What Divides Us: The Kilteegan Bridge Story – Book 2 by Jean Grainger – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

“May the roof above us never fall in and those beneath it never fall out.” 

Book Blurb:

Kilteegan Bridge, Ireland 1963.

What Divides Us by Jean GraingerOn the face of it, life is idyllic for Eli and Lena Kogan. Living in their beautiful house in the Irish countryside, their children are growing up happy and safe surrounded by a loving community. So when a letter arrives one day threatening to shatter their peaceful and prosperous world, Lena and Eli have no option but face the dark reality of their situation. How best to do that, is something that drives a wedge between them.
As a Jewish child, escaped from Germany in 1939, Eli is all for letting those dark days where they belong, for him, there’s no future in the past.
But for Lena, it’s different. She knows that the only way she can move her family forward in peace is to first go back, and there is only one man who knows the whole truth.
From rural Ireland to wartime France, What Divides us, tells a tale of loyalty and love, resentment and revenge, that has far reaching consequences for the Kogan family, the unravelling of which might just destroy their future.

My Review:

If Jean Grainger comes out with a new book, particularly in one of her series, you know I’ll be front and center. Book 2 of the Kilteegan Bridge Story digs deeper into the story of Eli and Lena Kogan. Now in 1963, some five years after The Trouble with Secrets introduced us to the unusual couple, they have Sarah and Pádraig in addition to Emmet—the baby that began the storyline.

The family is living in a beautiful home in a small community surrounded by family, support, and prosperity. When Lena receives a letter addressed specifically to her, it’s bad news. Eli, a Jewish child of Germany, wants nothing to do with the past, that ugly and tragic history. He and Lena have vastly different ideas on how to handle it but for her, there is only one way.

“…they ran with the hares and hunted with the hounds.”

A mother and a wife but she’s not entirely without resources and she begins a concerted effort to get to the bottom of it and assure that it will not impact neither her family nor the immediate family firmly entrenched within their boundaries.

It’s not just about the house or the land, however, it goes somewhat deeper and her first line of offense is to contact Malachy Berger, whose family originally held title. It was his loathsome father that separated her and Malachy years ago. His family and hers have a dark history, one they’ve not shared with anyone except Eli, stemming from the last great war.

“There are such things as kind untruths…”

What Divides Us by Jean GraingerIn the first book, I wasn’t sure about the character of Eli. He is closed mouth about his background but has otherwise proven to be a loving father and responsible member of the medical community. Lena has matured with three children but this time I had a bit of a problem with her very female severe overreaction to the situation, enumerating the issues and then repeating them several more times. It is a big problem, of course, with repercussions not just for her and Eli. She does, after all, have a valid point and with typical fighting Irish sensibilities tends to expand a conflict into a battle, one she’s prepared to fight.

The author crafts a well-plotted and fast-paced storyline that grips from the beginning. Lena doesn’t shy away from traveling to meet persons with info and dip into a dark background that stuns the soul as it reveals brutal and shocking truths.

I love it when Jean Grainger releases another in one of her series. I’ve read most of them and marveled at the way she can weave a historical chronicle into an Irish family drama that touches the heart and takes so many of us with some Irish ties home.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts. Recommended!

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Historical Irish Fiction, Jewish Historical Fiction, Jewish Literature & Fiction
ISBN: ‎ 1914958993
ASIN: B09YMBVS5S
Print Length: 266 pages
Publication Date: September 29, 2022
Source: Author Request

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

 

Jean Grainger - author
Jean Grainger – author

The Author: 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

Hello and thanks for taking time out to check out my page. If you’re wondering what you’re getting with my books then think of the late great Maeve Binchy but sometimes with a historical twist. I was born in Cork, Ireland in 1971 and I come from a large family of storytellers, so much so that we had to have ‘The Talking Spoon’, only the person holding the spoon could talk!

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 200 year old stone cottage in Mid-Cork with my family and the world’s smallest dogs, called Scrappy and Scoobi..

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]

My current series, The Queenstown Series, centres on twelve year old Harp Devereaux and her mother Rose and the first book opens on the day Titanic sails from Queenstown, Co Cork on her last fateful journey. It is a bestselling series and people really seem to connect to the precocious Harp and her hard-working mother as they battle to survive in a society where conforming and playing by the rules was paramount. It is so far a three book series, The West’s Awake, and The Harp and the Rose being the next two books but I’m currently writing book four.

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.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

#TuesdayBookBlog

The Ways We Hide by Kristina McMorris – #BookReview – #historicalfiction – @SourcebooksLandmark

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Sold On A Monday—over a million copies sold!—comes a sweeping World War II tale of an illusionist whose recruitment by British intelligence sets her on a perilous, heartrending path.

The Ways We Hide by Kristina McMorrisAs a little girl raised amid the hardships of Michigan’s Copper Country, Fenna Vos learned to focus on her own survival. That ability sustains her even now as the Second World War rages in faraway countries. Though she performs onstage as the assistant to an unruly escape artist, behind the curtain she’s the mastermind of their act. Ultimately, controlling her surroundings and eluding traps of every kind helps her keep a lingering trauma at bay.

Yet for all her planning, Fenna doesn’t foresee being called upon by British military intelligence. Tasked with designing escape aids to thwart the Germans, MI9 seeks those with specialized skills for a war nearing its breaking point. Fenna reluctantly joins the unconventional team as an inventor. But when a test of her loyalty draws her deep into the fray, she discovers no mission is more treacherous than escaping one’s past. 

Inspired by stunning true accounts, The Ways We Hide is a gripping story of love and loss, the wars we fight—on the battlefields and within ourselves—and the courage found in unexpected places.

His Review:

Fenna Vos bore a striking resemblance to Hedy Lamarr. Both women were in entertainment. Fenna is an associate of a stage magician. She works to develop escape acts and other performance mysteries. Misdirection is the standard fare for these well-trained escape artists, people able to get out of impossible situations. Fenna is one of the best.

The Ways We Hide by Kristina McMorrisWorld War II finds Fenna working in a clandestine group called MI9. Their objective is to provide ways to help allied prisoners escape Nazi prisoner of war camps. Small hacksaw blades and cutting chains are inserted into such everyday games as Monopoly. The trick is to make the games transparent. The enemy allows such games to come into prison camps to help the detainees pass the time.

Fenna has a second asset to offer. In addition to her escape artist’s abilities; she can speak Dutch, as this was her mother’s native tongue.  She is working on a number of top-secret projects to enable prisoners of war to escape captivity. One very vital tool is the maps to help downed airmen find their way back to friendly territory.

She is inserted into Nazi-controlled Holland to assist the underground. She meets an old flame and finds the family of a very good friend. The friend has a child and the underground works to find a way to get mother and daughter back to allied territory. Regretfully the mother is killed in a Gestapo raid and her child is adopted by a childless German family. This situation is untenable to Fenna and the group in Holland. They work to help extract the young girl and spirit her to England.

This book is based upon some facts recently made public after World War II. Ms. McMorris has pulled together information regarding the female operatives during World War II in a most engaging novel. The success of this lady in a male-dominated world is nothing less than spectacular. The resultant book is a great tribute to the millions of women who worked unheralded and unrecognized during the second world war. 5 stars – CE Williams

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.

 

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Book Details:

Genre: British & Irish Literary Fiction, Historical World War II Fiction, World War II Historical Fiction
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
ASIN: B09NCNP1KG
Print Length: 573 pages
Publication Date: September 6, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Ways We Hide [Amazon]
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

 

Kristina McMorris - authorThe Author: KRISTINA MCMORRIS is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of two novellas and six historical novels, including the million-copy bestseller SOLD ON A MONDAY. The recipient of more than twenty national literary awards, she previously hosted weekly TV shows for Warner Bros. and an ABC affiliate, beginning at age nine with an Emmy Award-winning program, and owned a wedding-and-event-planning company until she had far surpassed her limit of “Y.M.C.A.” and chicken dances. Kristina lives near Portland, Oregon, where she somehow manages to be fully deficient of a green thumb and not own a single umbrella. For more, visit KristinaMcMorris.com.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Enjoy Your Sunday

Such a Beautiful Family by T R Ragan – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Such a Beautiful Family by T R Ragan

Book Blurb:

A riveting novel of psychological suspense about perfect lives and hidden secrets by New York Times bestselling author T.R. Ragan.

Such a Beautiful Family by T R RaganNora Harmon has a lot to be thankful for: two great kids, a stable marriage, and now, a dream career. Software consultant Jane Bell wants Nora on her team. She’s offering a fantastic salary, flexible hours, and a chance to travel the world. It sounds too good to be true, but Jane won’t take no for an answer.

Jane acts more like a friend than a boss, and Nora’s personal and professional boundaries begin to blur. Jane is smitten with Nora’s perfect family—particularly her daughter—and far too attentive to Nora’s husband. Nora can’t help but feel insecure and unsettled.

Maybe Jane is everything she says she is: a lonely woman in need of feeling the love of a kind and decent family. Maybe Nora is just being paranoid.

Maybe not.

My Review:

If it sounds too good to be true…well, you know that old saying…

Trust T R Ragan to pour on the suspense in what would seem a routine domestic drama. The perfect life; but somehow Jane Bell catches Nora Harmon just about the time Nora is beginning to feel stagnated in her current position. It’s a good job, but she’s no longer excited to get to work in the morning. Even worse, she is beginning to realize her children are growing up at a time when she has even less time to enjoy them.

In steps Jane Bell, a software consultant, who offers Nora twice the money, more time with her family. No, no traveling, just a cushy office. So why are those caution bells ringing wildly in her ears? What is the catch here?

Nora is getting comfy in her new position with IMPACT when Jane begins to lavish her with little surprises. She accepts a couple at the beginning but the hairs have been raised on the back of her neck and she’s beginning to get nervous, particularly when Jane begins to make inroads with her husband and daughter. Only her son, Trevor, (smart kid that he is) is watching Jane with a jaundiced eye.

Okay. Is it too late to put on the brakes? Change the dynamic?

Backstory info is beginning to seep in to muddy the waters. Give her the benefit of the doubt? I don’t THINK so!

Where did Jane come from? Where did she really get the money for her start-up?

The suspense is ramping up, the tension is spiking. Nora’s hubby and daughter think Jane is a benefit fairy and they’re loving the attention. But as Nora gleans additional clues, her grateful reservations begin to elevate from anger to fear and jealousy. And, she is beginning to see the secrets she’d tried to keep hidden are about to be revealed.

The conclusion is wrapped in a heart-twisting conflagration of threats and revelations, physical confrontation. Well, mercy.

It’s a head-scratching nail-biter. The well-plotted and paced mystery hooked and kept engagement. The protagonist for the most part is sympathetic although maddening at times. Her family perhaps too good to be true—especially the daughter’s flip near the climax—hmmm, I wondered about that. On the whole an entertaining saga. I read Count to Three, as well as others, greatly enjoyed, and have become a solid Ragan fan.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through @NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts. Currently on pre-order.

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Domestic Thrillers, Psychological Thrillers
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
ASIN: B09LC5K3BH
Print Length: 266 pages
Publication Date: December 6, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

 

T R Ragan - authorThe Author: T.R. Ragan (Theresa Ragan) has sold over four million books and is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling mystery and thriller author.

Readers interested in signing up for a monthly newsletter or getting their name in a TR RAGAN book should check out her website at http://www.trragan.com

Facebook • Twitter • Instagram: @trraganauthor

 

LIZZY GARDNER SERIES
FAITH MCMANN TRILOGY
JESSIE COLE SERIES
SAWYER BROOKS SERIES

Don’t Make a Sound

Out of Her Mind

No Going Back

Count To Three – 12/21

Such A Beautiful Family – 12/22

Theresa Ragan Novels: Return of the Rose, A Knight in Central Park, Finding Kate Huntley, Dead Man Running, Having My Baby, An Offer He Can’t Refuse, Taming Mad Max, and Here Comes the Bride!

©2922 V Williams V Williams

#TuesdayBookBlog

Growing Wild in the Shade by Jean Grainger – #BookReview – Women’s Detective Fiction – #happyreleaseday

Growing Wild in the Shade by Jean Grainger

A Mags Munroe Story (The Mags Munroe Series Book 2)

Book Blurb:

Growing Wild in the Shade by Jean GraingerIf you want to disappear, start again, make a new life, a small Irish village is probably not the wisest place to go, since anonymity is not something we do well here.

The arrival of someone new is always a cause for twitching curtains and whispered conversations.

But here, like everywhere, people have their secrets, and as the local sergeant I’m expected to have my eyes peeled for anything unusual.

And I do.
Usually.
Until I don’t, and the consequences are potentially fatal.

My Review:

Once past St. Patrick’s Day, if you need an “Irish fix” there is none better than picking up a Jean Grainger book. The author has that understated ability for placing you in the center of the Irish village set in the book you are reading—in this instance—Ballycarrick, Ireland.

Growing Wild in the Shade by Jean GraingerIt’s a book filled with characters, the MC being Mags Munroe, a newly promoted Sargeant in the local Garda. She has taken on the duty of coaching her community, settle conflicts, prejudices, and little offenses. She is married to Kieran, an independent roofer. Also prominent is Mags mother and Delia, newly minted Garda and also a Traveller, which is the main focus of this narrative.

As always, however, there are several under-plot threads one being her mother’s new love life and Mags own grapple with menopause. Her husband is living in fear of her being hurt again, last time seriously and they must come to terms with that aspect of her job.

It sounds like the little town of Ballycarrick is torn right down the middle regarding moving the Travellers from an area for which they’ve long been occupants without benefit of ownership. There are those who would move them to the area of another family of Travellers who are not so carefully or cleanly law-abiding. The Travellers are looked down on in any case and this provides an opportunity for proselytizing. Some good arguments here that sound as if they’d be the same for many of similar situations around the globe.

“She is only the monkey; Joanna Burke is the organ grinder.”

It is the everyday life though that the author manages to wheedle out of the pages, the little struggles, triumphs, and solutions brought about through thoughtful consensus. It is life in every village, every city—human life with bits of candor and clarity–and that iconic Irish sense of humor.

I received an advance copy of this book from the author that in no way influenced this review. These are my unbiased thoughts.

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Women’s Detective Fiction, Women’s Crime Fiction, Women’s Literary Fiction
ISBN: ‎1914958012
ASIN: B09VCLSQX6
Print Length: 246 pages
Publication Date: Happy release! July 18, 2022
Source: Author request

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

 

Jean Grainger - author
Jean Grainger – author

The Author: 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

Hello and thanks for taking time out to check out my page. If you’re wondering what you’re getting with my books then think of the late great Maeve Binchy but sometimes with a historical twist. I was born in Cork, Ireland in 1971 and I come from a large family of storytellers, so much so that we had to have ‘The Talking Spoon’, only the person holding the spoon could talk!

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 200 year old stone cottage in Mid-Cork with my family and the world’s smallest dogs, called Scrappy and Scoobi..

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]

My current series, The Queenstown Series, centres on twelve year old Harp Devereaux and her mother Rose and the first book opens on the day Titanic sails from Queenstown, Co Cork on her last fateful journey. It is a bestselling series and people really seem to connect to the precocious Harp and her hard-working mother as they battle to survive in a society where conforming and playing by the rules was paramount. It is so far a three book series, The West’s Awake, and The Harp and the Rose being the next two books but I’m currently writing book four.

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.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

 

No Strangers Here by Carlene O’Connor – #BookReview – #mystery

No Strangers Here (A County Kerry Novel Book 1) by Carlene O’Connor

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

No Strangers Here by Carlene O'ConnorIn the powerful tradition of Ann Cleeves and Louise Penny, USA Today bestselling author Carlene O’Connor’s new series set in Ireland brings together complex characters and a fascinating setting, focusing on a female vet who returns home to the village where she grew up and must reckon with her past while untangling mysteries in the present.

On a rocky beach in the southwest of Ireland, the body of Jimmy O’Reilly, sixty-nine years old and dressed in a suit and his dancing shoes, is propped on a boulder, staring sightlessly out to sea. A cryptic message is spelled out next to the body with sixty-nine polished black stones and a discarded vial of deadly veterinarian medication lies nearby. Jimmy was a wealthy racehorse owner, known far and wide as The Dancing Man. In a town like Dingle, everyone knows a little something about everyone else. But dig a bit deeper, and there’s always much more to find. And when Detective Inspector Cormac O’Brien is dispatched out of Killarney to lead the murder inquiry, he’s determined to unearth every last buried secret.

Dimpna Wilde hasn’t been home in years. As picturesque as Dingle may be for tourists in search of their roots and the perfect jumper, to her it means family drama and personal complications. In fairness, Dublin hasn’t worked out quite as she hoped either. Faced with a triple bombshell—her mother rumored to be in a relationship with Jimmy, her father’s dementia is escalating, and her brother is avoiding her calls—Dimpna moves back to clear her family of suspicion.

Despite plenty of other suspects, the guards are crawling over the Wildes. But the horse business can be a brutal one, and as Dimpna becomes more involved with her old acquaintances and haunts, the depth of lingering grudges becomes clear. Theft, extortion, jealousy and greed. As Dimpna takes over the family practice, she’s in a race with the detective inspector to uncover the dark, twisting truth, no matter how close to home it strikes . . .

His Review:

Dingle is a peninsula in Ireland where the wealthy, like all cream, rise to the top and the O’Reilly family was the cream. They owned a good part of the peninsula and had many of the residents working for them. The patriarch of the family was Jimmy O’Reilly. Well dressed, he is found wearing a tie, dragged up on a beach from the ocean and very dead!

Cormac O’Brien is assigned to the case. The tie around Jimmy’s neck is tied correctly and looks almost new. He is in a very well-designed suit that does not look like it came out of the sound! The well-connected Mr. O’Reilly’s death must be solved and as quickly as possible.

A tarot card and vial of a strong sedative is found on the body indicating a veterinarian may be involved. Why would one of the wealthiest men in Dingle wind up on the shores of the sound murdered?

The local veterinarian is Dr. Wilde. He is well known throughout the community and everyone is concerned because he exhibits signs of advancing dementia, which has left him befuddled and confused.  His practice is suffering and his daughter, Dr. Dimpna Wilde, also a very good veterinarian, decides to return to her hometown to help her father.

It has been 27 years since Dimpna left Dingle for college and founded her own veterinary practice. Since the death of Mr. O’Reilly was presumed to be by someone with access to veterinary medications, the suspicion fell on the Wilde family.

CE WilliamsThe author weaves a very fascinating tale of duplicity, jealousy, and avarice. I found myself glued to the dialogue which shifted around identifying many suspects. But could the vet have been the perpetrator? 5 stars – CE Williams

[I’ve read many books by this author following the Irish Village Mystery series, including Murder on an Irish Farm, Murder in Connemara, and Murder in an Irish Cottage, all delightful 4.5 star reads. I thought the CE would enjoy starting this one. He did!]

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book. Currently on pre-order.

Book Details:

Genre: International Mystery & Crime, Murder
Publisher: Kensington Books
ASIN: B09RGG842R
Print Length: 320 pages
Publication Date: October 25, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Links: No Strangers Here [Amazon]
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

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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.

http://www.carleneoconnor.com

©2022 – CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Enjoy Your Sunday

Bayou Book Thief (A Vintage Cookbook Mystery 1) by Ellen Byron – #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway

Bayou Book Thief by Ellen Byron

Bayou Book Thief by Ellen Bryon

I am delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for Bayou Book Thief by Ellen Byron on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour.

Scroll down to enter your chance to win the Giveaway!

Book Details

Bayou Book Thief (A Vintage Cookbook Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – New Orleans Louisianna
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Berkley (June 7, 2022)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0593437616
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593437612
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09FPJHVGK

Book Blurb

A fantastic new cozy mystery series with a vintage flair from USA Today bestselling and Agatha Award–winning author Ellen Byron.

 Twenty-eight-year-old widow Ricki James leaves Los Angeles to start a new life in New Orleans after her showboating actor husband perishes doing a stupid internet stunt. The Big Easy is where she was born and adopted by the NICU nurse who cared for her after Ricki’s teen mother disappeared from the hospital.

 Ricki’s dream comes true when she joins the quirky staff of Bon Vee Culinary House Museum, the spectacular former Garden District home of late bon vivant Genevieve “Vee” Charbonnet, the city’s legendary restauranteur. Ricki is excited about turning her avocation – collecting vintage cookbooks – into a vocation by launching the museum’s gift shop, Miss Vee’s Vintage Cookbooks and Kitchenware. Then she discovers that a box of donated vintage cookbooks contains the body of a cantankerous Bon Vee employee who was fired after being exposed as a book thief.

 The skills Ricki has developed ferreting out hidden vintage treasures come in handy for investigations. But both her business and Bon Vee could wind up as deadstock when Ricki’s past as curator of a billionaire’s first edition collection comes back to haunt her.

 Will Miss Vee’s Vintage Cookbooks and Kitchenware be a success … or a recipe for disaster?

 

My Thoughts

It’s difficult to leave an old favorite like the Cajun Country Mystery series behind when the author pulls the plug and begins a new series.

But if we must, at least we get to enjoy her new series set in Louisiana, as the author favors us with the sounds, scents, and majesty that is the local mystic of New Orleans.

Bayou Book Thief by Ellen ByronRicki (Miracle Fleur di Lis James-Diaz) has returned to New Orleans where she was born after suffering the loss of her husband and a scandalous end to a job n LA in which she was a naïve and innocent pawn.

She has landed a position with the Bon Vee Culinary House Museum where she creates a gift shop containing vintage cookbooks and kitchenware. Unfortunately, a trunk containing a donation of vintage cookbooks turns out to contain a body instead. The body is that of a former Bon Vee employee fired for being a book thief and all-round scoundrel.

Becoming a little put off by the local detective, Ricki begins using her tracking skills to investigate on her own.

“NOPD stands for ‘Not Our Problem, Dude.’”

Ricki is a smart woman, although deemed less than confident after her recent losses, and treads lightly. There are some wonderfully diverse support characters, from Madame to Lyla and Cookie, the latter “a recovering children’s librarian.”

Little sub-plots or threads take the story in different directions and introduce the reader to some interesting practices in the book world. Lyla becomes a suspect, but then there are several lesser characters also vying for the position and it’s difficult to nail down who among them has the greater reason for offing not one, but a second, victim. Ricki’s imagination tends to go wild with motives most of which are tossed immediately.

The red herrings were narrowed and fed into the conclusion, which settled most of any loose threads remaining, and I must admit I was surprised by the culprit. As in most cozy mysteries, there is a fostering romance and one big thread strongly hinted that will be carried forward. It’s a douzy.

Also, as in many cozy mysteries, appropriate recipes, in this case vintage southern recipes are shared after the epilogue with this note that gave me a chuckle:

“Onions, celery, and peppers are affectionately known as the “holy trinity” in Cajun and Creole cooking.”

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Giveaway

Sign up for your chance to win (1) PRINT COPY – Bayou Book Thief (A Vintage Cookbook Mystery) by Ellen Byron (U.S. Only) Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Ellen Byron - author
Ellen Byron – author

About The Author: Ellen’s Cajun Country Mysteries have won the Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Novel and multiple Lefty Awards for Best Humorous Mystery. Bayou Book Thief will be the first book in her new Vintage Cookbook Mysteries. She also writes the Catering Hall Mystery series under the name Maria DiRico.

Ellen is an award-winning playwright, and non-award-winning TV writer of comedies like WingsJust Shoot Me, and Fairly Odd Parents. She has written over two hundred articles for national magazines but considers her most impressive credit working as a cater-waiter for Martha Stewart. An alum of New Orleans’ Tulane University, she blogs with Chicks on the Case, is a lifetime member of the Writers Guild of America and will be the 2023 Left Coast Crime Toastmaster. Please visit her at https://www.ellenbyron.com/

Author Links

Newsletter: https://www.ellenbyron.com/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/ellenbyronauthor/

https://www.facebook.com/CateringHallMysteries/

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/ellenbyronmariadirico/

Bookbub:

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/ellen-byron

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/maria-dirico

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/23234.Ellen_Byron

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19130966.Maria_DiRico

Purchase Links

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Thanks to Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this cozy mystery!

©2022 V Williams V Williams

The Doctor’s Daughter by Shari J Ryan – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

The Doctor’s Daughter by Shari J Ryan

Book Blurb:

Auschwitz, 1941: It was her father’s job to save the lives of the SS. But she chose to risk everything and save the lives of prisoners.

The Doctor's Daughter by Shari J RyanIn Nazi-occupied Poland, Sofia cannot look her father in the eye. Sofia’s mother, her papa’s cherished wife, is Jewish—how dare he work as a doctor for the SS? She cannot forgive him, even if the bargain was made to spare their lives.

In the middle of the night, Isaac emerges from a packed train with hundreds of others. Beneath Auschwitz’s barbed wire, soldiers surround them, and gunshots pierce the dark sky. The SS decide prisoners’ fates on the spot—and Isaac is chosen to work, rather than to die.

Every day, Isaac and his fellow inmates are sent to a nearby farm. From sunup to sundown, they toil the land with barely a scrap to eat. Every breath feels like it could be Isaac’s last, so when he sees a beautiful auburn-haired girl peering out of the farmhouse window, it feels like a dream…

Sofia refuses to accept what she is seeing. Disobeying her father and evading the guards, she risks her life to sneak a letter to the green-eyed boy outside. She explains that she has hidden them food, and that she’ll do everything in her power to save them.

This secret exchange sparks an escape that should have been impossible—and a love story that is unforgettable. But is love enough in the face of evil? And when Sofia and Isaac are concealed underground, holding their breath as the Nazis hunt them, will they survive?

My Review:

Does a doctor in Poland living under the Nazi occupation really have an option if he’s expected to save the lives of the SS? During the darkest part of the war, life for the Jewish is extremely tenuous. The doctor is not Jewish, but his wife and daughter are and he makes a pact with the devil in exchange for the lives of his family.

The Doctor's Daughter by Shari J RyanSofia, a teen is devastated and feels betrayal for her neighbors in her father’s efforts for the Germans. She has witnessed the prisoners from Auschwitz as they are brought in to work the land for the Germans.

“…watching us is their favorite form of entertainment—the SS officers…”

Sofia and her mother have been insulated by the favor of her father, living on their family’s farm established generations before. But rules and laws begin to turn ugly.

There is the POV of Sophia, Isaac, and Olivia, each as they strive to survive the horror they face daily, the ravishes of hunger, disease, faith.

For Isaac, he believes “every single day feels like ten, but without a future to look forward to.”

Isaac and his sister Olivia have lost both parents and live like sewer rats until they dare to venture out. When they are taken prisoner, Olivia is sent in one direction, Isaac another as a slave laborer on the farm owned by Sophia’s family and it is there they meet and conspire to find a way to better conditions.

The characters are well-formed under the author’s pen and tear at your heart, the atmosphere so dark and foreboding, so frightening. You can see the barbed wire, the soldiers with their guns, smell the decay, the death. It’s an extremely emotional read, the tears are there, the reality of much that happened. It’s almost impossible to fathom, impossible to forget. For these teens, a life borne of cruelty. Sophia noted,

“The war has been ongoing for more than a third of my life, and I can’t remember being free. I can’t recall if I was old enough to understand the perception of peace before it went away.”

The conclusion is a quiet reflection of those who fought, steadfastly refused to quit, sought hope when it seemed forever out of reach. A difficult read but recommended.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts.

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

Add to Goodreads

Book Details:

Genre: War Fiction, Literary Sagas, Historical Literary Fiction
Publisher: Bookouture
ASIN: B09RK9ZWKR
Print Length: 345 pages
Publication Date: April 28, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

 

Shari J Ryan - authorThe Author: Shari J. Ryan is a USA Today Bestselling Author of Women’s Fiction, WWII Fiction, and 20th Century Historical Fiction with a focus on the Holocaust and Pearl Harbor.

Shortly after graduation from Johnson & Wales with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, Shari began her career as a graphic artist and freelance writer. She then found her passion for writing books in 2012 after her second son was born. Shari has been slaying words ever since.

With two Rone Awards and over 125k books sold, Shari has hit the USA Today Bestseller List, the Amazon’s Top 100, Barnes & Noble’s Top Ten, and iBooks at number one. Some of Shari’s bestselling books include Last Words, The Other Blue Sky, Unspoken Words and A Heart of Time.

Shari, a lifelong Boston girl, is happily married to her personal hero and US Marine and have two wonderful little boys. For more details about her books, visit: http://www.sharijryan.com

©20222022 V Williams V Williams

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