Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Family Drama THE OTHER MRS SAMSON by Ralph Webster

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

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading The Other Mrs Samson by Ralph Webster

55990888. sy475

4*
This book, for me, went from nicely readable but only moderately interesting, to absolutely unputdownable, and back to only moderately interesting.  The first narrator, in the present day, finds a secret horde of papers belonging to his recently deceased, ninety-five-year-old friend, Katie Samson, from which he surmises that her husband had been married before.  At this point, although not enthralled, I thought, well, this is certainly no chore to read, being nicely written and with the possibility of a great story to come.


…and whoosh, there it was. I turned the page to the POV of Hilda, the first wife, and the book bloomed, opened up, emerged from black and white into glorious technicolour.  Hilda’s story went back as far as her grandparents’ experience in San Francisco Gold Rush days, and on to the making of that city, the role of women in the Victorian era, life in a small Bavarian village, changing times and growing problems in Europe, to do with Germany’s place in the world – I was gripped, all the way through.  Hilda and her grandmother were so alive, and aside from being a great story with wonderful characters, it was historically informative.  Fascinating.  Loved it.

Next came Katie’s POV, and at first I still liked it a lot, as I read about her family tragedies, the aftermath of WW1 and Berlin’s ‘Roaring Twenties’, the effects of American’s Great Depression on the rest of the world, the Nazi party’s growing control, and her and lover Josef’s route out.  Then the lead up to the WW2 … and I’m afraid it all went a bit flat for me, and became nothing more than a factual account of someone’s life. Events are recorded, but without emotion; all we ever learn is that the threat to Josef, a Jew, was ‘very unsettling’.  I read of their luck at being able to move from one place to another just in time, before the Gestapo established travel restrictions, but it was no more thrilling to read about than the sentence I have just written.  There was no emotion, no action, no feeling of danger, no story, just an account.

I was disappointed by my disappointment, if you know what I mean, because I loved the book so much earlier on; for instance, Katie’s only brother, Karl, joins the Nazi party and gains a position of authority, but that’s all—we never hear about him again, and there is no story attached to this.  At the end there is another little twist, but it seems almost like an afterthought.  


Four stars on Amazon because Hilda’s part was absolutely 5* plus, and because the author writes in an extremely accessible fashion, so that even the 3* bits were no effort to read.  I would recommend it to readers who like a family drama and are interested in reading about the history of the times mentioned – it’s worth getting just for the middle section.

Book description

Surviving two wars, sharing one husband, searching for answers.

A secret compartment in a black lacquer cabinet left in an attic reveals the secrets of two incredible women: Hilda, born and raised in one of the wealthiest Jewish families in turn-of-the-century San Francisco, and Katie, whose early life in Germany is marked by tragedy and death. Their lives are forever entwined by their love of the same man, the brilliant and compassionate Dr. Josef Samson.

From the earliest, rough-and-tumble days of San Francisco, through the devastation of the Great War in Berlin and the terrors of Vichy France, and then to a new yet uncertain life in New York City, their stories span the most tumultuous events of the twentieth century. In the end, one of these women will complete the life of the other and make a startling discovery about the husband they share.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

55990888. sy475

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #ContemporaryFiction THE SHADE UNDER THE MANGO TREE by Evy Journey

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

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading The Shade Of The Mango Tree by Evy Journey

55779921. sy475

3.5*

This book was not as I expected from the blurb.  I did enjoy much of it, even though I was expecting to read about human relationships in general, travel, adventures in and the cultures of countries far away; however, this aspect of it does not start until Part 5, at 72% in the Kindle version.  For the most part, this book is a romance.

Luna and Lucien are two rather humourless, intense young people, both so introspective that I felt the powerful love between them was more about seeing a reflection of themselves in each other.  They meet because Luna leaves her journal in a café they both frequent, and Lucien finds and reads it.  I liked the beginning of the book, when Luna is young and spends her summers with her beloved grandmother in Hawaii; this came alive for me, making me feel nostalgic for a place I had never been to, which is always a good sign.  The grandmother was lovely, and I enjoyed reading about the life there.  As Luna grows older, falls in love for the first time and discovers secrets about her family, her naïveté is a little irritating, and I found Lucien’s obsession with her and her journal a little creepy.

I could easily have skipped the drawn-out detail about their love affair to get to by far the most interesting part of the book: Luna’s experiences in Cambodia.  I had limited knowledge about this country, and what I read made me want to find out more, so this certainly ticked a box.  

As for the writing itself, it flows very well, and the author writes nicely, though I found the dialogue rather unrealistic, particularly between Luna and Lucien. Much of the book is written in journal entry and letters between the two main characters, a structure I like, and alternates between their two points of view.  I found the main characters too bland to care much what happened between or to them, but this is only personal taste; other readers may see this story as a beautiful romance.  Had there been more about Hawaii and Cambodia and less about Lucien and Luna’s self-absorption, I might have loved it.

Book description

After two heartbreaking losses, Luna wants adventure. Something and somewhere very different from the affluent, sheltered home in California and Hawaii where she grew up. An adventure in which she can also make some difference. She travels to a foreign place where she gets more than she bargained for.

Lucien, a worldly, well-traveled young architect, finds a stranger’s journal at a café. He has qualms and pangs of guilt about reading it. But they don’t stop him. His decision to go on reading changes his life.

Months later, Luna and Lucien meet at a bookstore where Luna works and which Lucien frequents. Still hurting from her losses, Luna finds solace in Lucien’s company and his tales of world travel.

Inspired by Lucien, she goes to Cambodia. What she goes through in one of its rice-growing villages defies anything she could have imagined.

An epistolary tale of courage, love and loss, and the bonds that bring diverse people together.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

55779921. sy475

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Mystery Jane in St. Pete by @CynthiaHarriso1

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Jane In St. Pete by Cynthia Harrison

55976700. sy475

4 out of 5 stars

Art lecturer Jane Chasen is recently widowed and moves from Detroit to live within a community in Florida.  Shortly after her arrival, she admires a neighbour’s unusual art installation – but then a murder takes place.  Detective Jesse Singer wants her help when dissecting the art angle of the case, and together with friend Kim and neighbour George, Jane sets out to help solve the mystery.  Also involved is FBI agent Barb, who has a special relationship with George.

It’s clear from the book that Ms Harrison is familiar with this part of Florida, and she makes it sound idyllic.  There is quite a lot of most interesting detail about Jane’s loveless marriage to the late Stan, and I couldn’t help feeling glad for her that she was able to start this new chapter in her life, despite the difficulties with her daughter, who accuses her of being glad her father is dead.  Jane is fifty-five; I very much liked the way in which she is not written as an ‘older woman’, but simply how your average fifty-five year old is, these days – still wearing cool clothes, being up for adventure and new experiences, and a new love relationship.  She could have been any age from thirty to sixty-five-ish.

The novel is nicely written, perfectly presented, and a cosy ‘easy read’; the sort of story to be relax with after a long, busy day.  Good for women who want to read about older female main characters – and I must just drop this quote in, that I really liked:

Jane felt bad for George. Young people didn’t get it.  Love wasn’t fate or soul mates, it was just hormones that evaporated with time.’

Book description

Widowed art lecturer Jane Chasen is not an impulsive woman. Why, then, does the formerly methodical workaholic quit her job, sell her house, and move from Detroit to Florida? Instead of pondering her atypical behavior, she takes a closer look at a neighbor’s intriguing outdoor art installation. Days later, Detective Jesse Singer discovers the murdered artist in his studio. With Jane’s help, Singer finds the victim’s bloody shirt, inexplicably located within Jane’s gated community. Singer knows nothing about art, and as he closely questions Jane, she offers to help with the art angle of the case. Singer soon takes Jane up on her offer. Then, Jane begins to receive anonymous threats. Singer, determined to protect Jane, keeps her closer to his side than ever—she’s not complaining.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

55976700. sy475

Rosie’s #BookReview Of End Of The World #Thriller APPARENT HORIZON by Patrick Morgan

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Apparent Horizon by Patrick Morgan

55411702

4*
This was a terrific story, a most original idea that would make a marvellous film or miniseries. Three friends, Michael, Drew and Aaron, get together on the eve of Drew’s wedding. Aaron, who works on top secret projects at NASA, tells the other two about a gamma ray burst that will hit the southern hemisphere the next day. He warns that it will quickly destroy the food chain, cause massive radiation and thus end human life on earth, sooner rather than later. Basically, the world is about to end.
During Drew’s wedding the sky does indeed light up at exactly the time Aaron predicted, but the news media dismisses it as a harmless event, as he warned would happen.
The story is written in the third person POV of Michael, and details his reactions to this news, and the effect it has on him. Having always been an introverted sort of guy who lived a ‘safe’ life, he wonders if, now that there is so little time left, he can let loose a part of himself that he is not even sure exists.
The characters are all clearly defined, and the dialogue is great—you know it’s good when you don’t feel as though you’re ‘reading dialogue’, as I didn’t, in this. The plot itself is extremely well thought out, with plenty of surprises, though a few warning bells did ring for me early on. On the whole I enjoyed reading it, though I found it somewhat lacking in suspense; there was too much ‘Michael did this, then Michael did that’. I thought some of the detail could have been edited out; a loss of around twenty-per cent could have made it sharper, fast-paced, more of a page-turner.  t just needed a bit more pizazz, to do justice to the excellent plot. I also expected a final twist that never came; okay, I’d actually decided what it would be, but this is Patrick Morgan’s book, not mine!
This is a commendable first novel, and I’m sure that the author will develop his style as he continues to write. Nice one.
Book description
With no tomorrow, what are we capable of today?

On the eve of his best friend’s wedding, Michael is warned by an old classmate, now a NASA scientist, that a gamma ray burst from a nearby exploding star will hit the Earth the following morning at 11:13 a.m. – an incident that will irrevocably destroy the ozone layer, disrupt the food chain, and ultimately prove cataclysmic for all life on the planet.

Michael and the groom-to-be, Drew, laugh off the prediction as a demented joke. However, at precisely 11:13 a.m. the next day, a blinding light in the sky disrupts Drew’s wedding. News media outlets dismiss the cosmic event as a harmless phenomenon, but Michael knows better. Wrestling with the burden of his truth, uncertain of how much time he has left or just what to do with it, Michael finds himself alienated from everything and everyone he’s ever known.

Under Drew’s influence, Michael begins to transform his rather mundane life, previously shackled by powerlessness and fear, into something more unrestrained and ultimately dangerous. Feeling the weight of an unseen doomsday clock ticking his final days away, he pushes the moral envelope further and further on a quest for control over his own reality – no matter who might suffer for it.

55411702

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Coming-Of-Age #Mystery THE BOY AND THE LAKE by Adam Pelzman #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading The Boy And The Lake by Adam Pelzman

54904974. sy475

From the blurb, I thought this book would be dark and plot-driven; it mentions protagonist Ben’s suspicions about a body found floating in the lake, thus: As Ben’s suspicions mount, he’s forced to confront the terrifying possibility that his close-knit community is not what it seems to be—that, beneath a façade of prosperity and contentment, darker forces may be at work. I expected all sorts of sinister revelations, but Ben’s questions surrounding the death of Helen Lowenthal form the background rather than the main story—though when his answer arrives, it is shocking indeed. I love a good twist within a twist that I didn’t even half-guess, and this certainly ticked that box.

Essentially, this is a coming-of-age novel. Although I think it could have done with a little more plot, the writing itself is spectacularly good, of much literary merit, making it a joy to read. The subtleties of the characters, traditions and social protocols of the Jewish community in the 1960s were acutely observed, as were the marital problems of Ben’s parents, his mother’s neuroses, and his own burgeoning drink problem. Later, the lake by which the community lives is contaminated, which I took to be allegorical of not only the underlying problems within the society that was Red Meadow, but the 1960s themselves—the corruption and unrest beneath the image of hope, prosperity, revolution and the Summer of Love. Or perhaps I’m reading too much into it.

It’s one of those books that I didn’t absolutely love because of personal preference about genre, but I can appreciate is first class of its type. Should complex family intrigue, stunningly good writing, coming-of-age dramas and the strange new world of the 1960s be totally your thing, I would recommend that you buy and start reading this immediately. And the ending is perfect.

Book description

Set against the backdrop of the Newark riots in 1967, a teenage Benjamin Baum leaves the city to spend the summer at an idyllic lake in northern New Jersey. While fishing from his grandparents’ dock, the dead body of a beloved neighbor floats to the water’s surface—a loss that shakes this Jewish community and reveals cracks in what appeared to be a perfect middle-class existence. Haunted by the sight of the woman’s corpse, Ben stubbornly searches for clues to her death, infuriating friends and family who view his unwelcome investigation as a threat to the comfortable lives they’ve built. As Ben’s suspicions mount, he’s forced to confront the terrifying possibility that his close-knit community is not what it seems to be—that, beneath a façade of prosperity and contentment, darker forces may be at work.

In The Boy and the Lake, Adam Pelzman has crafted a riveting coming-of-age story and a mystery rich in historical detail, exploring an insular world where the desperate quest for the American dream threatens to destroy both a family and a way of life.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

54904974. sy475

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Family Saga Set In Wales, THE COVENANT by @ThorneMoore @honno

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

Terry has been reading The Covenant by Thorne Moore

55033078. sy475

5 out of 5 stars

This doom-laden tale about the Owen family and their land begins with a mystery: the discovery of a body, declared to be that that of Leah Owen, who happens to be the main character of the novel—but this is in no way a spoiler.  If anything, it provided added intrigue to the story, which then goes back in time to Leah’s childhood.  Much later, the why and how of the initial chapter comes as a total surprise.

Life on Cwmderwen is hard, with strict adherence to the word of God—and that of Thomas Owen, head of the family, who becomes a religious zealot to the point of insanity after the death of his eldest son.  Leah’s entire life is ruled by duty to family and farm, and the restrictions of religion.  Her bright childhood spirit is quelled by bereavement and loss of love—happiness is snatched from her at every turn.  Aside from the day to day problems (scratching a living, troublesome rellies and a wrathful killjoy of a god), Leah also has to contend with the malignant presence of slimy businessman Eli John, who has unwelcome influence over their lives.

I was completely absorbed in this book all the way through; it’s so well-written, every character clearly defined, every piece of research unobtrusive (and it is clear that the author knows her subject so well), every dark, dismal day in the Welsh valleys so real.  Although it is most definitely worth 5* for the quality of the writing and the story itself, I was initially going to take off a half star because of personal taste; I found this book more depressing than any novel of stark dystopian futures, simply because of the lives wasted and made unhappy because of the barmy religious and social protocols of the day.  But the end was uplifting indeed, enough to make me revise that; Thorne Moore, you have earned that extra half star!

If you love nitty-gritty, no-frills family sagas set in relatively recent times, you will ADORE this.  Even if they’re not quite your thing, you’ll still love it.  I did.  I read at the end that it’s actually a prequel to A Time For Silence, which I have just bought.  There—that proves I loved it!

Book description

The Owens are tied to this Pembrokeshire land – no-one will part them from it.

Leah is tied to home and hearth by debts of love and duty – duty to her father, turned religious zealot after the tragic death of his eldest son, Tom; love for her wastrel younger brother Frank’s two motherless children. One of them will escape, the other will be doomed to follow in their grandfather’s footsteps.

At the close of the 19th century, Cwmderwen’stwenty-four acres, one rood and eight perches are hardwon, the holding run down over the years by debt and poor harvest. But they are all the Owens have and their rent is always paid on time. With Tom’s death a crack is opened up and into this chink in the fabric of the family step Jacob John and his wayward son Eli, always on the lookout for an opportunity.

Saving her family, good and bad, saving Cwmderwen, will change Leah forever and steal her dreams, perhaps even her life…

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

55033078. sy475

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Dystopia Knight In paper Armor by @NicholasConley1

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Knight In Paper Armor by Nicholas Conley

55286947. sy475

Billy Jakobek was born with powerful psychic abilities and has lived most of his life in a town called Heaven’s Hole, under the care of the Thorne Corporation that dominates America.  Billy absorbs the physical pain, trauma and memories of everyone he meets, which, most of the time, causes him fear and sadness.  He is frequently visited by an entity called The Shape, which he perceives as being the darkness in man, and which predicts a calamitous future for mankind.

At school, Billy meets Natalia, with whom he feels an immediate, powerful connection—it is more than just attraction.  Elsewhere, we learn more about Billy’s ‘Mother’, aka scientist Roseanne, and Caleb Thorne himself.  I liked that the author wrote chapters from Roseanne and Caleb’s point of view, too, as it shows us what is really going on behind the scenes—and what Caleb’s plans are once he has harnessed Billy’s powers.

I liked the feeling of depressed doom about the town of Heaven’s Hole, in which immigrant workers live and work in appalling conditions, though I would have liked to know more about it, and also how the country came to be how it is now—more background would have been welcome.

The characterisation is good; I had a clear picture of who each of the main players were, and the dialogue is strong and realistic, the emotions portrayed well.  What I was not so keen on was the frequency of inner thoughts in italics (on just about every page), and the fact that the book was more YA-orientated than I thought it would be; I would class it as a YA book even though it is not listed as such.  One can have enough ‘teen speak’.

I thought this book would be very much my cup of tea, though it wasn’t so, but it’s good of its type, and it is clear that a lot of work and thought has gone into it; and the aspects I was not so keen on are down to personal taste rather than there being anything wrong with the book.  I’ve given it 3.5* for how much I enjoyed it, though it’s worthy of 4* for readers who enjoy teen-supernatural books with powerful themes of good and evil, and the overcoming of light over dark.

Book description

Billy Jakobek has always been different. Born with strange and powerful psychic abilities, he has grown up in the laboratories of Thorne Century, a ruthless megacorporation that economically, socially, and politically dominates American society. Every day, Billy absorbs the emotional energies, dreams, and traumas of everyone he meets—from his grandmother’s memories of the Holocaust, to the terror his sheer existence inflicts upon his captors—and he yearns to break free, so he can use his powers to help others.

Natalia Gonzalez, a rebellious artist and daughter of Guatemalan immigrants, lives in Heaven’s Hole, an industrial town built inside a meteor crater, where the poverty-stricken population struggles to survive the nightmarish working conditions of the local Thorne Century factory. Natalia takes care of her ailing mother, her grandmother, and her two younger brothers, and while she dreams of escape, she knows she cannot leave her family behind.

When Billy is transferred to Heaven’s Hole, his chance encounter with Natalia sends shockwaves rippling across the blighted landscape. The two outsiders are pitted against the all-powerful monopoly, while Billy experiences visions of an otherworldly figure known as the Shape, which prophesizes an apocalyptic future that could decimate the world they know.

AmazonUk | AmazonUS

55286947. sy475

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Terry Reviews #Thriller DARK OAKS by Charlie Vincent

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Dark Oaks by Charlie Vincent

55077460. sy475

When I started reading this book I was at once impressed by the writing style and enjoyed reading about wealthy doctor Charles Mason and his ritzy lifestyle in Monaco; there was a certain dry humour about his observations and the narrative flowed well.  There were a few minor proofreading errors which I could overlook, because I liked what I was reading.

Charles wakes up on the morning after his extravagant annual party to find that everything is not as it should be, in a big way.  The book then moves to Dark Oaks, his ancestral home in rural Hampshire.

It is clear that the author knows Monaco well, and I liked reading about the lifestyle of the rich and famous with whom Charles mingled, but there is a little too much detail that is not relevant to the rest of the book.  Throughout, there are long blocks of description, much of it superfluous, which is unbroken by dialogue and slows down the plot, not least of all a long paragraph describing the making of a sandwich, and a wince-making piece of exposition in which Charles has the phrase ‘chop shop’ explained to him, which is clearly only there to explain to the reader (I thought it unlikely that Charles would not have known what a chop shop was, and ditto most readers).

The book is basically well-written, and the plot is interesting, but the novel is not structured well.  The history of the family is told in backstory when Charles gets to Hampshire; an initial few chapters set in the past, at the beginning, would have set the scene much more effectively, and linked the Monaco and Hampshire sections together – once Charles got to Hampshire I felt as though I was reading a completely different story, with the sudden introduction of a number of new characters who had not been mentioned before.  To sum up, there is much to commend about this book, but I think it could use a bit more thinking through and the hand of a good content editor.

Book description

New Year’s Eve. The turn of the millennium. A tragic accident results in the death of Charles Mason’s parents, his sister-in-law, and her unborn child. His army officer brother, Robert, is the only survivor.

Unable to come to terms with the loss, Charles moves abroad and tries to forget the past.

Twenty-two years later, things start to go badly wrong for him. Two of his friends go missing, his boat is stolen, and his bank account is emptied. Scared and unsure of what to do, Charles returns to England to ask Robert for help.

As the two brothers begin investigating who is behind the crimes, they uncover evidence that somebody out there has been masterminding the death of their entire bloodline over the course of decades, and they are next in line.

Can Charles and Robert bring their nemesis out of the shadows and fight back, or are they doomed to follow the same fate as the rest of their family?

AmazonUk | AmazonUS

55077460. sy475

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT THE LOST BLACKBIRD: An emotional dramas based on true life events by @LizaPerrat

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading The Lost Blackbird by Liza Perrat

54822591. sy475

This book is certainly an eye-opener.  In the 1950s and 60s (and as late as 1970), children were taken from English children’s homes for a ‘better life’ in Australia.  Sometimes the children were orphans, other times they were in care because the parents were temporarily unable to look after them, and they were shipped off without parental consent.  A few were fortunate, and were adopted by families, but most were used as slave labour on farms, until they were sixteen, when they would be sent to cattle stations to serve an ‘apprenticeship’ – more slave labour.  Most suffered permanent separation from siblings and families in England.

This is the fictional story of Londoners Lucy and Charly Rivers who ended up in ‘care’ (a brutal, regimental establishment) after their mother was wrongly convicted of having killed their father.  When Charly was six and Lucy ten, they were put on a boat with many others, to sail to the other side of the world.

The story alternates between that of Lucy and Charly, who fare very differently.  I found Charly’s story absolutely fascinating, and it was so well written by Ms Perrat; it involved a slow brainwashing until by the time she was sixteen she was not sure what was a memory and what a fantasy or dream; the way in which she tried to capture fleeting images was perfectly illustrated, as was the behaviour of the people who perpetrated this; the gradual unravelling was riveting stuff.  Lucy’s story was so tragic and I was equally engrossed in the first two thirds or so, though I was less convinced by a couple of developments later on.

The book is certainly a page-turner, nicely structured, making me eager to know what would happen next, as hope twinkles in the distance for the characters, then disappears. The writing flows well, and I’d definitely recommend it to any readers who enjoy emotional dramas based on true life events – the fact that all this stuff actually happened gives a hugely compelling slant to the whole story.  At the end of the book, Ms Perrat writes about her research process, giving details of some of the books she used for reference, which has now added to my reading list, too!  I give her a round of applause for bringing these heinous crimes to light in this highly readable novel.

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

54822591. sy475

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

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here, https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Fame & Fortune by Carol J Hedges

5 stars

This is the eighth book in Carol Hedges’ Victorian murder mystery, featuring officers of the law Stride and Cully.  The story starts with a mysterious hanging and the theft of rare Japanese artefacts, and takes the crime-fighting duo to the seediest areas of London and then off to more upmarket districts to see out the Black brothers, Herbert and Munro; Munro runs gambling clubs, while Herbert is often abroad, taking care of his trading empire – but what is he selling?

Running through the main story are a couple of juicy sub-plots – that of a romantic novelist accused by an aristocrat of using his marital dramas as a plot for her novels, and the tale of Izzy, a ten-year-old who works painting furniture for dolls’ houses by day, and washing dishes by night, then goes home to share a mattress with her uncaring mother in an unsavoury boarding house.

Fame & Fortune is up there with the rest of this series, a delight to read, as Ms Hedges spins her story around artfully-drawn characters, at the same time as highlighting the social injustices of the day.  Izzy’s story, in particular, is heartrending.  Another winner; if you haven’t read any of this series, they’re all completely stand-alone, even though certain threads are carried on throughout.  Highly recommended. 

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 |