Review: As Death Draws Near (Lady Darby Mystery #5) by Anna Lee Huber

First of all, let me start out by saying how much I love this series. I love the chemistry between Gage and Kiera so much and each mystery reads very quickly. I’ve been binge reading the books since spring break so here we are with the fifth mystery which puts me officially caught up on the series.

June 1831. In the midst of their idyllic honeymoon in England’s Lake District, Kiera and Gage’s seclusion is soon interrupted by a missive from her new father-in-law. A deadly incident involving a distant relative of the Duke of Wellington has taken place at an abbey south of Dublin, Ireland, and he insists that Kiera and Gage look into the matter.

Intent on discovering what kind of monster could murder a woman of the cloth, the couple travel to Rathfarnham Abbey school. Soon a second nun is slain in broad daylight near a classroom full of young girls. With the sinful killer growing bolder, the mother superior would like to send the students home, but the growing civil unrest in Ireland would make the journey treacherous.

Before long, Kiera starts to suspect that some of the girls may be hiding a sinister secret. With the killer poised to strike yet again, Kiera and Gage must make haste and unmask the fiend, before their matrimonial bliss comes to an untimely end (summary from Goodreads).

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Review: All the Best People by Sonja Yoerg

I’ve come to hold Sonja Yoerg novels in very high esteem. They are usually very thought provoking, well written, and real. So naturally when this book came across my desk for review, I was thrilled. Though the description sounded slightly different than something I would expect from Yoerg’s novels…..this one had a magic element which surprised me.

While this was unexpected, I love books with magical realism and magic themes so I was even more excited to read this one than I was her other novels.

Vermont, 1972. Carole LaPorte has a satisfying, ordinary life. She cares for her children, balances the books for the family’s auto shop and laughs when her husband slow dances her across the kitchen floor. Her tragic childhood might have happened to someone else.

But now her mind is playing tricks on her. The accounts won’t reconcile and the murmuring she hears isn’t the television. She ought to seek help, but she’s terrified of being locked away in a mental hospital like her mother, Solange.

So Carole hides her symptoms, withdraws from her family and unwittingly sets her eleven-year-old daughter Alison on a desperate search for meaning and power: in Tarot cards, in omens from a nearby river and in a mysterious blue glass box belonging to her grandmother.

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Review: A Study in Death (Lady Darby Mystery #4) by Anna Lee Huber

After reading the third Lady Darby book, I hoped this one would return to better investigations as the third book investigation left me feeling a little on the wanting side. While it was still a four star book for me, I simply felt like I needed more out of the next book. The relationship between Gage and Kiera saved the third book for me so I was hoping this one would improve the series.

I am happy to report that this book had a lot more mystery and it was a bit darker which I liked. It reminded me of the earlier mystery that Gage and Kiera worked on so in that regard I was much more invested in the whodunit element of the story.

Scotland, 1831. After a tumultuous courtship complicated by three deadly inquiries, Lady Kiera Darby is thrilled to have found both an investigative partner and a fiancé in Sebastian Gage. But with her well-meaning—and very pregnant—sister planning on making their wedding the event of the season, Kiera could use a respite from the impending madness.

Commissioned to paint the portrait of Lady Drummond, Kiera is saddened when she recognizes the pain in the baroness’s eyes. Lord Drummond is a brute, and his brusque treatment of his wife forces Kiera to think of the torment caused by her own late husband.

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Review: Beyond the Wild River by Sarah Maine

One of the things that caught my eye about this book was that it’s marketed to fans of Kate Morton and Beatriz Williams. Both of these authors have a very unique and lyrical storytelling style and their books are typically family sagas or dramas with hints of romance.

So when I read this marketing description I was totally intrigued by this book and wanted to read it. I also loved that this book sounded highly atmospheric and suspenseful, though it’s set in North America it is about a Scottish heiress who unexpectedly encounters her childhood friend in North America in 1890, five years after he disappeared from her family’s estate the night of a double murder.

Nineteen-year-old Evelyn Ballantyre has rarely strayed from her family’s estate in the Scottish Borderlands, save for the occasional trip to Edinburgh, where her father, a respected magistrate, conducts his business—and affairs of another kind. Evelyn has always done her duty as a daughter, hiding her boredom and resentment behind good manners—so when an innocent friendship with a servant is misinterpreted by her father as an illicit union, Evelyn is appalled.

Yet the consequence is a welcome one: she is to accompany her father on a trip to North America, where they’ll visit New York City, the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, and conclude with a fishing expedition on the Nipigon River in Canada. Now is her chance to escape her cloistered life, see the world, and reconnect with her father.

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Review: A Grave Matter (Lady Darby Mystery #3) by Anna Lee Huber

While my reviews of the Lady Darby mysteries are rather spread out, that does not mean that I read them sporadically. On the contrary, I read them in rather rapid succession but decided to spreat out the reviews so as not to overshadow other books that I had on my review calendar.

The Lady Darby mysteries have won a place in my heart as a beloved lady detective series, all thanks in part to the electric romance between her and Gage, and all the Gothic elements that I adore in books.

In this latest book, the Gothic element was a rather macabre burglary of sorts……stealing long dead skeletons. I loved the dark deserted graveyards and Abbeys, in remote locations of Scotland, paired with the creepy implication that perhaps the bodies rose from the dead.

Scotland, 1830. Following the death of her dear friend, Lady Kiera Darby is in need of a safe haven. Returning to her childhood home, Kiera hopes her beloved brother Trevor and the merriment of the Hogmanay Ball will distract her. But when a caretaker is murdered and a grave is disturbed at nearby Dryburgh Abbey, Kiera is once more thrust into the cold grasp of death.

While Kiera knows that aiding in another inquiry will only further tarnish her reputation, her knowledge of anatomy could make the difference in solving the case. But agreeing to investigate means Kiera must deal with the complicated emotions aroused in her by inquiry agent Sebastian Gage. (more…)

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