‘A quirky and enjoyable cosy mystery.’ @CathyRy reviews Bella, Tails & Murder by @KathyManosPenn, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Cathy. She blogs here https://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Cathy has been reading Bells, Tails & Murder by Kathy Manos Penn

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Leta Parker’s life changed irrevocably when her husband was killed in an accident while they were out biking. Eighteen months later she had fulfilled her dream of retiring to England and has a pretty, restored and cosy cottage in the Cotswolds. All she needs now is to pick up Dickens, a dwarf Pyrenees and Christie the black cat, from the airport. They both have a moan (literally) and Christie particularly has plenty to say about being crated for the journey. Leta is a female Dr Doolittle and can actually communicate with animals. It’s a fun twist, I’ve often thought it would be perfect I could understand ‘dog speak’. I’m glad, however, that the animals were portrayed and treated as pets and not given human traits (apart from the obvious)

‘How life has changed for the three of us. A new home, a new country … and a new life … without Henry. I wondered whether the animals missed him as much as I did.’

Leta has settled into her new life and made some good friends, including fellow ex-pat, Wendy. One morning, on a walk with Dickens, she is shocked and distressed to discover a body in suspicious circumstances. After speaking to the police, Leta feels the need for Wendy’s company and the discussion makes them, and Wendy’s mum Belle, aware they don’t really know the victim, although most people in the village see her in one capacity or another.

‘After Wendy helped her mum into the kitchen, she asked me to tell the story again. Every time I repeated it, I found the telling got a bit easier. I almost made it through this time without tears. Belle braced herself on her cane and leaned over to give me a hug.’

Leta and Wendy discover there are multiple potential suspects, even as they shy away from the awful thought of one of their friends being the culprit.

A steady initial build up allows the reader to get acquainted with the characters and form mental images. I enjoyed how J.M. Barrie and his works were written into the story, with a plot line that wouldn’t be beyond the realms of possibility. And, as always, I love being familiar with the places mentioned in the story. They brought back lots of memories. A quirky and enjoyable cosy mystery.

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A Cotswolds village . . . a grieving heroine . . . two furry sidekicks . . . and a murder!

Do you like heroines who’ve lived a little? Who’ve suffered life’s ups and downs but kept on trucking? Then you’ll love Leta Parker and her new friends in the Cotswold village of Astonbury.

When tragedy strikes Leta Parker’s life, the successful banker and closet sleuth chases a lifelong dream to retire to England. Leaving her friends and neighbors in Atlanta, she settles into Astonbury with her talkative dog and cat, Dickens and Christie. 

Picture her driving a refurbished London taxi to the bookshop and the tearoom, enjoying leisurely walks with Dickens the dog, and sipping coffee in the garden with Christie, her sassy cat.

When Leta stumbles across the dead body of a new acquaintance, her inner Nancy Drew comes out. Before you know it, she’s enlisted the help of Wendy, a retired English teacher friend—and even Wendy’s elderly mum.

Two whipsmart retirees, one spunky senior citizen, and a feisty dog and cat are on the case!

Who better to unearth clues from their friends in the village? Even Dickens and Christie get in on the act gathering intelligence from their four-legged friends and pointing out the obvious to Leta.

What do authors A. A. Milne, Arthur Conan Doyle, and J. M. Barrie have to do with all this?

Is their connection with the Cotswolds merely an interesting bit of trivia, or is it more? Will Leta and Wendy let their literary noses lead them astray?

You’ll be captivated as this unlikely team chases clues and ferrets out a long-buried secret—a scenario that would make any BBC cozy mystery producer proud.  No matter the clues uncovered by Dickens and Christie, you’ll be hard-pressed to guess who the villain is unless, like Leta, you’re able to “talk to the animals.” 

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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#HistoricalRomance Built Around Victorian Plumbing. Rosie’s #Bookreview of The Earl Who Sees Her Beauty by @MargueriteKaye

The Earl Who Sees Her BeautyThe Earl Who Sees Her Beauty by Marguerite Kaye

4.5 stars

The Earl Who Sees Her Beauty is the first book in a new duet series of historical romances.

Dominic Caldwell was hiding in a small Greek village when he discovered that he had a claim on an English Earldom. The news for Dominic of his likely inheritance was less thrilling than others may have thought.

He travelled to London with the full intention of selling all of his new gains as quickly as possible and returning to his peaceful Greek life.

Prudence Carstairs had spent her life hiding from society because of a hideous scar on her face. The only place outside her home where she felt comfortable was Hawthorn Manor, which is becoming dilapidated.

This is a tale built around Victorian plumbing and sanitation; an unusual theme, but one which worked well. Dominic and Prudence are likeable characters, each with demons that they must overcome. I enjoyed the way that the author moved the story away from ball rooms and high society often seen in this genre and gave attention to the plight of the lower classes. I shall look forward to the second book in the series.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

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Unaware of her beauty…

Until he awakens her.

Prudence Carstairs knows her scars leave her with no romantic prospects—instead, she’s content revolutionizing her employer’s home with her technological marvels. Then he unexpectedly perishes and his mysterious younger brother, dashing Dominic Thorburn, reluctantly takes over. In the new earl, Prudence finally finds someone who meets her gaze without flinching. Might he see the beautiful, intelligent woman beyond her scars?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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‘An important subject matter’. Rosie’s #Bookreview of #WW2 #HistoricalFiction Over The Hedge by Paulette Mahurin

Over the HedgeOver the Hedge by Paulette Mahurin

3.5 stars

Over The Hedge is a fictional story set around historical facts from the Netherlands during World-War-Two. The story focuses on a trio of individuals who helped smuggle Jewish children to safety.

Set in Amsterdam, this is a tale of a theatre taken over as a sorting station, where Jewish families were held before being sent East by train to the internment camps. Opposite the theatre was a child day-care centre where some of the young children were sent as they were separated from their parents. While the intention was still to send the children to the camps after a night in the care-centre, this was supposed to keep them out of sight of the guards.

Next to the care-centre was a school and a resistance network set up where children were literally handed over the hedge and spirited away to new families. Although true records were never kept, it was believed that between 500 and 1000 children were saved in this way from the Holocaust.

The author has used her extensive research into the subject to create this fictional account which is peppered with interesting factual snippets. At times, this made the writing feel clunky and it flowed less smoothly making it harder to engage with the storyline.

Overall an important subject matter, but the style of writing needed a bit more tweaking, with fact being woven into fiction throughout.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

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During one of the darkest times in history, at the height of the German occupation of the Netherlands in 1943, members of the Dutch resistance began a mission to rescue Jewish children from the deportation center in Amsterdam. Heading the mission were Walter Süskind, a German Jew living in the Netherlands, Henriëtte Pimentel, a Sephardic Jew, and Johan van Hulst, principal of a Christian college. As Nazis rounded up Jewish families at gunpoint, the three discreetly moved children from the deportation center to the daycare across the street and over the backyard hedge to the college next door. From the college, the children were transported to live with Dutch families. Working against irate orders from Hitler to rid the Netherlands of all Jews and increasing Nazi hostilities on the Resistance, the trio worked tirelessly to overcome barriers. Ingenious plans were implemented to remove children’s names from the registry of captured Jews. To sneak them out of the college undetected past guards patrolling the deportation center. To meld them in with their new families to avoid detection. Based on actual events, Over the Hedge is the story of how against escalating Nazi brutality when millions of Jews were disposed of in camps, Walter Süskind, Henriëtte Pimentel, and Johan van Hulst worked heroically with the Dutch resistance to save Jewish children. But it is not just a story of their courageous endeavors. It is a story of the resilience of the human spirit. Of friendship and selfless love. The love that continues on in the hearts of over six hundred Dutch Jewish children.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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‘I really enjoyed escaping to the Greek island of Kyros’. @SandraFirth3 reviews #romcom Love on Location by @LynneB1

Today’s team review is from Sandra. She blogs here https://www.firthproof.co.uk/index.php/book-reviews

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Sandra has been reading Love On Location by Lynne Shelby

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In Love on Location, Laurel is tasked with rewriting the script of the time-slip movie Swords and Sandals, only to find she has been paired up with an archaeology professor to ensure historical accuracy. As Laurel is used to working alone, there is a bit of friction between them to start with but, knowing they have no choice but to make the best of it, they slowly come to appreciate each other’s expertise.

I have read and enjoyed Lynne Shelby’s previous books based in the world of film and theatre. She always shows both sides of working in the entertainment industry, and balances the glamour with a realistic portrayal of the hard slog and disappointments behind the scenes. Here we get fascinating glimpses behind the scenes on a film set, and find out just how temperamental a director can be.   

The large cast of characters are well written and believable, though there were one or two occasions when Laurel and Jason’s behaviour did not ring true.  The idyllic Greek locations are depicted in vivid detail – I particularly enjoyed the sojourn in Athens as Jason shows Laurel round the ancient sites and explains the history behind them. The only aspect I had a slight problem with was that someone who writes screenplays for a living would not read books. I really enjoyed escaping to the Greek island of Kyros, and look forward to Lynne Shelby’s next foray into life in the entertainment world.

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Can movie magic lead to a real-life romance?

‘A wonderful fresh new talent’ Katie Fforde

When Laurel Martin is hired to rewrite the script for a new timeslip blockbuster, she expects the historical advisor hired by the studio to be an elderly academic who won’t interfere too much with her writing. But when she meets Professor Jason Harding, a young and unexpectedly handsome archaeologist who has some ideas of his own about the script, she realises the job isn’t going to be as simple as she first thought.

As their work takes them from arguing over historical details in a cramped London office to discovering the hidden beauties of a Greek island, Laurel and Jason’s relationship starts to echo the romance of their script.

But with Laurel’s actor ex-boyfriend making trouble at home, and constant issues with the volatile director, will Laurel and Jason ever be able to write the happy ending for their own story?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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‘This series is Nora Roberts at her best’. Rosie’s #Bookreview of #ContemporaryRomance Tears Of The Moon #TuesdayBookBlog

Tears of the Moon (Gallaghers of Ardmore #2)Tears of the Moon by Nora Roberts

5 stars

Tears Of The Moon is book two in the Irish Trilogy of contemporary romances, once more set in the village of Ardmore on the south coast of Ireland. This is the story of Brenna O’Toole, builder by trade, and Shawn Gallagher, musician and chef.

Each story in this trilogy is wrapped around a legend of lost love between the prince of the Faeries and a ghost. A three hundred year curse has kept them apart, until love can find its way three times to break the spell .

Brenna and Shawn have known each other all of their lives, but Brenna intends moving their friendship forward.  Always a forceful woman, she propositions Shawn. The shock has him turning her down, but it sets into motion a merry dance between the pair, one with fierce heated arguments and equally fiery moments of passion.

Faerie cottage weaves its magic again; once, twice and now a third meeting of hearts is required to set the mythical lovers free. With her brothers Aiden and Shawn now happily married, will their sister Darcy, the woman who has men falling at her feet, be the final piece of the puzzle? I am looking forward to reading Darcy’s story in the final book of the series.

This series is Nora Roberts at her best, I loved the setting and the elements of Irish myth and contemporary beliefs which took me on a journey of wonderful escapism.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

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A talented songwriter, Shawn Gallagher spends his days lost in reverie and wonder, oblivious to the wiles of women and the ways of the world. He claims that he’s content with his life, but his music tells a different story—one of loneliness and desperate longing…

No one understands why Shawn doesn’t put his musical gift to profitable use—least of all Brenna O’Toole, a fiercely independent tomboy who has been secretly in love with him for years. But it is only when Shawn gives in to the mysteries of magic that he gets the chance to fulfill his destiny as a man and a musician—as the song in his head keeps time with the beating of a woman’s heart…

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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‘With an authentic period feel of London.’ @SandraFirth3 reviews #HistoricalRomance Miss Wetherham’s Wedding by Linore Rose Burkard

Today’s team review is from Sandra. She blogs here https://www.firthproof.co.uk/index.php/book-reviews

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Sandra has been reading Miss Wetherham’s Wedding by Linore Rose Burkard

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Miss Wetherham’s Wedding is the third book in the Brides of Mayfair series by Linore Rose Burkard set in London in the early nineteenth century. Having been left a widow at a fairly young age, Lettie Wetherham’s future is anything but secure, especially as she expresses no desire to marry again.

Nicholas Dellacort’s nose is out of joint because Sophia Alden’s father has accepted an offer for her hand from the much wealthier Lord Elston, Earl Brest instead of him. Learning of Lettie’s reputation as a matchmaker, he hires her to disrupt the engagement but things do not go according to plan. Lettie is well out of her comfort zone as Nick promises that each awkward encounter will be the last but, due to her dire financial situation, she really has no choice but to carry on.

The characters are well developed and the chemistry between them makes for some amusing conversations. The authentic period feel of London during the season is convincing, obviously the result of a lot of research, and the helpful glossary is useful for filling in any gaps in the reader’s knowledge. I have read a lot of Regency novels, but still learned some new expressions. I really enjoyed Miss Wetherham’s Wedding and now plan to go back and read the second one in the series.

4 stars

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Every step she takes to ensure his happiness is a nail in the coffin of her own.

Miss Wetherham, a matchmaker, must agree to the devious plan of a society rogue before she finds herself destitute. Helping him gain back his lost love will protect her independence and survival. But can any amount of money protect her guileless heart from falling for his charms?

Nick Dellacort is determined to restore his pride and gain back the bride he lost. Miss Wetherham is the woman able to help him do it and he’ll make it worth her while. But once he sets the devilish wheels in motion, can he persuade her to abandon the scheme and choose instead a scoundrel like him for a wedding of her own?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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‘A luscious, playful #fantasy with an enchanting cast.’ @em_banks reviews Mississippi Missing by Laura Engelhardt, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Elanor.

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Elanor has been reading Mississippi Missing by Laura Engelhardt

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5 stars

This is a luscious, playful fantasy with an enchanting cast.

Middle-aged Mary finds herself transformed into a river nymph. She uses music to communicate with all bodies of water and sings life-changing spells. She is simultaneously one of the most powerful magical beings in a world thronging with magical races, and a complete newbie in their society. When the soul of the Mississippi River vanishes, she sets out on a quest to find and return it, navigating the tricks and allegiances of the fae who try to help or hinder her.

Laura Engelhardt draws on a history of fae characters, like Titania and Morgan le Fay, but her world is fresh and inventive. The faerie lords pitch between playful jester types and dangerous trickster gods – I particularly enjoyed the frog prince Kresimir, who accompanies Mary on her journey.

The world of the book is suffused with sensory magic, affecting the characters’ appearances, dress, environment and perceptions. Engelhardt writes beautifully of music, colour and nature in a way that is both vivid and totally fantastical.

I didn’t always know what was happening with the back-story of the world and the magic, particularly in the first half of the book. That’s not uncommon in a fantasy – but some readers have more tolerance for this than others. (The book is described as standalone, but Engelhardt has published two previous novels set in this world, which I haven’t read… yet!). It definitely swept me along. I loved the tension of Mary trying to hold onto her own voice against the tumult of big characters and current events, and the outcome is really satisfying.

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When mages hijack the Mississippi, it’s Mary’s job to get it back

Mary was a mundane middle-aged woman adjusting to her role as an empty-nester when she drank from a magical chalice and became fae. A few months later, she’s still adapting to her new life when the Mississippi River suddenly disappears.

The only river nymph left, Mary sets out to find it. A were-jaguar, frog prince, and multiple fae lords entangle themselves in her quest, turning what should have been an exciting adventure across the American Midwest into a treacherous journey fraught with ancient magick, twisted faerie “games,” and even a glimpse into the Hereafter to see what awaits on the Other Side.

Mary is determined to rescue the river, but isn’t sure she’s ruthless enough to become an avenging faerie. Can she save the Mississippi’s soul without sacrificing her own?

Mississippi Missing is a standalone novel set in the contemporary fantasy world of the Fifth Mage War. It’s a spiritual story of new beginnings, a heartfelt tale of remaining true to yourself, even when you don’t know who you are.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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A #Ya Cosy #Mystery @GeorgiaRoseBook Reviews The Flat On The 7th Floor by @ELBarryAuthor, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT 

Today’s team review is from Georgia. She blogs here https://www.georgiarosebooks.com

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Georgia has been reading The Flat On The 7th Floor by E.L. Barry.

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There is mystery after mystery in this Josie Jackson novel, the first, I believe, of a series. Who is the mysterious stranger in the lift? Why is estate agent Josie’s new client, Michael, so aloof? Why won’t her father talk to her direct?

Josie has a rather privileged life living rent-free in the flat her late mother left for her (although despite her good fortune – regarding the flat, not losing her mother –  she seems terrible with money). She has a good job, friendly work colleagues, Kim and Gareth, and doesn’t lack for male attention. Nicholas is his name, but even her relationship with him is full of questions.

Things really start to kick off when Josie, Kim and Gareth go to a conference and someone in the hotel is attacked.

There are some nice messages in this book about improving yourself and how you live and work and I found the details of the Money Characters at the back very interesting. There’s also a Q&A with Josie Jackson which leads well into the next book.

This is a novel for young adults (YA) which I’m not, but I enjoyed the story and will be keen to see what’s next for Josie.

4 stars

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When Josie Jackson discovers her past is not all as it seems, her life is changed forever.
Being warned not to investigate photographs she was sent of her mother before Josie was born, Josie discovers more secrets in unexpected places.

At the same time Josie meets a handsome stranger who raises more questions than answers. How can she resist his charms when he is everything she has been looking for?

Josie’s colleague’s Kim and Gareth are caught in the danger. When they form a close bond, Josie is conflicted by her feelings. Will Josie discover the truth before anyone gets hurt?

Follow the twists and turns of life choices. family, work, money, relationships, and self-discovery in this Josie Jackson thriller, as she lives in The Flat on the 7th Floor.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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A Second Chances Story. @OlgaNM7 Reviews An Unlit Candle by Caren J. Werlinger, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Olga. She blogs here https://www.authortranslatorolga.com

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Olga has been reading An Unlit Candle by Caren Werlinger

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I have read and reviewed several of Caren Werlinger’s novels (this is the fifth), and recently reviewed In This Small Spot, which also takes place, at least in part, at St Bridget’s Abbey and where we meet two of the protagonists of this story, As I loved it, I was eager to see what would happen here and who the novel would centre on, as there were a lot of characters I would have liked to learn more about.

As was the case in the previous novel, the action in this one is divided up between two timelines, both narrated in the third person, but from the point of view of the protagonists. One of the stories works, partly, as a prequel, as we learn the background story of one of the most important people in the Abbey, the Abbess herself, Mother Theodora (or, as we soon learn, Patricia, “Pip”, Horrigan), from the time she leaves school, determined to bring new ideas to her father’s business, in the 1950s, until the present day of the story. Her life is totally thrown into turmoil when she visits the abbey with Sister Ruth, a friend, and she is unable to ignore her vocation to become a nun. Once she enters the abbey, against her family’s wishes, she has to confront many things, about herself and those around her, and her story is also that of the abbey over the next fifty years. We get to follow not only what happens inside its doors, but also how the order and the people inside are affected by what goes on in the world and society at large, and also by the changes in the Catholic Church. The rest of the novel takes place a few years after the end of In This Small Spot, and we catch up on Lauren, a nun who had left St. Briget’s to live with the love of her life. She has settled into her new life, also pretty quiet, but a new person comes to disrupt her peace, Gail, an Episcopal priest whose own vocation is being sorely tested by several losses in her personal life that she finds extremely difficult to accept. How can she advise and console others in similar circumstances when she does not truly believe what she has been taught?

Some of the subjects that played a big part in the previous novel are here again: loss, grief, vocation, faith, but also the difficulty reconciling diverse calls, loves, vocations, duties, and deciding what is most important, reconnecting with your family, combining old traditions and calls to innovate, knowing when it’s time to move on, and giving yourself a second chance.

I loved getting to learn more about Mother Theodora. She is the guiding light of St. Bridget’s, and it was fascinating to get to learn how she got to be the person she is, and the hard times and difficulties she had to face to get there. I won’t go into details, but we get a good overview of life in the convent over the years and meet more of the nuns and learn about their roles and their stories. Her story exemplifies how much weight we can confer on other people’s words and opinions, and how sometimes people around us can inspire us and help us in unexpected ways, without expecting anything in return. I also came to understand quite well why Mickey, the protagonist from the first book, and Mother Theodora became fairly close friends so quickly, as there are evident similarities between the two women, their experiences and their outlook on life, even if they eventually chose a pretty different path.

Lauren’s story turns, partly, into a second chance romance, both for her and Gail, although rather than a story of passionate young romance, this is more of a story of soul mates meeting and realising they are better together. Both have to change the way they think, and this is particularly difficult for Lauren, but I can say, without revealing too much, that this time I’m sure everybody will be happy with the ending. Although this is not a laugh a minute story, not by a long chalk, but it is a moving and ultimately uplifting story about finding your own place and your own family, wherever and whoever they might be.

I have mentioned the beauty and lyricism of Werlinger’s writing, and that is in evidence here again. I always feel sorry when I get to the end of one of her stories, as I love the time I spend with her characters, in the wonderful communities she creates, and reading her gorgeous and moving prose. This time, the two stories and timelines complement each other well, flowing from one to the next and eventually converging in the present, at a pretty momentous point.

Many of the comments I made about the first novel apply here as well, and I won’t repeat them again. One doesn’t need to be Roman Catholic to enjoy the novel, and although some aspects of the story might appear very alien at first sight, quite a few of the experiences and turmoil the characters go through are pretty universal. Although I think the story can be read and enjoyed independently of the first, as one of the reviewers has said, the two novels feel like the two halves of a story, and I think they work better together, being read in the order of publication.

So, I will repeat my recommendation, with a few added notes. I recommend this novel to people who enjoy beautiful writing, reading about enclosed communities (particularly of women), those who might feel curious about monastic life, and anybody interested in characters going through major changes and crisis in their lives. There are sad moments, there is talk about passion and desire, but nothing too explicit, and there are characters facing crisis of vocation and faith, and getting over loss and grief. If any of these sound interesting, check a sample of the book, and if you like what you read, start with In This Small Spot and keep going. You’ll thank me later.

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Patricia Horrigan is the eldest daughter of a family determined to gain entry into the upper echelons of Rochester society as the 1950s give way to the turbulence of the 60s. Born of an Irish father and a French-Canadian mother, Pip inherited the stubborn pride and fierce determination of both. With her life in the family business all planned out, she is most definitely not interested in throwing it all away to become a nun. But some calls will not be ignored, no matter how hard she tries. Fifty years later, she can’t help but wonder if her choices and sacrifices were worth it.
In present time, Lauren Thackeray has managed to put her life back together—in a manner of speaking. She has her weaving, her home, her chosen family, and she has the monastery and the lasting friendship of the nuns there. The one thing she doesn’t have, she doesn’t want. She won’t open her heart again after she barely survived the last time.
Gail Bauer is questioning her own vocation as an Episcopal priest. How can she minister to others when she’s not sure she believes anymore? In desperation, she flees, hoping to find answers.
In the shadow of St. Bridget’s Abbey, three very different women will need one another—to come to terms with their demons, to heal, and to rekindle the light that life has all but snuffed out.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Set In Charleston during and after the American Civil War. @TerryTyler4 reviews I Jonathan, A Charleston Tale of the Rebellion by George W B Scott.

Today’s team review is from Terry. She blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Terry has been reading I Jonathan, A Charleston Tale of the Rebellion by George W B Scott

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5 stars

Jonathan Vander is marooned in Charleston on his way back to his hometown of Boston, just as the Civil War is brewing.  Circumstances leave him with nothing but the shirt on his back, but he makes himself a life there.  He does not fight in the war; this is more of a social than a military history, showing how the war affected the people during and for many years after.  


The book is written as though a third hand true story; as an old man, Jonathan gives his account to his great-great nephew, who then gives it to the writer.  It is one of those novels that you’re aware of being a heck of an achievement, all the way through; the research that has gone into it is evident without one ever feeling that one is reading research.  It’s highly readable, and I loved the writing style; it was a delight to read an author who uses the language so well, and is acutely aware of the words and phrasing that would have been used in this period in history.


I particularly liked Jonathan’s observations about the futility of war; there is a good section about this in the chapter Laurels of Glory.  And I loved this:


‘Duty to an abstract government whose purpose was to use the heroic idealism of youth to forward the goals of the venal wealthy.  Is it not always so?’


The observations and accounts of the attitudes towards the slave trade and segregation were most interesting; I was surprised by some of them.  ‘Several fine hotels on Broad Street by St Michael’s Church were owned by free blacks, serving only whites.  Some freemen were themselves slaveowners, buying them to use as labourers’.  As always with historical events, though, you cannot judge them by the outlook and culture of today’s world.


I found the end of the book, about the aftermath, most emotive, not to mention the moment when the reader is told what the ‘I’ in the title means – it is not as I’d assumed.  Now and again I felt the story meandered a mite too much; it is a very long book and I felt it could have been edited down just a little. However, I could not give it anything less than five stars, and highly recommend it to anyone with a particular interest in the American Civil War, or historical fiction generally.

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First-time novelist George WB Scott debuts a novel that offers a thrilling glimpse of Civil War Charleston through the eyes of a newcomer from Boston.

Readers join the main character of “I Jonathan, A Charleston Tale of the Rebellion” on his journey as a young man, marooned in a strange city just as the Civil War begins. His relationships with working men and women, slaves, merchants, planters, spies, inventors, soldiers, sweethearts and musicians tell the story of a dynamic culture undergoing its greatest challenge. Scott’s novel shows the arguments and trials of a wealthy cosmopolitan community preparing to fight a nation superior in manpower and arms.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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