Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Child Adoption Drama THE LOST BLACKBIRD by @LizaPerrat

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading The Lost Blackbird by Liza Perrat

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The story begins in January 1962 when Lucy and Charly Rivers’ father comes home drunk, as he often does, and a fall leaves him dead at the bottom of the stairs. Their mother, who was out at the time, was charged with his murder and the sisters were sent to Easthaven Home for Girls. The home was run by authoritative and heartless Mrs Mersey, who spared no kindness or pity for the unfortunate girls in her supposed care.

“Because once Mrs Mersey rang the meal bell, you had to stop talking, sniffing and coughing. And there was definitely no crying. You had to go to the toilet and wash your hands. And on the next bell you had to go to the dining room, and if you even sneezed Mrs Mersey would dart you the crow-eyed look that knocked your knees together. You were only allowed to speak to say Grace or answer if Mrs Mersey — Mrs Merseyless the Seniors called her, behind her back — spoke to you, which she only ever did to tell you off or punish you.”

When the girls were offered the chance of what seemed like a wonderful new life in Australia, with its sunshine, long, sandy beaches, fruit that can be eaten straight from the tree, parks and play areas, not to mention the kangaroos and koala bears, Lucy was concerned it sounded too good to be true and their mother would never be able to find them. But they had no choice in the matter. They were shipped out, along with Lucy’s best friend, Vinnie, and several others. Lucy hoped the life described to them would benefit Charly, who wanted her mum and was having a hard time coping at Easthaven.

The children bloomed on the six week trip across the ocean, with fresh air, good food, new clothes and lots of time for activities. Their idyll came to an abrupt end when they reached Australia. Despite being promised siblings would be kept together, Lucy and Charly were separated and were taken to different areas of the country.

The Lost Blackbird is a fictionalised account based on real events and exposes a dark and terrible time in a not too distant past. Vulnerable children, who were not necessarily orphans, were shipped off to Australia, in most cases without their parents’ knowledge or consent, and very often with a life of drudgery and servitude ahead. No better off, in fact, than life in Easthaven, and in some cases worse. Carly, at five years old, was adopted. Lucy, twice her age, wasn’t so lucky. The story is told from both Lucy’s and Charly’s perspectives, Lucy’s harsh life on a farm in the outback and the contrast of Charly’s life with her adoptive parents. But even then things weren’t as they seemed and had adverse effects.

Liza Perrat has obviously researched the historical facts extensively and consequently the story reflects the abuse, both physical and mental, in England and Australia, that children were forced to endure. Characters are extremely well defined, their personalities evident and believable in the way their experiences shaped them and were easy to visualise, in some cases hard to forget.

The writing is wonderful, the setting perfectly realised. Liza Perrat has the knack of pulling the reader in and giving a sense of involvement. A compelling, moving and powerful read, all the more so because we know it actually happened. I’m very glad Lucy and Charly’s story ended they way it did, although I’m sure this wasn’t the case for many of those deported.

Book description

A powerful story of sisters cruelly torn apart by a shameful event in British-Australian history. Clare Flynn, author of The Pearl of Penang
London 1962. A strict and loveless English children’s home, or the promise of Australian sunshine, sandy beaches and eating fruit straight from the tree. Which would you choose?
Ten-year-old Lucy Rivers and her five-year-old sister Charly are thrilled when a child migrant scheme offers them the chance to escape their miserable past.
But on arrival in Sydney, the girls discover their fantasy future is more nightmare than dream.
Lucy’s lot is near-slavery at Seabreeze Farm where living conditions are inhuman, the flies and heat unbearable and the owner a sadistic bully. What must she do to survive?
Meanwhile Charly, adopted by the nurturing and privileged Ashwood family, gradually senses that her new parents are hiding something. When the truth emerges, the whole family crumbles. Can Charly recover from this bittersweet deception?
Will the sisters, stranded miles apart in a strange country, ever find each other again?
A poignant testament to child migrants who suffered unforgivable evil, The Lost Blackbird explores the power of family bonds and our desire to know who we are.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Victorian #Mystery FAME & FORTUNE by @carolJhedges

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Fame & Fortune by Carol J Hedges.

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Fame & Fortune is the eighth outing for DS Jack Cully, DI Lachlan Greig and DI Leo Stride, otherwise known as the Victorian Detectives. Carol Hedges immerses us once again in a London peopled with the sad and the bad, the rich and the poor, and the evocatively described back alleys, slums and more fashionable thoroughfares they inhabit.

When a body is found hanging from the scaffolding on a bridge, Detective Inspector Greig doesn’t agree with the presumption of suicide by the attending constable. It didn’t add up in Greig’s eyes but the ineptitude of the constable regarding the scene of the crime, as Greig believed that’s what it was, didn’t help.

Then we have Gerald Daubney, a collector of antiquities who has been robbed of his priceless netsuke collection and, it seems, his manservant has also disappeared.

In a shabby, cobbled passageway in Bloomsbury we find ten year old Izzy Harding, scraping a living of sorts and existing off very little, painting furniture for dolls’ houses, one of the many children working at the long tables. Her second job washing dishes in a diner at least comes with food, such as it is.

The indomitable Miss Lucy Landseer makes another appearance when she comes to the aid, not only of novelist, Mrs Riva Hemmyng-Stratton, but also a lady in an intolerable position, in a situation that would perhaps make a good plot for one of her books.

The villainous Black brothers, Herbert and Munro, encompass all that is bad and whose shady dealings have serious and continuing repercussions throughout the city.

I enjoy these books immensely and Carol Hedges’ writing and plotting never fails to draw me in, with witty and engaging prose. Characters are extremely well drawn, giving an immediate visual image and the existing cast continue to develop. And as always, London features as a character in its own right with atmospheric descriptions and the distinct social divide between all levels of society.

Book description

When the body of a man is discovered hanging from some scaffolding under one of London’s bridges, Scotland Yard’s detective division is called in to solve the mystery of his identity & how he died. What they discover is a web of crime and extortion, and at the heart of it, two evil brothers, Munro and Herbert Black. Their inquiries will bring them into contact with the strange world of Gerald Daubney, collector of Japanese curios, whose priceless collection of netsuke has disappeared.

Facing a similar loss is Mrs Riva Hemmyng-Stratton, writer of ‘silver-fork’ novels, who suddenly finds herself embroiled in a court case when she is sued for defamation and libel by Lord Edwin Lackington. Her priceless reputation as a writer is on the line. How on earth can she prove her innocence when the only person who could vouch for it is incarcerated in a private asylum?

Many old friends make appearances in the novel … and a certain meaningful relationship finally reaches its conclusion.

AmazonUk |

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #NewRelease Victorian #Romance FAIR AS A STAR by @MimiMatthewsEsq

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Fair As A Star by Mimi Matthews

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It’s a long time since I read a Victorian romance so this proved to be a nice change. The story opens as Beryl Burnham and her Aunt Hortensia arrive home after spending the past year in Paris. The reason for the trip isn’t revealed until later in the story and creates much empathy for Beryl. The first thing Beryl does on reaching Shepton Worthy is to pay her respects to the curate, Mark Rivenhall, when she notices the church doors are open, signalling Mark was there.
He was soon to become her brother-in-law as Beryl was betrothed to Sir Henry Rivenhall.

Beryl was putting off going home and resuming her life. Somehow her restlessness and inability to fully embrace the happiness she believes she should feel, but can’t quite seem to grasp, overshadows everything else. She doesn’t understand why she feels this way but her friendship with Mark and his sympathetic awareness and sensitivity helps.

“Mark had a knack for lifting her spirits. For making her smile, whether in person, or through the many letters he’d written to her during her absence.”

Mimi Matthews explores the topic of ‘melancholy’ and the shocking way it was dealt with in Victorian times. Unusual as it is to have the heroine of a period romance suffering from what amounts to clinical depression and anxiety, it gives the story a deeper dimension and a different slant and brings into focus what was a taboo subject.

It’s very easy to feel empathy with Beryl as she struggles with low spirits while trying to hide how she feels from others. Henry is too pragmatic, sometimes patronising and aloof, which doesn’t invite confidences of any kind. Not the type of person to waste much time on sympathy. Being able to talk to Mark is a huge relief for Beryl. I can understand how the restrictions placed on the women of the time could have a detrimental effect, not that that would apply to Beryl’s spirited sister, Winnie.

Although it’s clear from the start Mark has strong feelings for Beryl which are reciprocated, neither acknowledge the fact due to the fact Beryl is betrothed. Mark, a man of honour, doesn’t want to betray his brother and treats Beryl with compassion and respect.

The journey to the conclusion makes for a satisfying read. The characters are well defined and one in particular redeems themselves towards the end. Mark’s friend, the forward thinking Dr Simon Black, and Winnie are both interesting and would make good protagonists if, as the title suggests, there are to be more books. A lovely, easy to read story, well written with a serious theme. I’ll have to check out more of this author’s books.

Book description

A Secret Burden…

After a mysterious sojourn in Paris, Beryl Burnham has returned home to the village of Shepton Worthy ready to resume the life she left behind. Betrothed to the wealthy Sir Henry Rivenhall, she has no reason to be unhappy—or so people keep reminding her. But Beryl’s life isn’t as perfect as everyone believes.

A Longstanding Love…

As village curate, Mark Rivenhall is known for his compassionate understanding. When his older brother’s intended needs a shoulder to lean on, Mark’s more than willing to provide one. There’s no danger of losing his heart. He already lost that to Beryl a long time ago.

During an idyllic Victorian summer, friends and family gather in anticipation of Beryl and Sir Henry’s wedding. But in her darkest moment, it’s Mark who comes to Beryl’s aid. Can he help her without revealing his feelings—or betraying his brother?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Celebrating 6 Years Of Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT With Team Member @CathyRy

Recently we celebrated our review team’s six year anniversary by revealing fourteen of the team’s favourite books.

You can find out which books they were in part one and part two.

I invited some of my team members to tell us more about being part of the book reviewing team.

Welcome to Cathy Ryan, who also writes book reviews at Between The Lines Book Blog

I’ve just been reminded that Rosie’s Book Review Team is six years old! That means BetweenTheLines is also six years old. I joined the team a few months after I began my blog and am still enjoying the experience. Rosie does a great job coordinating everything and many books have come my way that I probably would have missed otherwise, and more than a few authors have become firm favourites, such as Terry Tyler, Carol Hedges, Adrienne Vaughan, Liza Perrat…the list goes on.

One book in particular, The Cunning Woman’s Cup by Sue Hewitt, which I enjoyed immensely and is one I’ve read more than once, sent me on search to find the stone circle in the story. It was a trek to find the Duddo Stones but it was worth it for the atmosphere and the view.
I enjoy following series and there are several murder/mystery ones I’ve enjoyed including The Victorian Detectives by Carol Hedges, Madame Tulip cosy mysteries by David Ahern and Inspector de Silva Mysteries by Harriet Steel.
Not only that, several of us have become ‘real life’ friends and meet up every so often, which is fantastic. Long may it last!

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #literaryFiction THE LATECOMERS by Rich Marcello @marcellor

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading The Latecomers by Rich Marcello

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For Charlie and Maggie Latecomer it’s a second marriage for both of them. Their respective adult children don’t live within easy reach but the Latecomers love each other dearly and keep busy in early retirement with their artistic projects. Yet Charlie is restless and feels there should be more to life, regardless of age, and decides he needs to go to their cabin in Nova Scotia alone in search of the meaning of his life. Maggie is left angry at Charlie’s seeming disregard and self absorption, wondering what went wrong, beginning to question her beliefs and their relationship.

‘I wish I could tell you what will happen next, but I can’t. With that said, I am hopeful that I’ll put this behind us once and for all. Even if we move forward as something other than husband and wife, I know I need you in my life.’

During Charlie’s ever increasing time away both he and Maggie form new relationships, until eventually Charlie returns and their previous twosome expands to include new friends who become an important part of their lives.

From our two protagonists struggling to come to terms with ageing, life and love, the story takes on a completely different, mystical aspect as their group, or moai, follow a mysterious trail found in the pages of an ancient book, which leads to symbolism, revelations and character growth. It also brings in to play questionable ethics concerning pharmaceutical companies and the lengths people are willing to go to when greed and power are the goal.

The story is told from the perspectives of Charlie and Maggie, with the vivid, eloquent and evocative prose that characterised The Beauty of the Fall which I enjoyed immensely. The Latecomers didn’t have quite the same impact. I found it hard to connect with Charlie and Maggie. Charlie more so until towards the end when my feelings towards him changed. The fact the realistic and humanly flawed characters gave rise to strong feelings shows they are finely drawn, if not always likeable.

The metaphysical concept of the story was engaging, gave pause for thought and had many unexpected twists and experiences for the characters. It was never obvious which direction the story would take. It unfolds slowly with reflective musings and contemplations. Many relevant issues are raised throughout the narrative including love, loss, dementia, forgiveness, finding a purpose and redemption. I’m glad I read it. There’s no doubt Rich Marcello is a gifted storyteller.

Book description

Maggie and Charlie Latecomer, at the beginning of the last third of their lives, love each other but are conflicted over what it means to age well in a youth-oriented society. Forced into early retirement and with grown children in distant cities, they’ve settled into a curbed routine, leaving Charlie restless and longing for more.
When the Latecomers and their friends discover a mystical book of indecipherable logographs, the corporeal world and preternatural world intertwine. They set off on a restorative journey to uncover the secrets of the book that pits them against a potent corporate foe in a struggle for the hearts and minds of woman and men the world over.
A treatise on aging, health, wisdom, and love couched in an adventure, The Latecomers will make readers question the nature of deep relationships and the fabric of modern society.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Vintage Cosy #Mystery Series Book 8 TAKEN IN NUALA by @harrietsteel1

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Taken In Nuala by Harriet Steel.

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A grand party is taking place at The Residence, hosted by the assistant government agent and Inspector Shanti de Silva’s superior, Archie Clutterbuck and his wife, Florence, raising funds for the orphanage and introducing their American guests, the Tankertons and their daughter, Phoebe. Inspector de Silva and his wife Jane join the list of invitees. Also staying at The Residence is Hank O’Halloran and his daughter Marie.

During the festivities Marie O’Halloran is kidnapped and the party comes to an abrupt halt. The guests are questioned before leaving, while de Silva makes it his business to discover how the perpetrator was able to gain access to the house, evade security measures and take Marie, seemingly so easily. He wondered why the kidnapper chose Marie. Both men were wealthy but Tankerton even more so, and would be able to pay a larger ransom. It was clear to de Silva there was more to this than meets the eye.

He was on his way back to the front of the Residence when he met Archie.

[‘Anything to report, de Silva?’ The assistant government agent looked weary. Darcy, the Labrador, at his master’s heels as usual, wagged his tail, but he too looked as if he longed for his bed.

‘Only that I’m fairly certain the kidnappers made their escape over the balcony, sir, and there were two of them.’]

De Silva has his work cut out with kidnappings and murder, a suspicious fortune teller and several trails to follow, ably assisted by Sergeant Prasanna and Constable Nadar. Insight from Jane is always welcome as well. Some surprise twists keep the plot moving along. As always, the wonderfully described setting of 1930’s Ceylon is detailed, capturing the sense of place and time, and the contrast between the cultures adds an extra layer to the stories. Shanti and Jane de Silva are well portrayed, engaging characters and work well together. I like how Jane fits in with the English side of society and also as the wife of a Sinhalese Police Inspector with perfect ease. De Silva adores his wife, loves his garden, good food and his car. He sometimes takes exception to interference in his work by his British superiors.

I enjoy return visits to Nuala, the de Silva’s calm and well ordered home life and beautiful garden. Not to mention the delicious sounding meals cook prepares. If only…

Book description

When an American millionaire and his glamorous daughter visit Nuala, the splendour they bring to the town’s high society is soon tragically tarnished by a vicious crime.

With many avenues of inquiry to follow, including the involvement of a mysterious fortune teller, Inspector de Silva will need all his resources to unravel the evidence and avert further disaster.

A gripping mystery with lots of twists and turns set in the colourful and fascinating world of 1930s Ceylon.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Taken in Nuala (The Inspector de Silva Mysteries Book 8) by [Harriet Steel]

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #HistoricalFiction THREADS by @CWhitneyAuthor

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Threads by Charlotte Whitney

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The Great Depression began after the market crashed in late 1929 and drastically affected the world’s economy. Threads tells the story of a farming family in Michigan and is narrated by the three daughters. Flora, is the eldest at seventeen. Irene, the middle sister, is eleven and Nellie, the youngest, just seven.

Narrated in alternating short chapters, the story is told from the perspective of each sister, giving individual views on their lives and the people around them. In this way the characters and their very different personalities are developed extremely well as they navigate their way through daily life on the farm, at school and with their friends and neighbours.

Nellie loves making up stories and talks to imaginary friends, which include the animals. Irene can be opinionated and thinks she’s the smartest. Flora wants to get married and be a farmer’s wife. Neither of the younger girls understand quite what’s going on and complain about the changes and things they can’t have.

Nellie loves to play down by the creek and escapes there as often as she can. On her way through the woods one day, she notices a mound of disturbed earth. Thinking it might be pirates’ treasure she begins to root around. What she unearths sends her running back home as fast as she can.

“Tonight I couldn’t git that dead hand outa my mind. Ma gave us girls each a piece of bread for supper, but I couldn’t eat. I wanted to pretend it never happened. Even though I wanted to go to sleep and forget about today, the heat register was still calling to me.

Jist ’bout every night I listen in on Ma and Pa from the heat register on our bedroom floor. It’s right above where Ma and Pa sit in the parlor, right down from my side of the bed.”

The descriptive and realistic prose, showing how a farming family coped during the depression through the eyes of the sisters, paints such a vivid picture of the hardships of the time. Working from dawn to dusk, the girls doing their part with chores before and after school, working most of the day during the summer holiday, and still not having enough to eat. But what really shines out of the story is the endurance and kindness, even through the deprivation the farmers face. Neighbours look out for each other, people passing through are given whatever food can be spared, even if it’s just a slice of bread. Amid all this, there is mystery, rumour mongering and danger.

I enjoyed the fact Charlotte Whitney used the mid western dialect, lending an authenticity to the narrative, along with her personal knowledge of growing up on a farm. I had no idea what to expect when I began reading, but soon became immersed in the lives of the family and was pleased the author included an epilogue so we learn if Nellie’s, Irene’s and Flora’s hopes and dreams for the future materialised.

Book description

It’s a boring, hardscrabble life for three sisters growing up on a Michigan farm in the throes of the Great Depression. But, when young Nellie, digging for pirate treasure, discovers the tiny blue-black hand of a dead baby, rumors begin to fly. Narrated by Nellie and her two older sisters, the story follows the girls as they encounter a patchwork of threatening circumstances and take it upon themselves to solve the mystery.

AmazonUk | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Cosy #Paranormal #Thriller Madam Tulip And The Serpent’s Tree by @DaveAhernWriter #TuesdayBookBlog

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Madam Tulip And The Serpent’s Tree by Dave Ahern

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Derry O’ Donnell, a talented but at the moment jobless actress, along with her friends, rising TV star Bella and ex Navy SEAL Bruce, have secured a three week run for their fledgling theatre company. Pat Kelly, pub owner and band manager, has offered a room above the pub as a venue. But first Derry was required to grant a favour and become her alter ego, Madam Tulip, for a party. Pat Kelly manages pop group Maramar and is hosting a birthday bash for the lead singer, Aileen.

Madam Tulip was born as a means for Derry to make some cash when jobs were scarce. Not that she was a fraud, she was the daughter of a seventh son of a seventh son and was a skilled tarot and palm reader which she practices withy integrity. However, all too often her other persona had lead her into situations she would rather have avoided. But it seems without Madam Tulip the theatre company would be a no-go.

Almost as soon as she arrives at the retreat in the Dublin mountains, Derry is made aware Pat Kelly wants her to compromise her moral principles.

“Gloom settled on Derry like a cold fog. She felt the energy drain from her body. Why did people always want something you weren’t selling and shouldn’t sell? Predictable. Tedious. Wearying. Too depressing to be merely a bore.”

During the weekend Derry finds herself an unwitting confidante for Aileen’s insecurities which lead her further into the dramas and obsessions that seem inherent with the level of success achieved by Maramar. More problems and suspicions arise when Aileen’s shaman and therapist Kira, who is distrusted and disliked by most, disappears.

Madam Tulip and the Serpent’s Tree is told mainly from Derry’s third person perspective. It’s to David Ahern’s credit that the writing, engaging and enjoyable in itself, is also extremely visual and witty, with a smoothly flowing narrative. Diverse and colourful characters are fabulously realised. My favourites, Derry who is feeling conflicting emotions about her role as Madam Tulip and Bruce…who wouldn’t want a friend like Bruce.

“The sensation of becoming Madam Tulip was familiar but more intense than Derry had ever experienced. She had the strangest feeling that Derry O’Donnell, actress—the person whose body and brain she had inhabited all her life—had evaporated.”

Derry and Bruce are drawn into intrigue and much danger with a very atmospheric and dramatic conclusion that included two of my worst nightmares, fear of heights and claustrophobia, rising to to the surface. Those scenes might just have been described a little too vividly.  Offsetting the drama and adding a comedic element are Derry’s parents, Jacko and Venessa, who are in opposition over the book Jacko is supposedly writing.

An excellent addition to a series that includes mystery and suspense with a touch of romance, and one which I hope will carry on.

Book description

Actress Derry O’Donnell, moonlighting as fortune-teller Madam Tulip, finds herself in a famous pop singer’s entourage. But at the star’s glittering birthday party in the Dublin mountains, Derry finds a band riven by rivalries and feuds. Behind the trouble is a mysterious Russian guru, a shaman hated by everyone but the singer whose life she dominates.

When the shaman mysteriously disappears, suspicion threatens to tear the band apart. Was she victim or poisoner? Guilty or innocent? Dead or alive?

Two brilliant and beautiful musicians; an ambitious band manager with a shady past; a sax player entranced by Vikings–each has a secret to share and a request for Madam Tulip.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #RomCom LOVE, LOOK AWAY by @LisetteBrodey

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Love, Look Away by Lisette Brodey

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Impressively named Godiva Genevieve Jones entered Sage Gordon’s life, and gift shop, at exactly the right time. The fact that Godiva managed to get rid of an angry customer and step into a very recent job opening worked just fine for Sage. Godiva was perfect for the store, calm and professional, totally unlike her predecessor.

Sage has resolved to turn her back on love and concentrate on running her store. Jimmy, the boy she grew up with and her first love, disappeared suddenly and without a word. All her attempts to trace him failed and she struggles to come to terms with not knowing why Jimmy disappeared and where he is. That, combined with the deception by her fiancé and best friend which left her shell shocked has put her off romance. She and Godiva have a lot in common and become fast friends. Sage is content with good friendships, her cats and her dog, Rufus.

““I’m so sorry they both hurt you, honey. And I’m even more sorry you never found Jimmy.”

Sage fiddled with the leather-studded bracelet on her wrist. “It doesn’t seem logical that we can meet people that we love so much, only to find out that it’s not meant to be. It’s happened to me twice. I just don’t understand. I’ve been ‘in like’ several times, but that’s not the same. It doesn’t tear your heart into pieces when you part ways.””

Despite her best efforts to make love look away, two very different men stir up emotions Sage would prefer not to feel. Adam Canoga, an old friend and Australian Benton Bradley, over on business, both make their interest in Sage plain, while she does her best to keep things on a ‘just friends’ level.

Love, Look Away was a lighthearted change from the grittier reads I’m more accustomed to. The town of Swansea, although fictional, was a charming setting. I love shops like Sage Earth Gifts and enjoyed descriptions of the items on sale. The characters are well defined, giving an immediate sense of their personalities and, even if one or two are a little over the top with some not quite realistic dialogue, they were likeable.

The story moved along at a steady pace, with lots of detail which added to the imagery. Love, Look Away is an enjoyable romantic comedy.

Book description

Twenty-nine-year-old Sage Gordon has had it with love. When she’s not busy running her metaphysical gift shop in the old-money town of Swansea, New York, she’s content with the company of her dog and two cats.

Years ago, the boy she thought she’d marry some day disappeared in the middle of the night and was never heard from again. Haunted by the loss of Jimmy, she remains wary about love, until she is set up with a gorgeous NYC marketing executive. Love moves quickly, and she finds herself engaged — but if only he had betrayed her before she sent out the save-the-date cards.

Sage reverts to her former mindset: love, look away. Forever. Despite her best efforts, though, two completely different yet wonderful men enter her life. Still haunted by the past, can she let romance back into her life?

AmazonUk | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Cosy #Mystery DEATH ON THE DANUBE by @JSAauthor

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Death On The Danube by Jennifer S. Alderson

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After losing the job she loved, not to mention her husband leaving her for his new assistant, Lana Hansen’s fresh start in Seattle isn’t working out as planned. Thank goodness for eccentric Dotty Thompson, her landlady and good friend. Dotty persuades Lana to escort a tour group in Budapest, taking the place of an injured tour guide. Along with her property portfolio, Dotty also owned several small businesses, but Wanderlust Tours was her favourite and she wanted to make sure it stayed successful.

Lana really didn’t have a choice as her rent was due and she was broke. This offer of Dotty’s would certainly tide her over and meant that she wouldn’t be home alone over the New Year. Apart from that, it would be a free trip and she knew Dotty’s company specialised in high end travel.

“Lana had originally envisioned Budapest as a city full of gray, Communist-era buildings. But the photos in Dotty’s guidebooks were of beautifully maintained neoclassical, baroque, medieval, Gothic, and rococo buildings. Driving through the heart of the city, Lana was glad to see Dotty’s books didn’t lie. The imposing statues, tiered fountains, captivating monuments, delicate spires, and majestic buildings decorated with snow and sparkly lights made Lana feel as if they were driving through a postcard.”

Lana’s tour group is a mix of colourful, if not always likeable, characters and Lana has to diffuse more than one awkward situation. For Dotty’s sake, she was determined to do her best. The other tour guide, Carl, has troubles of his own and is finding it difficult to focus on his job, leaving Lana to cope much of the time. Then a body is found in the river, but was it an accident or something more sinister…not everyone in the group is who they seem and there are obvious hostilities rising to the surface.

Lana’s efforts to discover the truth throw up more questions than answers and her anticipation for the trip has turned into more of a nightmare. She’s trapped aboard the boat with a murderer and, as we learn more about the passengers, it seems several people might have a motive.

Along with the mystery are vivid descriptions of Budapest, picturesque scenery, wonderful Christmas markets and fascinating landmarks along the way. The mix of travel and murder make for a fun cosy mystery.

 

Book description

Who knew a New Year’s trip to Budapest could be so deadly? The tour must go on – even with a killer in their midst…

Recent divorcee Lana Hansen needs a break. Her luck has run sour for going on a decade, ever since she got fired from her favorite job as an investigative reporter. When her fresh start in Seattle doesn’t work out as planned, Lana ends up unemployed and penniless on Christmas Eve.

Dotty Thompson, her landlord and the owner of Wanderlust Tours, is also in a tight spot after one of her tour guides ends up in the hospital, leaving her a guide short on Christmas Day.

When Dotty offers her a job leading the tour group through Budapest, Hungary, Lana jumps at the chance. It’s the perfect way to ring in the new year and pay her rent!

What starts off as the adventure of a lifetime quickly turns into a nightmare when Carl, her fellow tour guide, is found floating in the Danube River. Was it murder or accidental death? Suspects abound when Lana discovers almost everyone on the tour had a bone to pick with Carl.

But Dotty insists the tour must go on, so Lana finds herself trapped with nine murder suspects. When another guest turns up dead, Lana has to figure out who the killer is before she too ends up floating in the Danube…

Introducing Lana Hansen, tour guide, reluctant amateur sleuth, and star of the Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery Series. Join Lana as she leads tourists and readers to fascinating cities around the globe on intriguing adventures that, unfortunately for Lana, often turn deadly.

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