‘Someone Stole A Dead Body’. A new case for Stride and Cully. @CathyRy reviews Desire And Deceit by @carolJhedges for #RBRT

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

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Cathy has been reading Desire And Deceit by Carol Hedges

Desire & Deceit (The Victorian Detectives Book 9) by [Carol Hedges]

London during 1868 is experiencing the hottest summer on record, wilting under the relentless heat and resulting odours. Detective Inspector Leo Stride, feeling the lack of his daily caffeine from the usual coffee stalls holders who have forsaken London for the much cooler countryside, is summoned along with his colleague DS Jack Cully to the morgue. There was a problem. A body had gone missing.

“You are seriously telling us that someone stole a dead body?” Cully asks.

“Unlikely as it may appear, that would seem to be the case,” Robertson replies drily. “Nos non habemus corpus as it were. I am sure I do not need to provide a translation. And I would hardly tell you such information frivolously, detective sergeant.”

Try as they might, a lack of evidence and motive hampers and eventually stalls the investigation.

Elsewhere, two despicable brothers are intent on ingratiating themselves with their rich, elderly aunt who is dying, each trying to outdo the other to be the recipient of her fortune and jewellery collection.

Miss Lucy Landseer has set herself up as a Private Consulting Detective and it’s no time at all until she receives her first client. Then we have Micky Mokey and Little Azella, variety artists appearing nightly at the Varieties Music Hall for the summer season. But who is the real Micky behind his stage persona?

The Replacement, newly appointed private secretary to the Honourable Thomas Langland MP, a position previously occupied by his good friend who seems to have disappeared. The Replacement’s bland appearance and subservient attitude disguises his intelligence and the real reason he has secured this post.

The intricate plot threads are woven together cleverly and seamlessly with engaging, descriptive prose and several twists. Crimes and machinations are resolved convincingly and in a very satisfactory manner. The characters are well rounded, easy to picture. I loved young Harriet and her no holds barred parrot, as well as the regulars. London and it’s inhabitants are evocatively depicted as always. Another very enjoyable addition to The Victorian Detectives series.

Desc 1

t is 1868, and the body of a young man has gone missing from the police mortuary at Scotland Yard, an event that has never happened before. Who was the mysterious corpse, and why was he spirited away in the night? These are the questions baffling Detective Inspector Stride and Detective Sergeant Cully as they set out to uncover the truth.

Meanwhile, two greedy, unscrupulous, inheritance-seeking brothers, Arthur and Sherborne Harbinger, descend upon London and their very rich dying aunt, each determined to get whatever they can out of her, and prepared to use whatever methods they can to win her favour. And over in her newly rented rooms in Baker Street, Miss Lucy Landseer, consulting private detective, has been presented with her first ever proper case to investigate ~ and finds it is one that will defy even her imaginative and inventive mind.

Set against the hottest summer on record, Desire & Deceit, the ninth outing for this popular Victorian Detectives series, explores how the love of money really is the root of all evil. Once again, Victorian London is brought to life in all its sights, its sounds, its sordid and gas-lit splendour. Another must-read book, teeming with memorable Dickensian-style characters.

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Desire & Deceit (The Victorian Detectives Book 9) by [Carol Hedges]

‘A talented and tortured artist about to have her first exhibition’ @CathyRy reviews Small Forgotten Moments by @AnnalisaCrawf

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

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Cathy has been reading Small Forgotten Moments by Annalisa Crawford

Small Forgotten Moments by [Annalisa Crawford]

Small Forgotten Moments tells the story of Jo McKye, in her own words, a talented and tortured artist living in London and about to have her first exhibition. Her paintings all feature a mysterious woman she’s named Zenna who invades her thoughts whether she is awake or asleep. Jo has no idea who the woman is, but feels compelled beyond any reason she can fathom to recreate her on each canvas, one after the other.

‘Painting Zenna over and over wasn’t intentional. In the beginning, I had no concept of what I was creating, I just allowed the paints to flow, the ideas to flower.’

Jo suffers from long term memory loss and can’t recall much of anything beyond several years ago. She knows she has a mother in Cornwall but can’t remember why they’re not in touch. Her best, almost only friend and house mate, Nathan, looks out for her as much as she allows him to.

Jo knows she can’t live a ‘normal’ life with so much of her past missing. Without memories to ground her, or a sense of self, she feels adrift. Added to that, Zenna seems to be taking over her life and affecting her health, both physically and mentally. It’s time to try and take control, break free of Zenna’s hold over her, learn what she can of her past, before she descends into total madness. On the spur of the moment she decides to go home, to Cornwall and her mother.

‘All the answers are here—in the crevices and shadows of my brain. Perhaps I should give up the search. Yet Zenna remains, taunting me. Her eyes burrow into me, her smirk troubles me. Lurking in my closed-door memory, concealed in my past.’

I enjoyed the psychological slant on the memory loss aspect, giving more depth to the theme. The angst and confusion that dominates Jo’s life is depicted extremely well, haunting and heartbreaking in it’s intensity, particularly so in the last quarter when all comes to a head in a way I wasn’t expecting. The Cornish coast is the perfect setting for the storm of emotions and revelations that batter Jo.

Small Forgotten Moments is character driven, dark, expressive, fascinating and very well written.

Desc 1

Is Zenna a muse, a sleep-deprived apparition, or something much more sinister?

Suffering long-term amnesia, artist Jo Mckye is ready to start a fresh, new project after the success of her debut exhibition. But the fictional subject of the collection, Zenna, won’t let go so easily. Infiltrating Jo’s dreams—and increasingly, her waking hours—Zenna is fast becoming a dangerous obsession.

Jo is confident the answers lie at her childhood home, an idyllic Cornish village on the south-east coast; she just doesn’t know why. Only when she walks into the sea and almost drowns does the past start to unravel.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Small Forgotten Moments by [Annalisa Crawford]

A Gothic, Paranormal Retelling of Jane Eyre. @CathyRy reviews John Eyre by @MimiMatthewsEsq, 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 John Eyre by Mimi Matthews

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John Eyre is quite a different offering from from Mimi Matthews. In a very good way. It’s a gothic and paranormal retelling of Jane Eyre, with genders reversed and another classic tale thrown into the mix. The broodingly dark atmosphere of evil and menace is palpable.

After the devastation of a shocking death, John leaves his home and job weighed down by guilt. He has secured a post as tutor to the widowed Mrs Rochester’s two wards who reside at Thornfield Hall in Yorkshire. John is surprised and a little taken aback when he first meets the boys, who are small and undernourished, with shorn heads.

Bertha Rochester was not in residence as she travels abroad frequently. John has sole care of the boys and wonders why Mrs Rochester bothered to adopt children if she was rarely at home. He begins to implement changes to the arrangements Mrs Rochester left in place regarding the boys, despite her orders, becoming certain her regime could do them no good.

I liked the way the novel was structured with the narrative coming from John’s perspective in the present, told in the third person. He’s a worthy hero, with a kind heart as is shown through his sympathetic treatment of the two boys.

Alternating chapters chronicle Bertha’s story as her character is fleshed out through letters written to her good friend Blanche Ingram. Her letters and journal entries as she traveled document the places she visits and her eventual meeting with Edward Rochester. Her strong and fiercely independent spirit is evident throughout, even during the final, very chilling part of her journey before returning to Thornfield Hall and meeting John.

The whole ambience is quite creepy as befits a darkly gothic tale, with unexpected mists appearing randomly and repeatedly surrounding the estate and nearby area, strange noises and other disturbing occurrences.

All is far from what it seems at Thornfield Hall and Bertha’s return is the catalyst that sets terrible events in motion. A perfect read for Halloween…if you can wait that long.

Desc 1

Yorkshire, 1843. When disgraced former schoolmaster John Eyre arrives at Thornfield Hall to take up a position as tutor to two peculiar young boys, he enters a world unlike any he’s ever known. Darkness abounds, punctuated by odd bumps in the night, strange creatures on the moor, and a sinister silver mist that never seems to dissipate. And at the center of it all, John’s new employer—a widow as alluring as she is mysterious.

Sixteen months earlier, heiress Bertha Mason embarked on the journey of a lifetime. Marriage wasn’t on her itinerary, but on meeting the enigmatic Edward Rochester, she’s powerless to resist his preternatural charm. In letters and journal entries, she records the story of their rapidly-disintegrating life together, and of her gradual realization that Mr. Rochester isn’t quite the man he appears to be. In fact, he may not be a man at all.

From a cliff-top fortress on the Black Sea coast to an isolated estate in rural England, John and Bertha contend with secrets, danger, and the eternal struggle between light and darkness. Can they help each other vanquish the demons of the past? Or are some evils simply too powerful to conquer?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #Shortstories Backstories by @SimonVdVwriter

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

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Cathy has been reading Backstories by Simon Van der Velde

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4.5 stars

Backstories comprises fourteen intriguing tales of life changing moments in the lives of well known characters. The author has given his imagination free rein to pen concise but evocative descriptions, giving impressions, something that just might have some truth in it, of certain people before fame or notoriety claimed them. The twist being they are not fully named, in some cases not at all or not named as we might know them. It’s up to the reader to guess their identities.

Some are fairly easy, but I admit to not guessing a couple (Past Time and The Blank Face come to mind, even after a re-read. I’ll probably kick myself once I know who they are) which ramped up the curiosity factor. I could think of people they might be but no-one definitive. Each account was enjoyable to read and actually extremely plausible.

‘No doubt about it, he was a bright kid, talented even. He was quick on his feet and with his mouth too, and he could smack a baseball out of the park. But he was a Jew, and he was short. I mean like really short. The kid was the size of your average third grader when he was twelve years old. When he was taking those first steps towards manhood. When it mattered most.
And this was back in the fifties, with Sinatra top of the charts, John Wayne High and Mighty on the big screen and New York thrusting itself into the heavens, one skyscraper taller than the next. It was a one-size-fits-all sort of time, but it didn’t fit him.’

The above quote is the beginning of the first story and it wasn’t until the end I realised who it was.

These are all people who you could know, but perhaps not with the backstory you had in mind. Some are sad, some chilling, all thought provoking. I read most of them a couple of times, the second time with the knowledge of who they were, which added another layer to the narrative.

An original idea, written in keeping with each situation and setting, and a unique approach to short stories. I enjoyed it very much.

Desc 1

Dreamers, singers, heroes and killers, they can dazzle with their beauty or their talent or their unmitigated evil, yet inside themselves they are as frail and desperate as the rest of us. But can you see them? Can you unravel the truth? These are people you know, but not as you know them.Peel back the mask and see.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #FamilyDrama Birds Don’t Cry by @sandeetweets

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

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Cathy has been reading Bird’s Don’t Cry by Sandy Day

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Birds Don’t Cry explores the sibling relationships in the dysfunctional Sullivan family, mostly from Kaffy’s perspective. A traumatic past shaped Kaffy into a loner who finds it difficult to engage. She has carried on running her grandparents’ inn after their deaths with the invaluable help of her sister-in-law, Sylvia, the only person she feels anything like comfortable with. Sylvia is married to Red Sullivan, Kaffy’s brother, who is doing some renovation work at the inn.

Maxine, their older sister makes short appearances when she believes there could be something to her advantage.

With the prospect of a prestigious reviewer from The Lonely Tripper visiting the inn, Kaffy is aware this could make or break the business, so some TLC is called for. But when Sylvia doesn’t show up for work one morning, Kaffy is at first confused. Sylvia is never late.

” “Red, where’s Sylvia?” Kaffy called to her brother from the back door of the inn.

Red shrugged. He fiddled with the tailgate of his truck. Infuriating—he was always tinkering and fidgeting.

“Isn’t she coming to work today?”

Red looked at Kaffy, his face expressionless but somewhat grim. “I haven’t seen her.” What did he mean by that, he got out of bed earlier than she did? “

As time goes on Kaffy’s confusion turns into worry. She reports Sylvia as missing and begins her own random, disjointed search, desperate to find Sylvia. Apart from her feelings of anxiety, Kaffy knows she’ll not be able to get the inn ready in time by herself. Red doesn’t seem particularly concerned about his wife’s disappearance which baffles Kaffy. Sylvia isn’t her only reason for worrying though, as she discovers what her brother and sister may be up to.

Birds Don’t Cry is an intriguing title. I wondered how it could relate to the story and it’s quite a poignant link. This is a character driven tale of siblings who are uncomfortable in each others company, unable or unwilling to share their feelings, an incident in Kaffy’s youth, buried deep, at the root of it all.

The well written plot and characters develop slowly and steadily, as more is revealed and the characters are brought to life. I enjoyed it.

Desc 1

Sometimes sisters and brothers don’t get along – even when they’re middle aged.

Kaffy Sullivan lives and works in the business her grandparents began in the 20th century. Reclusive and offbeat, Kaffy hopes to inherit the inn and, with the help of her sister-in-law, operate it for the rest of her life.

When an important publication makes a reservation, Kaffy is under pressure to get Sullivan House spruced up in time for the review. But Sylvia, who Kaffy depends on, has disappeared. She hasn’t shown up for work, and Kaffy’s bad-tempered brother doesn’t seem to care that his wife is missing.

Cracking under the pressure to get the inn ready, and more urgently, find Sylvia, Kaffy struggles through a harrowing nest of repressed memories and traumatic family rivalries.

For readers of women’s fiction and domestic thrillers, Birds Don’t Cry is a page turner that drops you directly into one family’s conflict and search for survivors.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Musical novella SONGWRITER NIGHT by @DGDriverAuthor

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Songwriter Night by D.G. Driver

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Nashville, Tennessee is still the Country music capital of the world for those who want to do things the old fashioned way, while soaking up the atmosphere of the city. Aspiring singer/songwriter Trish is no exception. She’s working on the lyrics of a song as she quietly hums along, catching the attention of one of the two other occupants of the coffee house. Lyle, a Tennessee native, is distracted by Trish and can’t focus on his writing. Noticing she had just finished her latte he seizes the opportunity and buys her another.


Trish and Lyle start chatting and, since Trish is new to the area and has no contacts, Lyle invites her to the songwriter night he and his friend host every month at their house. 

Concentrating on how she looked and how to get there kept her from thinking about the real issue: singing her songs in front of strangers. Not just strangers. Nashville songwriters. Was she ready for this? Sure. She’d sung her songs in front of people before, but they were her family, friends, and coworkers.’


Songwriter Night is a sweet, easy to read novella, also available as an audio version with a full cast and original songs. Even with the kindle version it’s interesting to read the lyrics and the poetry from the eclectic and distinct group of people who gather at Lyle and Neil’s house, and that’s where the majority of the story takes place. 


Trish and Lyle are likeable from the start, both a little unsure of themselves and their musical abilities, but the dedication of each is apparent. The songwriter night is going well until Aiden, a previous member who made good, decides to honour the group with his presence, and stir things up at the same time. 

Book description

In this sweet romantic novella, Lyle and Trish are two aspiring Country music songwriters that meet at a Nashville coffee house. With Trish being new in town, Lyle invites her to his monthly gathering of songwriters to get to know her better. The evening of quirky characters and light-hearted singing is interrupted by the arrival Aiden Bronson. He’s got a hit song on the radio, and he’s back to show off, stirring up some rivalry while he’s at it. How will Lyle compete against Aiden’s charisma and talent in order to win Trish’s heart?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Short Story Collection: Historical Stories of Betrayal @tonyriches #TuesdayBookBlog

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Historical Stories Of Betrayal

Betrayal: Historical Stories by [Judith Arnopp, Cryssa Bazos, Anna Belfrage, Derek  Birks, Helen Hollick, Amy  Maroney, Alison Morton, Charlene Newcomb, Tony Riches, Mercedes Rochelle, Annie Whitehead, Elizabeth St.John]

Historical Stories of Betrayal is a wonderful collection of short stories written by a variety of authors, with dates ranging from AD 455 when Roman leader Ambrosius needs people around him he can trust, up to 1849 and the present when Carina must discover the ancestor who betrayed the family or it will result in devastation for the family.

A couple of my personal favourites include Heart of a Falcon by Amy Maroney which tells the story of Estelle, a young Frenchwoman, whose family live in Rhodes town where her father is falconer to the Grand Master. When Estelle is invited by the King of Cyprus to be companion to his daughter and tutor his forthcoming grandchild her dreams are dashed as she soon discovers the underlying reason behind her being sent away.

Road to the Tower by Elizabeth St. John tells of events in 1483 when Lady Elysabeth Scrope stood as godmother to the young Prince Edward. When she received an urgent summons for herself and her husband from the Duke of Gloucester, her husband was not at home. King Edward IV was dead and the prince was in danger. He must be taken to London immediately for the coronation. Elysabeth believed in Sovereynté – the right of women to make their own decisions…so she undertook the journey to London.

All the stories are of a high standard, offering a glimpse into the past when treachery, injustice and treason were rife, and includes historical figures such as Thomas Percy who is trapped in a no-win situation, Francis Drake coping with trouble at sea, Margaret Beaufort found guilty of treason, and pirates Anne Bonny and Calico Jack to name but a few. Anyone who loves historical fiction would find stories to enjoy in this collection.

Book description

Read twelve tales by twelve accomplished writers who explore these historical yet timeless challenges.

AD455—Roman leader Ambrosius is caught in a whirlpool of shifting allegiances
AD940—Alyeva and cleric Dunstan navigate the dangers of the Anglo Saxon court
1185—Knight Stephan fights for comradeship, duty, and honour. But what about love?
1330—The powerful Edmund of Kent enters a tangled web of intrigue
1403—Thomas Percy must decide whether to betray his sovereign or his family
1457—Estelle is invited to the King of Cyprus’s court, but deception awaits
1483—Has Elysabeth made the right decision to bring Prince Edward to London?
1484—Margaret Beaufort contemplates the path to treason
1577—Francis Drake contends with disloyalty at sea
1650—Can James Hart, Royalist highwayman, stop a nemesis destroying his friend?
1718—Pirate Annie Bonny, her lover Calico Jack, and a pirate hunter. Who will win?
1849/present—Carina must discover her ancestor’s betrayer in Italy or face ruin.

AmazonUk | AmazonUS

Betrayal: Historical Stories by [Judith Arnopp, Cryssa Bazos, Anna Belfrage, Derek  Birks, Helen Hollick, Amy  Maroney, Alison Morton, Charlene Newcomb, Tony Riches, Mercedes Rochelle, Annie Whitehead, Elizabeth St.John]

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Writedown: Lockdown in the Galloway Glens at the Time of Covid by Margaret Elphinstone et al @marysmithwriter

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Writedown: Lockdown in the Galloway Glens at the Time of Covid by Margaret Elphinstone et al

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Writedown is a book that will serve well as a historical insight of shared experiences during a very unusual and difficult time. A group of people in Galloway, Scotland write of their concerns for loved ones, fears and general reactions to living in the midst of what would turn out to be the first lockdown during a worldwide pandemic.
Many of the emotions, adjustments to daily life and worries are all too relatable – coping with isolation, not being able to see family, except via a device/computer screen or talking on the phone, especially hard for those living alone or those without any outdoor space – as a ’new reality’ became the norm.

‘Time becomes strange. A week feels long. Yet each day rushes past.’ — June

The individual entries showed people did what they could to fill time, which should have been spent doing other things, spending time in nature, gardening, reading, writing, even making scrubs for hospital staff – luckily the weather was generally very good during those months.
Many emotions were expressed, including anger, grief, humour, anxiety and loneliness, and the effects of it all, both mental and physical. On the other side of the coin, it was also a time to slow down, not be tied down to an agenda, a chance to appreciate the beauty of nature which thrived, and with little to no traffic on the road or in the air the earth people were pleased to see the earth showing definite signs of recovery.

‘There are no planes in the sky. The air is clear, even in Beijing: I saw it on the news. How long have we campaigned for this.’ — Margaret

And then of course, there was the awful political news from other countries, plus our own government’s inefficiency and the emotional and horrific reality of the deaths nearer to home, which caused anger, sadness and distress.

‘I don’t often cry, but tears well up when I hear of people dying alone in hospital, with no family around them. A 17-year-old carer gives a client a gift of a cushion on which is imprinted his late wife’s photo. He cries. I cry.’ — Mary

Writedown certainly isn’t all doom and gloom though, there’s humour and lighter moments, appreciating the pleasure of simple things like the beautiful landscapes, flowers, having time to plant and grow. Taking time to listen to the birdsong, admiring the world for its flora, fauna and natural beauty. It’s an intriguing glimpse into how a community coped during an unprecedented time.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #ContemporaryFiction GRACE & SERENITY by @AnnalisaCrawf #TuesdayBookBlog

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Grace & Serenity by Annalisa Crawford

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This was quite a dark, although sensitively addressed story, and one that emphasises how easily someone can get sucked in to situations they feel unable to control.

Grace was just sixteen when she met Neil, and not much older when she became pregnant. Neil had charmed Grace from the beginning but she saw another side of him when she told him she was expecting their child. He didn’t want to know and made his feelings plain. This was the first sign of his true character and a precursor of what was to come.

A moment ago I was fifteen, lying on my bed watching Rihanna and Katy Perry on YouTube, my legs swinging in time with the music.

A moment ago I was meeting Neil for the first time, at some stupid party.

Run, run away.

In an about face, Neil decides to take responsibility and asks Grace to marry him. Grace’s plans for university morph into dreams of a happy home life with a loving husband and beautiful baby, but real life is nothing like she imagined. Instead Grace becomes exhausted with a fussy baby and no help from her husband who acts like he’s still single.

Grace descends into an abusive and manipulating relationship, which sees Neil’s cruelty and deviousness escalate, making it look like Grace is at fault. Although Grace tries to take back control of her life, things get even worse as Grace feels betrayed by her parents and spirals into a desperate situation that includes homelessness, alcohol abuse, prostitution, physical and mental abuse.

Grace and Serenity is hard hitting, shocking and emotional. Events are seen through Grace’s eyes  in all their stark reality. Annalisa Crawford pulls no punches in this all too plausible and heartbreaking story. The writing is full of imagery with a touch of the paranormal and without going into unnecessary, gratuitous details, evoking a myriad of emotions.

It’s a compelling story and, although I couldn’t see how, I really hoped Grace would somehow get her life back on track. 

Book description

Living on the streets is terrifying and exhausting. Grace’s only comforts are a steady stream of vodka, and a strange little boy who’s following her around.

At nineteen, Grace has already had a child and endured an abusive marriage. But she’s also had her baby abducted by her vengeful husband and been framed as a neglectful mother. Even her own parents doubted her version of the story. So she did the only thing that made sense to her—run away.

The streets are unforgiving. Winter is drawing in. And Grace isn’t prepared for the harsh realities of survival. At her very bleakest, a Good Samaritan swoops into her life and rescues her. With a roof over her head and food in her stomach, she longs to see her baby again.

But nothing ever comes for free.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Vintage #Mystery HIGH WIRE 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 High Wire In Nuala by Harriet Steel

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The racecourse in Nuala was busy, but not for the racing. The Russian circus had come to town with its colourful wagons and big top. Excitement had built with the appearance of posters advertising trapeze artists, jugglers and high wire, even a snake charmer—de Silva’s dislike of the reptiles causing him to shudder at the thought—along with several other acts.

It was full house for opening night and all was going well with the dance troupe opening the show, followed by the rest of the acts, until there was what looked like a terrible accident during the high wire walk. Inspector Shanti de Silva was in the audience with his wife, Jane and their friends, Doctor and Mrs Hebden, so de Silva and Dr Hebden were able to be first on the scene.

“So tense that you could almost touch it, a hush had fallen over the audience. The low, pulsing beat of the drums heightened the apprehension that filled the air. Every time Tatiana paused, there were gasps of alarm. A pain throbbed behind de Silva’s eyes. He felt as if he was making the slow walk with her. At last, the end of the wire was not far away. Tatiana turned her head a fraction towards the audience; he glimpsed a smile of mischievous triumph on her face. She took another step closer to the tower, and the audience exhaled a collective sigh of relief. Soon she would be safe. Clapping began to swell.
And then it died.”

De Silva suspects this was no accident and that he was looking at a murder, but wonders if his hands are tied as his superior, Archie Clutterbuck, believes the suspicious death of a foreigner isn’t a matter for the Nuala police. But as de Silva was questioning the circus folk another body was discovered.

High Wire in Nuala is another enjoyable mystery, set in the evocatively described Ceylon of the 1930s, capturing the sense of place and the contrast between cultures. The rich, multicultural way of life is still evident but also with the possibility of changes on the horizon. It was lovely once again to get reacquainted with the engaging characters at the heart of the series.

The well thought through plot unfolds at a steady pace as de Silva’s investigation leads him to uncover much more than he initially expected.

Book description

Much to the delight of the locals, a colourful Russian circus rolls into Nuala, but the fun ends abruptly when, on the opening night, a tragic accident takes place.
Shanti de Silva and his wife, Jane are among the crowd to witness the accident. Or was it an accident? Inspector de Silva senses murder, and soon, he’s juggling with the evidence. Will the trail lead to the circus’s dashing stunt rider and master of horse, Alexei Goncharov, or to Alexei’s brother Boris, its boisterous ringmaster? Throw a string of jewel thefts and some deadly snakes into the mix and the list of suspects grows.
De Silva will need to keep his wits about him to unravel yet another absorbing puzzle in this charming and addictive mystery series set in the 1930s in exotic Ceylon.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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