28 September 2021

#Historical Cozy Mystery Book Review: #Hidden Masterpiece by #Heidi Eljarbo

5 stars / 5

Summary: Hidden Masterpiece (Soli Hansen Mysteries Book 3) by Heidi Eljarbo

In this riveting third book in the Soli Hansen Mysteries series, a woman’s courage to follow her conviction during a horrible war leads her to the portrait of a young Jewish heiress painted three centuries earlier.

Norway 1944. Art historian Soli Hansen has gone undercover to rescue masterpieces and keep them from falling into the hands of Nazi thieves. Working with a small resistance group led by her best friend Heddy, Soli will stop at nothing to thwart the efforts of the invaders of their scenic country. Trust and loyalty mean everything when working against a merciless enemy.

Riddles and clues lead the way to a mysterious work of art. It’s a race against time, but Soli and her network refuse to give up. However, when news arrives that her sweetheart Nikolai is missing in action, she strives to concentrate on the demanding quest.

From the streets of Oslo to the snow-covered mountains and medieval churches of Nume Valley, Soli takes risks larger than her courage, trying to preserve and hide precious art. But she must decide if it’s all worth losing the man she loves.

Antwerp 1639. Fabiola Ruber’s daughter, Annarosa, wants to honor her mother’s last wish and have her portrait done by a master artist who specializes in the art of chiaroscuro. Her uncle writes to an accomplished painter in Amsterdam and commissions him to paint his beloved niece.

Struggling with religious and social persecution, the Jewish Ruber family uproots once again and travels northward. On the way, they will sojourn in Amsterdam for Annarosa’s sitting in the master painter’s studio. But will they make it there? None of them can foresee the danger of such a journey.

Suspenseful action, riddles and mystery, enduring friendship, undying loyalty, and a tender love story come together in this dual timeline novel by bestselling author Heidi Eljarbo. Perfect for fans of Lucinda Riley, Kate Morton, Rhys Bowen, and Kate Quinn (from Amazon)


Hidden Masterpiece is book 3 in the exciting Soli Hansen Mystery series by Heidi Eljarbo. The dual-time story is set in Oslo 1944 and Antwerp and Amsterdam 1639. In Oslo art historian Soli works tirelessly with local resistance to prevent valuable art from being stolen by the Nazis. She follows clues laid out by the Jewish owner to find the art pieces in his abandoned house.

In Antwerp we get to follow Jewish heiress Fabiola Ruber as she honors her mother’s last wish to have a portrait done by a master painter. The travel to Amsterdam proves to be dangerous, but Fabiola gets to use of her secretly aquired skill.

Main character is Solveig, Soli, Hansen is an art historian. She seems to find it hard to trust people but seems to become more confident when she is acknowledged by resistance as their art expert. I like her a lot and find her character has a complete set of vulnerabilities. She is my favorite. 

Supporting character is Hedvig, Heddy, Vengen, local resistance leader is a courageous woman who seems to let nothing get in her way. She seems to have no problem taking on extremely risky operations but seems a bit lonely. She misses and worries about her boyfriend in Sweden, which makes her softer and more likeable.

What made this story stand out for me and my favorite part were the vivid descriptions of wartime Oslo. I could almost feel people’s fear and the lack of trust in friends and neighbors. The writing was excellent and I got a sense of how people interacted back then. How everyday lives changed in countless ways during the German occupation as people tried to adapt.

The mystery element of how Soli found the extremely well hidden art pieces while avoiding the constant threat of being arrested by the Nazis, I felt was an excellent dramatic element. I loved the thorough research that must have gone into describing the meticulous planning of the resistance work.

The romance element was a surprising, enjoyable gem which made me curious what happens with Soli and Nicolai’s relationship in book 4. I look forward to learning what priceless painting Soli will rescue next.  

This story works perfectly as a standalone, but you would of course get a more complete picture by reading the whole series from the beginning, as I have.

Readers who enjoy the works of Kate Quinn and Lucinda Riley or fans of Heidi Eljarbo’s previous works will enjoy this. Thank you to the author #Heidi Eljarbo for this opportunity to share my honest review. All opinions are completely my own.

Conclusion: Hidden Masterpiece is the exciting third installment in the Soli Hansen dual-time mysteries series where we follow art historian Soli as she works passionately to prevent Nazis stealing priceless art from deported Jews.

In Antwerp Jewish heiress Annarosa honors her mother’s last whish to have a master painter do a portrait of her. The whole family makes a dangerous travel to Amsterdam and Annarosa gets to use her secretly acquired skill.

Where to get your copy

Book Details

ASIN ‏ : ‎ B096S9ZH74
Publication date ‏ : ‎ September 28, 2021
Language ‏ : ‎ English

Author Bio

Heidi Eljarbo is the bestselling author of historical fiction and mysteries filled with courageous and good characters that are easy to love and others you don't want to go near.
Heidi grew up in a home filled with books and artwork and she never truly imagined she would do anything other than write and paint. She studied art, languages, and history, all of which have come in handy when working as an author, magazine journalist, and painter.
After living in Canada, six US states, Japan, Switzerland, and Austria, Heidi now calls Norway home. She and her husband have a total of nine children, thirteen grandchildren--so far--in addition to a bouncy Wheaten Terrier.
Their favorite retreat is a mountain cabin, where they hike in the summertime and ski the vast, white terrain during winter.
Heidi's favorites are family, God's beautiful nature, and the word whimsical.
Sign up for her newsletter at https://www.heidieljarbo.com/newsletter

If you would like to know more, please visit:





Twitter: @HeidiEljarbo


10 September 2021

#Historical Christmas Book Review: #Fair Mountain Christmas (Heartwarming Christmas) by #Heidi Eljarbo


4 stars / 5

Summary: Fair Mountain Christmas: A sweet, feel-good holiday novella (Heartwarming Christmas)

Nostalgia and Christmas miracles burn bright in this uplifting and heartwarming story about new beginnings and falling in love under a blanket of stars.

Fair Mountain, December 1972.

A few days before Christmas, Juni’s editor gives her a writing assignment that throws her far outside her comfort zone. She and her terrier, Leo, retreat to her grandparents’ old cabin in the Norwegian mountains in hopes of inspiration. But the trip turns into a heart-wrenching and emotionally challenging encounter.

Memories of Juni’s childhood seep in as soon as she enters the cabin, and as for the writing assignment…what does she know about what children need for Christmas?

Juni’s focus changes when handsome Henry Norheim from Moose Lodge down the hill unexpectedly shows up outside her cottage door. His dedication to family, traditions, and Christmas celebration is contagious, but for Juni, coming out of her lonely shell is easier said than done.

As Juni’s deadline draws closer, and the snowflakes softly swirl down on Fair Mountain, she has to face up to her past, open her heart, and dare to take a step forward. Will the miracle of Christmas live up to its promise of hope, goodwill, and love this year?

Fair Mountain Christmas is a wonderfully warm story for fans of Jenny Hale, Rachael Bloome, Megan Squires, and Elizabeth Bromke.

“A delightful holiday read…a gentle reminder to take time to find the memories and moments that make Christmas magical.” –Chalon Linton, author of Historical Romance and Christian Fiction

“Reading Fair Mountain Christmas gave me the same warm feeling as curling up in front of a fire with a cup of hot chocolate.” –Lynn Morrison, author of the Oxford Key Mysteries (from Amazon).


Fair Mountain Christmas is the lovely new Christmas novella by Heidi Eljarbo. The plot is set in the Norwegian mountains December 1972 and is about newspaper writer Juni Lind who goes to the family mountain cabin to find inspiration for her article to be printed in the newspaper just before Christmas. She reflects on memories from childhood Christmases spent in the cabin and finds a way to use some of it for her writing assignment; 5 things children need for Christmas.  

While trying to write, good looking handyman Henry Nordheim turns up. He invites Juni to stay at the lodge nearby. She gets involved in a number of typical Norwegian Christmas preparations, and gets plenty of ideas for her article. She gets to revisit past feelings not yet dealt with. Between Henry, her unprocessed feelings, old and new relationships, Juni carves out new perspective and direction for her life.

Main character Juni Lind is a newspaper writer who has experienced plenty of hurt and loss in her past. She seems like good woman who prefers to close off her heart to protect herself and bury her feelings in work. She felt like a very recognizable character I really liked.

Supporting character Henry Nordheim, the handyman with a great heart who seems very invested in his large family and knows everybody in the area. I would have really appreciated had his character been a bit more developed, but I understand the novella concept might not allow room for this.

This is an easy to read historical set in a time period I have not read before, -yet which made it stand out for me. As a bonus I got to relive my own childhood Christmases in the 70s. I recognized a lot of the elements, particularly the baking of 7 different Christmas cookies and the decorating. The snowfall added an excellent dramatic element as things were put on hold while everybody waited for the snow plough to come open the road for traffic again.

My favorite element of the story was the topic for Juni’s article: 5 things children need for Christmas. Without spoiling, I found the perspective very interesting. Something worth reading for parents who struggle to find the perfect gift every year. 

I would recommend this easy read to anyone who would like to curl up with a blanket in front of the fire as the afternoons get darker and it gets closer to Christmas. I would also recommend it to readers who enjoy historicals in general or particularly stories set in Norway or Europe.

Similar authors to explore might be Jenny Hale, Rachael Bloome, Megan Squires, and Elizabeth Bromke. Thank you to #Heidi Eljarbo for this opportunity to share my honest review. All opinions are completely my own.

Conclusion: Newspaper writer Juni Lind goes to the family mountain cabin to find inspiration for her article about 5 things children need for Christmas. She gets snowed in, reflects on feelings from her past and meets local handyman Henry who helps her gain new perspective going forward.

Rating: 4 stars / 5

Where to get your copy

Book Details

ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0949HKZW7
Publication date ‏ : ‎ October 4, 2021
Print length ‏ : ‎ 86 pages

Author Bio

Heidi Eljarbo is the bestselling author of historical fiction and mysteries filled with courageous and good characters that are easy to love and others you don't want to go near.
Heidi grew up in a home filled with books and artwork and she never truly imagined she would do anything other than write and paint. She studied art, languages, and history, all of which have come in handy when working as an author, magazine journalist, and painter.
After living in Canada, six US states, Japan, Switzerland, and Austria, Heidi now calls Norway home. She and her husband have a total of nine children, thirteen grandchildren--so far--in addition to a bouncy Wheaten Terrier.
Their favorite retreat is a mountain cabin, where they hike in the summertime and ski the vast, white terrain during winter.
Heidi's favorites are family, God's beautiful nature, and the word whimsical.
Sign up for her newsletter at https://www.heidieljarbo.com/newsletter

If you would like to know more, please visit:





Twitter: @HeidiEljarbo


3 September 2021

#Historical Cozy Mystery Book Review: #Murder at the Royal Botanic Gardens by #Aandrea Penrose

4 stars / 5

Summary: Murder at the Royal Botanic Gardens (Wrexford & Sloan book 5) byAandrea Penrose

The upcoming marriage of the Earl of Wrexford and Lady Charlotte Sloane promises to be a highlight of the season, if they can first untangle—and survive—a web of intrigue and murder involving the most brilliant scientific minds in Regency London . . .
One advantage of being caught up in a whirl of dress fittings and decisions about flower arrangements and breakfast menus is that Charlotte Sloane has little time for any pre-wedding qualms. Her love for Wrexford isn’t in question. But will being a wife—and a Countess—make it difficult for her to maintain her independence—not to mention, her secret identity as famed satirical artist A.J. Quill?
Despite those concerns, there are soon even more urgent matters to attend to during Charlotte and Wrexford’s first public outing as an engaged couple. At a symposium at the Royal Botanic Gardens, a visiting botanist suffers a fatal collapse. The traces of white powder near his mouth reveal the dark truth—he was murdered. Drawn into the investigation, Charlotte and the Earl learn of the victim’s involvement in a momentous medical discovery. With fame and immense fortune at stake, there’s no shortage of suspects, including some whose ruthlessness is already known. But neither Charlotte nor her husband-to-be can realize how close the danger is about to get—or to what lengths this villain is prepared to go . . .(from Amazon).


Murder at the Royal Botanic Gardens is book 5 in the Wrexford and Sloan series by Andrea Penrose, published by Kensington. The story is set in London 1812 and continues the story of the Earl of Wrexford and Charlotte Sloane this time taking part in a symposium when a prominent botanist is found dead. The victim was about to make a huge medical invention public without planning to make a fortune off of it which might have enticed any present member of the symposium to commit the murder and steal the needed papers to produce the medicine. Wedding planning is put on hold while the couple investigates and Charlotte is worrying about what marrying and becoming Countess of Wrexford might do to her independence and secret identity as satirical artist A.J.Quill.

Main character is Lady Carlotte Sloan works as satirical artist A.J. Quill and the secrecy of this activity seems to have made her independent, but somewhat lonely. She takes care of two orphan street urchins, which shows she has a good heart. I find her relatable and my favorite character.

Supporting main character Anthony, Earl of Wrexford, is the hot tempered scientist with connections which helps conjure up information which helps the investigation, but has a lethal tongue that frightens people who don’t know him. I find his character relatable in his own way as I have met quite a few similar personalities.  

I have feel quite familiar with the characters of this series as I have read several. Starting this story felt a bit like coming home to family with the housekeeper mothering Charlotte’s two orphan street urchins making sure they behaved well while Charlotte and Wrexford were off on their investigation. I enjoyed the continued storyline of the series and felt happy for Charlotte to have found her “Mr. Right”. I am excited to learn what the future might look like for them.

I found the plot stood out as interesting and quite a novelty as I have not read any murder mysteries with a similar plot before and certainly not one set in a botanical garden. How a humble element like a medicinal plant might become the dramatic element in a murder mystery was something I have never considered before, but greed for money is a motive very well known. 

My favorite part of this story is how Charlotte is thinking about what changes marriage is going to make for her personal and professional life. I love that she considers more elements of her life than title and privilege. She is going to become Countess of Wrexford with a privileged, but more public lifestyle. Secrecy and anonymity needed to work as A.J. Quill might become more difficult. I find it easy as a woman to relate to this kind of thoughts.

I recommend this story to anyone who enjoys murder mysteries and fans of the author’s previous works in particular.

Similar authors to explore might be Dianne Freeman or Anna Lee Huber.

Thank you to Kensington Books and NetGalley for this opportunity to share my honest review. All opinions are completely my own.

Conclusion: Murder at the Royal Botanic Gardens continues the investigations of Wrexford and Sloan as they investigate the murder of a prominent botanist who has made a momentous medical discovery, but has no plans to make money from it.

Where to get your copy

Book Details

ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08RW6RY2W
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Kensington Books (September 28, 2021)
Publication date ‏ : ‎ September 28, 2021
Print length ‏ : ‎ 304 pages

Author Bio

Andrea Penrose is the bestselling author of Regency-era historical fiction, including the acclaimed Wrexford & Sloane mystery series, as well as Regency romances written under the names Cara Elliott and Andrea Pickens. Published internationally in ten languages, she is a three-time RITA Award finalist and the recipient of numerous writing awards, including two Daphne Du Maurier Awards for Historical Mystery and two Gold Leaf Awards. A graduate of Yale University with a B.A. in Art and an M.F.A. in Graphic Design, Andrea fell in love with Regency England after reading Pride and Prejudice and has maintained a fascination with the era's swirling silks and radical new ideas throughout her writing career. She lives in Connecticut and blogs with a community of historical fiction authors at WordWenches.com. She also can be found at AndreaPenrose.com and on Instagram @AndreaPenroseBooks.

18 June 2021

#Historical Romance Book Review: #The Merchant and The Rogue by #Sarah M. Eden


5 stars / 5

Summary: The Merchant and The Rogue (The Dread Penny Society book 3) by Sarah M. Eden

London, 1865 Vera Sorokina loves reading the Penny Dreadfuls and immersing herself in tales of adventure, mystery, and romance. Her own days are filled with the often mundane work of running the book and print shop she owns with her father. The shop offers her the freedom and income to employ and protect the poverty-stricken Londoners she’s come to care about, and it gives her father something to do other than long for their hometown of St. Petersburg. She is grateful for the stability in their lives, but she often feels lonely.

Brogan Donnelly was born and raised in Ireland, but has lived in London for several years, where he’s built a career as a Penny Dreadful writer. He has dedicated himself to the plight of the poor with the help of his sister. His membership in the secretive Dread Penny Society allows him to feel he isn’t entirely wasting his life, yet he feels dissatisfied. With no one to share his life with but his sister, he fears London will never truly feel like home.

Brogan and Vera’s paths cross, and the attraction is both immediate and ill-advised. Vera knows from past experience that writers are never to be trusted, and Brogan has reason to suspect not everything at her print shop is aboveboard. When the growing criminal enterprise run by the elusive and violent Mastiff begins targeting their area of London, Brogan and Vera must work together to protect the community they’ve both grown to love. But that means they’ll need to learn to trust each other with dangerous secrets that have followed both of them from their home countries (from Goodreads).

My thoughts about this historical romance

The Merchant and the Rogue is book 3 in The Dread Penny Society series by Sarah M. Eden, published by Shadow Mountain Publishers. This story is set in London 1865 and is about Dread Penny Society member Brogan Donnelly. By working there, he is assigned to secretly investigate a Soho print shop for possible criminal connection to the Russian ambassador’s office. Brogan has to be careful not to tip off shop manager Vera Sorokina about why he is there. Local merchants seem to be at risk if they don’t pay for “protection” against sabotage of their livelihoods, so Brogan and Vera work to stop the crime spree while their feelings for each other grow.

Main character is philanthropist Brogan Donnelly who has grown up as an orphan on the streets of Dublin and is passionate about making the lives of poor children easier. I keep wishing he would value himself more, but I like him a lot and he is my favorite of this story.

Supporting character is print shop manager Vera Sorokina, who seems a compassionate and confident business woman with a heart for the street children. I find her very obedient with her father and wish she would have found courage to rebel.

I have read both previous books in the series and would probably recommend reading them in order to get the complete picture, but the story reads perfectly as a standalone too. The plot centers on the secret Dread Penny Society whose purpose is to make the lives of London’s street children better. Brogan Donnelly is an active participant in this. I felt I learned even more from this book about the difficult living conditions for poor, orphaned children in the 1800s.

As it takes place in a poor area where businesses struggle to survive and criminals find a way to exploit it felt unique as I have not read anything similar.

The dramatic mystery element of figuring out who pressures shopkeepers to pay to prevent destruction of their businesses was one of my favorite parts.

The description of when Brogan and Vera met for the first time was my absolute favorite part of the story and I loved the bantering between them. Having followed the series so far, I eagerly await what the next book will be about.

Readers who enjoy historical romance stories will enjoy this. I have read quite a number of Sarah M. Eden’s books and loved them all, so I’m sure other of her fans will too. Similar authors to explore might be Abigail Wilson or Arlem Hawks.

Thank you to #Shadow Mountain, #Sarah M. Eden and #NetGalley for this opportunity to share my honest review. All opinions are completely my own.

Conclusion: In The Merchant and the Rogue, grown-up Irish street urchin Brogan Donnelly works in a print shop to secretly investigate criminal activity when he meets kindhearted Vera Sorokina who is equally passionate about poor children. Brogan and Vera’s feelings for each other grow while they work to stop the crime spree threatening local merchants.

Where to get your copy

Book Details

Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing
Publication date:08/17/2021
Series: Proper Romance Victorian series

Autor Bio

Sarah M. Eden is a USA Today bestselling author of multiple historical romances, including AML's "2013 Novel of the Year" and Foreword Review's 2013 "IndieFab Book of the Year" gold medal winner for Best Romance, Longing for Home, and the Whitney Award's "2014 Novel of the Year," Longing for Home: Hope Springs. Combining her obsession with history and affinity for tender love stories, Sarah loves crafting witty characters and heartfelt romances set against rich historical backdrops. She holds a Bachelor's degree in research and happily spends hours perusing the reference shelves of her local library. Sarah lives with her husband, kids, and mischievous dog in the shadow of a snow-capped mountain she has never attempted to ski. To connect with the author

7 June 2021

#Cozy Mystery Book Review: #A Fianceé's Guide to First Wives and Murder by # Dianne Freeman


Rating: 4 stars / 5

Summary: A Fianceé's Guide to First Wives and Murder (A Countess of Harleigh Mystery book 4) by Dianne Freeman

In Dianne Freeman's lighthearted mystery series set in Victorian England, the American-born Countess of Harleigh uncovers more deadly intrigue among the uppercrust...

For Frances Wynn, widow to the late Earl of Harleigh, life has a cosmopolitan flavor of late. No sooner has she sent her mother and daughter off on a shopping trip to Paris than she and her fiancé, George Hazleton, are socializing with visiting members of the Russian royal family. Yet amid this whirlwind, scandal also comes calling when Inspector Delaney turns up outside Frances's house with a young French woman with a shocking claim: she is Mrs. George Hazelton.

As the future Mrs. George Hazelton, Frances assumes the woman is either lying or demented. Mrs. Hazelton, aka Irena, makes other outrageous statements. Among them, she insists that she is the illegitimate daughter of Russian royalty, that she has been abducted and held for ransom many times, and that someone is sending her threatening letters. When George arrives, he clarifies that he is certainly not married to Irena--though he can confirm her royal parentage. But even as he agrees to investigate whether Irena's life is in danger, her claim proves tragically true. Irena is found strangled in Frances' garden.

To uncover a killer--and clear their own names--Frances and George must determine which of Irena's outlandish stories were based in fact, and who stood to benefit from her death. And as the search reaches a shocking conclusion, they may find that villainy lurks all too close to home...(from Goodreads).

My review of this intriguing murder mystery

A Fiancée's Guide to First Wives and Murder is book 4 in A Countess of Harleigh Mystery series by Dianne Freeman, published by Kensington Books. The story is set in London 1899 when a French woman turns up on Frances, Countess of Harleigh’s doorstep claiming to be her fiancée George Hazeldon’s wife. She is later found dead in Frances’ garden and these developments may have a detrimental effect on Frances’s and George’s reputations and future marriage. With her usual energy and force Frances meddles in police investigation with the help of her fiancée. Both use their social skills and contacts to avoid a massive scandal.

Main character is Frances, Countess of Harleigh who is like a dog with a bone when it comes to mysteries and who has no problems taking risks. She seems a person with a zest for life who deals effectively with whatever is thrown her way. I love that about her.

Supporting character is the Hon. George Hazelton. There seems to be plenty of mystery related to his background, which I’m sure will gradually be revealed in future books. He seems attentive to Frances and has the makings of a good Victorian husband.

What I enjoyed the most about this story is that it reads like a sitcom. It stands out with the particularly funny start when George’s alleged wife turns up. The plot and characters are catching and keep me fascinated all the way through to the totally surprising ending. I loved how the murder victim’s mysterious background and her connections to Russia included a lot of drama and surprise elements to the story. The drama of investigating the murder understandably took center stage, but we are still able to sense the connection between Frances and George. How they function as a couple in the stressful situation when his alleged first wife turns up. In short this is an unputdownable book I thoroughly enjoyed.

 The lighthearted dialogue and writing kept me entertained and I will recommend this book to anyone who likes a funny and easy read suitable all year round. It is part of a series, but no actual need to read it in order because each story stands perfectly on its own. I did, however, get curious about how Frances came to be a Countess. -Maybe you will too. But I also look forward to seeing what the next book in the series will be about.

Similar authors to explore might be Anna Lee Huber or Katharine Schellman. Thank you to #Kensington Books, #Dianne Freeman and #NetGalley for this opportunity to share my honest review. All opinions are completely my own.

Conclusion: A Fiancée's Guide to First Wives and Murder is the unputdownable new mystery where Frances solves the murder of a woman with connections to Russia who claims to be George’s first wife.

Where to get your Copy

Amazon Hardcover | Amazon Paperback | Amazon Kindle | B&N Hardcover | B&N Paperback | B&N Nook Book 

Book Details

Publisher : Kensington (July 27, 2021)
Hardcover : 304 pages
ISBN-10 : 1496731603
ISBN-13 : 978-1496731609

About The Author

Dianne Freeman is a life-long book lover who left the world of corporate finance to pursue her passion for writing. After co-authoring the non-fiction book, Haunted Highway, The Spirits of Route 66, she realized her true love was fiction, historical mystery in particular. She also realized she didn't like winter very much so now she and her husband pursue the endless summer by splitting their time between Michigan and Arizona. Her debut novel, A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder won an Agatha Award for Best Debut, a Lefty Award for Best First Novel, and was nominated for a Mary Higgins-Clark Award (from Amazon).

Contact Details: Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Website

21 May 2021

#Historical Cozy Mystery #Book Review: #Death in Daylesford by #Kerry Greenwood

Rating: 4 stars / 5

Summary: Death in Daylesford (Phryne Fisher book 21) by Kerry Greenwood

When a mysterious invitation arrives for Miss Phryne Fisher from an unknown Captain Herbert Spencer, Phryne's curiosity is excited. Spencer runs a retreat in Victoria's spa country for shell-shocked soldiers of the First World War. It's a cause after Phryne's own heart but what could Spencer want from her?

Phryne and the faithful Dot view their spa sojourn as a short holiday but are quickly thrown in the midst of disturbing Highland gatherings, disappearing women, murder and the mystery of the Temperance Hotel.

Meanwhile, Cec, Bert and Tinker find a young woman floating face down in the harbour, dead. Tinker and Phryne's resilient adopted daughters, Jane and Ruth, decide to solve what appears to be a heinous crime.

Disappearances, murder, bombs, booby-traps and strange goings-on land Miss Phryne Fisher right in the middle of her most exciting adventure (from Goodreads).

My thoughts of this fabulous murder mystery

Death in Daylesford is book 21 in the Phryne Fisher’s Mysteries series by Kerry Greenwood, published by Poisoned Pen Press. This time Miss Fisher is taking a holiday of sorts to visit a spa for WWI war veterans to consider donating to the cause. Mysteries seem to follow her and Dylesford and Hepburn Springs is no different. A murderer is on the loose specializing in killing victims at local crowded events, staging it as accidents. Women also seem to quietly disappear from farms in the area and Miss Fisher sets out to find what’s really going on in the beautiful Victoria spa country. At home in Melbourne Miss Fisher’s 3 adoptive children are solving their very own mystery, finding what happened to a drowned schoolgirl found floating in the harbor.

Main character is baron’s daughter Phryne Fischer who seems a confident woman who work as a private investigator. She seems to have a strong character and doesn’t care a jot that people might judge her for living a very different life from women of her time. I find that impressive, which makes her my favorite of this story.

Supporting character is Lady’s Maid Dorothy, Dot, Williams, who seems to take on a bland presence wearing beige/brown clothing at all times. She seems to have an interesting relationship to her boss, speaking to Miss Fisher like a servant when in public, but being friend and confidant in private. I found her likeable and dependable. Like the ideal practical kind of “female Watson”.

This is the first book I have read by Kerry Greenwood, and read it as a standalone. That worked out perfectly, but I wish I had read book 1 and maybe a few more from the start to get a grip on how Miss Fisher developed into the formidable, renowned character she is in book 21. In this book you kind of get a 2 for 1 deal as the plot reads like two separate mysteries. I loved the descriptions of prosperous Australian lifestyle of the 1920s. I have read a few contemporary books set in Australia before, but this one stood out with its historical setting, the colorful characters (apart from beige Dot) and the great writing; even funny in places. I’m very pleased there are so many more books in the series. The murder in the middle of a festival was an excellent dramatic element, but my absolute favorite was the fabulous surprise ending where the identity of the culprit took me totally by surprise.

I feel hooked by this series and is excited to see what the next book will be about. I recommend this one to readers who enjoy an excellently written historical mystery with a fabulous ending. Similar authors to explore might be Victoria Purman or Rosalie Ham. Thank you to #Poisoned Pen Press and #Edelweiss+ for this opportunity to share my honest review. All opinions are completely my own.

Conclusion: Death in Daylesford is the fabulous new story where Miss Fisher experiences murders in the middle of crowds and local women of Daylesford mysteriously go missing from their homes. Miss Fisher’s children work with Melbourne police to find what happened to a schoolgirl drowned in the harbor.

Where to get your Copy

Amazon Hardcover | Amazon Paperback | Amazon Kindle | B&N HardcoverB&N Paperback | B&N BookNook (E-book)

Book Details

Publisher : Poisoned Pen Press (June 1, 2021)
Paperback : 336 pages
ISBN-10 : 1728234522
ISBN-13 : 978-1728234526

About The Author

Kerry Greenwood (born 17 June 1954 in Footscray, Victoria) is an Australian author and defence lawyer. She has written many plays and books, most notably a string of historical detective novels centred on the character of Phryne Fisher. She writes mysteries, science-fiction, historical fiction, and children's stories, as well as plays. She is unmarried but lives with a "registered wizard" (from Amazon).

Contact Details: Facebook | Website

7 May 2021

#Historical Romance #Blog Tour & Spotlight: #Isabelle and Alexander by #Rebecca Anderson

About the Book: Isabelle and Alexander (Proper Romance Victorian) by Rebecca Anderson)

Manchester, 1850

Isabelle Rackham knows she will not marry for love. Though arranged marriages have fallen out of fashion, hers has been settled for some time to combine the upper-middle-class wealth of her father's coal mines with Alexander Osgood's prospering Northern country textile mills. Though not a man prone to romantic gestures, Alexander is well-known as an eligible bachelor. His good looks have turned more than one head, so Isabelle is content to think of herself as Alexander's wife.

However, her marriage is not what she expected. Northern England is nothing like her home farther west in the lake country. Cold, dreary, and dark, the soot from the textile mills creates a gray hue that seems to cling to everything in the city of Manchester. Alexander is distant and aloof, preferring to spend his time at the mill rather than with her at home. Their few conversations are brief, polite, and lacking any emotion, leaving Isabelle lonely and desperately homesick.

Sensing his wife's unhappiness, Alexander suggests a trip to his country estate. Isabelle hopes this will be an opportunity to get to know her new husband without the distractions of his business. But the change of scenery doesn't bring them any closer. While riding together on horses, Alexander is thrown from his and becomes paralyzed. Tragedy or destiny? The help and care that Alexander now needs is Isabelle's opportunity to forge a connection and create a deep and romantic love where nothing else could.

Advance praise 

·         "Anderson’s first foray into historical romance is an atypical, yet satisfying story set in Victorian Manchester’s upper middle class. Hand this to readers looking for a book that navigates the peaks and valleys of two strangers attempting to make a life together despite the hardships life throws at them."— Library Journal 

·         "Isabelle transitions from an unaware, leisure-class woman to a more enlightened spouse and supporter of the working class. Intimacy and romance develop between Isabelle and Alexander because of simple gestures, like a long look or a thoughtful gift, and their conversations. Their slow, stately courting is reader appropriate for any age or audience. Manchester also gets its due as a place of grit and incredible production. Descriptions of bustling mills reveal their impact on the couple’s family and its fortunes. Isabelle and Alexander is an intimate and touching romance novel that focuses on women’s lives in the business class of industrial England."— Foreword Reviews 

·         "Isabelle must use her quiet spunk, busy mind, and compassionate spirit to woo her husband in a wholly new way. Anderson's debut is a lovely northern England Victorian romance about confronting the seemingly impossible and the power of empathy. Anderson also addresses the time period’s treatment of physical and intellectual disabilities. Most of all, she beautifully depicts love in its many forms beyond romance, such as compassion, patience, and vulnerability; and her characters illustrate the ways that these expressions of love carry us through even the darkest hours. Isabelle’s loving and persevering fervor and devotion will resonate with any caregiver’s heart."— Booklist

Book Details of Isabelle and Alexander by Rebecca Anderson

Publisher : Shadow Mountain 

Publishing date: May 4, 2021
Language : English
Paperback : 368 pages
ISBN-10 : 1629728470
ISBN-13 : 978-1629728476

Purchase links:

Meet The Author

Rebecca Anderson is the nom de plume of contemporary romance novelist Becca Wilhite, author of Wedding Belles: A Novel in Four Parts, Check Me Out, and My Ridiculous Romantic Obsessions. Isabelle and Alexander is her debut historical romance novel.

High school English teacher by day, writer by night (or very early morning), she loves hiking, Broadway shows, food, books, and movies. She is happily married and a mom to four above-average kids.

Connect with author: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads | website

23 April 2021

#Historical Romance #Book Review: #The Nature of a Lady by #Roseanna M. White

5 stars / 5 - It was amazing!

Summary: The Nature of a Lady (The Secrets of the Isles book 1) by Roseanna M. White

Lady Elizabeth "Libby" Sinclair, with her love of microscopes and nature, isn't favored in society. She flees to the beautiful Isles of Scilly for the summer and stumbles into the dangerous secrets left behind by her holiday cottage's former occupant, also named Elizabeth, who mysteriously vanished.

Oliver Tremayne--gentleman and clergyman--is determined to discover what happened to his sister, and he's happy to accept the help of the girl now living in what should have been Beth's summer cottage . . . especially when he realizes it's the curious young lady he met briefly two years ago, who shares his love of botany and biology. But the hunt for his sister involves far more than nature walks, and he can't quite believe all the secrets Beth had been keeping from him.

As Libby and Oliver work together, they find ancient legends, pirate wrecks, betrayal, and the most mysterious phenomenon of all: love (from Amazon).

My thoughts of this captivating historical romance

The Nature of a Lady is the first book in The Secrets of the Isles series by Roseanna M. White, published by Bethany House Publishers. The setting is the Isles of Scilly, Cornwall 1906. Escaping her family’s marriage schemes, main character Lady Elizabeth, Libby, Sinclair puts together a plan to spend the summer on the Islands of Scilly enjoying all the flora and fauna she loves so much. She meets hansom local vicar Oliver Tremayne who searches for his missing sister Elisabeth, Beth. Mysterious clues come to light and danger increases. As Libby and Oliver work together to find what’s going on with Beth, they become very close friends. Libby’s family want her to marry a titled gentleman, so if she wants to be with Oliver, she will have to give up her family’s financial and emotional support.

Main character is earl’s sister and passionate naturalist Lady Elizabeth, Libby, Sinclair. She seems close to her family and doesn’t seem to have much of a rebel in her. As the story progressed, I enjoyed that she became a little more assertive.

Supporting character is vicar Oliver Tremayne who does what locally is considered “elbow-magic” which inspires people to open up to him. This part adds a funny element to his character and the story, which I love, and he is my favorite.

This reads like a historical romance with a mystery element. The story stands out from others I have read set in Cornwall. The setting on the islands off the coast added an interesting new twist to the plot. I particularly loved the expertly written dramatic scenes. I felt a bit of a Poldark vibe with the seaside setting and the local way of life at the time. Libby’s brother’s character I felt started out as a bit of an ass, to be perfectly honest, but he was probably the character who developed the most. My favorite part of the story was descriptions of the rowing competition and party on the beach, which added a feeling of Cornish culture. I appreciate all the thorough research that must have gone into writing this.

Libby wants to believe in God, but struggles with what she has learned from her local vicar. I really enjoyed reading about how she arrives at a greater trust in God through her discussions with Oliver.

As this is the exiting first start to the Secrets of the Isles series, I eagerly await book 2. Anyone who enjoys a great historical romance with a mystery twist will love this one. As will fans of Roseanna M. White’s other works. Similar authors to explore might be #Kristi Ann Hunter or #Erica Vetsch.

Thank you to #Bethany House Publishers, #Roseanna M. White and #NetGalley for this opportunity to share my honest review. All opinions are completely my own.

Conclusion: The Nature of a Lady is the captivating story about gentlewoman Libby who escapes her family’s marriage schemes to spend the summer on the Isles of Scilly. She meets hansom local vicar Oliver who searches for his missing sister. They both get mixed up in her secret and dangerous activity.

Rating: 5 stars / 5

Book Details

Publisher : Bethany House Publishers
Publication date : May 4, 2021
Print length : 384 pages
ISBN-10 : 0764237187
ISBN-13 : 978-0764237188

Where to Get Your Copy

Amazon Hardcover | Amazon Paperback | Amazon Kindle | B&NHardcover |B&NPaperback | B&N NOOKBook | B&N Large Print

About The Author

Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she's homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books...to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com (from Amazon).

Contact deatils for the author: Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

9 April 2021

#Historical Romance #Book Review: #No Jouney too far by #Carrie Turansky


4 stars / 5 - I really liked it 

Summary: No Journey too far (McAlister family book 2) by Carrie Turansky 

In 1909, Grace McAlister set sail for Canada as one of the thousands of British Home Children taken from their families and their homeland. Though she is fortunate enough to be adopted by wealthy parents, the secrets of her past are kept hidden for ten years until someone from her long-buried childhood arrives on her doorstep. With this new connection to her birth family, will she be brave enough to leave her sheltered life in Toronto and uncover the truth?
After enduring hardship as an indentured British Home Child, Garth McAlister left Canada to serve in World War I. His sweetheart, Emma Lafferty, promised to wait for his return, but after three long years apart, her letters suddenly stopped. When Garth arrives home from the war to unexpected news, he is determined to return to Canada once more on a daunting mission to find the two women he refuses to abandon—his long-lost sister and his mysteriously missing sweetheart (from Amason).

My review of this heartwarming historical romance

No Journey too far is book 2 in the McAlister Family series by Carrie Turansky, published by Multnomah. The story is set in Canada 1919 and is about Garth McAlister as he returns from the Great War. As children believed to be orphans he and his 2 sisters were shipped off to Canada to work on farms and after 10 years of search, his family has still not heard from his youngest sister, Grace. Garth decides to go back in search for her and also for his sweetheart, Emma Lafferty. Grace was adopted by a wealthy family in Toronto and is now about to be launched into Society to get married. She resents the pressure and reaches out to her family in England. Her address reaches Garth, and he visits her. Grace’s adoptive parents are convinced she is an orphan, so they brusquely throw him out, which makes Grace run away. Garth continues his mission to find sweetheart Emma. His skill and connections come in handy when helping her out of some really difficult circumstances.

Main character is ex-Corporal Garth McAlister who seems compassionate, well rounded and likable. As a British Home Child he was badly treated as a farm hand, but seems to have avoided too many emotional scars. 

Supporting character is Emma Lafferty seems quite level headed and assertive as she figures out who to contact for information about Garth. From time to time she gets doubts about Garth's commitment, but I was pleased to see regains her trust again. I found her easy to like and my favorite of this story.

I read No Journey too far as a standalone, which worked perfectly, but reading book one first would give the complete picture of the McAlister family. The parts about Garth’s life within his family were my absolute favorites of the story. I didn’t know much about British Home Children or about American farm life in the 1900s, so it felt like I learned a lot by reading this story. 

I enjoyed how the spiritual element was at the forefront of the story. Grace was adopted by a family who only went to church a few times a year. They didn’t pray or read the Bible, so Grace’s spiritual journey seemed to begin when she found the family Bible and started reading it in secret.  

This is the last in the 2 book series, and I wonder what Carrie Turansky’s next book will be about. Anyone who enjoys historical romance will enjoy this one. As will fans of Carrie Turansky’s other works. Similar authors to explore might be Laura Frantz or Jody Hedlund.

Thank you to Multnomah, Carrie Turansky and NetGalley for this opportunity to share my honest review. All opinions are completely my own.

Conclusion:  No Journey too far takes ex-corporal Garth McAlister to Canada in search of his sweetheart and his missing sister, Grace. He helps Grace escape her wealthy and powerful adoptive parents and he has to use all his skill and connections to help his sweetheart, Emma out of her difficulties for them to have a future together.


Book Details

Publisher : Multnomah
Publication date : June 8, 2021


You Can Get Your Copy Here

Amazon Paperback 

Amazon Kindle 

Barnes & Noble Paperback 

Barnes & Noble NOOK book (ebook) 

About The Author

CARRIE TURANSKY is the award-winning author of more than twenty-one inspirational novels and novellas and a winner of the ACFW Carol Award, the International Digital Award, and the Holt Medallion. She loved traveling to England to research her latest Edwardian novels including No Ocean Too Wide, Across the Blue, Shine Like the Dawn, and The Highland Hall series. Her novels have received stared reviews from Christianbooks.com and Library Journal. They have been translated into several languages and enjoyed by readers around the world. Connect with Carrie on her website: http://carrieturansky.com/, and on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest (from Amazon).