Tag Archives: mystery

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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Amish North Star by Cindy Woodsmall, Mindy Starns Clark and Emily Clark, Amanda Flower, and Katie Ganshert

Woodsmall, Cindy Amish Christmas at North Star

 

Publication Date: October 2015

Publisher: Waterbrook Press, a division of Waterbrook Multnomah

ARC Copy from Blogging for Books.com

 

 

A collection of heartwarming Christmas tales centered on a group of four young people called Rebekah’s Babies unfolds around the holidays as each young person’s special story comes to light. Katie Ganshert does a great job of introducing the main storyline and tying it all together at the end.

Guiding Star by Katie Ganshert

Chase Wellington, a young man who writes for the North Star Tribune in his spare time and manages a construction business, comes across a newspaper story from 25 years ago about Rebekah’s babies and decides to check out a follow up article. His first visit to Rebekah’s birthing center uncovers the mystery of baby Anna and her mother, Ruth. Chase’s investigation leads him to a young woman named Elle, who was adopted as a baby. The story opens the reader’s heart to the conflict involved in deciding to pursue birth parents.  I enjoyed the blending of Englisch life and Amish family. Katie Ganshert does a wonderful job of exploring these deeply emotional conflicts at a special time of the year.

Morning Star by Amanda Flower

An Amish mystery surrounds this tale of the second of Rebekah’s babies, Eden Hochstetler. Eden spends her days reading Jane Eyre and making fudge for her father’s candy shop. When her best friend, an Englischer named Gina, talks her into sneaking around and investigating the death of her friend, Isaac Yoder. Isaac was like the grandfather that Eden did not have and she had treasured their daily visits. While exploring the farm where Isaac died, the girls meet Jesse Yoder, the young Amish man who inherited his uncle’s property. The more they explore; the deeper the mystery becomes. Read this quick little mystery and find out who murdered Isaac!

In the Stars by Cindy Woodsmall

Two young Amish people are torn apart by a lack of faith and trust in each other. Kore Detweiler and Savilla Beiler are in love and headed towards marriage when Savilla unexpectedly pulls away. Kore leaves North Star for Virginia and a new life. However, as much as he would like to forget Savilla and North Star, Kore is pulled back into life in North Star as a result of a family emergency. Can Kore find out why Savilla left him? Can Savilla keep her secret? Read this story to find what happens when faith and trust open your heart.

Star of Grace by Mindy Starns Clark and Emily Clark

This delightful story touched my heart with its tale of a younger brother’s love for his older brother. Sam, an enterprising young Amish boy of twelve, challenges his older brother, Andy, to come home for Christmas. The challenge involves a girl, a train ticket, and a job. Sam has a great sense of family and an innocent trust. In his quest to bring his brother home, Sam takes a job with a crusty old English man in town who fires him on his first day for being Amish. Crushed, Sam steps back and revises his plans. A wonderful tale of forgiveness and faith!

This ARC copy was received from BloggingforBooks.org and Waterbrook Press in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

Check the following websites:

Author Biographies at Waterbrook Multnomah

Check the ladies out on Facebook and Twitter as well!

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Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden

Beyond All Dreams

Publication Date: January 6, 2015

Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group

ARC copy from Bethany House and Netgalley

What an interesting story! The plot in this novel drew me into the pages of the story immediately. The book begins in Washington, D.C. and the year is 1897. Anna O’Brien, a map librarian working at the Library of Congress, is given an unusual task as punishment for interfering in naval business. She is assigned to work with Luke Callahan, a prominent young Senator from Maine who also happens to be an outspoken opponent of the Library of Congress.

Anna’s life is devoted to the library and she feels personally offended at Luke’s criticism of the institution. Luke feels an instant attraction to the young woman assigned to help him with his research and has a hard time hiding it. Anna wants to do her job and spend her free time with her best friend, Neville Bernhard, but Luke seems to turn her up constantly in places she least expects him. As Anna strives to maintain the world she has created for herself and get answers regarding the death of her father, she finds an unlikely ally in Luke.

The characters are engaging and have depth to them. The storyline follows an actual historical event involving a naval ship, the country of Cuba, and the United States. Ms. Camden does a great job of incorporating her knowledge and love of library science into the novel. The historical components of the book are very detailed and interesting. The mystery and “opposites attract” romance blend well with the historical part of the story.

I would definitely recommend this book to readers of historical fiction and romance. A very interesting and fun story set during an interesting time!

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

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The Bracelet by Dorothy Love

Love, Dorothy The Bracelet

Publication Date: December 2014

Publisher: Thomas Nelson, Inc.

ARC copy from the author

 

“But the truth was that sooner or later misfortune visited every house.”

                                                                             -Celia Browning

 Celia Browning’s contemplation above is a statement that is universally true throughout the ages. However, in the novel The Bracelet, our heroine Celia Browning, a sweet Southern belle from a very wealthy family, takes the entire book to figure out that this adage applies even to her.

Set in scenic Savannah, Georgia during the mid 1800’s just prior to the Civil War, the story unfolds with the eminent arrival of Sutton McKay, a handsome young man from a well to do family, intent upon marrying Celia. Their story unfolds as a nosy journalist pursues a story based on events that occurred fifteen years earlier in the Browning household.

The suspense and mystery unfold as the story progresses with the inclusion of Ivy, Celia’s jealous cousin and Louis, a sullen young orphan from the Savannah Asylum for Orphan Girls. The relationship between Ivy and Celia is a tumultuous one, loving at times, but lacking in any emotional depth. The novel contains a great deal of day to day detail that slows the flow of the story down at times. The romance is spelled out from the beginning so there are no surprises there.

The book is based on an actual event that occurred in Savannah in 1860. The story is interesting enough to compel this reader to finish the book, but I did find the novel a little slow. The actual historical detail in the book is interesting and the picture of society in Savannah is painted in a different light than the usual Southern aristocracy.

I won this copy in a drawing on Dorothy Love’s Facebook page in exchange for a fair review. The opinions and statements above are my own.

3/5 stars

 

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The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen

secret of pembrooke park

Publication Date: December 2014
Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group
ARC Copy from Netgalley.com and Bethany House

 

Once again Julie Klassen transports us back to the Regency era with a terrific historical novel set in rural Berkshire County, west of London around 1817. The novel contains several elements of mystery running through the storyline that definitely pull the reader in and add to the overall story.

The mystery begins with the introduction of Mr. Arbeau, a distinguished looking older man who delivers a cryptic invitation to reside at Pembrooke Park to the Foster family, who are in the midst of dire financial straits. The characters are a mixed lot in this novel. They range from sensible Abigail to her flighty sister, Louisa, to the mysterious Mr. Arbeau and the irresistible Parson’s assistant, Mr. William Chapman.

The story centers around the family secrets of the Pembrookes, their relations, and employees. The story covers a time span of approximately 20 years and goes back to an earlier generation of the Pembrooke family and the previously deserted house. The layers of mystery are deep and intriguing. As they are peeled back and secrets revealed, events unfold that the Foster family could not foresee. As with all of Ms. Klassen’s novels, a bit of romance must evolve in the story.

This book is an interesting tale and will keep the reader’s attention. Find out the secrets of the Pembrooke family by reading the novel! The ending works very well and all the unanswered questions and family mysteries are cleared up. A bit more serious than the usual Klassen stories and a bit longer than usual! Thanks again for a wonderful job, Julie Klassen!

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The Healer’s Touch by Lori Copeland

healers touchPublication Date: Aug 2014

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers

ARC copy from Netgalley.com and Harvest House Publishers

 

 

     “As she approached the dwelling, moonlight emphasized a gaping hole where the barn door had once been. Gasping, she picked up speed, her eyes searching for the source of such destruction. Her barn door! What in the world. . . ?

The mystery of the barn door begins late one evening with a large noise and the finding of a deathly still man’s body lying inside the barn by Lyric Bolton. Lyric is a young woman of 19 who resides in Bolton Holler with her ailing, mentally ill mother, Edwina, and her younger sister, Lark. The entrance of Ian Cawley, the man found on her barn floor, subtly begins to change Lyric’s lonely life.

The town has ostracized the entire family due to her mother’s mental illness and a mysterious light. Lyric leads a life lacking in friendship and human interaction. After finding Ian Cawley almost dead on her barn floor, she works to find out who he is and what he was doing in her barn. She assumes he is one of the local Younger outlaws who live in abundance in the area. After reporting him to the sheriff as an outlaw, she waits for him to get better so that he can be hanged. Ian has lost his memory and has no idea who he is or what he is doing in Bolton Holler. Lyric uses her healing touch to help Ian recover.

An ice storm and many extenuating circumstances give Lyric and Ian an opportunity to get to know each other. Initially Lyric assumes the worst, but eventually finds that Ian’s personality and actions are not that of a bad guy. As their relationship deepens, Lyric begins to have hopes of a life after caring for Edwina. The mystery of Ian’s identity must first be resolved before any further hopes or plans can develop.

The book offers mystery and some romance. The plot does not have great strength. The characters are not very dynamic and do not add a great deal of depth to the story. It is a clean, light read. I had no trouble finishing the book, but I would only recommend it to someone interested in an easy read. I have read several of Lori Copeland’s other novels and enjoyed them very much.

I received this copy from Netgalley.com and Harvest House Publishers in exchange for a fair review. The opinions and statements above are my own.

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