Tag Archives: historical mystery fiction

If You Liked The Sky Above Us …

30 Apr

My book club loved The Sky Above Us by Sarah Sundin. It has a unique perspective — the Army Air Force pilots who aided the Allied effort before and during D Day and the mission of the American Red Cross in England. So, for today’s If You Liked post I decided to recommend WWII novels also with a unique perspective. Two focus on incidents early in the war — Dunkirk and the Blitz. The other novel explores the end of the Reich from the perspective of an American caught in Nazi Germany. All three are great reads — enjoy!

Direct Hit by Mike Hollow

The jagged blast of high explosives rips through the evening air. In the sky over East London the searchlights criss-cross in search of the enemy.

On the first night of the Blitz, a corpse is discovered in a van in the back streets of West Ham. Detective Inspector John Jago recognizes the dead man as local Justice of the Peace Charles Villiers. But then a German bomb obliterates all evidence.

Villiers, not a popular man, was both powerful and feared. As the sirens wail, the detective must start matching motive to opportunity – and it doesn’t help when his boss foists an intrusive American journalist on him.

Jago soon discovers the dead man held many secrets, some reaching back to World War I. A lot of people wished Villiers dead – and an air raid is a good time to conceal a murder.

Maggie Bright by Tracy Groot

England, 1940. Clare Childs knew life would change when she unexpectedly inherited the Maggie Bright―a noble fifty-two-foot yacht. In fact, she’s counting on it. But the boat harbors secrets. When a stranger arrives, searching for documents hidden onboard, Clare is pulled into a Scotland Yard investigation that could shed light on Hitler’s darkest schemes and prompt America to action.

Across the Channel, Hitler’s Blitzkrieg has the entire British army in retreat with little hope for rescue at the shallow beaches of Dunkirk. With time running out, Churchill recruits civilian watercraft to help. Hitler is attacking from land, air, and sea, and any boat that goes might not return. Yet Clare knows Maggie Bright must answer the call―piloted by an American who has refused to join the war effort until now and a detective with a very personal motive for exposing the truth.

The fate of the war hinges on this rescue. While two men join the desperate fight, a nation prays for a miracle.

Daises Are Forever by Liz Tolsma

In the final days of Nazi Germany, the strength of one woman’s heart will determine the fate of a family.

Prussia, 1945

The fall of the Third Reich is imminent. As the merciless Red Army advances from the East, the German people of Prussia await the worst.
Among them is twenty-year-old Gisela Cramer, an American living in Heiligenbeil with her cousin Ella and their ailing grandfather. When word arrives that the Russians will invade overnight, Ella urges Gisela to escape to Berlin—and take Ella’s two small daughters with her.

The journey is miserable and relentless. But when Gisela hears the British accent of a phony SS officer, she poses as his wife to keep him safe among the indignant German refugees. In the blink of an eye, Mitch Edwards and Gisela are Herr and Frau Joseph Cramer.

Through their tragic and difficult journey, the fabricated couple strives to protect Ella’s daughters, hoping against hope for a reunion. But even as Gisela and Mitch develop feelings beyond the make–believe, the reality of war terrorizes their makeshift family.

 

 

Book Review (+Giveaway!): The White City

18 Mar

About the Book

Book: The White City

Author: Grace Hitchcock

Genre: Christian Historical/Suspense

Release Date: March, 2019

The white CityMysterious Disappearances Taint the Chicago World’s Fair

Step into True Colors —  a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime

While attending the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, Winnifred Wylde believes she witnessed a woman being kidnapped. She tries to convince her father, an inspector with the Chicago police, to look into reports of mysterious disappearances around the White City. Inspector Wylde tries to dismiss her claims as exaggeration of an overactive imagination, but he eventually concedes to letting her go undercover as secretary to the man in question—if she takes her pistol for protection and Jude Thorpe, a policeman, for bodyguard.

Will she be able to expose H. H. Holmes’s illicit activity, or will Winnifred become his next victim?

 

Click here to order your copy.

 

About the Author

grace hitchcockGrace Hitchcock is the author of three novellas in The Second Chance Brides, The Southern Belle Brides, and the Thimbles and Threads collections with Barbour Publishing. The White City is her debut novel and releases March 2019 with Barbour Publishing. She holds a Masters in Creative Writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in History. Grace lives in southern Louisiana with her husband, Dakota, and son. Visit Grace online at GraceHitchcock.com.

 

Guest Post from Grace

True Colors — Fiction Based on Strange, But True, American Crime Stories

True, riveting stories of American criminal activity are explored through 6 unique stories of historical romantic suspense in the exciting new True Colors series.

In book one, The White City, Winnifred Wylde believes she witnessed a woman being kidnapped while attending the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. She tries to convince her father, an inspector with the Chicago police, to look into reports of mysterious disappearances around the White City. Inspector Wylde tries to dismiss her claims as exaggeration of an overactive imagination, but he eventually concedes to letting her go undercover as secretary to the man in question—if she takes her pistol for protection and Jude Thorpe, a detective, for bodyguard.

Will she be able to expose H. H. Holmes’s illicit activity, or will Winnifred become his next victim?

The Real Criminal Behind the Story

While Winnifred Wylde is a fictional character, Doctor H. H. Holmes was very real and became infamously known as America’s first serial killer. Learn more about him HERE.

My Impressions:

The White City is the first in a new series from Barbour. The True Colors series presents fictional accounts of real American crime stories from the past. This first book in the series by debut author Grace Hitchcock promises readers who love history, mystery, and suspense a great reading experience. I loved how the book swept me back to another time. It is definitely a recommended read!

Engaging characters make The White City. Main character Winnifred Wylde is a society girl with a longing for adventure. Her novel reading may have influenced her a tiny bit as she sees mysterious doings all around her. I loved her spunk and tenacity. Her partner in the investigation of missing women is a hunky detective who fits the hero label very nicely. The two have great chemistry, and fans of romance will like the sweet relationship that develops. But societal expectations prove a major stumbling block for the two, as Winnie is expected to find a suitable husband from her own class. This point, as well as the fashions, transportation, and general description of the fair and Chicago of the time, captured the essence of the time period.  As for the mystery, the author kept me turning the pages. There was definitely something very fishy about Winnie’s boss and the building he is supposedly turning into a hotel. I loved that I got the rest of the story from the author’s afterword. That old cliche — truth is stranger than fiction — is alive and well in this chilling story. Although there is a good bit of danger awaiting Winnie and Jude, The White City also has a light side. It is just a fun read!

So if you are looking for a historical crime story with romance aplenty, The White City is the book for you.

Recommended.

Audience: older teens to adults.

(Thanks to Barbour for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

 

Blog Stops

Just the Write Escape, March 14

A Baker’s Perspective, March 14

The Lit Addict, March 14

janicesbookreviews, March 14

The Power of Words, March 15

Multifarious, March 15

Back Porch Reads, March 15

Livin’ Lit, March 16

Lis Loves Reading, March 16

Just Your Average reviews, March 16

Rev. Rebecca Writes, March 17

For the Love of Literature, March 17

Bibliophile Reviews, March 17

Reflections From My Bookshelves, March 18

Through the Fire Blogs, March 18

By The Book, March 18

A Reader’s Brain, March 18

Girls in White Dresses, March 19

Stories By Gina , March 19

EmpowerMoms, March 19

Inklings and notions, March 19

All-of-a-kind Mom, March 20

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 20

Bigreadersite, March 21

Genesis 5020, March 21

Blossoms and Blessings, March 21

The Becca Files, March 21

Emily Yager, March 22

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, March 22

Pause for Tales, March 22

Inspired by fiction, March 23

Mary Hake, March 23

Book by Book, March 23

Real World Bible Study, March 23

Blogging With Carol, March 24

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, March 24

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, March 24

Maureen’s Musings, March 25

amandainpa, March 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 25

Older & Smarter?, March 26

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 26

Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner , March 26

Godly Book Reviews, March 27

For Him and my Family, March 27

Texas Book-aholic, March 27

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Grace is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of The White City!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/dd7d/the-white-city-celebration-tour-giveaway

Book Review: The Death Beat

25 Feb

Poppy looked up, her face pale, her hands shaking. What is it, Poppy? Oh my, Rollo, oh my. I think we’ve just struck gold. Poppy Denby is furious with Rollo, who has gambled away his position at the Daily Globe and is being banished to New York. That is, until she discovers he plans to take her with him to work at the New York Times! Poppy can’t wait to report on the Manhattan arts scene, but her hopes are crushed when she is allocated The Death Beat – writing obituaries. But Poppy has a nose for a story, and when a body is found in a luxury penthouse apartment she starts to investigate. She unravels a sordid trail of illegal immigrants, forced labour, sex scandals, and an unexpected ghost from her past. Poppy is determined to help the victims, but can she find the evidence to bring the perpetrators to justice without putting her own life in danger . . . .

 

Formerly a journalist, Fiona Veitch Smithis a writer of books, theatre plays and screenplays.

Her children’s picturebooks, the Young David series, are now published by SPCK Publishing. Her adult mystery series set in the 1920s, Poppy Denby Investigates, is published by Lion Fiction. The first book in the series, The Jazz Files, is available from September 2015.

She is a member of the British Society of Authors and the Association of Christian Writers. Fiona is also the editor of the popular writing advice website The Crafty Writer and her courses attract students from around the world.

She lives with her husband, daughter and two dogs in Newcastle upon Tyne where she lectures in media and scriptwriting at the local universities.

 

My Impressions:

The Death Beat is the third book in the Poppy Denby historical mystery series by Fiona Veitch Smith. Set in 1921, it brings to life the era very well — flappers, speakeasies, etc. And while Poppy hails from England, this newest adventure takes her to New York with her boss Rollo Rolandson. Poppy finds herself assigned to the unenviable job at the New York Times — the obituary writer. But as always, Poppy finds a much more exciting story to uncover.

I loved the references to the 1920s that Smith weaves throughout The Death Beat. The fashion, the night scene, the slang, all make this novel very authentic. And while the author may have taken a few liberties with dates and places, this fictional look at New York in the Roaring Twenties conveys the spirit of the time. America was struggling with immigration even then, and the mystery involves illegal immigrants that were used and abused. Human trafficking may not have bee a buzz word at the time, but it was a problem even then. Those two things are at the crux of the mystery. Poppy, a thoroughly modern young woman, is determined to uncover all the unsavory business that threatens to harm more disadvantaged women. There are many parallels in that era and what we now are discussing on the national stage, and I enjoyed the unique perspective. Clues are made known to both Poppy and the reader, but I managed to be clueless about just whodunit. I loved the many surprises.

While many characters from previous books in the series make appearances, The Death Beat can be read as standalone. However, if you like historical mysteries, you may just want to get the three that are currently available — great for binge-reading fun.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to NetGalley and Lion Hudson for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Top 10 Tuesday — New to The TBR

29 Jan

Only a month into the new year, and I have already added lots of books to my TBR list. (You can read my Winter TBR HERE.) There are so many shiny new books out there it is hard not to be tempted to add thousands hundreds a few to the unending list. What about you, what books have you added so far this year?

Head over to That Artsy Reader Girl to discover other bloggers’ wish lists.

 

Top Books Recently Added to The Unending TBR List

 

Atoning for Ashes by Kaitlin Covel

Between Two Shores by Jocelyn Green

Convergence by Ginny Yttrup

Daughters of Northern Shores by Joanne Bischoff

The Memory House by Rachel Hauck

Never Let Go by Elizabeth Goddard

The Seamstress by Allison Pitman

The Secret of Willow Inn by Pat Nichols

The Watch on The Fencepost by Kay DiBianca

The White City by Grace Hitchcock

Book Review: Prince Edward’s Warrant

16 Jan

Master Hugh won the Black Prince’s favor when he helped to ease the Prince’s illness. Now, in the autumn of 1372, the prince is suffering a relapse and sends to Bampton for Master Hugh to attend him. While at dinner in Kennington Palace, Sir Giles, the knight who escorted Hugh to London, is stricken and dies. Poison! Sir Giles is not popular, and there are many who would gladly see the fellow done away with — except for Prince Edward. The Black Prince feels a debt to the slain man because of his heroic behavior at the Battle of Crecy, where the knight stood firm with the prince when the fight seemed of uncertain outcome. Despite caring little for Sir Giles, Master Hugh must once again place himself in jeopardy and seek to uncover the perpetrator of the crime.

 

Mel Starr was born and grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He graduated from Spring Arbor High School in 1960, and Greenville College (Illinois) in 1964. He received an MA in history from Western Michigan University in 1970. He taught history in Michigan public schools for thirty-nine years, thirty-five of those in Portage, MI, where he retired in 2003 as chairman of the social studies department of Portage Northern High School.

Mel married Susan Brock in 1965. They have two daughters, and seven grandchildren.

 

My Impressions:

Master Hugh de Singleton is back with a new chronicle of a mystery solved in Prince Edward’s Warrant. Hugh must leave the comfort of his hearth to minister to the Black Prince Edward. Having served him well in France, Hugh is called to treat and cure, if he can, the malady that afflicts the prince. But as always, Hugh soon finds himself in the midst of a mystery, this time the poisoning of one of Edward’s favorite knights. The bodies soon pile up as Hugh doggedly follows the clues.

Mel Starr’s historical mysteries are some of my favorites. Limited by his time and place, Hugh manages to use his intuition, limited scientific knowledge, and insight into the human psyche to solve complex crimes of passion and greed. The setting for the latest novel is Kennington Palace, a long gone favorite of Prince Edward. Life at court, with its protocol, amusements, and hierarchy, is shared with a detail that adds to the narrative. Hugh is a chronicler of more than murder and mayhem, and shares his thoughts on the fashions, customs, and politics of 14th century England. I especially love Hugh’s musings on the religious practices and dogma of the day. Hugh also has a dry wit that is spotlighted in his dealings with Edward’s personal physician. While Hugh may be a mere mechanic in his profession as surgeon, he is much more practical and methodical in his study of the common diseases of the day than the puffed up Dr. Blackwell. As both bailiff to Sir Gilbert and surgeon, Hugh brings a mix of expertise to his quest for the perpetrators. Fans of mysteries will love Hugh’s detecting prowess.

Another winner from the skilled pen of Starr, Prince Edward’s Warrant is a must-read for fans of historical mysteries and medieval fiction.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to Lion Hudson and NetGalley for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

 

Lady of A Thousand Treasures Special Blog Hop

18 Oct

LadyTT_Bloghop

Welcome to  Lady of a Thousand Treasures by Sandra Byrd Scavenger Blog Hunt with an awesome giveaway, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!  On each stop, there will be:

  • special content by the blogger, plus
  • a clue
  • then head back to the launch post on JustRead or straight to the main crossword puzzle to fill in the words and get the special phrase to enter the  giveaway!

Before we begin, there’s a bit about Lady of a Thousand Treasures. 

ABOUT THE BOOK

lady of a thousand treasuresTitle: Lady of a Thousand Treasures
Series: Victorian Ladies, Book 1
Author: Sandra Byrd
Publisher: Tyndale House
Release Date: October 9, 2018
Genre: Historical/Gothic Romance

Miss Eleanor Sheffield is a talented evaluator of antiquities, trained to know the difference between a genuine artifact and a fraud. But with her father’s passing and her uncle’s decline into dementia, the family business is at risk. In the Victorian era, unmarried Eleanor cannot run Sheffield Brothers alone.

The death of a longtime client, Baron Lydney, offers an unexpected complication when Eleanor is appointed the temporary trustee of the baron’s legendary collection. She must choose whether to donate the priceless treasures to a museum or allow them to pass to the baron’s only living son, Harry — the man who broke Eleanor’s heart.

Eleanor distrusts the baron’s motives and her own ability to be unbiased regarding Harry’s future. Harry claims to still love her and Eleanor yearns to believe him, but his mysterious comments and actions fuel her doubts. When she learns an Italian beauty accompanied him on his return to England, her lingering hope for a future with Harry dims.

With the threat of debtor’s prison closing in, Eleanor knows that donating the baron’s collection would win her favor among potential clients, saving Sheffield Brothers. But the more time she spends with Harry, the more her faith in him grows. Might Harry be worthy of his inheritance, and her heart, after all? As pressures mount and time runs out, Eleanor must decide whom she can trust — who in her life is false or true, brass or gold — and what is meant to be treasured.

PURCHASE: Goodreads | Amazon | iTunes | Christian Book | Book Depository | Books-A-Million

 

MY IMPRESSIONS:

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21) — this verse kept running through my mind as I read the newest historical romance/mystery by Sandra Byrd. As I have come to expect from this talented author, Lady of A Thousand Treasures, is outstanding! Set in the Victorian-era, this novel uses as its premise the collecting-fever of the monied men and women of the time. The historic details whisk you back to the resplendent drawing rooms displaying the artifacts of ancient civilizations and priceless art, while also exposing the downtrodden poor that the rich sought to ignore. I loved this complexly crafted work and highly recommend it.

Eleanor Sheffield struggles to keep her late father’s valuating business afloat despite the dwindling commissions of patrons and the infirmity of her uncle. Her entire life has been dedicated to examining and valuing treasures — Roman coins, glassware, pottery, etc. — but a woman of her time is expected to take second place to father or husband. Given a challenging task by her childhood friend’s deceased father, she endeavors to act in a just manner, but there are many foes known and unknown that are acting against her.

Lady of A Thousand Treasures has an air of mystery from the outset. Indeed, there are a number of puzzling circumstances that Eleanor encounters. She is doggedly determined to meet every challenge, a trait that is both admirable and foolish. Her pride in her strength and self-sufficiency leads her to trouble time and time again. The novel is told in the first person, and the reader gets a genuine look into Eleanor’s motives and thoughts. She holds nothing back. Her take on those around her is not always accurate, but enough is shared for the reader to come to his/her own conclusions. I found myself questioning all who Eleanor encounters. Even her lifelong friend (and true love) is open to doubt. Attention to historic detail gives this book a great deal of authenticity. The scenes involving life in prison are particularly eye-opening. Eleanor’s faith is tested throughout the novel, and she sometimes wavers in her trust in God’s goodness and provision. I found that made Eleanor even more real and relatable. Her feeling of being un-treasured touched my heart. Her assertion that “I am no one’s treasure” truly struck a chord.

Lady of A Thousand Treasures is a treasure of its own. A beautifully written book, it will keep you enthralled until the very last page is turned. I was sorry to have to leave Eleanor’s world. I know this story will stay with me for quite a long time.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Just Read Tours and Tyndale for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

pic_FULLb_Byrd_Sandra

After earning her first rejection at the age of thirteen, bestselling author Sandra Byrd has now published fifty books.

Sandra’s delighted to kick off her new historical romance series with Tyndale House Publishers, Victorian Ladies, with Lady of a Thousand Treasures. The three-book Victorian Ladies series follows her historically sound Gothic romances, Daughters of Hampshire, launched with the bestselling Mist of Midnight, which earned a coveted Editor’s Choice award from the Historical Novel Society. The second book, Bride of a Distant Isle, has been selected by Romantic Times as a Top Pick. The third in the series, A Lady in Disguise, was published in 2017. Check out her contemporary adult fiction debut, Let Them Eat Cake, which was a Christy Award finalist, as was her first historical novel, To Die For: A Novel of Anne BoleynTo Die For was also named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2011, and The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr was named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2012.

Sandra has published dozens of books for kids, tweens, and teens, including the bestselling The One Year Be-Tween You and God Devotions for Girls. She continued her work as a devotionalist, with The One Year Home and Garden Devotions, and The One Year Experiencing God’s Love Devotional.

Please visit www.sandrabyrd.com to learn more or to invite Sandra to your book club via Skype.

CONTACT:  website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram


SCAVENGER HUNT CROSSWORD PUZZLE

Instructions: Head to every stop on the tour to collect a word to finish the crossword puzzle. Hint: You might want to print out the crossword puzzle (link below) and enter it everyday to make it easier.

Crossword Board: https://crosswordlabs.com/view/lady-of-a-thousand-treasures-scavenger-hunt

Not a crossword puzzle fan? Just compile the clue words from each stop and enter it on the Rafflecopter entry.

This stop’s CLUE is: Your


Justreads 3 Blog Hop Giveaway

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive:

  • a copy of Lady of a Thousand Treasures (print to US addresses OR ebook to international)
  • Cork coaster set of the British Isles (US Only)
  • “To The Lighthouse” diffuser made by Seawitch Candles in Cornwall, England. (US Only)
  • $10 Amazon gift card (open international)

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Entry form will be live on the 19th once all clues are revealed. Clues for giveaway will begin at midnight October 15, 2018. Entries are opened at midnight on October 19, 2018 and lasts through 11:59pm October 22, 2018. Void where prohibited by law. Winners will be notified within a week of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.Void where prohibited by law.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER HERE

 Be sure to stop on every stop on the Tour Schedule for all the clues to enter!


TOUR SCHEDULE

LadyTT_Bloghop

Launch Page at JustRead

For the full tour schedule, click on the launch page.

(All stops expected to post by 12:00 NOON EST)

Cover_Facebook_LOATT_JR

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Book Title Mash Up

7 Aug

That Artsy Reader Girl is challenging bloggers to a Book Mash Up! We are supposed to take two books that combined together would make one awesome new book. I’m afraid my brain is a bit creativity-challenged, so I tweaked the topic this week to a Title Mash Up — two book titles combined to create a fun book with little in common to the originals. Won’t you join the fun by leaving a comment with some mashed together titles?

 

Top 10 Book Title Mash Up!

 

The Captured Bride Most Begrudging 

She really didn’t want to get married.

 

Carolina Reckoning at Gossamer Pond

Let’s move the action down South.

 

Chasing Secrets of A Charmed Life

Must discover that secret!

 

Dressed for Death in The Shadows

You have to look good!

An Endless Christmas Angel Project

A women’s project gone awry!

 

Imperfect Justice Betrayed

Justice just can’t catch a break.

 

Lead Me Home at Last

Can’t wait to get there.

 

Phoebe’s Light My Fire 

Sounds like a story of a racehorse.

 

A Rebel Heart Between Us

You just can’t trust the heart.

 

Rules of Murder at The Flamingo

Let’s make sure we follow the rules.

 

What are some more titles that make a good mash up?