⚓’From his days as an impoverished law student to the lively and glittering court of Elizabeth I.’ Noelle reviews #Tudor #Histfic Raleigh by @tonyriches, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Noelle.

Noelle blogs here https://saylingaway.wordpress.com

Orange rose and Rosie's Book Review Team
Rosie’s Book Review Team

Noelle has been reading Raleigh by Tony Riches.

Book cover for Raleigh: Tudor Adventurer by Tony Riches
Raleigh: Tudor Adventurer by Tony Riches

I was first introduced to Tony Riches when I read his Tudor Trilogy, about the founding and growth of the Tudor family. With his latest series – the Elizabethans – he populates the Elizabethan court with some of the outstanding characters of the day. The first book had the reader sailing with Sir Francis Drake, the second in the middle of rebellion with Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex. In this book, the reader accompanies Sir Walter Raleigh (or Rawley as he was earlier called) from his days as an impoverished law student to the lively and glittering court of Elizabeth I. He doesn’t dance or joust, doesn’t come from a noble family, nor marry into one. He just has an overweening ambition to be a courtier, to wear the rich clothes, and to have the ear of the Queen.

Raleigh is an adventurer from the start, taking part in the religious civil wars in France in his late teens, then in the suppression of a rebellion in Ireland. Raleigh proceeds to finish his education in the Inns of the Court and then is admitted to Middle Temple, which is one of the four Inns of the Court exclusively entitling him as a member of the English Bar as a barrister. He has absolutely no interest in the law and decides he can most easily attain his goals by adventure and piracy. With financial backing from his family – his cousin Sir Richard Grenville and a younger half-brother Sir Humphrey Gilbert – he opts for sea-going adventures to fill his coffers with Spain’s gold, along with those of the Queen, in an attempt to get her attention. He is successful enough to become one of the principal landowners and colonists in Munster, Ireland, for seventeen years. His Irish estates ran into difficulties that contributed to a decline in his fortunes, but he finally becomes a favorite of Queen Elizabeth I because of his efforts at increasing the Protestant Church in Ireland. In 1585, Raleigh is knighted by Queen Elizabeth, whose ear he did have from time to time. She grants Raleigh a royal charter authorizing him to explore, colonize and rule any heathen lands in the New World, in return for one-fifth of all the gold and silver that might be mined there.Most of us know the story of Raleigh in the New World and the lost colonists of Roanoke. No gold and silver are found by the expeditions he funded, but he himself leads expeditions to the Orinoco river basin in South America in search of the golden city of El Dorado, which he never finds.

The author has done an amazing amount of research to bring the people in Raleigh’s circle to life and to let the reader experience the highs and lows of his time at court, and his longer time away from it. Raleigh loved Queen Elizabeth and his choice of his life’s paths are always made with her in mind, to the detriment of himself and his family. Riches introduces such notable nobles as Sir Francis Walsingham and the poet Edmund Spenser, and sets the years of Raleigh’s life against an authentic backdrop of the Court, its unending intrigues, and the history of the time. The clothing, food, and customs do not elude the author’s attention, so the reader becomes embedded in the times.

The book ends with the death of Elizabeth, and perhaps that is for the best because the remaining years of Raleigh’s life under the rule of James I were unfortunate. The reader is left with the image of a man who seeks adventure – who, despite or perhaps because of his lowly origins, is determined and focused in his pursuit of wealth and a courtier’s life – and who is also in love with his Queen.

I highly recommend yet another well-written and richly ornamented book by Tony Riches.

Orange rose book description
Book description

Tudor adventurer, courtier, explorer and poet, Sir Walter Raleigh has been called the last true Elizabethan.

He didn’t dance or joust, didn’t come from a noble family, or marry into one. So how did an impoverished law student become a favourite of the queen, and Captain of the Guard?

The story which began with the Tudor trilogy follows Walter Raleigh from his first days at the Elizabethan Court to the end of the Tudor dynasty.

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🌻’Recounting the lives of three generations of women in Ukraine’. Noelle reviews #HistoricalFiction Sunflowers Beneath The Snow by @TeriMBrown1, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT🌻

Today’s team review is from Noelle.

Noelle blogs here https://saylingaway.wordpress.com

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Noelle has been reading Sunflowers Beneath The Snow by Teri M Brown.

Book cover for Sunflowers Beneath The Snow by Teri M. Brown
Sunflowers Beneath The Snow by Teri M. Brown

Sunflowers Beneath the Snow recounts the lives of three generations of women in Ukraine: grandmother, mother, daughter. This is the author’s first book, and she has created a deeply emotional portrayal of each of these women. ‘Sunflowers beneath the snow’ is phrase spoken by the grandmother, but to me these three women are the sunflowers.

Ivanna, the grandmother, has spent the majority of her life under Communist rule, where everything from food to housing is strictly regulated. She doesn’t know her husband, Luyaksandro, is spying for an anti-Communist group, and when the group informs him he’s been identified, they give him the choice to be sent out of the country or be outed, which would lead to the arrest and possible death of his family by the state police. He chooses to leave without a word to his family.

When her husband disappears, Ivanna is told he is dead at the hand of his lover’s husband, and she feels bitterly betrayed. She now must to try to support herself and her daughter with nothing but a menial job, scarce food, and cold, mean living quarters. She uses ingenuity and determination to ensure their survival, but somehow she never stops believing in necessity and fairness of the Communist government.  Her daughter, Yevtsye, grows up, she develops political, religious and societal opinions different from those of her mother, from whom she becomes estranged. She meets and marries Danya, a teacher of physics at the university, and after years to trying, they have a daughter, Ionna.

Ionna is born into a different world than either her grandmother or her mother, since by that time, Ukraine has been independent from Russian for some years – although the country is still dependent of Russia for virtually everything and is run by corrupt politicians. She proves a to both her mother and grandmother. Ionna dreams of seeing and experiencing the world outside of Ukraine, and her eventual travels lead to a surprising outcome.

The author writes with great realism of living in Ukraine during that period of time. She reaches deep to portray the tenacity, determination, and deeply felt emotions of these women, in the face of the different and continual challenges in their lives. This book should be of particular interest to readers, given the current Russian invasion of Ukraine. The history described by the author explains a great deal of what is happening now.  This reader lived in Czechoslovakia when it was part of the Soviet Union, and the author has hit the nail on the head of what it is like to live in a country under Russia’s control.

The only problem I had with this book were some prolonged descriptions of the women’s emotional states or considerations of Ukrainian politics. This slowed the forward progress of the story and tempted me to read ahead.

This is the author’ first book and, overall, I think she’s written a winner. I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys women’s fiction in a historical setting, and especially in the recent history of Eastern Europe.

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A Ukrainian rebel. Three generations of women bearing the consequences. A journey that changes everything.

When Ivanna opens the door to uniformed officers, her tranquil life is torn to pieces – leaving behind a broken woman who must learn to endure cold, starvation, and the memories of a man who died in the quintessential act of betrayal. Using her thrift, ingenuity, and a bit of luck, she finds a way to survive in Soviet Ukraine, along with her daughter, Yevtsye. But the question remains, will she be strong enough to withstand her daughter’s deceit and the eventual downfall of the nation she has devoted her life to? Or will the memories of her late husband act as a shadow haunting everyone and everything she loves, including Ionna, the granddaughter that never knew him?

In Sunflowers Beneath the Snow, Teri M. Brown explores the tenacity of women, showing that even in grueling circumstances, they can, and do, experience all the good things life has to offer – compassion, joy, love, faith, and wonder.

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📚For Those Who ‘love a good historical #mystery’ Noelle reviews Dark Hunter by F.J. Watson, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT.📚

Today’s team review is from Noelle.

She blogs here https://saylingaway.wordpress.com

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Noelle has been reading Dark Hunter by F. J. Watson

Historical Mystery

I do love a good historical mystery, and Fiona Watson has written an atmospheric and compelling one, set in the city of Berwick-upon-Tweed in the early 14th century.

In the year 1317, a young and pious squire named Benedict Russell is sent to the English-held garrison of Berwick-upon-Tweed, a town sitting on the border between Scotland and England. The town’s strategic position and relative wealth had previously resulted in a succession of raids, sieges and takeovers during centuries of war between these two countries. Three years earlier to Benedict’s arrival, the Scots, led by Robert the Bruce, had won a massive victory at the battle of Bannockburn and were raiding over the border. Edward II decided to send reinforcements to Berwick in case of an attack.

Benedict is learned – he can read and write – and is belittled by his fellow squires, who are more trained in the art of swordplay and warfare. He discovers through keen observation and a little diversion that the knight supplying food to the garrison is diverting money into his own accounts. Recognition of his ability gets him the task of discovering who murdered a beautiful young girl, one whom Benedict lusted after, and left her mutilated body outside the city’s walls. Benedict must decide if the murder was a crime of passion or one which involves a traitor or spy for the Scots.

The pace of discovery as Benedict works through various clues is deliberate, as would be for a sleuth of that time, but introduces the reader to the realities of life in the 14th century: the poverty and squalor set against the wealth of the ruling class, the hierarchy amongst the knights and their treatment of servants, and women as chattel to be used as pawns. The author draws on her knowledge of conditions of daily life, religious practices, practices of medieval punishment, food, drink, clothes, weapons, and social distinctions to put the reader firmly inside a city awaiting a siege, with all of the tension exacerbated by the murder.

This is also a coming-of-age story as Benedict slowly becomes a man and discovers his own reserves of strength and ability to love. The secondary characters are very well-drawn, from the knights and squires to the various townspeople Benedict comes to know, from apprentices to paupers. I was especially drawn to the murdered girl’s sister, who becomes a valuable companion to Benedict. She is afflicted with something I interpret as scoliosis, which makes her the butt of derision, but she has an intelligent and unusually perceptive mind trapped in her twisted body.

I very much appreciate that the author did not attempt to make the language of the day mock-medieval. She did write the story in the present tense, however, as is becoming common more recently. As a reader, I find it makes the story-telling more immediate but slows the pace of the story.

This is an excellent first fictional outing for a medieval scholar and I highly recommend this to mystery and historical fiction aficionados.

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The year is 1317, and young squire Benedict Russell has joined the English-held garrison of Berwick-upon-Tweed after the spectacular Scottish victory at Bannockburn three years earlier.

Serious and self-doubting, he can’t wait for his time there to come to an end. Living on the disputed territory between Scotland and England is a precarious existence, and as the Scots draw ever closer and the English king does nothing to stop them, Benedict finds himself in a race against time to solve the brutal murder of a young girl and find the traitor who lurks within Berwick’s walls.

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‘A very captivating and fun read.’ Noelle reviews action #thriller JENKS by @burrell_barney, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

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

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Noelle has been reading Jenks by Barney Burrell

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I purchased this book for review, as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team.

If you are a fan of James Bond and Jason Bourne, you will like Jenks, a freelance professional assassin with a moral compass. The book is a fast-paced thriller, and I will admit at the outset of this review I am a sucker for such books.

Jenks (short for Graham Jenkins) was recruited early in his life for an ultra-top secret government agency (MI5 on steroids). He chose to reject the offer but returned to accept it after time spent in the armed forces. He now lives rather anonymously in a house by the sea, taking only those assignments that appeal to him as an assassin.

The plot is an old trope: someone steals explosive, high level secrets about various world governments from the CIA, with the altruistic intention of providing them to a WikiLeaks type of organization which would reveal them and overturn the world order. Jenks is hired to find not only the people stealing and delivering the information but also those buying it.  The action takes place simultaneously in London, Virginia and Washington, with the story shifting from site to site.

Jenks is, of course, ruggedly handsome with brilliant turquoise eyes (normally hidden by contact lenses, so he can blend into his background) and is ultimately competent in his profession. Nicely, the author has given him a less robotic, human side – from refurbishing his old house to flirting with a local barista. 

Yes, the book is standard high-octane and the base plot unordinary, but there the commonalities end. The author has layered in several plot lines, a lot of high tech spyware, and moles at every level. Everyone is being manipulated, even Jenks to an extent, so the reader is unsure until the end who are the actual “good guys,” if you can call them that.  A warning, though, there is some graphic violence.

The only criticism I have is that there are a couple of places in the book where the author goes into enormous technical detail, a lot of which I didn’t follow, so when I got the gist, I skipped over those sections.

High tension, technical wizardry, and the knowledge that Jenks will successfully complete his assignment (how else could it end?) made this a very captivating and fun read. I definitely look forward to another Jenks outing.

4.5 stars

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In a nutshell.. Ruthless freelance professional assassin Jenks is hired by ultra-top secret government agency – responsible for the dirtiest of work – to kill a rogue CIA analyst and prevent a super Wikileaks-like Russian backed dissemination of catastrophic above Top Secret explosive revelations, capable of overturning the world order.

Using the most ingenious of spycraft, the chameleon like Jenks has no option but to let the crime play out until the very end. With the action taking place between Soho, London and Virginia, USA, Jenks hurtles towards the ultimate confrontation and sacrifice – his pedal to the metal race to uncover the truth will leave you gasping.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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A Novella that features the Irish potato famine. Noelle reviews The Winds Of Morning by @AuthorGMacShane

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

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Noelle has been reading The Winds Of Morning by Gifford MacShane


This is a novella, written as a prequel Donovan Family Saga by this author. I purchased this book for review.

The author is a gifted writer, with an excellent talent for creating the historical scene of 1848, when the potato crop failed in Ireland. What happened after that is made clear: The Protestant landlords abscond back to Britain, leaving the Catholic peasants to fend for themselves. Rather than providing food to their citizens, the government allows the export of tens of thousands of tons of Irish food daily. There follows a period of mass starvation and disease, leading to the deaths of over a million people.

When her father and mother die of starvation, Molly O’Brien has no choice but to take her father’s place on a road gang, swinging a mallet to break rocks for a road running from her tiny village to the nearby river, in order to feed her family. There is no other work available, and even sixteen hours of labor does not pay enough to feed her younger brothers, who are dying of starvation as well.

One day, quietly facing the river, she decides that despite her deep-sown Catholic tenets, she will sell her body to the first man she encounters who will give her the price of a loaf of bread. The first man to see her, John Patrick Donovan, at first thinks she is going to throw herself in the river, but when she asks him for a loaf a bread up front, he realizes she’s decided to prostitute herself.  In Donovan, the author has created a gentle, caring, and thoughtful older man who does his best to save Molly and her brothers. His efforts extend to her small village, where the grain he was sent to buy was locked away by the landlord, who had fled: he opens the granary to the villagers, despite what that will cost his family.

When John Patrick takes her to the local church, where the priest informs her she will be married, she nearly faints at the miracle. She and her brothers are saved. John Patrick has fallen in love with her at first sight and knows this is the only way he can protect her honor until she grows stronger and accepts him.

Will his family accept Molly? What will they think of the money their son spent on saving her and her brothers and also in the village? How are his parents, who are well-off because the father runs a chandlery, dealing with the famine? Will Molly come to accept Donovan as her husband?

While this book was a lovely read, part historical and part romance, as are the author’s other books, two things jarred me somewhat. The first was the age difference between John Patrick and Molly. I had to remind myself that this was a different time, when girls married young and older husbands were often the norm. The other was, with few exceptions, the overwhelming ‘niceness’ of all the various characters. I would have preferred a little more grit. 

I recommend this lyrically and beautifully rendered novella to readers – despite the grim subject – to discover what happens to Molly and to understand the basis for the Donovan Saga.

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1848: the third year the potato crop failed in Ireland. The Protestant landlords have absconded back to Britain, leaving the Catholic peasants to fend for themselves, while the English government allowed the export of tens of thousands of tons of Irish food daily.

With two younger brothers to feed, Molly O’Brien took her father’s place on the road gang, building a road that runs from her tiny village to the river and no farther. Yet sixteen hours of labor a day would not garner enough wages to buy food for her family.

She was beyond despair. Beyond prayer. And so far beyond the tenets of her childhood, she’d decided to offer her body to the first man with the price of a loaf of bread. At that moment, a voice behind her spoke…

AmazonUK | AmazonUS


‘A Dark Twisted #Mystery’ Noelle reviews Fault Lines by Tsveti Nacheva @guelphed

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

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Noelle has been reading Fault Lines by Tsveti Nacheva

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I purchased a copy of this book for a review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team.

This is a debut novel for Tsevi Nacheva, a Bulgarian born writer now living in Canada. It’s a combination of mystery and what I would call romance/chick lit, with parts being one or the other.

In Fault Lines, the reader is introduced to a TV reporter/producer based in Toronto – Lauri Arbo. Laurie grew up in Solway, a small town some distance from Toronto, with a best friend, Ashley, and her boyfriend, Nate Stone. Following the night of a revelrous and drunken teenage Halloween party at the farm of Nate’s parents, Laurie awakens with a massive hangover, remembering little of the night before. And she discovers Nate’s clothes are covered in blood.

Over the next several days, she realizes that Ashley disappeared that night. Days turn to months, and Ashley is not found. Seven years later, Laurie is established as a well-known TV producer. On the trail of an old and cold case for her show, she finds herself back in Solway, dreading being there, knowing Ashley is gone. She and Nate grew apart and Nate is now not-so-happily-married to a woman who is still insanely jealous of Laurie’s and Nate’s former relationship.

There are several threads woven into this novel that oh so gradually unravel, like a tangled ball of yarn. First is the two mysteries: Ashley’s disappearance and the story that Laurie is working on – the unexplained deaths of a woman and her daughter in Solway in the 1950s. The second thread is Laurie’s live-in relationship with a handsome and sought-after actor. The third is Laurie’s unstated but still recognized love for her ex, Nate.

The pace of the book slows to that of a snail from time to time, then speeds up, only to slow again. These pauses in the pace occurred in the lengthy descriptions of Laurie’s relationships with various people: her production assistant, her lover, Nate’s mother, and Nate and his wife, all dealt with in great detail. Interesting, yes, but had me urging the author to get on with it.

The author is very creative in her descriptive writing and much of it is a delightful discovery. She uses the Canadian backdrop to cleverly create atmospheric tension. Occasionally, though, she lapses into over-the-top prose and nonsensical similes.

Luckily, though, as the character Laurie gets closer to the solutions to the mysteries, the author picks up the pace of the various story lines and the book becomes a page turner with endings that are totally unexpected and satisfying. And ties the threads back together.

I think this is a good book for a first outing and I look forward to watching the development of this author.

Four stars

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When the unthinkable happens…
When her best friend disappears from a party at a haunted house attraction, Laurie Arbo fears the worst. Ashley would not just up and leave. As days turn into weeks, it becomes clear that she is not coming back. But without a body, proving that a crime has been committed—let alone unmasking the culprit—is a tall order.

The truth should come first.
All eyes are on Ashley’s boyfriend, who is being cagey. But Laurie’s own partner, Nate, is keeping secrets too. On that fateful night, his clothes were covered in blood, which he swears wasn’t Ashley’s. Refusing to accept the man she loves might be a murderer, Laurie decides to believe him. Yet, unable to put the past behind them, they drift apart.

But what if it’s ugly?
Seven years later, while working on a TV documentary about a local family drama, she reconnects with Nate, and the pieces start falling together. As Laurie draws closer to learning what happened that night, she realizes the truth might be the one thing she doesn’t want to uncover.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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‘Adventure at its highest in a world previously unimagined.’ Noelle reviews #Ya #UrbanFantasy Fae Or Foe? By C A Deegan @CracklockSaga

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

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Noelle has been reading Fae Or Foe? by C A Deegan

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Although this book is listed for YA, I have found many such books are a great ride, so even though I am not into magical ‘stuff,’ I decided to give this a read. I was not disappointed in my choice. This book is indeed magical – a breathtaking adventure of such imagination that I read myself right into the second book in the series.

Jack Crackley is a normal young teenager, who has a lot on his plate – two jobs to help support himself and his mum, school, lumbering twins at his school who think he and his classmates are good punching bags, and a strange disease affecting young children everywhere. One day they are fine, the next they are comatose and resemble very old people.

The adventure begins when Jack is asked to help move a table by a seemingly innocuous elderly gentlemen who lives in a huge old house on his paper route. What Jack finds in the house changes his life forever: he discovers he can see gnomes and other small creatures he can’t identify – a hidden world he never knew about – and most of them mean him harm. Jack escaped with no idea who he really is, but he has fae (fairies, brownies, and other little folk) all around him to help him find out.

Since he was a baby, Jack and his mother have been living under a magic spell (a glamour) designed to shield him from the clutches of the evil side of his family, the Cracklocks (he is actually Jack Cracklock). But his glamour begins to fail, just as his Aunt Agatha and cousin Anastasia and her devil of a son discover where Jack is living and plot to capture him for what end is not clear—but it is evil and designed to end the world of the fae.

His human reality and the magical world of the fae collide and he discovers that monsters are not only make believe.

The book is full of richly drawn characters, and there is humor and whimsy on practically every page. New imaginative, magical devices appear with regularity, and there is steady tension, punctuated by a breathless stretches. Adventure at its highest in a world previously unimagined.

Treat yourself. Read this.

Five stars.

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No one would want to kill a Faery, surely?!

Jack Crackley wouldn’t; teenagers don’t believe in such things. There are plenty of other things to worry about; his mum, jobs, school, the local bullies, not to mention some weird disease that’s affecting young children the world over.

However, things are never as they seem. Little eyes watch out for him whilst bigger ones seek him for their own ends.

There’s a hidden world out there, and its inhabitants are in serious danger. Jack is going to have to get to the bottom of it all before it’s too late. And that’s a tall order when you have no idea who you really are…

A fantasy adventure like no other, where worlds collide and the monsters are not only from make believe.

Things are going to get complicated. It’s a good job our brownie knows how to throw a punch!

AmazonUk | AmazonUS

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Book one of a new crime series set in Wales. Noelle reviews A Final Regret by @JeffreyJWarren, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

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

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Noelle has been reading A Final Regret by Jeff Warren

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A Final Regret: A Pembrokeshire Murder Mystery is the first in a planned series featuring Sergeant Alys Carey and Detective Inspector Matt Vincent. It is set along the beautiful Pembrokeshire coast in England, which the author has described very evocatively.

The story: A sergeant in the neighborhood police force of Madoc’s Haven, Alys Carey, is reunited after many years with a childhood friend, Matt Vincent, who is now a Detective Inspector and brought in to investigate the disappearance of a young mother. The reader learns just how Rianna Hughes disappeared in a tension and action-filled prologue.

After her body is discovered, there are no shortage of suspects in the story: the husband Dylan is an immediate suspect because they are separated. She was awarded custody of their baby daughter and also the home where they lived and he is bitter. There are also the people she is blackmailing, the men with whom she had affairs or who wanted to have an affair with her, the women scorned by these men, even the local vicar. Red herrings abound.

Matt Vincent had left Madoc’s Haven after the tragic death of his girlfriend, which he witnessed. Alys Carey, while somewhat younger at the time, liked him, His return creates an awkward relationship between them, not improved by their immediate attraction to each other or by the attitude of Vincent’s embittered sergeant, Beth Francis, who harbors animosity toward Vincent since she wanted his promotion to DI.

The relationships in this book are incredibly complex, so readers have to stay on their toes, especially after another murder occurs.

I greatly enjoyed this mystery and, bouncing between suspects, I wasn’t sure until the end who the murderer was. The dialogue was spot on and smooth and the descriptions of the countryside and coast were stunning. Readers can easily place themselves in the scenes. 

The prologue adds additional tension to the unfolding investigation since the reader is made to ask: When are they going to find Rianna?

The novel is written in third person omniscient, so it shifts between scenes and characters. This approach can be confusing (and occasionally is) but it also enables the reader to be introduced to various untidy aspects of Rianna’s life.

My one complaint is that some of the female characters could not be distinguished.  They seemed to run to a common type (except for Sergeant Beth Francis, who was spiteful and headstrong) and could have used more distinguishing features. Matt Vincent, despite being a DI, seems a little less than forthcoming when it comes to dealing with the women in his life. Hopefully he will find a clear path ahead in the next book!

There is romance (but no sex) and humor but no graphic violence, so this qualifies as a true cozy. It should appeal to everyone from YA to adult readers. I look forward to reading the next book in this series.

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A missing mother, her baby’s father a suspect

Young single mother Rianna fails to return from her cliff-top run. Did she have an accident, or did someone want her dead?

Neighbourhood Sergeant Alys Carey and Detective Inspector Matt Vincent are thrown back together when Matt returns to Pembrokeshire and takes on the case. There’s no shortage of suspects: Rianna’s blackmail victims; the men she beguiled; the women who loved them; the father of little baby Meg.

Can Alys and Matt unravel the complex web of relationships within the local community and ensure that justice prevails? Will Matt’s embittered detective sergeant, Beth Francis, derail the investigation? And what will become of Rianna’s baby daughter, Meg?

A Final Regret is a murder mystery set on the beautiful Pembrokeshire coast, with romance, humour and no graphic violence, sex or swearing.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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‘A Handwriting Expert As A Sleuth’ Noelle reviews #Mystery Dead Letters by @sheila_lowe, for Rosie’s#Bookreview Team #RBRT

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

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Noelle has been reading Dead Letters by Sheila Lowe

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Dead Letters is really two mysteries in one. It begins with Claudia Rose’s 18-year old niece Monica, who has been invited to join an archeological dig in Egypt, a lifelong dream. The excitement of the trip begins to fizz when she meets Colin Vine, a graduate student working on another dig. Colin, who has broken the hearts of several women on various digs, takes an interest in Monica.

Claudia Rose, a world away, is having a romantic dinner with her husband, when he gets a call from Claudia’s brother Pete. Pete has driven to Tucson, Arizona, for a reunion with some of his college buddies. Pete is being held at a detention center after his arrest for the murder of one of his college classmates following a confrontation in a bar called Dirtbags.  Claudia and her husband fly to Tucson to figure out what actually happened.

Claudia insisted on regular contact with Monica during her expedition to Egypt, but Monica’s recent messages are very brief and uninformative. Then Monica can no longer be reached. Finally Pete, out on bond, places a call to the head of Monica’s dig and discovers his daughter is missing.

Claudia flies to Egypt in search of Monica, then tracks her to Gibraltar and ultimately the UK, after discovering her new boyfriend and terrorists are involved in her abduction. 

So the author has created two separate story lines which amp up the tension in a step-wise fashion, forcing the reader to keep on reading!  The story at first is somewhat slow-paced, and it took me a while to warm up to the characters, particularly since I hadn’t read any of the previous Claudia Rose mysteries. But the action really picks up with the search for Monica, spanning so many miles and different places, and the characters become very real and immediate. The author has done her research and each place Claudia visits is well-described and colorful. I think I need to visit Gibraltar!

Claudia’s handwriting expertise is brought in a few times – at first it seemed that this was forced, to keep to the fact that she was, in fact, and expert in this field, and not just a detective. Later it became a more natural part of the story.

I enjoyed the read and will certainly sample some of the earlier books in the series.

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A heart-pounding hunt begins when Claudia Rose’s young niece goes missing with an archaeologist whose shady past spills into the present. The frantic search takes Claudia to Egypt, Gibraltar, and the UK, where her skills as a forensic handwriting expert of international renown are needed to help foil a deadly terrorist plot—if only she can find Monica before she becomes a casualty.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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London 1868. Noelle Reviews Victorian #mystery Desire and Deceit by @carolJhedges for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

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

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Noelle has been reading Desire And Deceit by Carol J Hedges

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

It is 1868, and London is in the midst of a terrible heat wave.  A body of a young man has disappeared from the police mortuary at Scotland Yard, an unheard of event, before there was even an autopsy. Detective Inspector Leo Stride and Detective Sergeant Jack Cully are baffled, having only the report of young Constable Williams, who discovered the body, to go on. Williams has a very observant eye, however, and will help them with their investigation.

At the same time, the two greedy Harbinger brothers, Arthur and Sherborne, are vying for the favor of their very rich, dying aunt, Euphemia Harbinger. Both are thoroughly distasteful characters. Sherborne with his wife, baby Timothy, and ten year old twins, Hanover and Harriet, descends on London to stay in a hotel, priming Hanover to earn the aunt’s approbation with the gift of a talking parrot. The parrot is funny and pivotal to the story! At the same time, Sherborne psychologically bullies Harriet, considering her, as a girl, unworthy of any attention.

Arthur Harbinger, MP and senior manager of a large insurance company, tries to thwart his brother. He spends his time ignoring his duties as an MP, preferring to bilk the insurance company out of money with claims on life insurance created in the names of people who don’t exist. He intends to use the money he gets from Aunt Euphemia to replay a large loan he took out to purchase a very expensive race horse.

Miss Lucy Landseer has recently installed herself as a private detective at 122A Baker Street and greets her very first client, Rosalind Whitely, whose mother passed away six months before and who had married a man a short time before she died. As a widower, Mr. Brooke now claims all of her mother’s estate, and Miss Whitely asks Miss Landseer to investigate his background. She cannot anticipate what a twisted path she will follow.

The author ties all of these threads together in a skillful fashion, with a satisfying ending

Carol Hedges is a master of creating the London scene, the city becoming as much a character as the people. She brings Victorian London to life in all its sights, its sounds, its filth, and all of its sordid and gas-lit splendor, baking in the heat of an endless summer. Her characters are well-rounded, humorous, matter-of-fact, or deliciously evil. In previous books, she has focused on the plight of women in this time. She doesn’t miss a beat with this tale, but brings in family dynamics as well, especially that of DI Stride.

The book is written in the present tense, and the author speaks directly to the reader at various times in the developing plot. At first I found this a bit disconcerting, but I realized that coupled with the tense, the author had created something very similar to a screen play, setting the scene and introducing characters.

I’m definitely going to read more of this author and recommend this book to anyone interested in Victorian London and a good mystery/detective story.

Desc 1

It 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]