Murder in Connemara (A Home to Ireland Mystery Book 2) by Carlene O’Connor –#BookReview – #tuesdaybookblog

I won this on a Goodreads Giveaway!  Murder in Connemara by Carlene O’ConnorThank you to the author and the publisher, Kensington Books!

Book Blurb:

Murder in Connemara by Carlene O'ConnorThe bestselling author of the Irish Village mysteries sets her new series in Galway County, where former New York interior designer Tara Meehan finds murder in the ruins.

Former New Yorker and interior designer Tara Meehan is eagerly anticipating the grand opening of her architectural salvage shop Renewals in her newly adopted home of Galway. She’s in the midst of preparations when heiress Veronica O’Farrell bursts in to announce she’s ready for some renewal of her own. To celebrate one year of sobriety, she’s invited seven people she wronged in her drinking days to historic Ballynahinch Castle Hotel in neighboring Connemara to make amends in style.

But perhaps one among them is not so eager to pardon her past misdeeds. Veronica is found lying in the ruins of manor house Clifden Castle with an antique Tara Brooch buried in her heart—the same brooch Tara Meehan admired in her shop the day before, posting a photo with the caption: #Killerbrooch. Now she’s a prime suspect, along with Veronica’s guests, all of whom had motives to stab the heiress. It’s up to Tara to pin down the guilty party.

My Review:

I really enjoy this atmospheric Irish Village Mystery series that manages to plunk the reader right into the middle of the countryside villages and people.

Murder in Connemara by Carlene O'ConnorTara Meehan moved back to her mother’s childhood home in Galway. She is very busy trying to get her salvage shop open, along with the warehouse, but is impatiently awaiting her permit. She is slowly becoming a part of the community as well as trying to progress in her relationship with Danny.

This entry to the series involves an heiress and her history. Veronica has not been a nice person, but she is now prepared to make amends, and dropping into Tara’s unofficial shop engaged her to help pick out the appropriate gifts for each on her list.

Unfortunately, Tara had discovered a body which is quickly tied to Veronica in death as well as life. The murder mystery introduces the reader to castles and intriguing support characters and touches off a treasure hunt for clues, along with twists.

Tara is a subtle but dogged protagonist after discovering her job did not end with the death of the heiress and now includes the discovery of the culprit. It’s a well-plotted and paced narrative and moves into the conclusion with a life or death struggle. I did suspect the perp, but not wholly the reason, which is revealed in the wrap up.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley and these are my honest thoughts. You may wish to begin with Book 1, but I read with no problem as a standalone. Currently on pre-order.

Rosepoint Rating: Four point five stars  4 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

      • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08MBF7RJQ
      • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Kensington Books
      • Publication date ‏ : ‎ July 27, 2021
      • Print length ‏ : ‎ 283 pages
      • Genre: International Mystery & Crime, Amateur Sleuth Mysteries

    Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

    Title Link(s):

    Amazon
    Barnes & Noble
    Kobo

    Carlene O'Connor - authorThe Author: Carlene O’Connor comes from a long line of Irish storytellers. Her great-grandmother emigrated from Ireland to America during the Troubles, and the stories have been flowing ever since. Of all the places across the pond she’s wandered, she fell most in love with a walled town in County Limerick and was inspired to create the town of Kilbane, County Cork. Carlene currently divides her time between New York and the Emerald Isle.

    If you’ve missed this atmospheric series, now is the time to check them out. This novel currently on pre-order.

    ©2021 V Williams V Williams

Dog Eat Dog: An Andy Carpenter Mystery (Andy Carpenter Novel Book 23) by David Carpenter – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Rosepoint Rating: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Dog Eat Dog by David RosenfeltLawyer Andy Carpenter and his golden retriever, Tara, work to free a man who risked it all to help a dog in need

Lawyer Andy Carpenter and his wife, Laurie, enjoy walking their dogs, Tara and Sebastian. By this point in their marriage, it’s routine. When out for one of their strolls, their simple ritual isn’t so simple anymore. Across the street, a man is mistreating his dog. Three things happen at once: Andy yells, Laurie runs to stop the abuse, and so does a closer passerby, who so thoroughly beats the owner that both are arrested when the cops arrive.

Andy scoops up the dog and takes him to the Tara Foundation, the dog rescue organization that’s always been his true passion. Meanwhile, at the police station, the passerby is identified as Matthew Jantzen, and he’s wanted for murder. Andy and Laurie are struck by the fact that Jantzen, a man on the run, would nevertheless intervene to help a dog, and decide to find out more.

Dog Eat Dog, the twenty-second installment in the Andy Carpenter series, features the charming cast of characters – old and new – that David Rosenfelt is known for and the dogs that accompany them.

My Review:

Yes! I was overdue for my Andy Carpenter fix and this is just the book to do it! Although most any in the 23 of the series would do it. Usually I go the audiobook route as the narrator, Grover Cleveland, IS Andy Carpenter—sells it completely. This time I was able to get an ARC from the publisher. And you know—it’s just as good. Must be the writing style.

Dog Eat Dog by David RosenfeltFor those of you who haven’t seen any of my previous reviews, Rosenfelt has created an attorney who, having the benefit of a substantial inheritance, has quit, or tried to several times. (He runs a dog rescue he and a partner call the Tara Foundation. He loves dogs.) But these cases just keep popping up. This one in defense of a man who came to the rescue of a man who was saving a dog from being beaten. Having been arrested, it was discovered he was wanted in Maine for a double homicide. He didn’t do it.

No, really. He didn’t do it. No clue who the victims were and two years ago? Can’t remember that specific night.

These books are just plain fun. Fast, witty, often sarcastic humor coupled with deeply layered well-plotted novels. These are never simple, open and shut cases. And yet—in this case, his DNA was found on the victim. How do you fight that?

Extradited to Maine, Andy will leave his safe haven in New Jersey where he is constantly mistaken as a New Yorker amid the happy discovery of lobster rolls. GEES! Just talking about them got me thinking—lobster rolls—YUM!

Of course he is going his get his team involved, his wife (ex-cop and private investigator) and her partners (part of the Carpenter K-Team spin-off) that includes Marcus who keeps his dialogue minimal (silent and deadly). She brings the (three) dogs, including the one newly rescued and they tie up some suites at the local hotel. He also has a computer guru genius (shhh, don’t tell me how you got this information).

Andy’s self-deprecating sense bounces between that and confirmation of his brilliance and in the meantime uses his wit to keep him safely investigating. Failing that—there’s always Marcus who has his back, not to mention his wife—she legally packs.

I always love it when they get to the courtroom—there are teachable moments, intelligent and full of fancy footwork, maneuvering, not to mention some memorable acting scenes.

I started reading (or listening to) this series back in 2016 and got thoroughly hooked. My last three were Silent Bite, Muzzled, and Dachshund Through the Snow. You can’t go wrong with either the print or audiobook. Thank you Minotaur Books and NetGalley for my ARC review copy. These are (always) my own opinions. Currently on pre-order.

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Book Details:

Genre: Animal Fiction, Traditional Detective Mysteries
Publisher: Minotaur Books

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08FZ8RV1W

Print Length: 304 pages
Publication Date: July 6, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

David Rosenfelt - authorThe Author: David Rosenfelt, a native of Paterson, New Jersey, is a graduate of NYU. He was the former marketing president for Tri-Star Pictures before becoming a writer of novels and screenplays. “Open And Shut” was his first novel; “First Degree,” his second novel, was named a best book of 2003 by Publishers Weekly. He currently lives in Southern California with his wife and 35 dogs.

©2021 V Williams

Hell’s Half Acre (Coffin Cove Mysteries Book 2) by Jackie Elliott – #BookReview – #noircrime – #tuesdaybookblog

Happy Release Day! 

Book Blurb:

AN ADDICTIVE MUST-READ WHODUNNIT FROM THE NEWEST TALENT IN CRIME FICTION

One betrayal.
Two suspects.
Three murders.

Hell's Half Acre by Jackie ElliottAndrea “Andi” Silvers thought moving to the tiny fishing village of Coffin Cove, on the Vancouver coast, would be a fresh start. But she got shot during a murder investigation.

Her boss at the Coffin Cove Gazette keeps telling her to take it easy. But she’s back on the booze and won’t get help. Instead, she’s going to do what she does best and follow her next lead.

Now Ricky, the former mayor’s son, has disappeared. The police don’t seem to care. Ricky runs the town’s new cannabis shop.

Then two dead bodies are discovered in an abandoned chapel.

Has Ricky finally turned up?

Discover a web of murder and mystery laced with humour and a thread of romance in this fast-paced whodunnit set on the gorgeous coast of Western Canada.

My Review:

I love a good mystery with a particularly atmospheric setting, such as fictional Coffin Cove on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. Oh, the memories it brought back! Fond memories of our ride into Canada one year to Glacier National Park of Canada where we caught Canadian Hwy 1 west through Revelstoke and Kamloops eventually to catch the ferry to Nanaimo. Gorgeous, gorgeous country. Well, anyway, Nanaimo is mentioned in this novel as being “an hour” away from the fictitious Coffin Cove. So, yes, I was quickly pulled into the narrative.

Hell's Half Acre by Jackie ElliottProtagonist Andrea “Andi” Silvers works as a journalist and assistant editor at the Coffin Cove Gazette. She is recovering from a gunshot wound received in the process of her last big story and is now looking into the cold case of the disappearance of the son of the former mayor. The old mayor was not particularly liked but definitely had in place a network of good old boys. Ricky’s body is found on private property in the process of finding interesting locations for a museum historical walk, one of the new mayor’s ideas for revitalization. Jade Thompson has promised a new day for the town.

In the plans to regenerate the town, they will repair, rebuild, and modernize, but Coffin Cove has a dark past that includes biker gangs, drugs, and murder. There are stories, unfortunate and sad, that haunt the village, unsolved, that continue to linger like a pall over the residents. Ricky’s body isn’t the first to be found but it does seem to have set off a spate of retributions.

Andi is dealing with her explicable attraction to RCMP Inspector Andrew Vega while she also has another interest, his more so than hers. I liked the characters of her editor, Jim Peters new recruit PC Matt Beaufort, and Clara Bell, the retired museum curator living off the grid. The storyline gets complex, expands on characters, and introduces clues and twists that continues to leave the reader in confusion, although there is a gradual dawning and suspicion.

I enjoyed the historical aspects of the location, the descriptions of the area, and the immersive characters and I can see this series doing well. The conclusion settles most of the dust, exposes the perp (correctly guessed), and suggests possible scenarios for the next installment although this as Book 2 can be read as a standalone.

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

Rosepoint Rating: Four Stars 4 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Noir Crime, Serial Killers, Murder
Publisher: Joffe Books

  • ASIN : B093X49XFF

Print Length: 247 pages
Publication Date: Happy Publication Day- May 11, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 
Title Link(s): Hell’s Half Acre [Amazon]

Jackie Elliott - authorThe Author: Jackie [Elliott] is originally from the UK, but she settled on Vancouver Island, Canada in 2004. She’s married to Bob, a commercial fisherman and accomplished storyteller – like most fishermen!

It was a culture shock to swap a fast-paced city life for Island living. It wasn’t at all how Jackie had expected. She was intrigued by the pioneer spirit of their small communities, and the fight to hang on to traditional ways of living. In her experience, small towns ‘with a heart’ have claws and teeth as well and that makes the perfect back drop for a good murder!

Jackie has written several non-fiction books about her sober journey and a cook book with her husband, featuring stories about from his fishing days.

When Jackie’s not writing, she is gardening, reading, or poking around local museums, looking for inspiration.

©2021 V Williams

A Trail of Lies: A Mystery (A Jazz Ramsey Mystery Book 3) by Kylie Logan –#BookReview – #cozyanimalmysteries – #TuesdayBookBlog – #bookseries

Book Blurb:

A Trail of Lies is the third in the Jazz Ramsey mystery series from national bestselling author Kylie Logan.

A Trail of Lies by Kylie LoganJazz Ramsey is just getting used to the idea that her on-again-off-again beau, Nick, might actually be a permanent fixture, when she gets an alarming call in the middle of the night from his mother, Kim: there’s a dead man in her backyard. Kim has a long history of drinking and a vivid imagination, so when Jazz’s human remains detection dog, Wally, finds no evidence of a body, Jazz thinks she can breathe easy.

But when the body of a middle-aged man, Dan Mansfield, is discovered in a nearby park, and a photo of Nick and his mom is found in his pocket, Jazz has to admit that something isn’t adding up. Kim claims not to know who Dan is, but the cops find out soon enough: he’s a recently paroled convict who served thirty years for murder. And when Jazz traces his crime back to a bar fight with an antiques dealer, she ends up with more questions than answers.

Meanwhile, no one wants her poking around—not Nick’s mom, nor the Motorcycle-riding ex-con she connects to Dan, nor Nick himself, who seems worried about Jazz’s safety, but also about what she might find. But Jazz has never been one to take no for an answer, and she won’t give up now—even if it means risking her own life.

My Review:

Yes, I found a doggy story to share with you today! So many dogs in this world and each and every one has a job—even if only to be a companion dog—like our little Bichon, Frosty. (Her job is to be a thigh buddy and she usually performs that job very well.)

A Trail of Lies by Kylie LoganIn Book 3 of the Jazz Ramsey Mystery series, Jazz is awakened by Nick’s mom. Unfortunately, Nick’s mom is an alcoholic and it’s difficult to believe she is actually seeing the body of Nick in her back yard as Jazz knows her (police) boyfriend is on an undercover assignment. He had asked her to look in on his mother, however, and she dutifully drags herself over to inspect her back yard.

Kim continues to be quite adamant though and after her own Airedale terrier Wally, seven months old and training to be a HRD dog, fails to find anyone, she thinks the issue is over until the body of a man is discovered in a park. Oops. Apparently this isn’t going to go away, especially after Jazz brought in a trained dog who did alert. Double oops. Don’t tell me the woman actually did see something?

This episode focuses a little more on her position at St. Catherine and we get glimpses into the training involved with the dog, but again, I miss more dog involvement in the mystery. In the meantime, we are introduced to some interesting characters, are thrown red herrings, and follow Jazz as she pursues one lead after another up to and including the attack on her life. EEK! She’s out for the count–for three weeks(?). Little further development in Nick—he is mostly out of the scene. Her family comes roaring to her rescue—and the family theme becomes prominent.

Kim’s past appears to be catching up to her and pieces of the puzzle begin to fit, interesting twists exposed. The conclusion neatly wraps up the loose dog hair and I like the protagonists’ dogged character—she WILL get answers. A slightly more serious entry to the genre and fans of cozy mysteries will enjoy the inclusion of smart dogs with just a touch of anthropomorphic inclusion. I previously read and enjoyed The Secret of Bones and was happy to see more canine involvement in this, Book 3. Still, no problem reading as a standalone. Currently on pre-order. 

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

Rosepoint Rating: Four stars 4 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuth Mysteries, Cozy Animal Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books

  • ASIN : B08FZ8143D

Print Length: 312 pages
Publication Date: May 11, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

 Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

The Author: Kylie Logan is the nationally bestselling author of the Jazz Ramsey Mysteries, the League of Literary Ladies Mysteries, the Button Box Mysteries, the Chili Cook-Off Mysteries, and the Ethnic Eats Mysteries.

[Goodreads] A pseudonym used by Constance Laux.

©2021 V Williams

The French Paradox (A Wine 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

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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 Body from the Past (A Jazzi Zanders Mystery Book 5) by Judi Lynn – a #BookReview – #cozymystery #TuesdayBookBlog

Happy Publication Day!

 Book Blurb:

The Body from the Past by Judi LynnA closed room in her newest fixer-upper leads Indiana house-flipper Jazzi Zanders to reopen a chilling cold case involving a high school girl . . .

Jazzi, her cousin Jerod, and her husband Ansel are preparing to renovate a charming house that reminds her of an English manor. Before purchasing it, they had inspected the house for structural issues, but now when they do a more thorough walk-through, they discover a teenage girl’s bedroom that clearly hasn’t been touched in years. Dust covers the pink canopy bed, clothes still hang in the closet, and a hope chest remains full of journals and memorabilia. They’ve stumbled on a shrine to a dead girl.

They learn Jessica was killed in the middle of her high school graduation party. The murderer was never identified, but the brother-in-law of Jazzi’s friend, who went to school with Jessica, was suspected and never lived it down. He implores Jazzi to review the cold case and finally prove him innocent. Now it’s up to the house-flipper to nail a killer who will do anything to close the door on the past . ..

My Review:

Can’t believe we are already at Book 5 of this series from this prolific writer. This entry to the series veers off just a tad from previous plot lines in that they don’t discover a body in their newest fixer—they discover a locked room that had been the bedroom of the deceased. It’s still the open case of a murder.

The Body from the Past by Judi LynnJazzi, her hubby Ansel, and cousin Jerod are working on another flipper, this time in the little town of Merlot. The room they discover locked was actually that way when the last owner bought and not needing the room simply left it as is. The house has been sold with furnishings and the room in particular left just as the teenager had prior to her untimely death.

They don’t get too deeply into the project before Jazzi is asked to dig into the cold case as the girl’s boyfriend was the prime suspect but never arrested or charged. Still, he is left with the stigma and would like to be cleared, once and for all.

Ah, youthful energy!! Jazzi balances her full on rehab work with the boys as she also prepares their lunches and snacks, meets the girls for their weekly gab fest, and provides a big family dinner every Sunday, as has been her routine now for some time. They have a pug, George, and two kitties that they tend. In between, she begins to read the journal left by the young graduating high schooler. It’s enlightening, but not wholly revealing.

Then a body is found obviously connected to the case which involves Gaff, their local police connection who manages to show up for a lot of lunches (just to exchange information, of course). Now she’ll ramp up her efforts and begin systematic interviews with all involved.

The narrative is well-plotted, the mystery just under the surface, as the three work through their plan for renovation, choosing colors, textures, materials, appliances, and equipment. Having also worked on rehabbing old houses for years, I’m always fascinated with the description of what and how they go about it. Of course, styles and colors have changed a LOT since we worked nights and weekends on our projects while working full-time.

I enjoy the characters and having read several of the books now (including The Body in the Attic and The Body in the Apartment), see a subtle change in dynamics of the main characters. The pacing is just right, working on the mystery, working on the house, working on the family relationships, and working on some pretty interesting food dishes (several included at the back). An easy-in conclusion and the promise of Book 6 and I’m a happy reader.

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuth Mysteries, Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Lyrical Underground

  • ASIN : B082WRCXS3

Print Length: 204 pages
Publication Date: September 22, 2020

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

 Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five of Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Judi Lynn - authorThe Author: [Judi Lynn] USA Today Best-selling author for The Body in the Attic.
When I started self-publishing, I wrote urban fantasy as Judith Post. Then my wonderful agent, Lauren Abramo, suggested I try to find a publisher by writing romance, and she was right. I sold my Mill Pond romances to Kensington’s Lyrical Press. After six romances, my equally wonderful editor, John Scognamiglio, asked if I’d like to try to write a mystery. Ironic, because I started writing–forever ago–by writing mystery short stories and selling them. I decided to write about a fixer-upper because my husband and I bought a 1920s small bungalow when we got married, and it needed lots of work. We’re still working on it. And cooking crept into the stories because I LOVE to cook and have friends over to eat supper with us. A lot of my passions have ended up in my books:)

Connect with Judi on Facebook and her blog at Judi Lynn Writes

©2020 V Williams V Williams

The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis – a #BookReview #literaryfiction #TuesdayBookBlog

“Laura finds herself questioning her traditional role as wife and mother.”

A review by the CE.

Rosepoint Publishing: Five of Five Stars Five Stars

Book Blurb:

In nationally bestselling author Fiona Davis’s latest historical novel, a series of book thefts roils the iconic New York Public Library, leaving two generations of strong-willed women to pick up the pieces.

The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona DavisIt’s 1913, and on the surface, Laura Lyons couldn’t ask for more out of life—her husband is the superintendent of the New York Public Library, allowing their family to live in an apartment within the grand building, and they are blessed with two children. But headstrong, passionate Laura wants more, and when she takes a leap of faith and applies to the Columbia Journalism School, her world is cracked wide open. As her studies take her all over the city, she is drawn to Greenwich Village’s new bohemia, where she discovers the Heterodoxy Club—a radical, all-female group in which women are encouraged to loudly share their opinions on suffrage, birth control, and women’s rights. Soon, Laura finds herself questioning her traditional role as wife and mother. But when valuable books are stolen back at the library, threatening the home and institution she loves, she’s forced to confront her shifting priorities head on . . . and may just lose everything in the process.

Eighty years later, in 1993, Sadie Donovan struggles with the legacy of her grandmother, the famous essayist Laura Lyons, especially after she’s wrangled her dream job as a curator at the New York Public Library. But the job quickly becomes a nightmare when rare manuscripts, notes, and books for the exhibit Sadie’s running begin disappearing from the library’s famous Berg Collection. Determined to save both the exhibit and her career, the typically risk-adverse Sadie teams up with a private security expert to uncover the culprit. However, things unexpectedly become personal when the investigation leads Sadie to some unwelcome truths about her own family heritage—truths that shed new light on the biggest tragedy in the library’s history.

His Review:

This book is a romp through the changing morays of women in America during the early and last decade of the 20th century. The story takes place in the marble confines of the New York Public Library.  The building superintendent, Jack Lyons, and his wife Laura were resident caretakers of the building and as such at the time made their home in the library.

The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona DavisThe struggle for the right to vote and the development of women as independent members of society was just beginning. Jack sees himself as a writer who will produce a great American novel and thereby produce a good income for his family. Every spare minute of his day not working for the library was spent in that endeavor. Laura is given the position of curator of the Berg Collection of early books by such luminaries as Poe and Whitman, while being expected to raise the children and do all of the chores of keeping their home. Laura wants to write as well.

New York saw a large increase in the population in the second decade of the century; primarily poor and struggling immigrants. Disease was particularly cruel during that time period and wages extremely low. A year at Columbia School of Journalism including books and tuition was $170. Laura receives a scholarship for one term or $85.00. Now in addition to being a curator and family matriarch, she becomes a student. Meanwhile, her husband used any time available to “write” his novel.

The male students were given assignments to review trials or the mayor’s speeches. The females were sent to cover neighborhood conditions. Hardly the same interest in the topics. Laura meets one of the new social workers, Dr. Amelia Parker, a no-nonsense large woman who takes no guff from anyone. She is teaching immigrant women how to care for their children. She takes Laura under her wing and introduces her to the Heterodoxy Club. The group is scorned by society and the topic cannot be written about but is the topic assigned for her master’s thesis.

Her granddaughter Sadie Donovan is hired at the library to do basically the same tasks as her grandmother so many years before, without her grandmother’s yoke of family and husband. Books disappear during both ladies’ tenures and they are suspected of being the thieves. The author skillfully intermingles the two lives drawing parallels nearly a century apart. Both women are fighting the upward battle of emancipation.

CE WilliamsThe dual plots move along smoothly and my interest was held throughout. I became sympathetic to the plight of both of the women and their crass treatment in general during the time period. Success for any woman seemed to require the overcoming of societal morays and prejudices along with reduced pay and increased responsibility. This is a fulfilling novel, well written and paced with empathetic characters and a joy to read.  5 stars CE Williams

Receiving this digital download free from the publisher and NetGalley did not affect my opinion of the book or the content and this is my honest opinion. Highly Recommended.

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Book Details:

Genre: Historical Literary Fiction, Historical Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Literary Fiction
Publisher: Dutton
ISBN: 1524744611
ASIN: B081M7TFWS
Print Length: 365 pages
Publication Date: To be released August 4, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

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Fiona Davis - authorThe Author: Fiona Davis is the nationally bestselling author of historical novels set in iconic New York City buildings, including THE CHELSEA GIRLS and THE ADDRESS. She began her career in New York City as an actress, working on Broadway, off-Broadway, and in regional theater. After getting a master’s degree at Columbia Journalism School, she fell in love with writing, leapfrogging from editor to freelance journalist before finally settling down to write fiction. Her books have been translated into over a dozen languages and she’s based in New York City.

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