Spotlight on: Poison by Galt Niederhoffer

I’m pleased to shine the Bookfan Spotlight on POISON by Galt Niederhoffer. Today is publication day and I can’t wait to read it!

Description:

Cass and Ryan Connor have achieved family nirvana. With three kids, a cat, and a yard, they are living the modern family dream. A recent move to Portland, Maine is the perfect fresh start – a fixer-upper Victorian, new jobs for Cass and Ryan, a good school for the kids, and the shimmering bay in sight. But trouble begins imperceptibly, first with the white lies told in every marital bedroom.

Was he really “stuck at the office”?

Did he delete a text?

The lies seem insignificant, but they are quickly followed by a swirl of denials, explanations, and confusion. The tables are turned.

Is he lying? Or am I losing my mind?

With life-and-death consequences, Poison is a chilling reminder that the ties that bind can also be instruments of torture. And that breaking trust is the most toxic betrayal of all.


About the author:

Galt Niederhoffer is a writer and producer. She has written several novels, including The Romantics and A Taxonomy of Barnacles, and has produced more than thirty indie films, twelve of which were selections and award-winners at the Sundance Film Festival. Niederhoffer has also been published in Vogue, New York magazine, and Harper’s Bazaar. She lives in New York City with her three children.


Praise for POISON:

“The novel is ominous from Page 1, and with its slow-burn peril – both psychological and physical…the suspense is sustained until the very end.” – Kirkus reviews

“This gripping, insightful work dissects a marriage in which Cass, a wife and mother of three, believes she is under attack from her perfect-to-the-outside-world husband. Throughout the novel, Cass’ racing thoughts, tormenting self-doubt, and fear for her family’s safety lay bare the torture of being gaslighted by a lying narcissist. Readers will be gripped by the did-he, didn’t-he plot: the mental gymnastics portrayed on the page are so spot-on that it is difficult to imagine that the novel isn’t autobiographical.” – Booklist

“[E]ngrossing…this is a chilling and entertaining novel. ” – Publisher’s Weekly

“It will grab you…unsettle you…make you question the things you hold dear – family, marriage, and sanity. And it won’t let go until the very end.” – Ivy Pochoda, author of Visitation Street

“With gripping, nuanced style, Galt Niederhoffer has written a novel – think of Gone Girl – that delivers an unbelievable reality, with twisty, turn-y, modern-day noir panache. Poison is both entertainment and a warning – and that is saying a lot.” – Sheila Weller, author of Girls Like Us

“Haunting.” – Lucinda Rosenfeld, author of Class 


 

A Season to Lie by Emily Littlejohn

  • Title:  A Season To Lie
  • Author:  Emily LIttlejohn
  • Series:  Detective Gemma Monroe #2
  • Genre:  Mystery
  • Pages:  336
  • Published:  November 2017 – Minotaur Books
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  On a cold dark night in February, as a blizzard shrieks through Cedar Valley, police officer and new mother Gemma Monroe responds to an anonymous report of a prowler at the local private high school, The Valley Academy. In her idyllic Colorado small town, Gemma expects the call was just a prank by a bored teenager.

But there in the snow lies the savaged body of a man whose presence in town was meant to be a secret. And a disturbing message left by his killer promises more death to come.

This is only the beginning . . .

Nothing is as it seems in Cedar Valley and stories, both fact and fiction, ensnare Gemma as her investigation moves from the halls of an elite academy to the forests that surround Cedar Valley.

Against a backdrop of bleak winter weather, stymied by those who would lie to protect what is dearest to them, Gemma hunts a ruthless killer before he strikes again in A Season to Lie.  (publisher)

My take:  Gemma Monroe, just returned from maternity leave, is very happy to be back at work at the Cedar Valley, CO police department. Her plan to ease back into a doable work schedule takes a turn when the body of a famous author is found at the town’s prestigious academy – in the middle of a blizzard. Tracking down the murderer will take up most of her time and energy. It doesn’t help that her boyfriend (and father of her child) is feeling a little stir-crazy being at home full-time. She’s feeling pressure from all sides.

I got a good sense of Gemma and her co-workers, family and other assorted characters despite jumping into the series on book 2. I enjoyed Emily Littlejohn’s style of telling a story and how she developed her characters. I liked what I read of the small Colorado, B-list ski town and want to learn more about it and the people who live there.  No shortage of red-herrings there and I thought any of them were plausible. That explains why I wasn’t shocked when Gemma discovered the murderer. There were a few loose threads involving those red herrings at the end of the novel that I hope will be carried into the next book in the series.


 

Spotlight/US Giveaway: House On The Forgotten Coast by Ruth Coe Chambers

 

Hello, Readers. Today I’m shining the Bookfan Spotlight on Ruth Coe Chambers’ new book:

About the Book:

Like a monarch surveying her domain, the house has stood for over a hundred years in the fishing village of Apalachicola on Florida’s northwest coast. She has known life. She has known passionate love. She has known brutal death. But she has guarded her secrets well . . .

Then eighteen-year-old Elise Foster and her parents arrive from Atlanta in their silver Jaguar, bringing with them their own secrets and desires. Seeking friendship in their new community, they find instead that the townspeople resent their intrusion. But this intrusion on the house’s privacy also provides a pathway for the past and the present to merge—and for the truth behind an unsolved murder to finally be brought to light. As you strive to solve the mystery, you and the Fosters are forced to address two critical questions: What is real? What is delusion?

Scroll down for US Giveaway!


About the Author:

Ruth Coe Chambers takes pride in her Florida panhandle roots and her hometown of Port St. Joe has inspired much of her writing.

She is indebted to the creative writing classes at the University of South Florida where she found her “voice” and began writing literary fiction. Listed in the Who’s Who of American Women. She has recently republished one novel, and published it’s sequel, and has written two award-winning plays. She is currently working on the third novel in her Bay Harbor Trilogy. She has two daughters and lives with her husband and one very spoiled Cairn terrier in Neptune Beach, Florida.

Her two earlier novels include The Chinaberry Album and Heat Lightening

 

Blog Tour Schedule:

Nov. 16: Bookfan Mary (Spotlight/Giveaway)
Nov. 20: I’d Rather Be at the Beach (Review)
Dec. 1: Book Nerd Native (Review)
Dec. 8: All Roads Lead to the Kitchen (Review)
Dec. 13: Silver’s Reviews (Spotlight/Giveaway)
Dec. 15: Readaholic Zone (Review)
Dec. 20: 100 pgs. A Day .. Stephanie’s Book Reviews (Review)
Dec. 28: Broken Teepee (Review)
Dec. 29: Book Nerd Native (Guest Post/Giveaway)
Jan. 3: Wall-to-Wall Books (Review)
Jan. 8: Svetlana Reads and Views (Review)
Jan. 13: Jorie Loves A Story (Review)
Jan. 18: Erica Robyn Reads (Review)

Follow the blog tour with the hashtag #RuthCoeChambers


US Giveaway (3 winners!)

Please click here and fill out the form

GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED

Giveaway ends on November 22nd, 2017


A Bella Flora Christmas by Wendy Wax

  • Title:  A Bella Flora Christmas
  • Series:  Ten Beach Road #5.5
  • Author:  Wendy Wax
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  November 2017 – Intermix E-book Original
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  Although their lives have changed since their first desperate renovation of Bella Flora, friends Madeline, Avery, and Nicole have always been there for each other. Now they’re returning to Bella Flora for Christmas—where Maddie’s daughter Kyra isn’t feeling particularly celebratory.
 
Kyra was hoping for a peaceful holiday at Bella Flora—a last gathering before a wealthy, mystery tenant moves into the home she’s been forced to rent out. Instead, she must make a life altering decision by New Year’s — a decision that becomes even more difficult when unexpected guests arrive at Ten Beach Road on Christmas Eve. Now Kyra, Maddie, Avery and Nikki will need to pull together to secure Bella Flora’s future, as well as their own. (publisher)

My take:  If you’re up to date with the Ten Beach Road series this novella will tide you over until the release of Best Thing Ever next May. If you’re not, you’ll get to know the principal characters and a basic idea of how they fit into the storyline of the series. It’s the week before Christmas and all is not calm. Bella Flora, the gorgeous home that brought the women together in the first place, is filling up with Maddie and daughter Kyra’s friends and family.They’ll celebrate the holiday together and then move out so the home can be rented. The rent will help save Bella Flora from going into foreclosure. A Bella Flora Christmas is told from Kyra’s POV which made me feel her anxiety over a decision she has to make by the first of the year. That decision will impact all of her friends – so no pressure there! Since I’ve read the entire series I know the history and cause of her indecision. I expect that thread will carry through the next book. It was fun to find out what was going on in each woman’s life and I’m eager to see the direction Wendy Wax steers them next. Recommended to fans of the Ten Beach Road series.


 

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:  (linked to Mailbox Monday)

  

Last week on Bookfan:

Reading plan for this week:


My husband and I drove my parents’ car to Arizona (from Wisconsin) and will spend some time with them before flying back to the cold weather. 

Our first night in Arizona – what a welcome!


 

Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak

  • Title:  Seven Days of Us
  • Author:  Francesca Hornak
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Pages:  358
  • Published:  October 2017 – Berkley Hardcover
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  It’s Christmas, and for the first time in years the entire Birch family will be under one roof. Even Emma and Andrew’s elder daughter—who is usually off saving the world—will be joining them at Weyfield Hall, their aging country estate. But Olivia, a doctor, is only coming home because she has to. Having just returned from treating an epidemic abroad, she’s been told she must stay in quarantine for a week…and so too should her family.
 
For the next seven days, the Birches are locked down, cut off from the rest of humanity—and even decent Wi-Fi—and forced into each other’s orbits. Younger, unabashedly frivolous daughter Phoebe is fixated on her upcoming wedding, while her older sister, Olivia, deals with the culture shock of being immersed in first-world problems.
 
Their father, Andrew, sequesters himself in his study writing scathing restaurant reviews and remembering his glory days as a war correspondent. But his wife, Emma, is hiding a secret that will turn the whole family upside down.  
 
In close proximity, not much can stay hidden for long, and as revelations and long-held tensions come to light, nothing is more shocking than the unexpected guest who’s about to arrive… (publisher)

My take:  Seven Days of Us is an entertaining and deceptively light novel about a family. The Birches are an interesting group. Andrew, the father, is a snarky restaurant reviewer for a newspaper. Emma, the matriarch, just wants everyone to have the kind of Christmas holiday she remembers from childhood. Altruistic eldest daughter Olivia is a doctor just returned from relief work in Liberia and the reason for the family quarantine. Younger daughter Phoebe is completely self-absorbed and more than a bit annoyed at being forced to spend the holidays with her family instead of her new fiancé. Told from the perspective of each family member, plus a couple of other characters, the chapters are short and follow a day-by-day form that made the novel easy to stop and start reading. This was also a great way to lay out the Birch family’s messy dynamics. It ended up being an emotional read for me – that was unexpected and very much appreciated. Recommended to fans of novels about imperfect families. I loved the setting(s) and the holiday-ness to which I think most readers will relate on one level or another.


AUTHOR BIO

Francesca Hornak is a journalist and writer, whose work has appeared in newspapers and magazines including The Sunday TimesThe GuardianElleMarie ClaireCosmopolitan and Red. She is the author of two nonfiction books, History of the World in 100 Modern Objects: Middle Class Stuff (and Nonsense) and Worry with Mother: 101 Neuroses for the Modern Mama. Visit her online @FrancescaHornak.

LINKS


 

The Rancher’s Christmas Song by RaeAnne Thayne

  • Title:  The Rancher’s Christmas Song
  • Series:  The Cowboys of Cold Creek  #16
  • Author:  RaeAnne Thayne
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance; Christmas
  • Pages:  224
  • Published:  October 2017 – Harlequin Special Edition
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  Keep a song in your heart this holiday season… 

Music teacher Ella Baker’s plate is already full. But when single dad Beckett McKinley’s wild twin boys need help preparing a Christmas song for their father, Ella agrees on one condition: they teach her to ride a horse. She’s hoping that’ll help mend her strained relationship with her rancher father; it certainly has nothing to do with the crush that’s lingered since her one and only date with Beck. 

It isn’t disinterest spurring Beck to keep his distance—if anything, the spark is too strong, with Ella reminding him of his ex-wife. Soon what started as an innocent arrangement is beginning to feel a lot like family. But with the holidays approaching, Beck and Ella will have to overcome past hurts if they want to keep each other warm this Christmas…  (publisher)

My take:  I was introduced to the Cowboys of Cold Creek series with book #13. I didn’t feel like I missed anything by not reading the previous books in the series and I can tell you the same after reading #16 – so don’t let the number scare you. I’ve found all of her books can stand alone.

This year’s Christmas book is a lovely family story. There’s rancher Beck, single father of young twin boys, and Ella, former city girl and current local music teacher. Ella’s father owns the ranch next door to Beck’s so they are acquainted but that’s all – until the annual Christmas program begins rehearsals and the two find themselves playing more important roles in the other’s life.

In true RaeAnne Thayne style The Rancher’s Christmas Song is a charming story that embraces the true meaning of the season. Recommended to fans of the author and romantic Christmas novels you want to read in one sitting.


 

Spotlight on: Have You Met Nora? by Nicole Blades

Today it is my pleasure to shine the Bookfan spotlight on Have You Met Nora? by Nicole Blades.

Kensington; November 2017; $15.00; Trade Paperback

Description: (Spotlight content provided by the publicist)

She’s blossomed from wealthy surgeon’s beautiful daughter to elegant socialite to being the top fashion stylist in the country. And Nora Mackenzie is only days away from marrying into one of New York’s richest, most powerful families. But her fairy tale rise is rooted in an incredible deception—one scandal away from turning her perfect world to ashes . . .

What no one knows is that Nora is the biracial daughter of a Caribbean woman and a long-gone white father. Adopted—and abused—by her mother’s employer, then sent to an exclusive boarding school to buy her silence, Nora found that “passing” as a white woman could give her everything she never had. Every golden opportunity she seized and every deception she worked kept that powerless, forgotten girl forever in the past.

Now, an ex-classmate who Nora betrayed many years ago has returned to her life to even the score. She’s a woman who won’t be bought off, reasoned against, or pleaded with. Her machinations are turning Nora’s privilege into one gilded trap after another. Running out of choices, Nora must decide how far she will go to protect a lie or give up and finally face the truth.


Praise for Have You Met Nora?
“Emotionally intense. Nicole Blades weaves a compelling web of secrets as a desperate woman struggles to overcome her past and secure her future, no matter the price.” —Colleen Faulkner, author of What Makes a Family
*

“…stunning, riveting, and positively unpredictable. This is a deft and searing commentary on identity and race. Nicole Blades has written a book that feels effortless to read and yet pulls no punches, offering a point of view that is piercing and uncompromising. You will be thinking about this book long after it’s over.” —Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of One True Loves, Maybe in Another Life, After I Do and Forever Interrupted


About the author:  

Nicole Blades launched her journalism career working at Essence magazine, co-founded the online magazine SheNetworks and worked as an editor at ESPN and Women’s Health. Her essays have been featured in The New York Times, Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health, MarieClaire.com, WashingtonPost.com, Health, SELF, and Buzzfeed.  Blades can be heard co-hosting her new podcast, “Hey, Sis!,” and lives in Connecticut with her husband and their son.  Here is her most recent piece in The New York Times: Help! It’s Wear Your Teacher’s Favorite Color Day.


Spotlight/US Giveaway: I See You by Clare Mackintosh

About the book:

When Zoe Walker discovers her own picture in the local newspaper’s classified ads, she’s shocked.  A photo from her Facebook page accompanies a listing for a website called FindTheOne.com.  All Zoe’s efforts to discover what the ad means lead to dead ends.  And then a second woman whose picture appeared in a similar ad is assaulted.  When a third woman is murdered, Zoe’s unease turns to fear and paranoia.  The only thing the three have in common is their daily commute on the London subway system.

 

Someone is methodically tracking down these women…and Zoe is next on the list.

 

Told in alternating chapters by Zoe, troubled transit officer Kelly Swift who investigates when others refuse, and the clever killer stalking a new victim, I SEE YOU is an edge-of-your-seat read that will have you furiously turning pages, gasping at the plot twists (including a final chapter breath-taker), and marveling at Clare Mackintosh’s ability to craft a compulsive thriller that keeps you guessing at every turn.


My take (originally posted March 7, 2017): The description will tell you all you need to know before reading I See You. What I will say is that author Clare Mackintosh lulled me into a feeling of “is this going anywhere?” for a good part of the book. That’s not to say I was bored or uninterested. I enjoyed the unfolding of the story. I think she paced it slowly for a reason and then opened up a can of Whoa! in the last quarter of the book. It’s creepy and sinister. Unsurprisingly, I didn’t correctly guess who was behind the crime. I would love to read more about the investigation team in future books. Each detective seems to have a story that I’d be interested in knowing. Recommended to fans of the genre and Clare Mackintosh.


“The Must-Have Thriller of 2017.” —Bustle

NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK

Berkley Trade Paperback Reprint; November 7, 2017

 

“Danger feels real in the brilliant I See You…Mackintosh seems destined to do important work for many years to come.”—The Washington Post

 

“Deliciously creepy.”—Ruth Ware

 

“[A] well-told suspense story…refreshingly realistic.”—The New York Times Book Review


US Giveaway

Please click here and fill out the form

Giveaway ends on November 6, 2017


A Wednesday Post

So, this hasn’t happened often over the almost ten years I’ve blogged about books. I don’t have a review to post this week! And here’s why. I’m celebrating with family this week. My nephew is getting married on Friday and family is starting to arrive. Some are staying at my house so I’ve been in prep mode. Not much reading going on. I’ll be back next week with a review (or two, we’ll see).


 

When We Were Worthy by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

  • Title:  When We Were Worthy
  • Author:  Marybeth Mayhew Whalen
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Pages:  264
  • Published:  September 2017 – Lake Union Publishing
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  A win brought them together, but loss may tear them apart.

When the sound of sirens cuts through a cool fall night, the small town of Worthy, Georgia, hurtles from triumph to tragedy. Just hours before, they’d watched the Wildcats score a winning touchdown. Now, they’re faced with the deaths of three cheerleaders—their promising lives cut short in a fatal crash. And the boy in the other car—the only one to survive—is believed to be at fault. As rumors begin to fly and accusations spin, allegiances form and long-kept secrets emerge.

At the center of the whirlwind are four women, each grappling with loss, regret, shame, and lies: Marglyn, a grieving mother; Darcy, whose son had been behind the wheel; Ava, a substitute teacher with a scandalous secret; and Leah, a cheerleader who should have been in the car with her friends, but wasn’t. If the truth comes out, will it bring redemption—or will it be their downfall? (publisher)

My take:  It’s small town America on an autumn Friday night and the people of Worthy, Georgia are set to cheer on their high school football team. No one expects the tragic event that followed the game – an event that will affect more than those directly involved. When We Were Worthy is the story of the people left behind to grapple with what happened. And boy do they have a lot to deal with. Parents, students, and teachers all have questions that might never be answered – unless they are willing to face the truth. As a parent and as someone who went to a small town high school where football was the Friday night entertainment there was a lot to relate to in this novel. I found the plot riveting and loved how Marybeth Mayhew Whalen developed her characters via the short chapters. I especially loved the Emily Dickinson references that were interspersed throughout the novel. Recommended to fans of contemporary fiction.


Praise for When We Were Worthy:

When We Were Worthy is a startlingly clear look at life in a small town where the carefully crafted characters are neither heroes nor villains—they are simply real people wedged into an unimaginable situation. Heart-wrenching and vivid, this is a beautifully written novel about letting go and holding on, of family, of love, and, ultimately, of forgiveness.” —Karen White, New York Times bestselling author

When We Were Worthy is a poignant, haunting story of truths and secrets—the power of tragedy to unravel an entire community, and then stitch it back together—I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.” —Amber Smith, New York Times bestselling author of The Way I Used to Be

“Not everyone who lives in Worthy, Georgia lives up to the name. In When We Were Worthy, Marybeth Mayhew Whalen explores the spectrum of guilt and innocence in one small town after the tenuous connections between neighbors and friends are tested by a horrific accident. Told in alternating voices, this compulsively captivating novel weaves a tapestry of wrenching grief, love, anger, danger, and, eventually, hope.” —Ella Joy Olsen, author of Root, Petal, Thorn and Where the Sweet Bird Sings

“Fans of Lianne Moriarty and Jodi Picoult—this is an author for your favorites shelf. Marybeth Mayhew Whalen’s taut, smart novel is a natural-born page-turner that doesn’t sacrifice depth of feeling or character. Whalen knows this town, these people, and she lays them open for us with razor-sharp insight, wit, and empathy. Don’t miss this one.” —Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author of Gods in Alabama and The Almost Sisters

“What do you do when your whole life is turned around, crushed, and destroyed? Do you rise above it? Do you seek revenge? Do you run away? Do you blame yourself? When We Were Worthy is a brilliant, gripping novel that challenges the fabric of who we think we are, a story that speaks to both the fragility and strength of the human spirit in the wake of tragedy. I highly, highly recommend this novel!” —Joy Callaway, author of The Fifth Avenue Artists Society and Secret Sisters


 

The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain

  • Title:  The Stolen Marriage
  • Author:  Diane Chamberlain
  • Genre:  Historical Fiction
  • Pages:  384
  • Published:  October 2017 – St. Martin’s Press
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  One mistake, one fateful night, and Tess DeMello’s life is changed forever.

It is 1944. Pregnant, alone, and riddled with guilt, twenty-three-year-old Tess DeMello abruptly gives up her budding career as a nurse and ends her engagement to the love of her life, unable to live a lie. Instead, she turns to the baby’s father for help and agrees to marry him, moving to the small, rural town of Hickory, North Carolina. Tess’s new husband, Henry Kraft, is a secretive man who often stays out all night, hides money from his new wife, and shows her no affection. Tess quickly realizes she’s trapped in a strange and loveless marriage with no way out.

The people of Hickory love and respect Henry but see Tess as an outsider, treating her with suspicion and disdain. When one of the town’s golden girls dies in a terrible accident, everyone holds Tess responsible. But Henry keeps his secrets even closer now, though it seems that everyone knows something about him that Tess does not.

When a sudden polio epidemic strikes Hickory, the townspeople band together to build a polio hospital. Tess knows she is needed and defies Henry’s wishes to begin working at there. Through this work, she begins to find purpose and meaning. Yet at home, Henry’s actions grow more alarming by the day. As Tess works to save the lives of her patients, can she untangle the truth behind her husband’s mysterious behavior and find the love―and the life―she was meant to have? (publisher)

My take:  The Stolen Marriage is the story of Tess DeMello and how the life she’d dreamed of changed in the course of one night. She was about to get her RN degree and then marry the man she’d loved her whole life. When those plans go awry, she ends up in North Carolina and married to a virtual stranger. His family (as well as the entire town) are dismayed by her appearance and are far from welcoming. Tess relies on her inherent good nature and will do her best in her new life as wife and soon-to-be mother. Diane Chamberlain’s 1940s war era story is well-crafted combining the polio epidemic as well as social/racial issues of the day resulting in a good, multi-layered novel.  I was completely immersed, learned a lot about pre-polio vaccine years, and recommend it to fans of the author and historical fiction. I look forward to reading more of Ms. Chamberlain’s novels – The Stolen Marriage was my first.


 

A Conspiracy in Belgravia by Sherry Thomas

  • Title:  A Conspiracy in Belgravia
  • Series:  The Lady Sherlock Series, #2
  • Author:  Sherry Thomas
  • Pages:  319
  • Genre:  Historical Mystery
  • Published:  September 2017 –  Berkley Books
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  Being shunned by Society gives Charlotte Holmes the time and freedom to put her extraordinary powers of deduction to good use. As “Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective,” aided by the capable Mrs. Watson, she’s had great success helping with all manner of inquiries, but she’s not prepared for the new client who arrives at her Upper Baker Street office.

Lady Ingram, wife of Charlotte’s dear friend and benefactor, wants Sherlock Holmes to find her first love, who failed to show up at their annual rendezvous. Matters of loyalty and discretion aside, the case becomes even more personal for Charlotte as the missing man is none other than Myron Finch, her illegitimate half-brother.

In the meanwhile, Charlotte wrestles with a surprising proposal of marriage, a mysterious stranger woos her sister Livia, and an unidentified body surfaces where least expected. Charlotte’s investigative prowess is challenged as never before: Can she find her brother in time—or will he, too, end up as a nameless corpse somewhere in the belly of London? (publisher)

My take:  After being compromised, Charlotte Holmes finds herself exactly where she wanted to be – out from under the expectations of her parents and the rest of Victorian society. She’s been able to find her place in the world at Upper Baker Street and among friends. Our Miss Holmes is quite resourceful and blessed with amazing powers of deduction as well as a good supply of wits and the ability to bluff her way through various situations. There are some (well, at least one – in the form of a certain Lord) who are on to her. She’s okay with that fact and is happy in her new life. This particular novel is filled with family, cryptic codes, and a dead body or two. Miss Holmes is up to the challenge of solving all and I enjoyed following her path to doing so. I look forward to reading more about Charlotte, Lord Ingram and their adventures. If you haven’t already, it would be helpful to read the first book in the series to get the back story on Charlotte.