On a hot summer on the Northumberland coast, Julie Armstrong arrives home from a night out to find her son murdered. Luke has been strangled, laid out in a bath of water and covered with wild flowers. This stylized murder scene has Inspector Vera Stanhope and her team intrigued. But now, Vera must work quickly to find this killer who is making art out of death. As local residents are forced to share their private lives, sinister secrets are slowly unearthed. And all the while the killer remains in their midst, waiting for an opportunity to prepare another beautiful, watery grave....
I love all the Ann Cleeves books, but this was one of the best. Marvelous characters are always a wonderful part of her stories, and this one has a very interesting group to be sorted by the inimitable Vera Stanhope.
Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she's thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office.
Do not let the somewhat slow pace of the early chapters deter you. You would not want it rushed. Elinor and her remarkable story will enter your heart and stay.
Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family's Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge - until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children's Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents - but they quickly realize the dark truth.
Having rated other books as five stars, I need at least six or seven for this one. Excellent story, both entertaining and meaningful with important historic aspects. Truly outstanding performance with delineation of characters and authentic accents and age appropriate intonations. I could start it again right now and I may. Such a pleasure.
During a vigil calling for police reform, students from Spelman College, a historically black women's institution, are assaulted by rifle fire from a passing vehicle. On her way to interview witnesses, Detective Sarah "Salt" Alt confronts the fleeing vehicle of the suspects, but they get away. While other detectives take the lead on the Spelman murders, Salt is tasked to investigate the case of a recently discovered decomposed body. When she combs through the missing-persons reports, it becomes clear the victim is a girl Salt took into custody two years before.
As a native of Atlanta, I am always a bit dubious of books set in the south. While many may be true to locales in Mississippi or Louisiana, few set in Atlanta capture the city I know. This book does. The locations are spot on, but more than that, the language, the attitudes, the voices, the rhythm are all true to the city I have loved through 73 years, though often I have disapproved of or disagreed with many of its denizens. A good mystery, an accurate depiction, interesting characters - obviously I highly recommend this one.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
The life of Princess May of Teck is one of the great Cinderella stories in history. From a family of impoverished nobility, she was chosen by Queen Victoria as the bride for her eldest grandson, the scandalous Duke of Clarence, heir to the throne, who died mysteriously before their marriage. Despite this setback, she became queen, mother of two kings, grandmother of the current queen, and a lasting symbol of the majesty of the British throne.
Matriarch is one of the most enjoyable nonfiction works I have read in years. Such a magnificent story of people who are truly interesting and who have played a prominent role in the world for centuries. The author neither glamorizes royalty nor spend time in criticism of the institution but rather tells the story of an amazing person and her family. Highly recommended.
36 of 37 people found this review helpful
On a beautiful morning in mid-May, the body of a young woman is found in one of Notting Hill's private gardens. To passersby, the pretty girl in the white dress looks as if she's sleeping. But Reagan Keating has been murdered, and the lead detective, DI Kerry Boatman, turns to Gemma James for help. She and Gemma worked together on a previous investigation, and Gemma has a personal connection to the case: Reagan was the nanny of a child who attends the same dance studio as Toby, Gemma, and Kincaid's son.
For those who have followed Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James through the first 16 books in the series, this one is enjoyable and ties up a number of loose ends. If you haven't read the others, start with Book One or you will surely be lost. I have enjoyed the entire series and recommend it to lovers of British detective fiction for its smart plots and well rounded characters.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
An inveterate traveller, Sir James Monmouth has spent most of his life abroad. He arrives in England on a dark and rainy night with the intention of discovering more, not only about himself but his obsession with Conrad Vane, an explorer. Warned against following his trail, Sir James experiences some extraordinary happenings - who is the mysterious, sad little boy, and the old woman behind the curtain? And why is it that only he hears the chilling scream and the desperate sobbbing?
I have loved Susan Hill, especially her Simon Serrailler books. But I just could not get to a point where I cared about this one. My rule is that, if after a third of a book I just don't care about the story or the characters, I put it aside. There are so many good books that I will never get to all of them. So sorry I didn't like this one. I will try Hill again, but not this one.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
From the number-one New York Times best-selling author behind the upcoming Starz original series The White Princess, a gripping new Tudor story featuring King Henry VIII's sisters Mary and Margaret, along with Katherine of Aragon, vividly revealing the pivotal roles the three queens played in Henry VIII's kingdom.
The Tudors and their period are endlessly fascinating. They lived large and changed history. How could they not be fascinating. This story centers on Margaret, the older sister of Henry VIII and the wife of James Stewart of Scotland. She would be the mother of another James and the great grandmother of James the First of the United Kingdom. Life was not easy for women in the 16th Century, not even, or especially not, for princesses. They were pawns in the royal game, used and abused by the shifting axes of power.
The author does an admirable job of using fiction to breathe life into her historical characters. The story is fascinating and the fictionalization plausible. The narrator does an excellent job. When I wasn't listening, I was impatient to get back to the story.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
In the heyday of the British Raj, Anahita becomes Princess Indira’s official companion, and accompanies her to England just before the outbreak of the Great War. There, she meets the young Donald Astbury – reluctant heir to a magnificent, estate – and his scheming mother. Eighty years later, Rebecca Bradley, a young American film star, has the world at her feet. Her latest role, playing a 1920s debutante, takes her to the now-crumbling Astbury Hall…
While I enjoyed this complex and well-woven story, one element of the narration was incredibly annoying. The narrator performed believable Indian and English accents to the ear of a non-native of either of those, but one oft repeated word in the American dialect totally spoiled the narration.
Americans of education, and especially those of the 1920s, would never pronounce the name "Antony" as "Ant-knee" and yet the narrator does so repeatedly when trying to use an American accent, rendering the British pronunciation correctly, but coming across as a Rode Island or New Jersey tough instead of a Julliard trained actress. Where was the voice coach?? And why was this one word, which must have occurred on a majority of pages in the book, allowed to spoil the whole?
I hate to sound picky, but such small things become large through frequent repetition.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful
It's 1922 in the Manhattan of gin, jazz and prosperity. Women wear makeup and hitched hemlines - and enjoy a new freedom to vote and work. Not so for Evelyn Lockhart, who is forbidden from pursuing her passion to become one of the first female doctors. Chasing her dream will mean turning her back on her family: her competitive sister, Viola; her conservative parents; and the childhood best friend she is expected to marry, Charlie.
How to review this novel? The story is interesting with many unusual elements. The period is generally well evoked. But the author's voice sounds like a soap opera, with overly dramatic language and a leading lady who often behaves so stupidly as to be frustrating. Instead of the strong woman she is meant to be, she sounds like she will take to her fainting couch in the next scene. Add to all that the childish, overly dramatic reading by the narrator and you have a story with good bones totally spoiled by turning it into a cheap romance.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful