Review: Cocoa Beach by Beatriz Williams

I am a total fan girl of Beatriz Williams, let’s just get that out of the way right off the bat. I love her books. She has a beautiful, lyrical story telling style and I am almost always completely engrossed in her novels!

This novel was all over my Twitter feed for weeks and I broke down and bought it because I couldn’t pass up such an interesting sounding novel plus it’s set in WWI so you know I was all over that!

Burdened by a dark family secret, Virginia Fortescue flees her oppressive home in New York City for the battlefields of World War I France. While an ambulance driver for the Red Cross, she meets a charismatic British army surgeon whose persistent charm opens her heart to the possibility of love. As the war rages, Virginia falls into a passionate affair with the dashing Captain Simon Fitzwilliam, only to discover that his past has its own dark secrets—secrets that will damage their eventual marriage and propel her back across the Atlantic to the sister and father she left behind.

Five years later, in the early days of Prohibition, the newly widowed Virginia Fitzwilliam arrives in the tropical boomtown of Cocoa Beach, Florida, to settle her husband’s estate. Despite the evidence, Virginia does not believe Simon perished in the fire that destroyed the seaside home he built for her and their young daughter. Separated from her husband since the early days of their marriage, the headstrong Virginia plans to uncover the truth, for the sake of the daughter Simon never met.

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Review: In Farleigh Field: A Novel of World War II by Rhys Bowen

Rhys Bowen is probably best known for her Royal Spyness Mysteries series and her Molly Murphy Mysteries. She typically writes cozy mysteries, so when this book came across my desk for review, it sounded like something completely new for her which is why I decided to try it.

I’ve been reading a lot of cozy mysteries lately and welcomed a little break. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from this one. The title suggests more literature, ‘A Novel of World War II’ says more literature rather than mystery to me. But yet the description sounded more mystery. Either way, I liked what I saw for the description and ultimately said yes to the book.

World War II comes to Farleigh Place, the ancestral home of Lord Westerham and his five daughters, when a soldier with a failed parachute falls to his death on the estate. After his uniform and possessions raise suspicions, MI5 operative and family friend Ben Cresswell is covertly tasked with determining if the man is a German spy.

The assignment also offers Ben the chance to be near Lord Westerham’s middle daughter, Pamela, whom he furtively loves. But Pamela has her own secret: she has taken a job at Bletchley Park, the British code-breaking facility.

As Ben follows a trail of spies and traitors, which may include another member of Pamela’s family, he discovers that some within the realm have an appalling, history-altering agenda. Can he, with Pamela’s help, stop them before England falls?

Inspired by the events and people of World War II, writer Rhys Bowen crafts a sweeping and riveting saga of class, family, love, and betrayal (summary from Goodreads). (more…)

Review: A Death by Any Other Name (Lady Montfort Mystery #3) by Tessa Arlen

I am always on the look out for new murder mysteries, preferably with a female lead ‘detectives’ and set in England. While this isn’t my first novel by this author, it felt new to me. I read Tessa Arlen’s first book in this series, DEATH OF A DISHONORABLE GENTLEMAN, back in early 2015 and though I wasn’t completely hooked at the beginning, I was invested enough to finish it and was rewarded for my tenacity.

I didn’t read the second book in this series for some reason, but when the third book came up for review it sounded rather good so I decided to give her books another go. I wish now that I had read the second book before this one, but over all, the third book read find as a ‘stand alone’.

Set in the day leading up to WWI, the elegant Lady Montfort and her redoubtable housekeeper, Mrs. Jackson, investigate a murder among a group of amateur rose-breeders. When Mrs. Jackson receives a visit from a cook who believes she was an indirect witness to murder from a poisoned dish of breakfast kedgeree Lady Montfort promises to do what she can to clear the cook’s name, and contrives an invitation to Hyde Castle, the home of a self-made millionaire, to investigate a murder of concealed passions and secret desires.

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Review: No Man’s Land by Simon Tolkien

So an embarrassing full literary disclosure….I have never read any of The Lord of the Rings books so I have no first hand knowledge of JRR Tolkien’s writing abilities but the popularity of the series speaks for itself. Many have praised this debut novel by Simon Tolkien (JRR’s grandson), as worthy of the Tolkien name in the literary world.

When this novel came across my desk for review, the last name of course immediately captured my attention and I was eager to see what the novel was about. Obviously the Tolkien name carries a lot of clout in the literary world but I wondered if this new author would be able to live up to the famous family name?

The title and cover imply that it’s a WWI period novel so right there it was an easy ‘yes I’ll review the novel’ response! Edwardian era and WWI England are a sure way to my literary heart.

From the slums of London to the riches of an Edwardian country house; from the hot, dark seams of a Yorkshire coalmine to the exposed terrors of the trenches, Adam Raine’s journey from boy to man is set against the backdrop of a society violently entering the modern world.

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Review: Victoria by Daisy Goodwin

I am going to preface this post by saying that Queen Victoria is absolutely my favorite queen! I’ve had my eye on this book for MONTHS waiting for it to come out.

When this came up for review I literally jumped for joy. So I was already geared up to love this one but my biggest fear was that because I was so excited to read it that I didn’t want to be let down if it wasn’t good.

Well my fears were entirely unfounded! This was an excellent read!

Less than a month after her eighteenth birthday, a young Alexandrina Victoria is roused from bed with the news that her uncle has died and she is now Queen of England.

The men who run the country have doubts about whether this sheltered young woman can rule the greatest nation in the world. Surely she must rely on her mother and her adviser, Sir John Conroy, or her uncle, the Duke of Cumberland, who are all too eager to relieve her of the burdens of power.

She has very definite ideas about the kind of queen she wants to be, and the first thing is to choose her name.

Everyone keeps saying she is destined to marry her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, but Victoria found him dull and priggish when they met three years ago. She is quite happy being queen with the help of her prime minister, Lord Melbourne, who may be old enough to be her father but is the first person to take her seriously.
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