All Things that Deserve to Perish by Dana Mack

The good folks at Books Forward sent me a copy of this historical fiction novel, centering on a young woman coming of age in Germany at the turn of the century. This is a time period and an area of Europe that I’m not overly familiar with, so I found this book so interesting. The social mores and rules, the role of women, the views on religion (especially Judaism), were all new ground for me. Lisi’s story is interesting, but also sad in some ways. Mack’s writing is flowing and clearly well-researched.

Thank you for sending me a review e-copy!

Here’s the overview:

The year is 1896, and Elisabeth (‘Lisi’) von Schwabacher, the gifted daughter of a Jewish banker, returns home to Berlin from three years of piano study in Vienna. Though her thoughts are far from matrimony, she is pursued by two noblemen impressed as much by her stunning wealth as by her prodigious intellect and musical talent. Awakened to sudden improvements in the opportunities open to women, Lisi balks at her mother’s expectation that she will contract a brilliant marriage and settle down to a life as a wife and mother. In a bid to emancipate herself once and for all from that unwelcome fate, she resolves to have an affair with one of her aristocratic suitors — an escapade that, given her rigid social milieu, has tragic consequences.All Things That Deserve to Perish is a novel that penetrates the constrained condition of women in Wilhelmine Germany, as well as the particular social challenges faced by German Jews, who suffered invidious discrimination long before Hitler’s seizure of power. It is also a compassionate rumination on the distractions of sexual love, and the unbearable strains of a life devoted to art.

About the Author:

Dana is the author of two non-fiction books: The Assault on Parenthood: How Our Culture Undermines the Family (Simon & Schuster; Encounter Paperbacks) and The Book of Marriage: The Wisest Answers to the Toughest Questions (Eerdmans). An historian, journalist and musician, Ms. Mack’s articles on music, history, culture, family issues, and education have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Commentary Magazine, the Christian Science Monitor, the New Criterion, the Washington Post, USA Today, and many other publications. All Things That Deserve To Perish is her first novel.

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.

Review: Murder on St. Nicholas Avenue – a Gaslight Mystery by Victoria Thompson

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If you know me, you know I love the cozy mystery series of “Gaslight Mysteries”, following the adventures of midwife Sarah Brandt in turn-of-the-century NYC. A new one came out at Christmas time and my husband bought it for me – MURDER ON ST. NICHOLAS AVENUE.

Unlike the former novels – all of which I’ve read – this one has Sarah and Frank off to Europe on their honeymoon with the house and children left in charge of assistant Maeve, with Mrs. Malloy and Mrs. Decker (Sarah’s mother) assisting. When a family friend comes to them because she feels her daughter is unjustly accused of murdering her husband, Maeve and the rest of the family – along with friendly police officer Gino – know they must work together to solve the mystery. Of course nothing is simple and the events keep the characters and this reader guessing right up to the last chapters!

I enjoyed this installment in the series, which Ms. Thompson mentions in the afterward she was asked to write for the holidays. Seeing further character development of some of the minor characters (e.g. Mrs. Malloy, Mr. Decker, Gino) was gratifying. I was never fond of the Felix Decker character, but he was much more multi-dimensional after reading this novel.

The characters hint at the fact that they will work together on future mysteries for the “Malloy Detective Agency” so I trust that Ms. Thompson has many more creative plot lines in store for us!

If you like historical cozies, this is a series for you. Each title can stand alone, but reading them in order is a treat as you get to know the characters along the way.

Find this title at a bookstore, library, or online – below is to Amazon where I am an Associate:

Murder on St. Nicholas Avenue: Gaslight Mystery (A Gaslight Mystery)