Sunday, November 28, 2021

The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins


Jane is new to the Birmingham Alabama area and is trying to start a new life.  She has a secret about her past life, one she is running from, and this keeps you guessing about her past.  She is employed as a dog walker in this ultra rich community where women casually discard their diamond earrings in a bowl as they enter their mansions.  The neighborhood is basically full of millionaires who haven;t experienced hardship.

One day Jane is staring at one elegant home while walking a dog and Eddie Rochester careens out of his driveway, almost running Jane down.  Eddie is newly widowed, very handsome and fit. Her invites Jane inside for coffee and apologizes for almost killing her.  This is the start of the Eddie and Jane storyline.

The very title called The Wife Upstairs is a bit of a spoiler and that crazy scenario is revealed early in the book.  

I was interested in this book because a Jane Eyre comparison was mentioned.  It's not a ripoff story but you'll see a nod to the names and some of the relationships.  Jane, Rochester, Bertha plus the poor character of Jane who had a horrid upbringing.

This story has mystery, two big twists in the narrative (be patient and wait for it!) and a warning to those who are offended by the F-bomb.  It's not used as much as in The Big Lebowski but you've been forewarned :-) Doesn't bother me and was, in my opinion, approprite for the scenarios.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Castles of Britain and Ireland

This week I am thumbing through a very old book about Castles of Britain and Ireland. I'm doing a bit of armchair traveling and reminising about some of the castles and ruins we have visited on past vacations.

This book by Plantagenet Somerset Fry lists castles in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.  It's extremely detailed with locations, history and many photos.

This one of King John's Castle in Limerick Ireland  is where our family spent some time. I wish I could find the photo of my son on the bridge with the town in the background, a great trip for us all.

It's nice to flip though and find places you have visited and remember good times. I keep this handy where I can grab it when I want to "visit" the British Isles.

Sharing with Joy's Book Blog for British Isles Friday.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Greenwich Park by Katherine Faulkner


I admit the cover grabbed my attention straight away.  Isn't that what we notice in the bookstore displays?  A cover that appeals?  Well, that and an author we love.

The beginning of this book is a letter to Helen.  It's from one of our main characters and that character is writing from prison.  You don't know if it's a man or woman but they contact Helen to share a secret which I assumed would devastate her. For what it's worth, I guessed wrong on the author's identity, I mean completely as I didn't even have the correct gender of the writer!

The house itself is always part of the story. It’s an old house registered with English heritage. It has a lovely doorway, huge old Georgian windows surrounded by ivy. Just look at the cover so you get a mental image. It looks like a place I'd love to live.

 Our main characters are Helen, Daniel, Serena, Rory and Rachel. With the exception of Rachel they all attended Cambridge University. Helen and Daniel are married and Helen's brother Rory is married to Serena. Both ladies are very pregnant and while you'd think the sister-in-laws would be bonding it's a bit awkward at times.

Helen is a rather nosy character and goes through Serena's cabinets and drawers. One day she finds a note and she can’t figure out who it’s from (as if it's any of her business.)

Darling RRH

Wear it  to show me



She knows it isn’t Serena’s handwriting and wonders if her brother Rory is having an affair. The initial W doesn’t mean anything to her but it is revealed who W is at the end of the book.  That part was quite clever, however Helen not knowing the hand writing raised suspicion with me as it is someone she knows very well. But that's much later in the book.....

Rachel is a wild, smoking and drinking young woman who attends the same birthing class as Helen.  She slowly insinuates herself into Helen's life even though Helen has zero in common with her.  From the beginnning I was wondering why Helen didn't avoid Rachel but you will see her end game as you read on.

I know so many books are compared to Gone Girl but this one has the over-the-waterfall revelations and I enjoyed every surprise.

Brilliant writing and plot, I couldn't put this one down.  With all the mysteries I read there are the occasional books which I can leave for days and then I get back to them.  Not this one.  I have been fortunate to have a great run of luck with the mysteries I've gotten from Netgalley and the library lately. 4 & 1/2 Stars.

Publication date is January 25,  2022 by Gallery Books.  Genre: Mystery and Thriller. Look out for this one and I hope Ms. Faulkner continues with future engaging plots.

Thank you to Netgalley for the advanced reader's copy of this book.  I was not compensated for the review, all opinions are mine.

Katherine Faulkner is a journalist and lives in London and Greenwich Park is her first novel. 

Sharing with Joy's Book Blog for British Isles Friday.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

His and Hers by Alice Feeney


When a woman is murdered in the small British village of Blackdown newsreader Anna Andrews is reluctant to cover the case.  Anna is originally from Blackdown and has bad memories from her school days and early marriage. She is currently in London and aspires to be the main newsreader on televsion.

Local detective Jack Harper is called to the murder scene and there are involvements on his side as well as Anna's with the murder victim. Jack becomes a suspect in this investigation but he knows Anna has secrets about the case as well. It's a Russian nest doll of revelations as each layer is revealed.  The connections will keep you guessing about motive and who is the main suspect as the bodies pile up.

The title His and Hers refers to the perspective which the story is told.  You will go back and forth between Jack and Anna's point of view.  

This was quite a page turner.  Guaranteed you'll be surprised by the end and the murderer's identity.  I enjoyed this book so much that I put every novel by Alice Feeney on hold at the library. 

More about British author Alice Feeney HERE

Sharing with Joy's Book Blog for British Isles Friday.

Monday, November 8, 2021

The Midwife's Secret by Emily Gunnis


The description and cover attracted me to this book but the begining development of the plot was confusing to me.  There are several time lines and two families which connect from 1919, 1969 and to present day. There is a priest hole in an old house and a young child is hidden away which you can imagine never ends well.

A young girl named Alice disappears in 1969 and she is never found (Not a spoiler as it's in the description of the book).

The hidden room in an old house called Yew Tree Manor reminded me of Kate Morton's book The Clockmaker's Daughter. For this scenario you may conjour images from Sarah's Key by Tatianna de Rosnay.  Not at all the exact same circumstances but if you've read those you'll get what I mean.

I liked the cover and I liked the old house as a "character" in this book.  Old houses and mysteries grab me every time.  I would not seek out more by this author based on this book but I see she has several books in publication so, maybe those would keep my interest more than this one.  This one just didn't grab me.

Publication date October 28, 2021 by Mobius Books.  Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery and Thrillers.

Thank you to Netgalley for the advanced reader's copy of this book.  I was not compensated for the review, all opinions are mine.

Sharing with Marg at The Intrepid Reader for the 2021 Historical Ficion Challenge.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Buried Lies by Jenny O'Brien


Hannah is a nurse who is engaged to Ian and has a son named Hunter.  Her friend/coworker Milly invites her to go away to a posh hotel and enjoy the spa treatment when Milly's boyfriend up and leaves her.  The weekend is paid for so Hannah agrees to take the trip.

This is her first time away from Hunter but thought a weekend away would give Ian and Hunter time to bond and give Ian a chance to see what being a stepfather is all about. When Hannah returns home she finds Ian dead and her son is missing. What a nightmare.

When Gaby's team arrives to investigate they recognize Ian as one of the new police officers hired.  It appears he commited suicide but anyone who has read a police procedural will know this could be one of the red herrings inserted in the plot. Hannah is obviously bereaved and frantic but is also a suspect in the case.  She has a past which revealed a patient death under suspicious circumstances. 

The Welsh names of cities come up which is a part I like.  Love traveling to Betws-y-Coed, Conwy, Y Mwyar Duon in Ruthin, Llandudno and Rhos-on-Sea in Wales through virtual travel.

Buried Lies is the fifth book in the Detective Gaby Darin series and I blew through this novel in a day.  I enjoyed the first four books and was delighted to be approved for an advanced readers copy of this series.  As the characters develop I find I'm quite attached to them, watching them grow in their personal and professional lives.

Here is a list of the Detective Gaby Darin series:

Missing in Wales (book 1, titled Silent Cry in the UK editions)

Darkest Night (book 2)

Fallen Angel (book 3)

Lost Souls (book 4)

Publication date November 17, 2021 by St. Martin's Press.  Genre: General Fiction, Mystery and Thriller. you to Netgalley for the advanced reader's copy of this book.  I was not compensated for the review, all opinions are mine.

Sharing with Joy's Book Blog for British Isles Friday.

2022 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Roundup

 I had signed up for the book challenge at Shelleyrae's site  Book'd Out  and went for the Nibbler category of six books.  Here'...