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THIEF’S MARK: A Suspenseful Mystery ~Carla Neggers

Monday, September 18th, 2017

“A murder in a quiet English village, long-buried secrets and a man’s search for answers about his traumatic past entangle FBI agents Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan in the latest edge-of-your-seat Sharpe & Donovan novel”

THIEF’S MARK begins with Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan finishing up their honeymoon by visiting Emma’s Grandfather in Dublin as they begin their journey back to New England.   Grandfather has started an Art Recovery Business, which he still works on finding and recovering art and Emma’s brother has taken over the business at the New England office.  Wendell enters the Inn, out of breath and finally shares that his home has been broken into and he has not yet called law enforcement onto the scene.   The story keeps a steady pace of new mystery and questions and then a few answers.

Sharpe and Donovan think they have a lead and head to England and Oliver York’s country home where another murder has implicated York and a retired MI6 Officer. Oliver as a young boy was kidnapped and witnessed his parent’s brutal murders and the case has never been solved.  Sharpe and Donovan do not believe that York committed the crime and with perseverance and a cast of interesting characters they figure it out.

The story takes place in the UK, Ireland, and New England.  There is lots of background material and the descriptions of the countryside and the seaside are very good.  The story has a complexity, which holds the reader’s attention and makes it difficult to put the book aside.  Fortunately, I had several days to travel through this story to resolution and truly enjoyed curling up with this good read.

Mystery readers and murder mystery readers will truly enjoy this story and the revelations of the plot.  The farm and garden recovery added a nice dimension to the aspects of the story, and then there was another body discovered!

I did not feel as though I had an art history lesson or that the story was as fast paced as say the Di Vinci Code, but it was a good read and engaging.  The writing was good and captivating.  I was touched by Oliver’s recovery from the trauma and how he was coming to terms with having a future as an adult.

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Carla Neggers is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 60 novels, including her popular Sharpe and Donovan and Swift River Valley series. Her books have been translated into 24 languages and sold in over 35 countries. A frequent traveler to Ireland, Carla lives with her family in New England. To learn more and to sign up for her newsletter, visit CarlaNeggers.com.

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A MOTHER LIKE MINE: A novel ~Kate Hewitt

Monday, September 4th, 2017

A MOTHER LIKE MINE just surrounds the reader with a comfortable story about a mother – daughter relationship that has been sorely damaged over time and yet it has been primed and opened up for a new beginning.  The story is situated in a small coastal village in the UK and both women have a command of their feelings and the ability to have complete and honest conversation.   It is a refreshing story. There is hope.

Abby Rhodes has lost her ability to stay in university to become a Vet because she now has a very young son and she has lost her fiancé to an accident.  She returns home to assist her grandmother in keeping a small café open to the tourists, hikers, and beach visitors.  They are just holding on and doing okay when her grandmother has a first heart attack.    Abby’s mother, Laura, left Abby with grandmother when she was two and so the struggle continues now with her delightful son, Noah.  The future feels like more struggles ahead.

Surprise!  Laura has returned home to stay after working her way to the US and recently has been let go of her position as a Night Club assistant manager and hostess.  She feels that she is ready to face a good future and she wants to be reunited with her mother and child.  Her focus is totally on the future and she does not want to revisit the past and all of her mistakes and troubles.  The duo is off to a hard start and then Gran has another huge heart attack.  They are forced to have the hard conversations and seek out a future.

The community is very fun that surrounds this family and there are quirky and delightful characters coming into the café for coffee and toasties, a number of friendships are developing.  I liked the language and the poignant and satisfying conversations as feelings were revealed and explored.   Quite a delightful read and it arrived just in time for a rainy weekend and a time to curl up and read.

Booklist says:

“At turns introspective and exhilarating, this novel proves that it’s never too late to start over.”

Kate Hewitt is the USA Today bestselling author of more than fifty books, including the Hartley-by-the-Sea novels Rainy Day Sisters and Now and Then Friends, and more recently, the Willoughby Close series. A former New Yorker, she now lives in Wales with her husband five children. She also writes as Katharine Swartz.

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THE GIRL IN THE RED COAT: A Review ~Kate Hamer

Monday, August 14th, 2017

I could not put THE GIRL IN THE RED COAT down; I had to read well into the night as this abduction – suspense story just held me captive.  When I did go to bed, I was still thinking about the story and how I might resolve it, as I did not skip to the end to see how it concluded.  The writing was superb and I think many, many people will want to read this story and then Hamer’s next and next and next book.

“Compulsively readable…Beautifully written and unpredictable, I had to stop myself racing to the end to find out what happened.” —Rosamund Lupton (Sister)

A smart and dreamy little girl no longer wishes to hold onto her mother’s hand at the book festival and as the fog rolls in she starts to wander into stories, that she finds under the sales table – the two are separated and a feisty man leads the child away.  The fear and sadness of the mother just filled my whole being and I was deeply hooked into story

  • An Amazon Best Book of the Year for 2016
  • Costa Book Award for First Novel finalist
  • Dagger Award finalist

As a new single parent, the mother is worried and anxious about all the responsibility and she worries that her daughter, 8-year-old Carmel, will wander off and that she will not be able to pay the bills and get all their needs manifested.  The father has a new partner and has not appeared for a long time in their lives. Carmel is trying to sort out her new life and she has a very perceptive view of the world, her mind does wander and she notices details.  They both want to figure everything out and move forward.

The book goes from Mother to daughter as the story progresses and it is fabulous how Carmel works at remembering her Mother and all the wisdom that was imparted.  Her mother’s mind is always trying to connect with where Carmel might be and they are always working on finding RED in their lives.  The police have given up the search and there is a remarkable connection, as both mother and daughter cannot totally believe the other might be dead.

I do not believe I would have chosen this book to read and then it would have been my loss for sure.  So I say thank you to TLC Book Tours for asking me to read and review this remarkable story – THE GIRL IN THE RED COAT.

About the author:

Kate Hamer’s first novel ‘The Girl in the Red Coat’ was shortlisted for The Costa First Novel Prize, the British Book industry Awards Debut Fiction Book of the Year, the John Creasy (New Blood) Dagger and the Wales Book of the Year. It was a Sunday Times bestseller and has been translated into 16 different languages. Kate won the Rhys Davies short story prize and has short stories published in a number of anthologies. She’s written articles and reviews for The Independent, The Sunday Mail and The New York Times. Kate grew up in rural Wales and now lives with her husband in Cardiff, UK.  Her second book is The Doll Funeral (PW August 21,17 review)

Kate Hamer Twitter
Kate Hamer Goodreads

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ECHOES OF FAMILY: A Novel ~Barbara Claypole White

Monday, September 26th, 2016

“A Brit living in North Carolina, Barbara Claypole White writes hopeful family drama with a healthy dose of mental illness.  Her debut novel, THE UNFINISHED GARDEN, won the 2013 Golden Quill Contest for Best First Book, and THE IN-BETWEEN HOUR was chosen by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance as a Winter 2014 Okra Pick.  Her third novel, THE PERFECT SON, was a semifinalist in the 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Fiction. (Cover)

Marianne is a mature woman who suffers with Bipolar Disorder and other mental health issues.  She also runs a successful recording studio with her husband Darius and her adoptive daughter Jade.  They all work and enjoy music together on Marianne’s property in North Carolina; there is a state of the art studio.  Marianne has not been suicidal for an extended period of time, but due to a recent car accident she is obsessing about another car accident in which her friend Simon died and she lost her pregnancy.  She believes Simon’s brother Gabriel is taking the blame and she wishes to remedy this problem – right now.

The vast majority of the story takes place in a small British town centered on the historic church where Gabriel is the rector.  Marianne stops taking her medications and sneaks out of her house and off to the UK to help Gabriel truly understand that the car accident was her fault and not his.  They were just 16 at the time.  Marianne also needs to understand why her birth mother rejected her and why her adoptive parents did not reject her.  They did move the family to the United States after the accident and after Marianne had a big “incident” in the community, as mental illness was becoming a new problem.

It does not take long for Jade and Darius to figure out where Marianne has gone and they too are soon part of Gabriel’s life as this family takes over his life, his house and all his time.  There are some wonderful, delightful British characters in the story and as Marianne ends up in a private mental hospital there are connections made, which have interesting consequences.

The story holds the reader’s attention with plenty of details and descriptions and one can certainly identify with the frustrations that mental illness brings to situations.  There are several happy endings and one difficult one to bring the story to a good conclusion.  I liked the included book group question section and there is a great interview with the author included.  A very good read and I am going to suggest it to my book group to add it to the list. A sensitive treatment of Bipolar Disorder and an engaging read.

TLC Book Tours  sent me an e-copy for reading and review.

There is a 100 e-copy giveaway on Goodreads for this book!

Barbara Claypole White On Facebook
Barbara Claypole White Twitter

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