The Winemaker’s Wife by Kristin Harmel

Wine? WWII? Resistance activities? Count me in! I really enjoyed this novel about a young woman who spent her post-war years trying to amend for her actions during the war. Don’t want to give it all away – no spoilers here!

I had enjoyed Kristin Harmel’s earlier novels, so I chose this one through Net Galley. I love reading of this era and am always amazed at the tenacity of the people who lived through such hardship. This was part love story and – to be honest – that was the one part I didn’t really enjoy. I particularly did not like the character of Celine’s husband and found him very one dimensional.

Overall, this was a great read and one I would recommend to folks who enjoy this genre.

Thank you for my review copy!

Description

Instant #1 bestsellerfrom The Globe and Mail (Toronto) and The Toronto Star

“Love and betrayal, forgiveness and redemption combine in a heady tale of the ever-present past…fantastic!” —Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Girls of Paris

The author of the “engrossing” (People) international bestseller The Room on Rue Amélie returns with a moving story set amid the champagne vineyards of northern France during the darkest days of World War II, perfect for fans of Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale.

Champagne, 1940: Inès has just married Michel, the owner of storied champagne house Maison Chauveau, when the Germans invade. As the danger mounts, Michel turns his back on his marriage to begin hiding munitions for the Résistance. Inès fears they’ll be exposed, but for Céline, half-Jewish wife of Chauveau’s chef de cave, the risk is even greater—rumors abound of Jews being shipped east to an unspeakable fate.

When Céline recklessly follows her heart in one desperate bid for happiness, and Inès makes a dangerous mistake with a Nazi collaborator, they risk the lives of those they love—and the champagne house that ties them together.

New York, 2019: Liv Kent has just lost everything when her eccentric French grandmother shows up unannounced, insisting on a trip to France. But the older woman has an ulterior motive—and a tragic, decades-old story to share. When past and present finally collide, Liv finds herself on a road to salvation that leads right to the caves of the Maison Chauveau.

Book Blast: Hanging Murder by A. J. Wright

We are blasting it up today for one of the Lancashire Detective Mysteries, Hanging Murder, sent to me by the publicist.

We can all stand on principles until evil pays us a visit…

The year is 1894 when Mr Simeon Crosby, a retired executioner, comes to Wigan with his wife and brother to give a talk on his life’s work.

Whilst he has an eager following, there are also many people who strongly object to Crosby’s profession and do not wish his melancholy shadow to be cast over their town. Protests have been organised and threats have been made.

Detective Sergeant Brennan is tasked with overseeing the security of the controversial visitor and all seems to be going to plan… until a murder is committed on the night of Crosby’s talk.

As Brennan and his brawny constable Fred Jaggery begin their lines of inquiry, they become overwhelmed with suspects and frustrated at the ambiguity of the evidence.

And then a second body is found.

Brennan soon discovers that both victim and killer can take many, sometimes indistinguishable, forms.

Hanging Murder is one of A.J. Wright’s Lancashire Detective Mystery series of cleverly crafted Victorian whodunits, which also includes Sitting Murder and Elementary Murder.

Praise for A.J. Wright:

‘This is an absolute gem of a historical crime novel – cleverly and intricately plotted, very well-written and convincingly evoking all the social problems of a late-Victorian industrial town’ – Crime Review

‘Excellently plotted, with some breathtaking moments, as pieces of the dark past come into the light’ – Chris Nickson, best-selling author of the Richard Nottingham Mysteries

‘A.J. Wright has composed a clever tale indeed in his novel, “Sitting Murder”. The grey and gloomy place that was Victorian Britain is wonderfully rendered by the author in this fast-moving mystery novel’ – L.J. Shea, bestselling author of The Raven’s Augury

‘A network of loves, hates, intrigue and suspense’ – Roger Silverwood (best-selling author of DI Angel Mystery Series)

‘…the book vividly depicts the tensions and ramifications of the miners’ strike. The mystery is equally strong: the plot is fast-paced and cleverly strewn with red herrings and subtle clues. Highly recommended’ – Historical Novel Society

In 2009 A. J. Wright won the 2010 Dundee International Fiction Prize for his Victorian murder mystery Act of Murder. His writing is inspired by his two major interests: all things Victorian and classic works from the Golden Age of crime fiction. He lives near Wigan.

We Were Sisters by Wendy Clarke

Description

I turn to where I left my baby in his pushchair and pull up short. With a racing heart, I look around wildly, fear gripping my stomach. I only looked away for a moment. The pushchair and my baby are gone.

Kelly is taking her twin daughters to their first day of school, ushering them into the classroom, her heart breaking to think they might not need her any more, when she turns around and sees that her newborn baby is gone.

As a desperate search ensues, baby Noah is quickly found – parked in front of a different classroom. But when Kelly reaches forward to comfort him, she finds something tucked beside his blanket. A locket that belonged to her sister Freya. A locket Kelly hasn’t seen since the day Freya died.

And then Kelly’s perfectly-ordered life begins to unravel…

We Were Sisters is a heart-pounding suspense thriller that will grip you until the very last page. Fans of Behind Closed Doors, Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train won’t be able to stop reading this incredible book.

I ALWAYS love a suspense-filled book! This one kept me guessing. It was a sad story, in part, because of the abuse and neglect that was involved in the characters’ past, but it definitely kept me guessing until the end!

Highly recommended if you like this genre!

Thank you for my review copy via Net Galley!

Murder on Trinity Place by Victoria Thompson

I have read all of this series, the Gaslight Mysteries, from Victoria Thompson. They center around a midwife in NYC, Sarah, and her family, friends, and adventures solving mysteries. I love historical cozy mysteries!

I have to be honest and say that while I enjoyed this one, it’s not my favorite. I feel as if Ms. Thompson’s writing has changed a bit and where before the characters may have been humorous and memorable, some of them (not Sarah) are beginning to seem caricaturish. It pulled me out of the story as it made it less believable. However, overall I still enjoy this series a lot and it’s a “clean read” for those who like Agatha Raisin and Faith Fairchild and other cozy protagonists!

Thank you for my review e-copy via Net Galley!

Description

The devil’s in the details when a man is found murdered near Trinity Church in the latest installment of the national bestselling Gaslight Mystery series…

The year of 1899 is drawing to a close. Frank and Sarah Malloy are getting ready to celebrate the New Year at Trinity Church when they notice Mr. Pritchard, a relative of their neighbor’s behaving oddly and annoying the other revelers. Frank tries to convince Pritchard to return home with them, but the man refuses and Frank loses him in the crowd. The next morning Sarah and Frank are horrified to learn Pritchard was murdered sometime in the night, his body left on Trinity Place, the side street near the church.

The police aren’t too interested in the murder, and the family are concerned that the circumstances of the death will reflect badly on Pritchard’s reputation. To protect the family from scandal, Nelson asks Frank to investigate. Frank and Sarah delve into Pritchard’s past and realize there may have been a deadly side to the dawning of the new century.

Love and Death Among the Cheetahs by Rhys Bowen

I never tire of this series, with Lady Georgiana Rannoch, 38th in line to the throne of England, solving mysteries in the 1930’s. Time passes and life goes on throughout the timeline of this series, but each installment is fun and well-plotted. This one was no exception. Thank you for my review copy via Net Galley!

Description

Georgie and Darcy are finally on their honeymoon in Kenya’s Happy Valley, but murder crashes the party in this all-new installment in the New York Times bestselling series.

I was so excited when Darcy announced out of the blue that we were flying to Kenya for our extended honeymoon. Now that we are here, I suspect he has actually been sent to fulfill another secret mission. I am trying very hard not to pick a fight about it, because after all, we are in paradise! Darcy finally confides that there have been robberies in London and Paris. It seems the thief was a member of the aristocracy and may have fled to Kenya. Since we are staying in the Happy Valley—the center of upper-class English life—we are well positioned to hunt for clues and ferret out possible suspects.

Now that I am a sophisticated married woman, I am doing my best to sound like one. But crikey! These aristocrats are a thoroughly loathsome sort enjoying a completely decadent lifestyle filled with wild parties and rampant infidelity. And one of the leading lights in the community, Lord Cheriton, has the nerve to make a play for me. While I am on my honeymoon! Of course, I put an end to that right off. 

When he is found bloodied and lifeless along a lonely stretch of road, it appears he fell victim to a lion. But it seems that the Happy Valley community wants to close the case a bit too quickly. Darcy and I soon discover that there is much more than a simple robbery and an animal attack to contend with here in Kenya. Nearly everyone has a motive to want Lord Cheriton dead and some will go to great lengths to silence anyone who asks too many questions. The hunt is on! I just hope I can survive my honeymoon long enough to catch a killer. . . .

Forgotten Bones by Vivian Barz

I read this title weeks ago, but have been waiting to post since it just published this week. It was a solid thriller and I enjoyed it. I really really liked how Eric had schizophrenia, but was not portrayed as incapable or out of control, but as someone who was living his life and dealing with mental illness. The end was a pretty quick wrap up, but overall, it was a great read if you like suspenseful mysteries.

Thanks for my copy to review via Net Galley.

Description

An unlikely pair teams up to investigate a brutal murder in a haunting thriller that walks the line between reality and impossibility.

When small-town police officers discover the grave of a young boy, they’re quick to pin the crime on a convicted criminal who lives nearby. But when it comes to murder, Officer Susan Marlan never trusts a simple explanation, so she’s just getting started.

Meanwhile, college professor Eric Evans hallucinates a young boy in overalls: a symptom of his schizophrenia—or so he thinks. But when more bodies turn up, Eric has more visions, and they mirror details of the murder case. As the investigation continues, the police stick with their original conclusion, but Susan’s instincts tell her something is off. The higher-ups keep stonewalling her, and the FBI’s closing in.

Desperate for answers, Susan goes rogue and turns to Eric for help. Together they take an unorthodox approach to the case as the evidence keeps getting stranger. With Eric’s hallucinations intensifying and the body count rising, can the pair separate truth from illusion long enough to catch a monster?

A Note From the Publisher

Vivian Barz grew up on a farm in a small Northern California town of less than three thousand people. With plenty of fresh air and space to let her imagination run wild, she began penning mysteries at a young age. One of Barz’s earliest works, a story about a magical scarecrow with a taste for children’s blood, was read to her third-grade class during show-and-tell. It received mixed reviews. Vivian kept writing, later studying English and film and media studies from the University of California, Irvine. She now resides in Los Angeles, where she is always working on her next screenplay and novel. Barz also writes under the pen name Sloan Archer.

Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner

Description (via NG)

An instant New York Times bestseller 

“A multigenerational narrative that’s nothing short of brilliant.” —People
“Simply unputdownable.” —Good Housekeeping
“The perfect book club pick.” —SheReads

Named a Best Book of Summer by Entertainment WeeklyCosmopolitanWoman’s DayPopSugarHelloGiggles, and Refinery29

From Jennifer Weiner, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Who Do You Love and In Her Shoes comes a smart, thoughtful, and timely exploration of two sisters’ lives from the 1950s to the present as they struggle to find their places—and be true to themselves—in a rapidly evolving world. 

Do we change or does the world change us?

Jo and Bethie Kaufman were born into a world full of promise.

Growing up in 1950s Detroit, they live in a perfect “Dick and Jane” house, where their roles in the family are clearly defined. Jo is the tomboy, the bookish rebel with a passion to make the world more fair; Bethie is the pretty, feminine good girl, a would-be star who enjoys the power her beauty confers and dreams of a traditional life.

But the truth ends up looking different from what the girls imagined. Jo and Bethie survive traumas and tragedies. As their lives unfold against the background of free love and Vietnam, Woodstock and women’s lib, Bethie becomes an adventure-loving wild child who dives headlong into the counterculture and is up for anything (except settling down). Meanwhile, Jo becomes a proper young mother in Connecticut, a witness to the changing world instead of a participant. Neither woman inhabits the world she dreams of, nor has a life that feels authentic or brings her joy. Is it too late for the women to finally stake a claim on happily ever after?

In her most ambitious novel yet, Jennifer Weiner tells a story of two sisters who, with their different dreams and different paths, offer answers to the question: How should a woman be in the world?

Oh – I really loved this lengthy but easy to read book! Reading novels that go over many years and have the characters grow up are some of my favorite reads, and this story of two very different but very connected sisters was a great one. Of course, the youngest is named “Bethie” and that was what my family called me, so it made it extra relatable for me. I had not read Ms. Weiner’s work before, though I know she is very popular. Her writing is solid and descriptive and captures those small moments of life that we all experience. This book is long but worth it. There is some sexual content and abuse that might be disturbing to some readers, but I did not find it graphic and it was integral to the story. This would be a great book club read, and it would be interesting to focus on the theme of women’s roles and how they have and have not changed in the past 50+ years.

Highly recommended!

Thank you to the publishers and Net Galley for my e-copy!