Category Archives: Mystery/Suspense

A Stranger at Fellsworth by Sarah E. Ladd

 

Series: Treasures of Surrey, Book 3

Publication Date: May 2017

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

ARC copy from Netgalley and Thomas Nelson Publishers

 

“Every person is on a journey. You.  Me.  Mr. Thorley. Miss Stillworth. Every single one of us.” …. “Some of us will learn and grow, and some will struggle and fail. I know I certainly could not judge another. All we can do is be there for the ones who have been put into our lives.”

-Crosley

Suspense, romance and a bit of faith deliver a great story in this latest novel by Sarah E. Ladd. Readers of Regency novels will definitely engage with this story. Intriguing characters, dark plots, and subtle romance tie the story together quite well!

Annabelle Thorley,  a young gentile woman, finds her life changing drastically as her family goods are carted from their pleasant home and sold by her brother who has inherited the family estate. Bills to settle, debts to be paid, and unsavory friends add to Annabelle’s brother Thomas’s problems. Thomas decides to use Annabelle as a means of getting himself out of debt and out of trouble.

Desperation drives Annabelle to seek shelter at Fellsworth School run by her Uncle Edmund, whom she has not seen in ten years. Owen Locke, a groundskeeper from the neighboring estate, steps in and provides safe transportation to Fellsworth for Annabelle and her ladies maid, Crosley.

Uncle Edmund is quite willing to provide the two women with jobs and a safe place to live. Thus begins a changed life for Annabelle and Crosley both. One will use the change to her advantage and one will use it unwisely.

Once again Sarah Ladd examines in depth the significance of family, morals, and the true meaning of home. Annabelle and Owen have both suffered loss and difficulties. Annabelle’s upbringing left her ill suited to the life with which she winds up, but she makes an effort to adapt and do the best she can with the skills she has. Owen learns that he is capable of a great deal of patience and that his patience and hard work do pay off in the end. Annabelle and Owen learn that home is where you make it and family is sometimes what we choose, not what we are born to.

This ARC copy was received from Thomas Nelson and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.  

 

 

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Filed under Book Reviews, christian fiction, Mystery/Suspense, Regency

The Illusionist’s Apprentice by Kristy Cambron

Cambron, Kristy The Illusionist's Apprentice

Publication Date: 2017

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Copy from The Fiction Guild and Thomas Nelson Publishers

 

“Everything about it causes me to doubt, but that’s just instinct. If you’re asking me personally, then I’d say it’s because my faith must always be stronger than what my eyes can see. However, if you’re asking Wren the illusionist, then I’d say that you once told me a showman must always make the crowd believe the story she tells.”

                                                                        -Wren Lockhart

 Kristy Cambron weaves yet another absorbing tale grounded in history and based on real people. The story of Wren Lockhart, a famed illusionist trained by Harry Houdini, begins in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the year 1926. Much to my dismay when I began reading, Houdini had been dead for two years. The story focuses entirely on Wren and a young FBI agent, Elliot Matthews.

As Elliot works to solve a mysterious death that occurs as part of a public performance by a well known medium, he draws Wren into the investigation. The case pulls the two together as Wren struggles to maintain her very private life and a few well kept secrets of her own. The more time they spend together, the more their interests intersect.

The story is filled with mystery, suspense, intrigue, faith, and romance. The story is based on a real apprentice who worked for Harry Houdini prior to his death, even though the story itself is fiction. A great job of weaving the threads of history with fiction! Readers who love historical fiction will definitely find this an excellent read.

This copy was received from The Fiction Guild and Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Book Reviews, christian fiction, Mystery/Suspense, Romance

Dawn at Emberwilde by Sarah E. Ladd

Ladd, Sarah  Dawn at Emberwilde

Series: A Treasures of Surrey novel

Publication Date: May 2016

Publisher: Thomas Nelson and Netgalley.com

ARC copy

 

  

  “There is nothing quite so lovely as dawn at Emberwilde.”

                     –Burns, ladies maid to Isabel Creston

Moving from life as a student to life as a teacher at the Fellsworth School changed very little in Isabel Creston’s life. The uniforms were a bit more drab and your hair had to be constantly tidy, but the same rigid regulations remained. Isabel is a beautiful young woman who likes to daydream and push the rules to the limits most days.

Nothing prepares Isabel, an orphan who serves as guardian to her younger half sister, for the arrival of the tall, handsome stranger that has been sent to escort her to Emberwilde to meet family that she never knew existed.

The novel gains momentum quickly with an intriguing plot that encompasses ghosts in the forest, smuggling, and mysterious events that occur without explanation. To further complicate the story, Isabel quickly learns that love often wears many faces. Nothing is quite as it seems at Emberwilde Hall.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The hint of romance appealed to me and the mysteries throughout the book kept my attention. The characters are reminiscent of Jane Austen’s characters and the setting and dark mysteries offer a bit of Charlotte Bronte. Read Dawn at Emberwilde to find out what mysteries are lurking in the forest!  Great book for readers of historical, Regency, and inspirational fiction!

Sarah Ladd’s website

Facebook: Sarah Ladd

Sarah Ladd at Goodreads.com

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Filed under Book Reviews, Historical Fiction, Mystery/Suspense, Regency

Whispers in the Reading Room by Shelley Gray

Gray, Shelley  Whispers in the Reading Room.jpg

Publication Date: November 2015

Publisher: Zondervan

Copy from publisher as a “Fiction Guild Team Challenge” book

 

“If life has taught me anything, if that World’s Fair in the middle of our fair city has shown me anything, it’s that everyone, no matter what their circumstances or bearings or hopes, deserves to be around other people.”

                                                                                    -Sebastian Marks

Sebastian Marks, a handsome, aloof, and formidable young man from the wrong end of town, likes to hang out in the library reading some most respectable works of literature. His presence in the library reading room has intrigued Miss Lydia Bancroft, the upright and serious young librarian who manages the front desk at the library.

The story begins in 1894 shortly after the World’s Fair has closed in Chicago. The historical detail on the seedy end of Chicago and the violent crime occurring at the time lend a different approach to the story that centers around the lives of four people who are drawn together as a result of a poor decision of Lydia’s late one night. A bit of mystery and intrigue creep through the story, as well as a healthy dose of romance.

The four main characters are interesting and dynamic. They all come to the realization by the end of the novel that solving their individual problems is not a task to be handled by them alone. Each finds the need for faith in order to turn their lives in a more positive direction.

I felt the book was relatively predictable. The mystery added a bit of intrigue to the overall tale, but at the same time, the clues were easily read. I enjoyed the story, but the book was not a complicated read. I thoroughly enjoyed the setting being in the library and Sebastian and Lydia’s love of literature and books.

This ARC copy was received from Thomas Nelson Zondervan as part of the Fiction Guild Team Challenge in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

 ***/5

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Filed under Book Reviews, Historical Fiction, Inspirational Fiction, Mystery/Suspense, Romance, Uncategorized

All the Winters After by Seré Prince Halverson

Halverson, Sere Prince  All the Winters AfterPublication Date: February 2016

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

ARC Copy from Sourcebooks Landmark

 

All the Winters After is a truly compelling novel that begins chapter one in 2005; however, the real beginning of the story is two decades earlier in Caboose, Alaska. The title of the book left me wondering right away “All the winters after what?”.  As the reader delves in to the book, they will still be wondering whether the title applies to the beginning of the story or the end.

The book centers around Kache Winkel, a thirty-eight year old man originally from Alaska who struggles to free himself from his past; Nadia, a young woman in her late twenties who has hidden away from the world for the past ten years; Snag, Kache’s aunt who has spent her life hiding secrets of her own; and Lettie, Kache’s grandmother who homesteaded and built the cabin owned by Kache and inhabited by Nadia. Their stories are intertwined and weave a fascinating tale as they come together and try to find ways to live in the present while dealing with the past.

The personality of each character is complex and varied. They are all hiding secrets from each other and gradually the layers are peeled away as the tale unfolds. The characters are very dynamic, changing and growing as the novel progresses. The depth and emotions in the writing are very compelling. I did not want to put this book down.

The setting of Caboose, Alaska is based on the real Alaskan city of Homer, which if you have been to Alaska you will surely recognize. I had the pleasure of visiting Homer this summer and easily recognize the Spit and a few other local scenes. The author did an excellent job of detail on the area.

The clues, the suspense, and the secrets keep the reader completely engaged. A fascinating book! Outstanding novel for readers of contemporary fiction!

This ARC copy was received from Sourcebooks Landmark, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

5/5

 

 

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Filed under Book Reviews, Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense

A Respectable Actress by Dorothy Love

Love, Dorothy  A Respectable Actress

 

Publication Date: October 2015

Publisher: Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Copy from publisher as a “Fiction Guild Team Challenge” book

 

 

“Just as she lifted it there was a deafening explosion and a quick flash of fire. An anguished scream.”

                                                                                   -India Hartley

 A lovely, petite young woman in her twenties, India Hartley had booked a theatre run at the Southern Palace in Savannah, Georgia as she attempted to carry on with her acting career after the death of her father. For India, the renowned stage actress, the abrupt and surprising end of the first scene began a life altering time for her.

Once again author Dorothy Love takes us to late 1800’s Savannah with a story based on true people and grounded in historical detail of the era. As India works through the tension filled time leading up to the trial, she and her attorney, Phillip Sinclair, try to piece together the events leading up to the accident. The story reveals even more mysteries as details of Phillip Sinclair’s dead wife come to be disclosed.

The book is interesting and definitely pulls the reader into the story. The dual mysteries add suspense and depth to the story. I found the novel very well paced with dynamic characters and some interesting twists. An interesting throwback to Ms. Love’s last novel shows up in the book as well to bring the reader the feeling of meeting up with an old friend again. A bit of romance is thrown into the storyline to liven things up. Definitely an enjoyable read! Take the time to find out what happens to India and see if you can solve the mysteries!

This ARC copy was received from Thomas Nelson as part of the Fiction Guild Team Challenge in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

****/5

Author’s Pages:

http://dorothylovebooks.com/

https://www.facebook.com/dorothylovebooks/?fref=ts

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3150553.Dorothy_Love?from_search=true&search_version=service

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Book Reviews, Historical Fiction, Mystery/Suspense