500 pages never read so fast

I have read several books by Beatriz Williams, and I find her style quite agreeable.  She writes historical-mystery-romance stories all jumbled up in one story with many twists and turns.

This story follows two strong women who are related but separated by time and an ocean.   Violet Grant’s story takes place in 1912 in Germany right before the start of WWI.  She is a recent college graduate from a wealthy family. Her family wants her to marry and be a proper lady, but she has other ambitions.   Violet is an intelligent woman and would prefer to study physics than love and motherhood.  She moves to Europe in order to study and research.   She meets and falls in love with her professor that is 30 years older than her.  Yet this relationship is not what she initially believed it to be, and Dr. Walter Grant turns out not to be Prince Charming….enter a mysterious British Army Captain, and an American woman and her 19 year-old son…..Violet’s life gets turned upside down.  She is wanted for murder and then she disappears….

In 1964, Vivian Schuyler (Violet’s great-niece and aspiring writer) receives her Aunt Violet’s suitcase on her doorstep in New York City.   This is the first time that Vivian is hearing about her aunt.   Vivian has a nose for a good story, and she has sniffed this one out.  She is determined to get to the bottom of Violet’s story and recruits a few others to help her play detective: Tibby, editor from the Metropolitan Magazine where she works, her Aunt Julie, and Doctor Paul.  Doctor Paul???  Who is he?   He seems like the perfect guy….too good to be true….I will let you read and discover just who is he.  Frankly, I am not sure what my feelings are for him even after finishing the book.  I have to think on it some more.

They are marketing the book as a beach read….I can see that, but I read it wrapped in a blanket while it was in the 20s outside and the wind was about 12 mph….and yes it is almost May.   Winter has over stayed its welcome in Pennsylvania this year.  This book helped me forget about the cold for a short time.

 

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7th in the Frieda Klein Mystery series, and this is the only one I have read

 

So here I go again, once again this is a mystery SERIES and I started with number seven!  Each book has a day of the week in its title, and it started with Blue Monday and here I am with Sunday Silence.  Well, I will do my best.   I want to say something about the author….it is a husband-wife team from England.   Their names are Nicci Gerrard and Sean French.  Sometimes, when two authors write together, their styles get mixed-up and there is not a true voice that comes through.  I don’t know if that is the case here, or if I am just way behind on the storylines and characters., but something felt off with the story.

The story centers around psychologist Frieda Klein, who has helped out on many police cases.   She is level-headed, quite clever, and a no-nonsense character…she does not seem to enjoy fun.  She does have a group of friends and family who seem to be a band of misfits that Frieda takes care of….anyway….let me get to the story.

The story starts with Frieda finding a body under the floorboards that has been dead for several months (I think I am supposed to know who this body is….I really don’t understand who he is).  She suspects that the murderer is this man who died years ago, but Frieda knows he is alive (again..I think I should know this guy).  Frieda starts to investigate along with the police and this is when her friends and family are targeted by a copycat who wants to revenge on Frieda (I think). People are murdered and kidnapped and hurt….Fieida is on to the true murderer the whole time, and then it ends.  I need to reread the ending.  I am not sure really what happened.

To be fair, I did go to goodreads and amazon, and I discovered that there are big fans of this mystery series.  They said to start from the beginning to truly understand the characters and the development of the stories.  So there you have it….if you are in the market for a new mystery series…start with Nicci French’s Blue Monday.

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1920’s in NYC

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I have a love affair with historical fiction, and I am always changing my favorite time period….I am fickle that way.  Currently, I am in love with the 1920’s.  I love Libba Bray’s series The Diviners which mixes historical fiction with mystery and fantasy.   Very cool.   And now I am devouring Beatriz Williams books.  This one is called The Wicked City.    It centers around an apartment in Greenwich Village that links two wonderfully tragic yet flawed women.

In the 1920s, it is Geneva Kelly who has run away from a horrible home life and has worked to reinvent herself.  She is a snarky flapper who loves to enjoy all life is offering her in NYC….until she is forced to go back home to see her dying mother and confront her toxic stepfather….Duke Kelly.   She gets herself wrapped up with Prohibition agents, bootleggers, sexy college boys, and murder.  Who can she trust?  Why can’t she shake her past and start over?

In 1998, Ella Glbert has discovered that her husband of four years….has been cheating on her.   She caught him with the other woman in a compromised position….she leaves immediately and rents the same apartment that Ginger AKA Geneva lived in decades before.   The other tenants in the building are friendly and welcoming.   In fact, there is one in particular that Ella is drawn to….Hector.  Ella starts to notice strange things about the building….a woman’s voice screaming in the night behind a brick wall….jazz music playing in the basement….she begins to discover what happened there years ago…..

Such a good read!  I could not put it down and was sad when it was over.   But wait…there is good news!   This is the first in a trilogy!!!   Can’t wait!!

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A complex and dark cold case….

This is a cold case that takes place in a small town in England called Lilling.   In 1976, a 16 year-old girl went missing  and her body was found later in a shallow grave.   The girl’s name was Annalise Wood and she become an obsession for more than one person in this small town.  She was a beautiful and popular girl who seemed to have no enemies.  The murder and motive have never been discovered.

Fast forward a few decades, and with new DNA evidence…the pieces of the unsolved murder begin to fall in place, or so the police believe.  The cast of characters in this small town has changed… Annalise’s parents are both dead, but there does remain a few high school friends who know more than they first divulged in 1976. There are new faces that seem to know more about the murder as well.   Enter a troubled 24-year-old girl who is also called Annalise who starts to talk to Dr. Laurie Ambrose, psychiatrist.  Dr. Ambrose starts to suspect that something is not quite right.  She tries to piece together clues and recordings on her own when another patient starts discussing the case as well.

Cold case investigator Morris Keene and Chloe Frohmann hope to take this new evidence and solve this case, but the new DNA only disturbs the community instead of healing it.  Another body is found…another possible murder?  Can the two be connected? And will there ever discover what happened to Annalise Wood back in 1976?

A good read for murder-mystery fans.

 

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Truly a page turner

I started this book on the car ride to Lake Lure, NC for a family trip to the mountains….one of my favorite places to be.  This book is 600 pages long….and I had it done on the second day of the trip.  What this means is that I used every free second between trail running and hiking and shopping and eating and card playing with my family….to read this book.   I stayed up very late at night reading while everyone else was snoozing away.

The book takes place in NYC and involves the disappearance of Amy.  Amy is about to graduate from college and seems like the a happy-go-lucky gal.  Yet the story does not center on her…it centers on her roommate Lily.  Lily is not about to graduate college despite being enrolled for 6 years and she seems to be stalled in her life at the age of 24.  She takes off to Maui to visit her sick mom when she is called back to help determine what happened to Amy.

The story takes twists and turns and encompasses so many tragic story lines….alcoholism, cancer, Nazi concentration camps, marital affairs, cults, murder, suicide, drugs, etc.  I sympathized with Lily and was rooting for her the whole story, but each time I would turn the page it would only get drearier.  I kept reading and hoping for Spencer and her to help each other in a world where they were drowning.   I am not going to tell you if I was rewarded at the end….that would be wrong.

The characters make this story…there were many that I hated (ahem…Anne), and those that I grew to understand even if I never found any love for them (ahem…Allison).  I kept reading for Lily and Spencer.  And I suggest you do the same.

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Perfect for a cold afternoon

When the temperature dips into the single digits, I look for a book cuddle up with and escape.   This was just what I needed.  The book is written in a series of letters between Evie Elliott and Tom Hardy during World War I (plus letters from their friends and family)  Truly, it is the letters between these two that I had to read.   The two are childhood friends along with Evie’s older brother, Will.  It is 1914 in England, and Tom and Will enlist in the to fight to win the war.   The letters begin as friends sharing their different experiences of the war.  Evie is at home living a privileged life while Tom is in the trenches facing the horrors of war.   They share their dreams, hopes, love of literature, and so much more.

The war was expected to be over by Christmas 1914, but this is not to be.  The correspondences continue through tragedy and unimaginable events. They dance around their feelings, and will it be too late for them?  Evie makes a decision that puts her in harm’s way and in the thick of all the danger.   Will the war, influenza, typhoid, or the love of another come between them?

I fell in love with the characters and found myself begging for the two of them to speak their mind honestly…but that is not the decorum of the day.  All prim and proper….the tragedy of it all.  You must read to discover what comes to be.

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A classic mystery

Let me start by saying that I adore Agatha Christie….I have adored her books since I was in junior high school.  I started with And Then There Were None and devoured many of her mysteries soon after.   I became obsessed and would read the books and watch all the Agatha Christie movies….my favorites were with Peter Usinov  as Hercule Poirot.  So when I was offered to review Murder on the Orient Express, I quickly jumped at the chance.

The movie will be out this week (November 9, and I cannot wait to see this version directed by Kenneth Branagh.  Though I recommend everyone read the book first before seeing the film.)   The book is addicting!  The whole mystery takes place on the Orient Express which is stuck on the tracks in a snowdrift.   It is during this time that Samuel Ratchett is murdered.  He is found in a locked compartment stabbed 12 times….no murder weapon is found.   The murderer is among one of passengers or employees of the train.  Hercule Poirot is on the case before the murderer can strike again.  Trust me…this is one fantastic read for any mystery lover.  I love Hercule Poirot and the characters are so well developed, and I felt like I was on the train with them all watching everything unfold in front of me.  Go out and read this…now….and then see the movie!

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