Review/US Giveaway: In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen

  • in-farleigh-fieldTitle:  In Farleigh Field
  • Author:  Rhys Bowen
  • Genre:  Historical Mystery
  • Pages:  396
  • Published:  March 1, 2017 – Lake Union Publishing
  • Source:  Publisher; Little Bird Publicity

Description:  World War II comes to Farleigh Place, the ancestral home of Lord Westerham and his five daughters, when a soldier with a failed parachute falls to his death on the estate. After his uniform and possessions raise suspicions, MI5 operative and family friend Ben Cresswell is covertly tasked with determining if the man is a German spy. The assignment also offers Ben the chance to be near Lord Westerham’s middle daughter, Pamela, whom he furtively loves. But Pamela has her own secret: she has taken a job at Bletchley Park, the British code-breaking facility.

As Ben follows a trail of spies and traitors, which may include another member of Pamela’s family, he discovers that some within the realm have an appalling, history-altering agenda. Can he, with Pamela’s help, stop them before England falls?

Inspired by the events and people of World War II, writer Rhys Bowen crafts a sweeping and riveting saga of class, family, love, and betrayal.  (publisher)

My take:  I’m a fan of historical fiction so I was pleased to receive a review copy of In Farleigh Field from the publisher. It involves the aristocracy, WWII, and spies!

During this time most of Britain wanted to help the cause in any way they could. Pamela, one of Lord Westerham’s daughters, and a very bright young woman, works her way into Bletchley Park‘s code-breakers. After a while she’s asked to do even more sophisticated work for her country. For security reasons no one can talk to anyone else about what they’re doing so she’s surprised when one of her oldest and dearest friends becomes involved in her latest assignment. This assignment will have them questioning their relationship as well as some of their closest friends and family. Can one truly trust anyone else at times like these? They will find out.

I thought Bowen’s mystery was entertaining and it kept me turning the pages wondering who was intending to kill the most important British leaders of the day. There were so many possibilities and I was glad I didn’t know until the reveal. I liked the balance between light moments and more intense ones as the story played out. I wouldn’t label it a cozy but it wasn’t an all-out thriller either. I’ll have to say somewhere in the middle. At any rate, I’m glad I had the chance to read it.


US Giveaway

Please click here and fill out the form

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Sunday Post

Book arrivals:  (linked to Mailbox Monday)

summer-dance-53017 the-bridge-across-the-ocean-319 the-beach-at-painters-cove-613 the-captains-daughter

Last week on Bookfan:

  • Review: The Mother’s Promise
  • Review:  A Lady’s Code of Misconduct

the-mothers-promise   a-ladys-code-of-misconduct

Reading plan for this week:

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A Lady’s Code of Misconduct by Meredith Duran

  • a-ladys-code-of-misconductTitle:  A Lady’s Code of Misconduct
  • Series:  Rules for the Reckless, #5
  • Author:  Meredith Duran
  • Pages:  384
  • Genre:  Historical Romance
  • Published:  February 28, 2017 – Pocket Books
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL…
Trapped in the countryside, facing an unwanted marriage and the theft of her fortune, Jane Mason is done behaving nicely. To win her freedom, she’ll strike a deal with the most dangerous man she knows—a rising star in politics, whose dark good looks mask an even darker heart.

…NEVER GOES TO PLAN.
The bitter past has taught Crispin Burke to trust no one. He’ll gladly help a lovely young heiress, provided she pays a price. Yet when a single mistake shatters his life, it is Jane who holds the key to his salvation. And in a world that no longer makes sense, Crispin slowly realizes that she may be the only thing worth fighting for…  (publisher)

My take:  This was my first full-length Meredith Duran book and I enjoyed it. We have Jane whose parents died leaving her in the care of her father’s brother (and family). She’d been raised with respect, a sense of adventure, and a thirst for knowledge. Now in her early twenties she’s been relegated to a corner and virtually ignored by her relatives. But they love her inheritance. Their goal is to see her married to their son (her cousin) and the money will go to the family.

Then we have Crispin. He’s a second son so not much use to anyone but himself. Because of events during his formative years he’s become a man intent on gaining political power by any means possible – maybe that will impress his father. For now he’s seeing a partnership with Jane’s uncle as useful in attaining his goal. When Jane puts her own plan for a better life into play Crispin finds himself helping her. When the unexpected happens their plans take a turn neither would have though possible.

A Lady’s Code of Misconduct was a fun read. I enjoyed Duran’s characters and plot. The amnesia and marriage of convenience tropes played out in such an entertaining way. Plus, there’s a villain who made me think of a Regency era James Bond villain 🙂 Unexpected, for sure! I also liked the foreshadowing of the next book in the series. At least I think it could be the next. Looking forward to it.


Praise for A Lady’s Code of Misconduct:

“A sham marriage, political intrigue, and a case of amnesia provide a backdrop for this absorbing Victorian romance…Although Duran (Luck Be a Lady, 2015, etc.) has written a novel as layered as an onion, the characters are well-drawn and the plot flawlessly executed. Add in some very steamy sex, and the fifth installment of Duran’s Rules for the Reckless series can’t help but delight. This book weaves its spell so thoroughly that the most fortunate reader will be the one who has time to read the entire thing in one sitting. A masterful tale of suspense, forgiveness, and love.”

Kirkus Starred Review for A Lady’s Code of Misconduct

 

“Romance at its finest.”

New York Times bestselling author Liz Carlyle for A Lady’s Code of Misconduct

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Praise for the Rules for the Reckless series:

“This flawless novel in the Rules for the Reckless series, set in 1886 London, pivots seamlessly to Catherine Everleigh and Nick O’Shea, lively characters who won readers’ hearts in Lady Be Good…These intelligent, multilayered characters embody the best aspects of this wonderfully indulgent series.”

Publishers Weekly (STARRED REVIEW, Luck Be A Lady)

 

“Hot on the heels of Lady Be Good comes Catherine Everleigh’s story, and readers know they’ll be in for a fun, sexy and poignant roller coaster ride. Well-paced, simmering with sexual tension and peopled with memorable characters, this is a love story to be savored.”

—RT, TOP PICK HOT REVIEW (Luck Be A Lady)

 

“Love transcends the limits of wealth and social rank in the smart, likable third Rules for the Reckless historical…Duran gives her characters depth: Christian grapples with his desire for revenge and anxiety over unexpectedly becoming his father’s heir, and Lilah is a pawn who fears exposure and ruin. Readers will especially look forward to Catherine finding her own romance in a future installment.”

—Publishers Weekly (Lady Be Good)


About the author:

MEREDITH DURAN is the author of ten previous novels, including The Duke of Shadows (winner of the Gather.com First Chapters Romance Writing Competition), Wicked Becomes You (included on the Woman’s World list of Best Beach Reads for Summer 2010), and the USA Today bestseller and RITA Award–winning Fool Me Twice. She blames Anne Boleyn for sparking her lifelong obsession with British history, and for convincing her that princely love is no prize if it doesn’t come with a happily-ever-after. She enjoys collecting old etiquette manuals, guidebooks to nineteenth-century London, and travelogues by intrepid Victorian women. Visit her atMeredithDuran.com, on Twitter @meredithduran and Facebook AuthorMeredithDuran.

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A LADY’S CODE OF MISCONDUCT

Fifth in the Rules for the Reckless series

By Meredith Duran

Publication Date: February 28, 2017

Pocket Books

ISBN: 9781501139024

Price: $7.99

Historical Romance

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The Mother’s Promise by Sally Hepworth

  • the-mothers-promiseTitle:  The Mother’s Promise
  • Author:  Sally Hepworth
  • Pages:  368
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  February 2017 – St. Martin’s Press
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  All their lives, Alice Stanhope and her daughter Zoe have been a family of two, living quietly in northern California. Zoe has always struggled with crippling social anxiety and her mother has been her constant and fierce protector. With no family to speak of, and the identity of Zoe s father shrouded in mystery, their team of two works until it doesn’t. Until Alice gets sick and needs to fight for her life. 

Desperate to find stability for Zoe, Alice reaches out to two women who are practically strangers, but who are her only hope: Kate, a nurse, and Sonja, a social worker. As the four of them come together, a chain of events is set into motion and all four of them must confront their sharpest fears and secrets about abandonment, abuse, estrangement, and the deepest longing for family.

Imbued with heart and humor in even the darkest moments, The Mother s Promise is an unforgettable novel about the unbreakable bonds between mothers and daughters, and the new ways in which families are forged.  (publisher)

My take:  After reading the blurb for The Mother’s Promise I had no doubt it would be an emotional read. And it was. But don’t let that stop you from reading this novel. Yes, it’s about people facing devastatingly difficult circumstances but the characters were relatable on one level or another. I found myself asking What would I do? on more than one occasion.

My heart went out to fifteen year old Zoe who dealt with social anxiety disorder. How would she handle her mother’s illness and the possibility of life after her mother was gone? I couldn’t even imagine Alice’s (Zoe’s mother) dilemma of who would see to Zoe’s care in the future. I thought Zoe’s school experiences rang true in how she was treated by schoolmates and teachers. Zoe’s friend Harry was a godsend in more ways than one – especially in making her see she wasn’t alone in how she felt.

Two professionals involved in Alice and Zoe’s case will become very important to them. Each is dealing with personal heartache but go above and beyond when it comes to supporting Alice and Zoe. The Mother’s Promise is a heartfelt novel that I can recommend to fans of Sally Hepworth and contemporary fiction.


About the author:

Sally Hepworth is a former event planner and human resources professional. A graduate of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, Sally started writing novels after the birth of her first child. Sally has lived around the world, spending extended periods in Singapore, the UK, and Canada, and now writes full-time from her home in Melbourne, where she lives with her husband and three young children. She is currently working on her next novel.

Visit Sally’s Website at: http://www.sallyhepworthauthor.com

Starting Over on Blackberry Lane by Sheila Roberts

  • starting-over-on-blackberry-laneTitle:  Starting Over on Blackberry Lane
  • Series:  Icicle Falls #10
  • Author:  Sheila Roberts
  • Pages:  384
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Pub. Date:  February 28, 2017 – MIRA
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  Stefanie Stahl has a husband with renovation ADD. He can’t seem to finish anything he starts and her house is littered with his “projects.” If he doesn’t smarten up, she swears she’s going to murder him and bury him under the pile of scrounged lumber in the backyard.  

Her friend Griffin James is suddenly single and thinking maybe she needs to sell her fixer-upper and follow her career bliss up the ladder of success, even if that scary ladder is clear across the country. Getting her place ready to sell proves harder than she originally thought. She needs help.  

She’s not the only one. Cass Wilkes, their neighbor, has an empty nest—with a leaking roof. When her ceiling crashes in, she knows it’s time to do something. When Grant Masters offers his handyman services at a fund-raiser auction, the three women go in together to outbid the competition and win their man. (Cass’s friends think she should win Grant in a different way, too!) Now it’s time to make some improvements…in their houses and their lives.  (publisher)

My take:  If you’ve kept up with Icicle Falls series you’ll enjoy seeing what the group of friends are up to. The thing I’ve enjoyed most about the series is the support felt by the women of all ages in the group. If you haven’t read any of the series you don’t have to worry – this book can stand alone.

Stef, Griffin and Cass are at the point where life needs to change. The thing is, how can they start that change? Stef will find out that there’s power in her words and how she chooses those words is very important. Griffin has dreamed of taking her photography to the next level but her current life situation is dragging her down. Cass is almost an empty-nester and feels the whole world passing her by. And now she has a leaky roof. What next?!

In typical Sheila Roberts style, she had me laughing and cheering her characters on as each dealt with the obstacles placed in her way. I loved how she drove home the point that we should live the heck out of life for as long as we can. Recommended to fans of the series, Sheila Roberts, and recipes mentioned in the novel.


 

Guest Post by Ethel Rohan

Welcome to Ethel Rohan, author of THE WEIGHT OF HIM. I asked Ethel to tell us about the inspiration for her first novel. Thank you, Ethel, for sharing with us!

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I’ve always claimed my stories are inspired by character. First, the who of the story comes to me—a person, or sometimes even an animal or object. Then location, where the story takes place. Next, I set about filling in other essential details like what happens, and when, and how, and most importantly why. Recently, though, I’ve realized it’s more precise to say that my stories are sparked by startling moments.

Like the time a young man who had his leg amputated said the phantom pain made the limb “seem more there than it ever was.” From that seed, I went on to write the title story of my first book, Cut Through the Bone. Surgery that uncovered a dog’s hair deep inside the meat of my cousin’s ankle ignited another story, as did a neighbor’s vignette about how beekeeping brought him and his teenage son closer together.

ethel-rohan-author-photo_credit-to-justin-yeeFor my first novel, The Weight of Him, the startling moment was a snatch of conversation I overheard in a pub in Ireland—the grief might just kill her before the weight does. I couldn’t get those words out of my mind. What if, I wondered, grief or weight don’t kill this stranger, but instead drive her to do something remarkable. As with my other stories, once I fix on the startling spark the main character appears almost instantly. Immediately, I had a vivid picture in my mind of an anguished Irish man: Big Billy Brennan.

Why do certain moments startle me into storytelling, and countless others don’t? I suppose the moments that inspire me are those that most appeal to my imagination, my hopes and dreams, my fear and anger. I think that’s true of all artists: We create from that which pulls at us. The Weight of Him was very much inspired by, and centers on, the things that lift me and the things that drag me down.


About the author:

Ethel Rohan is the author of two story collections, Goodnight Nobody and Cut Through the Bone, the former longlisted for The Edge Hill Prize and the latter longlisted for The Story Prize. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, World Literature Today, GUERNICA Magazine, Tin House Online,The Rumpus, and many more. Born and raised in Ireland, she lives in San Francisco.


St. Martin’s Press 2/14/2017
Pre-Order Now at AmazonIndiebound & Barnes & NobleThank you!
Website: www.ethelrohan.com

Twitter: @ethelrohan


Praise for THE WEIGHT OF HIM:

“Rohan [is] one of those rare, courageous writers who dare to take on the ‘ordinary’ and show just how extraordinary it really is.” —John Banville, Man Booker prize-winning author of The Sea

“Poignant and inspiring…When you’re finished, you’ll want to go for a long, grateful walk.” —Eowyn Ivey, author of The Snow Child

“Involving, terrifying and ultimately quite beautiful.” —Tom Barbash, author of Stay Up With Me


  • the-weight-of-himTitle:  The Weight of Him
  • Author:  Ethel Rohan
  • Pages:  336
  • Genre:  Fiction
  • Published:  February 2017 – St. Martin’s Press
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  At four hundred pounds, Billy Brennan can always count on food. From his earliest memories, he has loved food’s colors, textures and tastes. The way flavors go off in his mouth. How food keeps his mind still and his bad feelings quiet. Food has always made everything better, until the day Billy’s beloved son Michael takes his own life.

Billy determines to make a difference in Michael’s memory and undertakes a public weight-loss campaign, to raise money for suicide prevention—his first step in an ambitious plan to save himself, and to save others. However, Billy’s dramatic crusade appalls his family, who want to simply try to go on.

Despite his crushing detractors, Billy gains welcome allies: his community-at-large; a co-worker who lost his father to suicide; a filmmaker with his own dubious agenda; and a secret, miniature kingdom that Billy populates with the sub-quality dolls and soldiers he rescues from disposal at the local toy factory where he works. But it is only if Billy can confront the truth of his pain, suffering, and the brokenness around him, that he and others will be able to realize the full rescue and change they need.

Set in rural, contemporary Ireland, Ethel Rohan’s The Weight of Him is an unforgettable, big-hearted novel about loss and reliance that moves from tragedy to recrimination to what can be achieved when we take the stand of our lives.  (publisher)

My take:  Billy Brennan is everyman. He may not feel that way though. For most of his life he’s hidden behind his weight hoping to avoid notice, to blend in. People just saw Big Billy – they didn’t look past his bulk. He grew up knowing he was a disappointment to the people who should have been most proud of him. He found acceptance and solace in food. Sure he found reasons to lose weight in the past but it always came back. After the suicide of his first-born son Billy needs to find a reason to go on. And he needs to find the reason his son took his own life.

I was impressed with how Ethel Rohan portrayed the grieving family. Each one moved through phases at their own pace and experienced guilt, blame, anger and utter sadness. Billy was easy to cheer on as his journey gathered steam. At the same time, his family’s reactions were completely understandable. They had no idea how Billy’s changes would impact their lives. I just wanted to hug them all and let them know things would eventually get better. The Weight of Him is a novel that ultimately left me feeling hopeful. It’s an emotional read and one I can recommend.