My friends at Kazabo Publishing sent me a copy of this story, which I really enjoyed! It read like a Sherlock Holmes (though taking place in Norway). It was well-plotted and clever and kept me guessing.
Sven Elvestead was a popular Nordic crime writer who died in 1934. Here’s a bit on him:
Sven Elvestad, aka Stein Riverton, was born in Fredrikshald, Norway, in 1884. Author of over 90 books, he is acclaimed as the father of Norwegian crime fiction. Even today, the Riverton Prize is awarded annually to the best Norwegian crime story.
Thank you, Kazabo Publishing, for my copy!
Here’s the scoop:
It is an evening in early May when the quiet of Montrose Abbey is shattered by the sounds of shouting and broken glass. When the police arrive, they find the abbey library ransacked and bloodstained. Broken furniture and a burning carpet bear witness to a violent struggle. And the abbot himself, the scholarly Abbot Montrose, is missing. Only a torn fragment of his cassock remains, caught in the wrought-iron fence surrounding the abbey. The police, the press, and citizens of this northern city fear the worst. What could have befallen the missing abbot? Has he been murdered? Abducted? As world-renowned Detective Asbjørn Krag and his partner, Detective Sirius Keller, begin to unravel the tangled knot of clues left behind, they find themselves in the city’s infamous Krydder District, “where the dark doorways are as close together as rat holes in an old warehouse.” The more answers they find, the more questions seem to pop up. This well-constructed, evocative and witty mystery by Sven Elvestead, also known as Stein Riverton (for whom the Norwegian Riverton Prize was named), will keep you guessing until the very last page.
My friends at Wunderkind-PR reached out to me and offered my a copy of this new novel by Deborah Holt Larkin, retelling the story of the murder of Olga Duncan. Though raised in Northern California in the 70’s, I had never heard of this sad story. Olga was a young, married woman, pregnant with her first child, and murdered by her mother-in-law who wanted to keep her son for herself. Hard to believe and at times hard to read, but apparently that is what happened.
Here’s the overview:
The incredible story of a 1958 murder that ended with the last woman to ever be executed in California—a murder so twisted it seems ripped from a Greek tragedy.
Deborah Larkin was only ten years old when the quiet calm of her California suburb was shattered. Thirty miles north, on a quiet November night in Santa Barbara, a pregnant nurse named Olga Duncan disappeared from her apartment. The mystery deepens when it is discovered that Olga’s mother in-law—a deeply manipulative and deceptive woman—had been doing everything in her power to separate Olga and her son, Frank, prior to Olga’s disappearance.
From a forged annulment to multiple attempts to hire people to “get rid” of Olga, to a faked excoriation case, Elizabeth seemed psychopathically attached to her son. Yet she denied having anything to do with Olga’s disappearance with a smile.
But when Olga’s brutally beaten body is found in a shallow grave, apparently buried alive, a young DA makes it his mission to see that Elizabeth Duncan is brought to justice. Adding a wrinkle to his efforts is the fact that Frank—himself a defense attorney—maintained his mother’s innocent to the end.
How does a young girl process such a crime along with the fear and disbelieve that rocked an entire community? Decades later, Larkin is determined to revisit the case and bring the story of Olga herself to light. Long overshadowed by the sensationalism and scandal of Elizabeth and Frank, A Lovely Girl seeks to reveal Olga as a woman in full. Someone who was more than the twisted family that would ultimately ensnare her.
As we follow the heart-pounding drama of the case through Larkin’s young eyes—her father was the court reporter—A Lovely Girl is by turns page-turning yet poignant, and makes the reader reexamine how we handle fear, how we regard mental illness, and how we understand family as we carve our own path in a dangerous world.
The details of the story are pretty disturbing and the story sticks with you long afterwards. Larkin tells the tale through a variety of voices. For me, the strongest portrayal is when she writes as her young self and about her family at that time. Larkin’s father was a newspaper reporter who covered the case closely, and her depictions of their family life with all is eccentricities was at times laugh out loud funny. The picture she paints of middle class California family life in the late 50’s is vividly detailed. I found these “young Deborah” chapters, as well as the chapters following the court trial – which used the actual court scripts – a more vivid portrayal than some in other voices. This story is in depth – it clocks in at over 500 pages.
Overall, if you are a true crime reader, don’t miss this sad but interesting story. You will remember Olga long afterward.
I’m back with another holiday story — this one a romance taking place in Amish country. I haven’t read too many Amish stories, but I know that it is a popular genre. I do appreciate that they are always a clean read and usually with a warm and happy ending. What better time of year to read a happy story than holiday time?!
Here’s the overview of this charming and touching tale:
USA Today best-selling author Patricia Davids was born in Kansas. After forty years as an NICU nurse, Pat switched careers to become an inspirational writer. She now enjoys laid back life on a Kansas farm, spending time with her family and playing with her dog Sugar, who thinks fetch should be a twenty-four hour a day game. When not throwing a ball, Pat is happily dreaming up new stories where love and faith conquer all.
USA Today bestselling author Patricia Davids continues her Amish romance series set in Harts, Haven, Kansas, with this emotional story about a cancer survivor and a grieving widower who are brought together at Christmas by the matchmakers of Harts Haven who have a little help from the hero’s daughters.
With Christmas just around the corner, an Amish cancer survivor moves to Harts Haven for a fresh start as the new schoolteacher. She wants to escape the pity that she felt from the people back home and throw herself into her new job. She’s worried her illness might return at any moment and isn’t looking for love. Neither is a local widower with two daughters. The loss of his wife devastated him, and he never wants to feel that kind of pain again. The matchmakers of Harts Haven set their sights on the pair, by having them work together on a living Nativity for the school Christmas program. With three elderly matchmakers, a school full of rambunctious children, a handsome widower, rowdy sheep and one cantankerous donkey, Harts Haven is about to witness an unforgettable Christmas Eve where two unlikely people discover healing love is the true Christmas gift.
If you enjoy an inspirational romantic story set at Christmas time, don’t miss A Match Made at Christmas by Patricia Davids.
Thank you for my copy and for making me part of the tour!
Robyn Carr is an award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than sixty novels, including highly praised women’s fiction such as Four Friends and The View From Alameda Island and the critically acclaimed Virgin River, Thunder Point and Sullivan’s Crossing series. Virgin River is now a Netflix Original series. Robyn lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. Visit her website at http://www.RobynCarr.com.
A special gift Christmas hardcover anthology of 2 Virgin River novellas by #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr plus an introduction from the author and select recipes and explanations of the holiday traditions celebrated in Virgin River.
Contains two Virgin River novellas: Under the Christmas Tree and Midnight Confessions along with at least 10 recipes and anecdotes written by Robyn Carr about why the recipes are special to specific characters from VR. We’ll also have an introduction written by Robyn explaining why she wrote Virgin River in the first place and why it resonates so strongly with audiences today. Examples of recipes are: The VR cookie exchange (Gingerbread cookies, Traditional Scottish Shortbread, Lemon Bars, Chocolate Chip Cookies) Hot drinks to enjoy as they decorate the town Christmas tree (mulled wine, homemade hot chocolate) Preacher’s famous meatloaf and garlic mash, to name a few.
I absolutely LOVED this story, based in fact, about Queen Victoria’s daughter Louise. Louise is a bit ahead of her time, and her story is so interesting and compelling. You will cheer for her and relish her victories towards independence, while commiserating with the many obstacles that thwart her from living the life she wants.
Based on the True Story of the Free-Spirited Daughter of Queen Victoria.
Princess Louise’s life is upended after her father’s untimely death. Captive to the queen’s overwhelming mourning, Louise is forbidden to leave her mother’s tight circle of control and is eventually relegated to the position of personal secretary to her mother―the same position each of her sisters held until they were married.
Already an accomplished painter, Louise risks the queen’s wrath by exploring the art of sculpting, an activity viewed as unbefitting a woman. When Louise involves herself in the day’s political matters, including championing the career of a female doctor and communicating with suffragettes, the queen lays down the law to stop her and devotes her full energy to finding an acceptable match for her defiant daughter.
Louise is considered the most beautiful and talented daughter of Queen Victoria but finding a match for the princess is no easy feat. Protocols are broken, and Louise exerts her own will as she tries to find an open-minded husband who will support her free spirit.
In the Shadow of a Queen is the story of a battle of wills between two women: a daughter determined to forge her own life beyond the shadow of her mother, and a queen resolved to keep the Crown’s reputation unsullied no matter the cost.
“Peek into the House of Hanover and view the strength of two women: Queen Victoria and her daughter Princess Louise. This story weaves compassion and conflict into breathtaking and gripping historical detail.”— Julie Wright, author ofA Captain for Caroline Gray
“Moore crafts an intriguing portrait of the independently minded Princess Louise and her tensions with the English royal family. Moore sets the stage with meticulous research, and she expertly combines fact with fiction, with psychological insights on Victoria’s mercurial moods and the impact of her controlling nature. It adds up to a worthy portrait of a woman divided by duty and self-determination.”— Publishers Weekly
5 STARS – “I always enjoy Heather Moore’s historical novels. This one did not disappoint! She is impeccable with her research and always does an excellent job of bringing people from the past to life.”— Julia Daines, bestselling author of Haven Cross, and Whitney Award Finalist
Heather B. Moore is a USA Today best-selling and award-winning author of more than seventy publications, including The Paper Daughters of Chinatown. She has lived on both the East and West Coasts of the United States, as well as Hawaii, and attended school abroad at the Cairo American Collage in Egypt and the Anglican School of Jerusalem in Israel. She loves to learn about history and is passionate about historical research.
If you love historical fiction of the Royals, you will love this unforgettable and beautifully written novel! How have I never heard of Princess Louise before? How have I not read many of Heather Moore’s historical novels??
Thank you for having me as part of the tour and for my copy!
I’m thrilled to be part of the Smith Publicity Blog Tour for The Dead Won’t Tell by S. K. Waters. This was a suspenseful mystery, where a modern day journalist takes on a cold case from the past, with big consequences.
Here’s the scoop:
When Abbie Adams, a historian-turned-journalist, is hired to investigate a cold-case murder from 1969, she jumps at the chance. But soon after she begins researching the case, she realizes that Frank Wexler, the faculty advisor who tanked her thesis and a member of a powerful family in town, is connected to the crime and is definitely not talking.
As Abbie tracks down the remaining living witnesses, she slowly pieces together the events of that fateful night, and yet is not a single step closer to solving the case. Were the police back then told to stand down? To cover up the crime?
When her witnesses suddenly wind up dead, it becomes clear that Abbie has stumbled upon a sensitive truth that threatens to tear the fabric of the southern town apart. The killer could still be out there, and now he could be hunting her.
About the Author:
This is S.K. Waters debut novel!
S. K. Waters grew up in New Jersey and still misses it. In previous lives, she was a technical writer, a database administrator, and a championship quilter. She writes mystery, fantasy, and a little in-between.
This was a great read and I think fans of cold case fiction would really enjoy it.
Thank you for my copy and for making me part of the tour!
If you read me, you know I LOVE cozy mysteries, and I especially love those that take place in the past. This novel is a perfection combination of mystery, the “roaring 20’s” and fun! It is Book 1 of a 2 book series, but it can be a stand alone title. It reminded me a little bit of my favorite Rhys Bowen character, Georgie, from the Royal Spyness mysteries. Love the period – love the fashion – love the characters! I know you will love it, too!
Thank you for my copy and for making me part of the tour!
Everyone in 1920s London knows the Honourable Cressida Fawcett: fiercely independent (though never apart from her little pug Ruby), lover of martinis and interior designer extraordinaire. She’s solved many crimes of fashion… so how about murder?
Cressida Fawcett is heading to the English countryside for a weekend of cocktails and partying at her friend’s glamorous mansion, the location of a recent diamond heist. But just hours after her arrival, Cressida is woken by an almighty scream. Rushing to the landing, she looks down into the great hall to find a trembling maid standing next to the body of Harry, the friendly young chandelier cleaner.
Everyone believes Harry’s death was an accident. But as Cressida examines the opulent hall and the beautiful grounds, she thinks something darker is afoot. Why clean a chandelier in the early hours of the morning? And who overheard Harry boasting about coming into unexpected wealth? A small piece of torn silk found near the body has Cressida looking at the guests’ elegant clothes with fresh eyes…
The short-tempered Detective insists that she keeps her curious nose out of the investigation, but it’s Cressida who realises the stolen diamonds were hidden in the sparkling chandelier. Convinced there is a connection between the theft and the murder, the case takes a sinister turn when a guest is killed in his sleep after a brandy-fuelled night of cards. With everyone unable to leave, can Cressida’s sharp eye for detail catch the killer before another life is taken?
An absolutely gripping and utterly charming 1920s murder mystery packed with wit, glamour and intrigue. The perfect whodunnit for fans of Agatha Christie, T.E. Kinsey and Downton Abbey!
Fliss Chester lives in Surrey with her husband and writes historical cozy crime. When she is not killing people off in her 1940s whodunnits, she helps her husband, who is a wine merchant, run their business. Never far from a decent glass of something, Fliss also loves cooking (and writing up her favourite recipes on her blog), enjoying the beautiful Surrey and West Sussex countryside and having a good natter.
I’m so happy to take part in the blog tour for this fascinating piece of the Golden Age of Hollywood: Big Red by Jerome Charyn. I loved the real life characters in this story and how Charyn captures that most incredible of times in Hollywood. Rusty’s voice is full of wit and pep and I loved getting the story through her lens. I did not realize that Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles had a relationship and I also did not realize that Rita Hayworth’s early life was so tumultuous and sad. This was an interesting look at life in the 40’s in Hollywood – a time that was actually less golden than it is remembered. Highly recommended for those who enjoy this genre. Thank you for my copy and for making me part of the tour!
SYNOPSIS: It’s 1943. The Germans rule Europe, and the moguls rule Hollywood. Attendance is better than ever. Not even radio can compete with the Saturday matinee. The heart of America has become Hollywood Boulevard. And Rusty Redburn, a feisty lesbian visionary who works as a lowly servant to Harry Cohn at Columbia’s publicity department, lives right on the boulevard at the Hollywood Hotel.
Harry is worried about his biggest star, Rita Hayworth, who has moved in with the “Boy Genius” Orson Welles. He’s never had a star before Rita arrived. He schemes to have Rusty pretend to work as Rita’s private secretary while spying on her. Rusty is far more clever than Harry Cohn. She worships Orson and Citizen Kane. And thus the story begins.
Nothing will last, neither the war, nor Harry Cohn, nor the marriage of Rita and Orson. And it’s Rusty who tells their tale.
BIG RED is Jerome Charyn at his very best and promises to consume both Hollywood cinephiles and neophytes alike.
But wait! There’s more! A Giveaway!! For ONE US OR CANADA ONLY WINNER:
We have a great package of goodies, including an autographed copy of BIG RED, a tote bag with the great cover (which was designed by Ed Sorel), Rita Hayworth sunglasses, popcorn, light-up smartphone charger (with either the book jacket or an image of Rita) and a Shalimar sample, Rita’s favorite perfume. The package will be served up in a red box mailer packed with red tissue.
To enter, please leave a comment either on my blog or on my blog’s Facebook page. I will use random.org to generate a number and that numbered comment will be the winner! I will reach out to the winner to put them in touch with the publicist so they can get their prize. Please enter by 9/30!
I’m happy to be part of a suspenseful and captivating tour for WHEN WE WERE INNOCENT, a story of WWII and modern day. While I read, I kept identifying with the main character and thinking “What would I do if I were in her shoes?” This was a one I could not put down and kept thinking about afterwards. Highly recommended! Thank you for my copy and for making me part of the tour!
You love your father with all your heart. But what if he’s not who you think he is? What if he’s kept an unforgiveable secret from you his whole life?
Libby Trent believes she knows the difference between right and wrong.
But everything changes when she finds out about a man named Hans Brenner, a Nazi who escaped Germany after the Second World War. A war criminal who has lived his whole life in hiding.
Because the man suspected of being Hans Brenner is Libby’s own beloved father.
The sweetest, gentlest man she knows. Who raised her alone, who lives in her family home. Who cares for and watches over Libby’s own children.
When Libby finds a secret box in her father’s bedroom, she knows it might contain evidence. But does she dare open it, if it could prove her father guilty of the most heinous crimes in history?
Because if she finds evidence, she won’t just have to choose between right and wrong, she’ll have to choose whether to betray her own father…
A totally heartbreaking and powerful story about a daughter’s impossible dilemma and the darkest of family secrets, perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult, Amanda Prowse, and Diane Chamberlain.
Kate Hewitt is the author of many romance and women’s fiction novels. A former New Yorker and now an American ex-pat, she lives in a small town on the Welsh border with her husband, five children, and their overly affectionate Golden Retriever. Whatever the genre, she enjoys telling stories that tackle real issues and touch people’s lives.
I’m excited to share about this new novel about Ona Judge, a slave of Martha Washington. It toggles between the past (Ona’s story) and the present (Tessa’s story). I really loved Ona’s story and voice and all the historical details that were woven in. Based in fact, this was a story that I was never taught in school.
Thank you for my copy and for letting me be part of the tour!
New Hampshire, 1796. “My name is Ona Judge, and I escaped from the household of the President of the United States. I was the favored maid of George and Martha Washington, but they deemed me a slave and thought me property, and I hear ten dollars is offered as reward for my capture. Now I must write the truth that I have lived, and tell my story…”
Chincoteague, Virginia, present day. Rain soaks Tessa Scott as she runs from her car to the old, vine-covered property she has been called to survey. She’s too busy to accept a new job, but doing this favor for the grandmother of her childhood sweetheart delays a painful decision she must make about a future with her controlling boyfriend.
But when Tessa finds a tattered journal carefully hidden inside the house’s ancient fireplace, the tragic story of how Ona was ripped from her mother’s arms to live and work in the palatial Mount Vernon, and the heart-shattering betrayal that led her to risk her life and run, has Tessa spellbound. Could discovering this forgotten scandal at the heart of her nation’s history force her to confront her own story? As she races to reach the final page, will anything prepare her for the desperate moment when Ona’s captors find her again? Will it inspire Tessa to take ownership of her own life and set herself free?
A completely heartbreaking tale of love, loss and redemption, based on an astonishing true story from the founding of America. Perfect for fans of Before We Were Yours, Marie Benedict and America’s First Daughter.
Suzette D. Harrison, a native Californian and the middle of three daughters, grew up in a home where reading was required, not requested. Her literary “career” began in junior high school with the publishing of her poetry. While Suzette pays homage to Alex Haley, Gloria Naylor, Alice Walker, Langston Hughes, and Toni Morrison as legends who inspired her creativity, it was Dr. Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings that unleashed her writing. The award-winning author of Taffy is a wife and mother of two teens, and she holds a culinary degree in pastry and baking. Mrs. Harrison is currently cooking up her next novel…in between batches of cupcakes.