Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #CrimeFiction THE PAPERBOY by @DianaJFebry

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading The Paperboy by Diane J. Febry

The Paperboy: A rural detective mystery (Peter Hatherall Mystery Book 6) by [Febry, Diana J]

This is a murder mystery with its roots in the past. Amanda Beresford is a single mother with a young son, Freddie. She is struggling to make ends meet and Freddie’s father is no help. While walking in the park one day with Freddie, in a seemingly random attack she is stabbed twice and her attacker flees without being caught.

In the 1990s Peter Hatherall was a young inexperienced police constable who, together with another constable, was sent to investigate the report of a missing boy. Jeff Powell had a paper round which he completed each morning before school, but on that particular morning the school telephoned his mother to say Jeff had failed to arrive. The two young officers were not prepared for what they found at a seemingly deserted and isolated farm near the village of Mickleburgh.

Back in the present, as Peter and his partner DCI Fiona Williams investigate the murder of Amanda Beresford, an old photograph is found at Amanda’s house which raises concerns for Peter. Despite the tragedy in his life at the time and the concerns he raised about the case, which resulted in his suspension, Peter has never completely forgotten his first major case. The doubts he had at the time about the validity of the conviction began to surface. The time has come for Peter to delve deeper into how the case was conducted all those years ago and find the connections between Jeff’s death and the murder of Amanda Beresford.

The look back at the young Peter added to his character development and both his and Fiona’s personal lives have changed over the course of the series. Reviewing the earlier case brings back bad memories for Peter. It also makes Fiona doubt Peter and question the reasons for his decisions. Her trust in him is tested almost to the limit.

A well crafted and intricate plot is written in the third person and comes from various perspectives, introducing several potential suspects, all who had motive. The two threads are woven together well as the investigation begins to uncover evidence and information that was either overlooked or discounted from the original murder. The only thing that didn’t quite gel for me was the later thought processes of the perpetrator, but other than that The Paperboy was another enjoyable addition to the series and I hope there’ll be more with Peter and Fiona.

Book description

A stand-alone murder mystery featuring DCI Peter Hatherall.
A young mother brutally stabbed in a busy park in front of her son.
A paperboy shot in an isolated farmhouse twenty-four years previously.
DI Fiona Williams is baffled when her senior officer, DCI Peter Hatherall makes a connection between the two cases.
As details of Hatherall’s involvement in the old case emerge, her loyalty is tested to breaking point and she starts to question his decisions.
When the murdered woman’s son does missing the time for hesitating is over.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Victorian #Mystery INTRIGUE & INFAMY by @carolJhedges

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Intrigue & Infamy by Carol J Hedges

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Trouble is brewing in the capital as the London Season nears its end. Detective Sergeant Jack Cully and Detective Inspector Lachlan Greig are investigating an outbreak of vandalism attacks on businesses owned by anyone classed as an immigrant. One such arson attack results in a death, soon to be declared a murder. And while Cully and Greig are out and about Detective Inspector Leo Stride, much to his dismay, is stuck at his desk with a mountain of paperwork in front of him.

Elsewhere, in a very upmarket area of the city, Miss Juliana Silverton has secured an excellent catch in the form of young, handsome (and sole heir to his father’s fortune) Harry Haddon, who proposed to her the previous evening. Their engagement will soon be announced in The Times. But if a past indiscretion becomes public knowledge all will be lost.

[Quote] For Fiona Blythe, the engagement of Juliana Silverton means that she alone of their little set is un-matched at the end of the Season. There is also another reason for her discontent, which she cannot divulge to anybody, as it consists of certain embarrassing incidents involving her attempts to attract the man who has now plighted his troth to Juliana. [End Quote]

Also added into the mix is Angelo Bellini, who has travelled from Italy to take up his position as the new tutor for Lord and Lady Haddon’s young son, Danny. Former MP Lord Haddon determines to make sure Danny doesn’t end up like his feckless step brother. However, all is not quite as it seems with Señor Bellini.

The characters are drawn so well that there’s an immediate mental image and sense of their personalities. One aspect I really enjoy about a series is the development and growth of existing characters. The divide between the well to do and the poorer element is detailed in all its grimness, with the evocatively described city of London as the backdrop where prejudice, bullying and cruelty isn’t just confined to the lower classes. There is an appreciable understanding of life at that time, across all levels of society.

I’ve been looking forward to a new mystery with Stride, Cully and Greig, and Intrigue & Infamy certainly doesn’t disappoint. Carol Hedges masterfully weaves several story threads together with engaging, witty, present tense prose, keeping the reader immersed in the story and creating an atmospheric and vividly depicted visit to 19th century London with its colourful inhabitants.

Book description

It is 1866, the end of a long hot summer in Victorian London, and the inhabitants are seething with discontent. Much of it is aimed at the foreign population living in the city. So when a well-reputed Jewish tailoring business is set aflame, and the body of the owner is discovered inside, Detective Inspector Lachlan Grieg suspects a link to various other attacks being carried out across the city, and to a vicious letter campaign being conducted in the newspapers.

Can he discover who is behind the attacks before more people perish?

Elsewhere, Giovanni Bellini arrives in England to tutor the youngest son of Sir Nicholas Haddon, ex-MP and City financier. But what are Bellini’s links to a dangerous Italian radical living in secret exile in London, and to beautiful Juliana Silverton, engaged to Harry Haddon, the heir to the family fortune?

Romance and racism, murder and mishap share centre stage in this seventh exciting book in the Victorian Detectives series.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Teen #Romance ALL THE LOVE YOU WRITE by @DGDriverAuthor

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading All The Love You Write by D.G. Driver

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This is a full length novel incorporating an earlier novella—Passing Notes—which I read, so I’m including my thoughts here. Love Letters, the first part, highlights today’s changing world and how the ways of communication differ from not that many years ago. The art of letter writing is becoming obsolete along with the need for cursive writing, as computers figure largely in education and people use texting and emails to keep in touch. When Mark Dowd finds himself having to use a very old, odd-looking piece of furniture as a desk in his English class he notices a half hidden carving in the wood. A heart with the name Eileen stylishly carved inside. Mark tries to copy the carving, eventually with a marker pen on the back of his hand as he runs out of space on the paper.

‘I pressed my pencil tip into the carving and traced the heart and cursive letters. Some dust came up when I pulled my pencil out. Whoever had done this had carved it pretty deep, probably with a knife not a pencil. I wondered how long ago that could have been because kids got expelled these days for having plastic butter knives in their lunch boxes. We’re supposed to spread mayonnaise with our fingers, I guess. Anyway, I decided the kid with the pocketknife had to have carved this valentine at least a decade ago, if not two.’

Mark has had a crush on Bethany for years. She seems to reciprocate his feelings but his texts and emails don’t seem to be having the desired effect. Ever since Mark drew the heart on his hand he’s been receiving hand written notes from an unknown source, with advice on how to win Bethany back by writing traditional love letters. When he realises who it is, he can hardly believe it but he’s more than grateful for the help.

Mark’s letters to Bethany give his hopes a boost and a tentative relationship begins to bloom. While Bethany is helping Mark to clear out his grandmother’s room after she passes away, they find an old shoebox full of love letters hidden in the back of the closet dating from the war in Vietnam. There are parallels between this couple and Mark and Bethany situation.

Bethany’s future lies in college and Mark has always planned to join the military. Will a long distance relationship work? Bethany has her doubts, which intensify as they near graduation and aren’t helped by spirit interference.

All The Love You Write is a complicated (in the emotional sense) teen romance, written well with sensitivity and some lovely imagery. Teenage uncertainty and self consciousness is captured effectively and the historical aspect was obviously researched. I enjoyed the paranormal thread but was surprised by certain reactions I wasn’t expecting. Including strong messages about love, this is an entertaining read that, for me, could have been tightened up more in the third part. But who wouldn’t love a hand written love letter as opposed to a quick text or email. The story has thought provoking content and it would be an awful shame if this creative skill and expressive method of communication is lost completely.

Book description

A story about young love, first love, true love, timeless love, and the power of love letters.

Mark and Bethany are two mismatched high school seniors in a new relationship.

It’s doomed to fail.

Mark has adored Bethany since middle school, and she’s finally giving him a chance. Only, he’s clumsy at romance and knows he’ll lose her because of it. Bethany thinks Mark is sweet. Only, she’s afraid to commit her whole heart to him because he’s going into the army and she’s headed off to college.

Fifty years earlier, a boy and a girl from the same high school shared an amazing but tragic love story. They have now returned as ghosts and are interfering in Mark and Bethany’s relationship.

Who are they? Why do they care what happens to Mark and Bethany?

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Mystery Murder Beyond The Precipice by Penny Goetjen

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Murder Beyond The Precipice by Penny Goetjen

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This is the follow up to Murder on the Precipice but can be read as a standalone. Elizabeth Pennington is building up an interior design business in Connecticut. She’s taking her first holiday since opening—a weekend break in Maine to attend an old school friend’s wedding. I gathered that Elizabeth’s family had an inn on the Maine coast where a tragedy occurred and she hasn’t been back since. So together with her black Lab, Buddy, she sets out on their journey.

Elizabeth has booked The Inn at Boothbay Harbour for her stay. When she arrives she’s dismayed to find the inn is undergoing renovations and also the owner, Lucretia Livingstone, has disappeared. Not only that, the wedding is cancelled due to the groom going missing as well. The inn and grounds are eerie with a sinister vibe. Elizabeth’s natural inquisitiveness lands her and Buddy in more than one spot of bother.

“Now, ma’am, let me give you a piece of friendly advice. You seem like a sweet lady, and I wouldn’t want you to stir up any trouble by digging into something that was meant to be kept private.”

“I…uh…I’m not sure what you mean.” She didn’t really care for his condescending attitude.

He shook his head slightly. “Just be careful where you look and how far you push, okay? Trust me.”

The descriptions of Elizabeth’s journey, although very evocative, slowed the plot a little and personally I would have preferred a more concise account. I must also admit, I didn’t quite see the point of the Rashelle thread as it didn’t go anywhere and didn’t seem relevant to the main storyline (except as a further reason for Elizabeth’s trip.) Rashelle spent the whole story locked in a cellar—accidentally or on purpose wasn’t clear. A couple of other threads were left unresolved, perhaps to be picked up in the next book?

Murder Beyond the Precipice would appeal to readers who prefer a slower paced book. I found the length of some of the descriptive prose and passages of introspection, concerning the events of the first book and Elizabeth’s lack of a love life, took me out of the main story arc. However, there is more than one murder, red herrings and several twists which keep those parts of the plot moving along, plus a nod to the paranormal—always something I enjoy.

Book description

The Livingston family is no stranger to tragedy. Losing both parents at a young age in what authorities ruled an accident, Lucretia Livingston, the sole heir to the estate, is left to pick up the pieces. But many locals question the circumstances surrounding their deaths and if the family’s wealth was an irresistibly seductive motive for crossing the line.

Elizabeth Pennington returns to the coast of Maine after receiving an unexpected wedding invitation. Hoping to surprise her friend, she arrives unannounced at the Livingston Estate-turned-inn, only to discover no one knows her whereabouts. Just as disconcerting is the disappearance of the innkeeper’s young bride, Lucretia. Frantic for answers, Elizabeth becomes tangled in a tortured trail of deception, betrayal, love lost and murder.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #WomensFiction Bella Toscana by Nanette Littlestone

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Bella Toscana by Nanette Littlestone

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Toscana Blake has an organised, if not perfect, life. She’s content in her marriage to Jackson. Acknowledging the fact it may not be a passionate union, Toscana feels a deep affection for her husband and appreciates the life they have. The only stumbling block is the future of Dolcielo, her bakery business. Much is riding on her visit to the Chocolate Festival in Rome and whether it can open doors for her and her delicious sounding chocolate brownies. Regardless of that, she’s looking forward to seeing her much loved aunt and uncle.

Before the trip though, she and Jackson celebrate her fiftieth birthday at a favourite Italian restaurant. That night Toscana has a disturbing and vivid dream of an unknown lover. Then at the last moment Jackson is unable to make the trip to Rome due to work related issues, so after some deliberation and urging from Jackson and her best friend, Toscana decides to go alone.

While wandering through the streets, after checking into her hotel and having a restorative nap, Toscana stops to look at the ruins of the Temple of Vesta. It’s there that the visions start in earnest.

A chance meeting sets Toscana on a path of discovery. Her ordered life is thrown into chaos and uncertainty. Toscana’s struggle between following her head or heart was realistically portrayed—it’s a choice between staying with the familiar and comfortable or taking a leap of faith into the unknown.

The fascinating historical details and wonderful descriptions of a past and present Rome (not to mention the food—lots of it!) conjure vivid imagery and a strong sense of culture and place, added to by the picturesque representation of the Italian countryside. I enjoyed the themes of reincarnation and spirituality and how they were the foundation and heart of the story. The past life flashbacks and present were woven together as Toscana finds herself on an unexpectedly challenging journey, one of serious consideration, possibilities and potential.

I didn’t realise until after I’d read it that this is a sequel, but it can easily be read as a stand alone.

Book description

An explosive yearning that can’t be denied
Disturbing visions from an ancient past
A mysterious stranger that somehow feels familiar

On the night of her fiftieth birthday, the comfortable ride of Toscana’s life takes an alarming plunge. Haunted by seductive visions, she tries to push aside the desire and focus on the husband who adores her. Then she falls for Flynn, a younger man with an eye for adventure and a heart full of romance, who leaves her doubting everything she’s believed about love and passion.

In Atlanta, Rome, and the lush scenery of Tuscany, Toscana searches for answers to the mysteries of her life while she faces her biggest question. If she listens to her feelings will she lose everything she holds dear, or does her heart hold the key to love and joy?

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Cosy #Mystery Hide Not Seek by @dehaggerty

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Hide Not Seek by D. E. Haggerty

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In this third book in The Not So Reluctant Detectives series Terri, Mel and newest member of the trio, mild mannered Prudence Webber, find themselves solving another mystery, this time concerning Pru and a stalker/murderer.

Pru hasn’t shared her experience with stalkers with her friends, or anyone else for that matter. She’s pushed her previous life to the back of her mind, where she thought it would stay. She had been prepared for an isolated life after she had relocated and had no thought of meeting women who would become friends, much less two who would become so close in a relatively short time.

Pru had no intention of pursuing a romantic relationship with a man either, no matter how much she likes Ajax, the gym teacher at the school where she works. Especially now she’s receiving threatening notes. Her past seems to have caught up with her and she needs to leave, find a new place. The thought of bringing trouble to her friends doesn’t bear thinking about. Ajax however, had no intention of letting Pru run away. He was determined to help and protect her. He’d found the girl he wanted to spend the rest of his life with.

‘He paused as if to give her a chance to respond. She didn’t. She couldn’t. She wasn’t going to tell him what had happened. She was never telling anyone the story again. She’d been forced to tell the story too many times to count. Fat lot of good it had done’.

Pru hadn’t counted on the determination of her friends to unravel the mystery and the unwavering support they gave her. Terri and Mel having private investigator and police partners respectively doesn’t hurt and goes a long way in helping to straighten things out with the Milwaukee police force. Not wanting to wait for things to go through the proper channels, the three women begin their own investigation.

Another entertaining, fast paced and dialogue driven read in this cozy mystery series. The three women have distinctly different characters and have real issues, such as Mel’s ADD and Pru’s shyness and lack of self confidence. I like the way her character develops in this story. Terri and Pru are the voices of reason and help to keep over the top Mel from getting them into even more trouble. The plot has enough twists to keep the reader engaged and the flashes of humour offset the more serious aspects.

Book description

I know who you really are.

Pru has a secret, which she has no plans to reveal – ever. But after a woman is murdered and all clues point to her, she has no choice but to disclose her true identity. When her revelations thwart the killer’s plan to frame Pru for murder, the killer begins stalking her. With each note he sends, he gets closer. The police are stumped. Pru wants to run away. She really, really wants to run, but Ajax has found the woman of his dreams and he’s not letting her go anywhere. He can be patient. In the meantime, he’ll protect her with his life. Pru isn’t feeling very patient, and her friends, Mel and Terri, are definitely not willing to wait until the police discover who the stalker is. The three friends take matters into their own hands and jump headfirst into the investigation.

Will Pru and her friends uncover her stalker before he turns his violence on Pru?

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Paranormal #Romance A Bittersweet Garden by Caren J Werlinger

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading A Bittersweet Garden by Caren J Werlinger.

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Fulfilling what seemed like her lifelong dream, Nora McNeill has arrived in Ireland and is on her way to Cong, the location of her favourite film, The Quiet Man. Nora’s grandparents had been born there, were extras in the film’s village scenes, and Nora had been raised on stories of their home town. Now she was here for the whole summer—breaking ties with her domineering ex girlfriend and leaving behind the routine of life as a university librarian. An old friend of her grandfather’s has a cottage for rent that will be Nora’s home while she’s in Ireland.

Sióg Cottage is haunted, according to the locals, who give it a wide berth. Nora soon finds herself caught up in unresolved events from the past with intriguing flashbacks gradually revealing the sad history of the cottage’s previous inhabitants during the famine. The Irish setting lends itself perfectly to the evolving paranormal mystery that ties in to the present. It’s a mystery that draws Nora in almost before she realises what’s happening.

Between them, Nora’s cousin Sheila and her husband Quinn, run a nursery and riding school with stables. Through them, Nora meets Brianna Devlin. Brianna’s life is just how she likes it. She has her dog, Shannon, an Irish Wolfhound, her work with the horses she loves and her friends. She doesn’t want or need a relationship, especially with someone who is only there for the summer.

Nora’s story doesn’t just take the form of travel, it’s also a journey of self discovery and learning to realise her worth, amid the beautifully realised Irish countryside. I love the descriptions of Cong (I love The Quiet Man too, regardless of how un-pc it is) and the vivid sense of place really comes alive. Stories that make me want to visit the area in which they’re set have a strong appeal.

There’s a marked development in Nora’s character as the story progresses with changes mainly in her perception of herself, realising she can be her own person without being influenced by negativity or what other people want her to be. Both she and Brianna become aware of themselves in a more positive light. This is my first book by Caren Werlinger and I enjoyed it very much. I’m sure I’ll be reading more of her work.

Book description

Nora McNeill has always dreamed of exploring her Irish roots. When she finally gets the opportunity to spend a summer in the village where her grandparents grew up, the experience promises to live up to her very high expectations. Except for the ghost that is haunting her rented cottage and is soon invading her dreams.

Briana Devlin has arranged her life the way she likes it: a good dog, good mates, and work with horses. There’s no room in her life for a relationship. Especially with an annoyingly clumsy—and attractive—American who is only going to be around for a few months.

The weeks fly by, and Nora’s ghost becomes more demanding, seeking her help in solving the mystery surrounding her death. Briana watches as Nora becomes more wrapped up in the past, seeming to fade away before her eyes.

Past and present are on a collision course, leaving Nora and Briana caught in a ghostly intrigue that could cost them not only their chance of a future together, but their very lives.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Vintage #Mystery Passage From Nuala by @harrietsteel1

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Passage From Nuala by Harriet Steel

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Passage From Nuala takes Inspector Shanti de Silva and his wife Jane on a long awaited holiday. Jane wants to see the pyramids very much and they were both looking forward to a relaxing cruise to Egypt, taking in the Suez canal on their journey. Away from Nuala, de Silva was conscious of his and Jane’s ethnic differences and was prepared for the possibility of some disapproval towards their mixed marriage. His fears were mostly unfounded and the first couple of days passed peacefully.

Archie Clutterbuck’s superior, William Petrie and his wife, Lady Caroline, were fellow travellers on the Jewel of the East. De Silva and Jane found them genial company and more approachable than previously. The passengers were a mixed bunch, among them a self-important older lady, a recently engaged couple who seemed quite unsuited and a gossip columnist. The Petrie’s presence on the ship proves very fortuitous when a body is discovered.

‘I’m sorry to disturb you, sir,’ the officer said solemnly. ‘I have a message for you from Mr William Petrie.’

De Silva took the envelope the officer held out to him and opened it; the note inside it read: My apologies for the interruption to your holiday, but your professional assistance is needed immediately.

Another intriguing and entertaining instalment in the Inspector de Silva mysteries which sees de Silva solving crime in a contained environment with the help of Jane and William Petrie. On an evocatively described ocean liner with several suspects, de Silva knows time is against him. He’s under pressure as the investigation isn’t making enough progress—if he doesn’t find the murderer before they next dock, the culprit could escape.

As always, the characters are engaging and the depiction of the era is very enjoyable. The plot is well constructed and unfolds with enough twists to keep me guessing. Jane is in evidence to a greater degree in this story and it was good to see more interaction than usual between the de Silva’s  I also liked the fact that de Silva is, to some extent, out of his comfort zone.

Book description

Inspector de Silva and Jane embark on a cruise to Egypt to visit the pyramids, excited at the prospect of two weeks of sun, sea and relaxation. With Nuala, and de Silva’s duties as a police officer, far behind them, what can possibly spoil their plans? Then a writer is found dead in his cabin, suffocated by newspaper thrust down his throat. Once again, de Silva must swing into action.
The Inspector de Silva Mysteriesis a colourful and absorbing series, spiced with humour. Set in Ceylon in the 1930s, it will appeal to fans of traditional and cozy mysteries.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Cosy #Histfic #Mystery In Her Defence by @Jancoledwards

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading In Her Defence by Jan Edwards

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In Her Defence is set in Sussex in 1940 as the German army advances through Europe. Bunch (Rose) Courtney’s home, Perringham House, has been requisitioned by the MoD and Bunch is living with her grandmother in the Dower House while running the family estate.

Bunch had made her purchase of two Jersey heifers at auction on a busy market day. She and her recently widowed sister, Dodo (Daphne) were lunching at the local pub, along with Dodo’s father-in-law. Bunch noticed that a young woman sat alone at the bar, looking unwell, was attracting attention from the other patrons. Suddenly the woman fell to the floor writhing in agony. Panic broke out and Bunch, who is a trained nurse, tried to help but to no avail.

Several days later Bunch received a letter from an old school friend, Cecile Benoir, asking to meet her in the village. Cecile and her father left Berlin via France for England due to the war and now, after his untimely death, she is in need of a job and somewhere to live.

Two suspected poisonings so close together are too much of a coincidence for Bunch. Although this is the second book in the series (I haven’t read Winter Downs, the first) there are enough back references to get a sense of the characters and know that Bunch and Chief Inspector William Wright are meeting again in less than auspicious circumstances. I get the feeling each of them would like to take their acquaintance a little further—but perhaps are held back because of the political and economic climate.

The story is told from Bunch’s perspective and it’s clear her view of the world is limited and sometimes tested due to her gender and social position. Jan Edwards conveys the time and place and the atmosphere of the war years very well. The characters are realistic, doing the best they can under the circumstances with the inclusion of rationing, land girls and the military presence. Not to mention the negative attitude towards anyone seen as a foreigner. The uncertainty and difficulty in adjusting to the changes in their way of life has affected everyone.

Bunch is a resourceful, likeable and unconventional protagonist, kind but very well able to stand her ground, and determined to find out whatever information she can regarding the deaths.

An enjoyable cosy murder mystery reminiscent of vintage classic crime.

Book description

Bunch Courtney’s hopes for a quiet market-day lunch with her sister are shattered when a Dutch refugee dies a horribly painful death before their eyes. A few days later Bunch receives a letter from her old friend Cecile saying that her father, Professor Benoir, has been murdered in an eerily similar fashion. Two deaths by poisoning in a single week. Co-incidence? Bunch does not believe that any more than Chief Inspector William Wright.

Set against a backdrop of escalating war and the massed internments of 1940, the pair are drawn together in a race to prevent the murderer from striking again.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Tudor #Histfic BRANDON by @tonyriches

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Brandon by Tony Riches.

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We first meet Charles Brandon as a twenty-one year old, newly appointed to the King’s Spears. His father, who was Henry Tudor’s standard bearer, died during the Battle of Bosworth, and Brandon had been brought up at the court of Henry Vll. He became good friends with the young Prince Harry, who was later crowned Henry VIII, teaching him to joust and was one of his favoured group of courtiers.

Always finding himself lacking funds, Brandon incurred huge debts from borrowing money, primarily from Thomas Wolsey and afterwards Thomas Cromwell. His first marriage was a means to an end—Lady Margaret Mortimer had wealth and much land.

I knew next to nothing about Charles Brandon, really only that he married Mary Tudor. It was interesting to follow his story and the research was obviously detailed. Brandon worked his way up the ranks until he became Duke of Suffolk. He and Mary took a huge risk by getting married before asking Henry’s consent, especially after Brandon had been warned not to unleash his charm upon Mary. Henry had someone in mind for his sister for political reasons. Incurring his wrath was a dangerous thing and could be classed as treason. As it was, Henry made his displeasure felt by excluding them from court and keeping his distance for a while.

Mary’s unwavering and public support of Queen Catherine of Aragon caused friction between Brandon and the Boleyn family, whose fortunes were on the rise, not to mention Henry’s new chief advisor, Thomas Cromwell. Brandon had to keep in mind his responsibilities to his family as well as loyalty to Henry when it became obvious Ann Boleyn would be the next queen.

The story centres around Brandon and I enjoyed the way Tony Riches incorporates details of life at court with all its intrigue and danger into the narrative. Brandon is a well fleshed out character who managed to navigate his way through the unpredictability of court politics. He led a full life and was lucky enough to marry twice for love.

Book description

Handsome, charismatic and a champion jouster, Sir Charles Brandon is the epitome of a Tudor Knight. A favourite of King Henry VIII, Brandon has a secret. He has fallen in love with Henry’s sister, Mary Tudor, the beautiful widowed Queen of France, and risks everything to marry her without the King’s consent.

Brandon becomes Duke of Suffolk, but his loyalty is tested fighting Henry’s wars in France. Mary’s public support for Queen Catherine of Aragon brings Brandon into dangerous conflict with the ambitious Boleyn family and the king’s new right-hand man, Thomas Cromwell.

Torn between duty to his family and loyalty to the king, Brandon faces an impossible decision: can he accept Anne Boleyn as his new queen?

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