him best.

The Hiding Place by Paula MunierThe third in the series examines parallel storylines, each complex and just as gripping: the mystery—which involves more than one active case as well as a cold case, and the entry of the prior owner/handler of Elvis seeking to retrieve his dog. He is another Army vet, original owner of Elvis and Mercy is adamant she won’t turn the dog over to be a support animal in Missouri.

Mercy’s grandfather’s deputy is dying and requests her presence to hand over a cold case in which he was involved and couldn’t shake. There is also the news that the person responsible for her grandfather’s death has escaped from prison. It would appear he is headed back to Vermont and that her grandmother might be in danger. Her grandmother doesn’t appear to be worried and doesn’t bestow additional reasons why or why not.

Mercy had a falling out with Troy Warner and Book 3 catches up the reasons for the break. Tensions still run high between them—although they are forced to work together on some cases, including the suspicious death of a game employee following a juvenile moose. Troy has a search and rescue dog, Susie Bear, a lovable Newfie.

As a veteran herself, Mercy is still working through her return to civil life, enjoying her grandmother Patience, and smoothing the contentious relationship with her mother.

It is a well-plotted and fast-paced narrative, never sagging in the middle, while she whittles away at clues and interviews, often times involving Troy.

The immersion into a winter in Vermont is frost-laden and beautifully described sufficient to see your breath and chill the bones. There are stunning descriptions of snow storms and cabins deep enough in the woods accessible only by snowmobiles. As several of the threads began to appear linked, pieces of the puzzle gradually fall into place.

I correctly surmised what happened to the abuse victim, and the author does a good job of unraveling all the clues, making sense of the chronology. I really enjoyed the strong inclusion of the working canines, as well as the cats, and the sensible resolution of the ownership question of Elvis.

I read Book 1, The Borrowing of Bones, and greatly enjoyed it. Somehow I missed Book 2, but was thoroughly engaged and entertained in this uncorrected digital galley received from the publisher through NetGalley. Assuming my quibbles regarding this novel, including several contradictions, the clarification of her income (she isn’t K9 police—so who pays her?), and one glaring error regarding ticks (they don’t jump), is correctly edited, I enjoyed this entry more than the first. I’m looking forward to Book 4 and can wholly recommend this to any who enjoy a canine/location driven mystery, interesting and complex male/female protagonist team, and the beauty of Vermont and their distinctive Yankee spirit.

Add to Goodreads

Book Details:

Genre: Small Town & Rural Fiction, Cozy Animal Mystery, Cozy Animal Mysteries
Publisher: Minotaur Books

ISBN : 1250153077
ASIN : B08BYDK2DV

Print Length: 326 pages
Publication Date: Happy Release Day! March 30, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Paula Munier - authorThe Author: PAULA MUNIER is a literary agent and the USA TODAY bestselling author of the Mercy Carr mysteries. A BORROWING OF BONES, the first in the series, was nominated for the Mary Higgins Clark Award, and was recently named the Dog Writers Association of America’s Dogwise Book of the Year. The second, BLIND SEARCH, pubbed in November 2019. The third, THE HIDING PLACE, will debut in March 2021.

Paula was inspired to write the series by the hero working dogs she met through Mission K9 Rescue, her own rescues, Newfoundland/retriever mix Bear, Great Pyrenees/Australian cattle dog mix Bliss, and Malinois mix Blondie, and a lifelong passion for crime fiction.

Paula also written three popular books on writing: PLOT PERFECT, THE WRITER’S GUIDE TO BEGINNINGS, and WRITING WITH QUIET HANDS, as well as the acclaimed memoir FIXING FREDDIE: A True Story of a Boy, a Mom, and a Very, Very Bad Beagle, and HAPPIER EVERY DAY: Simple ways to bring more peace, contentment and joy into your life.

She lives in New England with her family, her three rescue dogs, and a rescue torbie tabby named Ursula.

©2021 V Williams

Search for Her by Rick Mofina – #BookReview – #domesticthrillers

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Search for Her by Rick MofinaA missing daughter, a family with secrets, a race for the truth…

At a truck stop near Las Vegas, fourteen-year-old Riley Jarrett vanishes from her family’s RV, turning their cross-country dream of starting over into a nightmare.

Investigators have their work cut out for them. The massive, bustling truck plaza in the desert is the perfect place for someone to disappear—or be taken.

Detectives pursue every chilling lead as all eyes fall to the newly blended family with a tragic past. With the clock ticking down on the likelihood that Riley’s alive, suspicions run deep. Everyone—from Riley’s mom to her stepdad to her stepbrother and her ex-boyfriend—has something to hide. And their secrets could prove deadly.

His Review:

Family arguments can have terrible consequences. Cell phones and texting have altered interactions between individuals in the family. Rick Mofina has taken this idea to a whole new level in this family thriller. Taking away the kids’ phones can result in a separation both within the family and their close friends’ circle.

Search for Her by Rick MofinaA brother’s lie and twenty minutes result in the loss of a fourteen-year old girl in the desert of southern Nevada.  This can result in a race against the clock. Riley is pissed and becomes bitchy on a trip to a new life in Pennsylvania. How could her family not consider her feelings? The love of her life, Caleb, has been torn out of her life and her arms.

Traveling from San Diego, CA to southern Nevada neither of Graces’ children have taken their eyes off the road nor communicated with either parent. Grace finally grabs the cell phones and locks them in the glove compartment. Both her daughter and step-son Blake are left without a way to communicate with their friends. Riley goes to the bed in the back of a rented motorhome and decides to take a nap rather than stay with her family.

Stopping at a roadside truck stop named Silver Sagebrush they go in to get a few items for the trip and use the restrooms. They let Riley nap on the back bed. Better to let the seething young lady rest. They are gone for twenty minutes. When they return to the vehicle, they are assured that Riley is still in the back sleeping. Blake her step-brother has lied. Twenty minutes later they realize that Riley was left at the truck stop.

Rick Mofina begins a tale of a frantic search and a number of plot twists. As you read his tale you feel fairly certain that you know who the culprit is. The problem is that neither Riley, nor her body, have been found. Any family with a teenage daughter will recognize the fear that grips when you realize she is missing.  The plot develops with a series of twists that causes concerns about the health of Riley.

This narrative would be a very good read for anyone studying criminal justice. Following your gut on who the culprit is leads to false conclusions. Evidence is the only answer in solving the disappearance. Can Riley be found in time? Why did she disappear so quickly? Was she abducted and sold into slavery? You will have to read the book to get to the conclusion. You won’t believe the way the author ends the tale. It is a stunner!  Enjoy! 5 stars – CE Williams

It’s been awhile since the other half read a Mofina book, although she read a number of them including The Dying Hour  and  Cold Fear and was always engaged and entertained. This time it was my turn.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from publisher through NetGalley. These are my unbiased opinions. 

Book Details:

Genre: Domestic Thrillers, Kidnapping Thrillers
Publisher: MIRA, (Original edition)

  • ASIN : B087JTTB78

Print Length: 349 pages
Publication Date: March 9, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Search for Her [Amazon]
Also find the book at these locations:
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
 
Add to Goodreads

 

Rick Mofina - authorThe Author: Rick Mofina is a former journalist and an award-winning author of several acclaimed thrillers. His reporting has put him face-to-face with murderers on death row in Montana and Texas. He has covered a horrific serial-killing case in California and an armored car-heist in Las Vegas, flown over Los Angeles with the LAPD Air Support Division and gone on patrol with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police near the Arctic. He has reported from the Caribbean, Africa and Kuwait’s border with Iraq. His true-crime articles have appeared in the New York Times, Marie Claire, Reader’s Digest and Penthouse.

Rick Mofina’s books have been published in nearly 30 countries, including an illegal translation of his thriller, IF ANGELS FALL, in Iran.

The International Thriller Writers, The Private Eye Writers of America, and the Crime Writers of Canada, have listed his titles among the best in crime fiction. As a two-time winner of the Arthur Ellis Award, Canada’s top literary award for crime fiction; a four-time International Thriller Award finalist, and a two-time Shamus Award finalist, the Library Journal calls him, “One of the best thriller writers in the business.”

His books have been praised by James Patterson, Dean Koontz, Michael Connelly, Lee Child, Tess Gerritsen, Jeffery Deaver, Sandra Brown, James Rollins, Brad Thor, Nick Stone, David Morrell, Allison Brennan, Heather Graham, Linwood Barclay, Peter Robinson, Håkan Nesser and Kay Hooper.

For more information please visit Rick Mofina’s official FaceBook page.
https://www.facebook.com/rickmofina
You can also follow him on Twitter @RickMofina
or at his website http://www.rickmofina.com

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams

The Cotillion Brigade: A Novel of the Civil War and the Most Famous Female Militia in American History by Glen Craney–#BookReview–#womenshistoricalmonth

#1 Best Seller in History of American Civil War Regiments

 Book Blurb:

Georgia burns.
Sherman’s Yankees are closing in.

Will the women of LaGrange run or fight?
Based on the true story of the celebrated Nancy Hart RiflesThe Cotillion Brigade is a sweeping epic of the Civil War’s ravages on family and love, the resilient bonds of sisterhood amid devastation, and the miracle of reconciliation between bitter enemies.

“Gone With The Wind meets A League Of Their Own.”

  1. Sixteen-year-old Nannie Colquitt Hillmakes her debut in the antebellum society of the Chattahoochee River plantations. A thousand miles to the north, a Wisconsin farm boy, Hugh LaGrange, joins an Abolitionist crusade to ban slavery in Bleeding Kansas.

The Cotillion Brigade by Glen CraneyFive years later, secession and total war against the homefronts of Dixie hurl them toward a confrontation unrivaled in American history.

Nannie defies the traditions of Southern gentility by forming a women’s militia and drilling it four long years to prepare for battle. With their men dead, wounded, or retreating with the Confederate armies, only Captain Nannie and her Fighting Nancies stand between their beloved homes and the Yankee torches.

Hardened into a slashing Union cavalry colonel, Hugh duels Rebel generals Joseph Wheeler and Nathan Bedford Forrest across Tennessee and Alabama. As the war churns to a bloody climax, he is ordered to drive a burning stake deep into the heart of the Confederacy.

Yet one Georgia town—which by mocking coincidence bears Hugh’s last name—stands defiant in his path.

Read the remarkable story of the Southern women who formed America’s most famous female militia and the Union officer whose life they changed forever.

My Review:

An amazing narrative of the Civil War and the convergence of two historical characters begin in May, 1856 with the introduction of sixteen year old Nancy (Nannie) Colquitt Hill (Morgan) of LaGrange, Georgia, and Hugh LaGrange of rural Wisconsin. (Amazing coincidence, huh?)

In a trade off of biographies between these two major characters of the north and south, the reader is embroiled in the minutia of a young southern belle at her “coming out” ball wherein she is introduced to society, all the better to prime for the search of a suitable husband. She certainly has her eye on the match at that point, strongly contested by another of the area’s well-heeled targets.

The Cotillion Brigade by Glen CraneyA large portion of the book delves into the lives of the two–Nannie in her immature societal connivances and Hugh in his innocent induction into the Underground Railroad. Well developed, the novel issues into the Civil War and gradually into the bloody underbelly of battles, barbaric hospitals, disease, starvation, and the indictment of impotent officers as well as the politicians pulling the puppet strings of the conflagration. In the meantime, Nannie has come to the realization that she must follow in the footsteps of a well known female militia leader of the Revolutionary war, Nancy Hart, and create her own band of 40 women who become the “Nancy Harts.”

The women, left in a town nearly devoid of men, proceed to care for the wounded, managing food and supplies where little exists.

As the story progresses to conclusion and the obvious confrontation by the Union forces behind Colonel LaGrange and Captain Nancy Hill Morgan defending her town from being burned to the ground, the tension ramps. His orders are to “destroy any town that offers resistance.” Will his forces indeed be forced into an armed conflict with a brigade of women? The women are a formidable force, having been trained, and are armed and ready.

But women sometimes battle differently.

Nancy Hart-Georgia MilitiaSo much history here, so many stories of the Civil War, the most destructive of our nation, remaining the deadliest military conflict in American history, and accounted “for more American military deaths than all other wars combined until the Vietnam War.”*

The book includes pictures of these historic figures in American history. The novel another savage view of the war between our own north and south told in almost Shakespearean quality prose, southern vernacular, and harsh reality.

Any reader of historical fiction, Civil War history, and the strengths and roles that strong women can rise to meet in the face of conflict will enjoy this novel. My only problem—the length.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and these are my unbiased opinions. The CE previously read and reviewed The Yanks are Starving, also lengthy but excellent.

Rosepoint Rating: Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Add to Goodreads

Book Details:

Genre: History of American Civil War Regiments, History of Women in the American Civil War, History of the US Confederacy
Publisher: Brigid’s Fire Press

  • ASIN : B08XJ4Z3DM

Print Length: 590 pages
Publication Date: March 15, 2021
Source: Direct author request

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Glen Craney - authorThe Author: A native Hoosier, Glen Craney is a novelist, screenwriter, and journalist. He practiced trial law before attending Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and then joining the Washington, D.C. press corps to cover national politics and the Iran-contra trial. After heading west to Hollywood, he won the Nicholl Fellowship prize from the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences for best new screenwriting.

The recipient of numerous fiction awards, he is a three-time Finalist for Foreword’s Book of the Year. His debut novel, The Fire and the Light, was named Best New Fiction by the National Indie Excellence Committee. His historical fiction and mystery-thrillers have taken readers to Occitania during the Albigensian Crusade, to Scotland of Robert the Bruce, to Portugal during the Age of Discovery, into the tunnels of ancient Jerusalem, along the trenches of France during World War I, and to the American Hoovervilles of the Great Depression.

He lives in southern California.

— Visit Glen’s website and join his newsletter at http://www.glencraney.com.
— Follow him on:
** Facebook (www.facebook.com/GlenCraneyAuthor)
** Twitter @glencraney
** Bookbub (https://www.bookbub.com/profile/glen-craney)
** Pinterest (www.pinterest.com/gcraney5618/)

©2021 V Williams

*https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Civil_War

Last Port of Call: The Queenstown Series by Jean Grainger – #BookReview – Historical Irish Fiction #readingirelandmonth21

Last Port of Call by Jean Grainer

#1 Best Seller Historical Irish Fiction 

Book Blurb:

Queenstown, County Cork, Ireland
April 1912

Twelve-year-old Harp Delaney is an unusual child, quiet and intelligent far beyond her years. She would rather spend her days in the library of the grand Georgian house that she sees as her home than playing on the streets with other children.

Her mother, Rose, is the reserved and ladylike housekeeper at the Cliff House. The local women envy her grace and poise while the men admire her beauty. She behaves not as a servant should, but as someone who belongs at the ancestral home of eccentric loner Henry Devereaux.

Nobody ever visits the Cliff House, but Harp, Rose and Henry have a happy life together, each accepting the idiosyncrasies of the others.

The day Titanic sails from Queenstown, taking with it the hopes and dreams of so many, Harp’s life too is devastated. The small port town is shaken to its foundations at the loss of the unsinkable ship, but the revelation of a long-held secret means that Harp and Rose have a much more pressing issue to solve, one that could destroy them if they cannot find a solution.

Unexpectedly, fate takes a hand, and mother and daughter find themselves thrown a lifeline, one that inextricably links them to the stories of men, women and children for whom Queenstown was the last-ever sight of Ireland as they sailed away to new lands and new lives.

Last Port of Call is the first book in The Queenstown Series.

My Review:

Those of you who have a problem reading a book in the middle of the series should be delighted to learn that this is the first in a new series by the masterful Irish storyteller Jean Grainger. Now is your chance to get in on the bottom rung—don’t say I didn’t warn you as this is already a #1 Best Seller on Amazon. There is a reason for that.

Last Port of Call by Jean GraingerThe author delights in describing her Ireland, the people, the culture, and its famous landmarks and it shows in her prose. While I must admit that the first portion of this book begins slow and includes some repetition, there is the full fleshing of Rose, the housekeeper and her 12 year old daughter, Harp, as well as the explanation of their occupancy of the grand Georgian mansion known as Cliff House. The multi-story mansion sits high above the Queenstown Bay and the entire harbor commanding a magnificent view. It is the last port of call for the Titanic (of the White Star line) before she leaves on the fateful journey that still creates chills more than a century after sinking.

The story of Harp and Rose is described as they care for the aging owner, Henry Devereaux, and the shock of his passing. Henry, a benevolent eccentric leaves the decaying mansion to Harp with whom he’d enjoyed a very unusual relationship. Along the way, we learn fascinating new tidbits about the land (fairy ring forts, castles, and Phoenicians).

Saved from being turned out into the street, they must now devise a way to stay in the old house. And then Rose has an idea. She and Harp will open a guest house. Their first guests are comprised of a wide variety of Irish, each with a story of their own, and as we get to know each individual, invest in their hopes and dreams.

The stories are immersive, gentle or suspect, and pull at the emotions. Somehow, the author manages a perfect resolution for each. However, there is one thread introduced early that is not revisited until the conclusion resulting in a cliff hanger (!). Book #2 of the series is scheduled for release the third week of May, 2021.

“…speculation based on no information whatsoever was pointless.”

I have read many books written by this prolific author, some prior to posting reviews, several as standalones, some in series: Robinswood, The Tour, and the Conor O’Shea series. I considered many were five star novels, including The Star and the Shamrock, Return to Robinswood, Trials and Tribulations, and The Homecoming of Bubbles O’Leary. Her characters are always engaging and relatable, the stories entertaining, and most unique in their plots and pacing. This is a great start to a new series. In for a penny, in for a pound. (Or is it ha’penny?) If you missed Ms Grainger’s Soda Bread recipe, you can find that page here.

Rosepoint Rating: Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Add to Goodreads

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Irish Fiction, Saga Fiction, Family Saga Fiction

  • ASIN : B08RS885CH
  • ISBN : B08WZJK285

Print Length: 476 pages
Publication Date: February 26, 2021
Source: Direct Purchase
Title: Last Port of Call [Amazon]

 

Jean Grainger - authorThe Author: JEAN GRAINGER, USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR,
SELECTED BY BOOKBUB READERS IN TOP 19 OF HISTORICAL FICTION BOOKS,
WINNER OF THE 2016 AUTHOR’S CIRCLE HISTORICAL NOVEL OF EXCELLENCE

I have worked as a history lecturer at University, a teacher of English, History and Drama in secondary school, a playwright, and a tour guide of my beloved Ireland. I am married to the lovely Diarmuid and we have four children. We live in a 150 year old stone cottage in Mid-Cork with my family and the world’s smallest dog, a chi-chon called Scrappy-Do.

My experiences leading groups, mainly from the United States, led me to write my first novel, ‘The Tour’. My observances of the often funny, sometimes sad but always interesting events on tours fascinated me. People really did confide the most extraordinary things, the safety of strangers I suppose. It’s a fictional story set on a tour bus but many of the characters are based on people I met over the years.

Truncated…

Many of the people who have reviewed my books have said that you get to know the characters and really become attached to them, that’s wonderful for me to hear because that’s how I feel about them too. I grew up on Maeve Binchy and Deirdre Purcell and I aspired to being like them. If you buy one of my books I’m very grateful and I really hope you enjoy it. If you do, or even if you don’t, please take the time to post a review. Writing is a source of constant contentment to me and I am so fortunate to have the time and the inclination to do it, but to read a review written by a reader really does make my day.

Find Ms Grainger at her official website or Facebook page.

©2021 V Williams

First Love: The Erin O’Reilly K-9 Mysteries Book 10 by Steven Henry – BookReview – #policeprocedural #readingirelandmonth21 #TuesdayBookBlog

Reading Ireland Month 2021

 

“May the good saints protect us and bless us today, and may troubles ignore us each step of the way.” 

Book Blurb:

A young woman is strangled in her bed. The door is smashed in and the apartment ransacked. Is this a robbery gone wrong? A random attack? A jealous lover? Or a serial killer? It’s up to Detective Erin O’Reilly, her K-9 Rolf, and the rest of her Major Crimes squad to find out the truth before anyone else dies.

It’s a simple case; or is it? Erin has been able to keep an uneasy balance between her personal and work lives. She’s always known it was risky to let herself fall for a gangster. But now, she and her boyfriend, smooth-talking Irishman Morton Carlyle, find themselves drawn into a situation in which the only escape is for the two of them to choose a side and take a stand. Jealousy and betrayal are in the air. Who do you trust when your lover could be your enemy?

My Review:

First Love by Steven HenryI got hooked on this series with Books 1 and 2, Black Velvet and Irish Car Bomb, and fell in love with the dog, Rolf and Erin O’Reilly, a very strong NY traditional Irish cop following in her dad’s footsteps. She has been now been promoted to detective in Major Crimes. She had a special guy I was rooting for that didn’t work. Now her interest is an immigrant Irishman with a history who runs a bar. Unfortunately, Carlyle is a mid-level organized crime associate of the O’Malley Irish mob. Her involvement with him creates somewhat of a quandary for her.

Topping this episode is the death of a young woman whose apartment is made to look like a botched robbery and the crew jumps all too easily on a guy witnessed in the building before; my first quibble. Rolf has a small contribution to this storyline, my second, as I love the scenes with these powerful working canines. As with all police procedurals, there are the associates, supervisors, good and bad, who make for interesting support characters, as well as Carlyle’s driver/bodyguard, Ian.

High Stakes by Steven HenryThe sub-plot then comes to the fore as the initial crime is solved and the storyline goes a bit off the rails. I can’t say too much here as it would only add spoilers. Book 10, however, exploded into a hurried conclusion resulting in a cliff hanger. Book 11, High Stakes, will be coming out the end of March this year.

Much as I like the character of Erin, it seems she is being steered into a double direction, although she’ll continue to perform her K-9 partnering duties with Rolf. Still, I’m torn.

Rosepoint Rating: Four Stars 4 stars

Add to Goodreads

Book Details:

Genre: Police Procedurals, Women Sleuths
Publisher: Clickworks Press

  • ASIN : B08PS3VWJ8

Print Length: 213 pages
Publication Date: December 18, 2020

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Steven Henry - authorThe Author: Steven Henry is the USA Today bestselling author of the Erin O’Reilly mysteries and the Clarion Chronicles. He learned how to read almost before he learned how to walk. Ever since he began reading stories, he wanted to put his own on the page. He lives a very quiet and ordinary life in Minnesota with his wife and dog.

©2021 V Williams