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.


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rhysbowen_authorphotoRhys Bowen is the New York Times bestselling author of over thirty mystery novels. Her work includes the Molly Murphy mysteries, set in 1900s New York City, and the Royal Spyness novels, featuring a minor royal in 1930s England, as well as the Constable Evenas mysteries about a police constable in contemporary Wales. Rhys’s works have won fourteen awards to date, including multiple Agatha, Anthony, and MacAvity awards. Her books have been translated into many languages, and she has fans from around the world, including the 12,000 who visit her Facebook page daily. She is a transplanted Brit who now divides her time between California and Arizona. Connect with her at rhysbowen.com.

IN FARLEIGH FIELD
by Rhys Bowen
Lake Union Publishing | March 1, 2017

Hardcover: $24.95 | ISBN:

1477818294

eBook: $4.99 | ASIN: B01HBKAYMA


Advance Praise for In Farleigh Field

“This well-crafted, thoroughly entertaining thriller from Agatha Award-winner Bowen follows the lives of three childhood friends…. Soon it’s a game of spy versus spy, and with every twist and turn, the reader is unsure whom to trust.” —Publishers Weekly

“Instantly absorbing, suspenseful, romantic and stylish—like binge-watching a great British drama on Masterpiece Theater.” — Lee Child, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author

“Rhys Bowen is one of the very best fiction writers of the day. With a deep understanding of the wounded human heart and an uncanny ability to capture the quiet emotions and the grand scale of war, she rises above her contemporaries. This is magnificently written and a must read.” —Louise Penny, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author

“If you loved Downton Abbey, you’ll adore this compelling saga of an aristocratic English family finding courage on the home front in WWII. Unputdownable!” —Deborah Crombie, New York Times bestselling author

“For those of us who didn’t get enough Downton Abbey…. It’s firing on all cylinders.” —Hallie Ephron, bestselling and Mary Higgins Clark-nominated author

“Irresistible, charming and heartbreakingly authentic. Rhys Bowen’s knowing voice transport Downton fans into an unputdownable family saga—a compelling journey through history, loss, honor and love. When war gets personal, every heart is in peril.”
Hank Phillippi Ryan, Agatha Award-winning author


 

In the Shadow of Lakecrest by Elizabeth Blackwell

  • in-the-shadow-of-lakecrestTitle:  In the Shadow of Lakecrest
  • Author:  Elizabeth Blackwell
  • Genre:  Historical Mystery
  • Pages:  271
  • Published:  February 2017 – Lake Union Publishing
  • Source:  Publisher

Description: The year is 1928. Kate Moore is looking for a way out of the poverty and violence of her childhood. When a chance encounter on a transatlantic ocean liner brings her face-to-face with the handsome heir to a Chicago fortune, she thinks she may have found her escape—as long as she can keep her past concealed.

After exchanging wedding vows, Kate quickly discovers that something isn’t quite right with her husband—or her new family. As Mrs. Matthew Lemont, she must contend with her husband’s disturbing past, his domineering mother, and his overly close sister. Isolated at Lakecrest, the sprawling, secluded Lemont estate, she searches desperately for clues to Matthew’s terrors, which she suspects stem from the mysterious disappearance of his aunt years before. As Kate stumbles deeper into a maze of family secrets, she begins to question everyone’s sanity—especially her own. But just how far will she go to break free of this family’s twisted past? (publisher)

My take:  This historical mystery was a quick read. Two people, a young governess and a young man who’d been attending to his family’s business in Europe, met on board a ship sailing home to America in the 1920s. There was an instant attraction and the two married soon after reaching Chicago. What followed was Kate’s story of learning what it meant to be part of Matthew’s family. There’s a creepy mansion and family secrets and a domineering matriarch who is mainly interested in appearances.

I liked the setting of the Lake Michigan shore as well as the era of the 1920s. I think fans of mysteries with gothic undertones would enjoy In the Shadow of Lakecrest. I’m glad I had the chance to read it.


About the author:

Elizabeth Blackwell is the author of While Beauty Slept. A graduate of Northwestern University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, she lives outside of Chicago with her family and piles of books she is absolutely, positively going to read someday.

Spotlight/US Giveaway: A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn

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Though a lepidopterist by trade, Veronica Speedwell has been up to much more than chasing after rare specimens of butterflies. Continuing on after the exhilarating adventures of A Curious Beginning, it’s difficult to imagine how the spunky and spirited Victorian-era sleuth could find herself caught up in even more thrilling and dangerous exploits. But young Miss Speedwell is not one to disappoint. 

After weeks of chasing down clues leading to her mysterious past, being on the run for her life, and having quite literally run off to join a traveling circus, cooling her heels in a relatively calm London already has Veronica itching for her next invigorating jaunt. Happily, just such an opportunity soon arrives at her doorstep in the form of an invitation to the Curiosity Club, a ladies-only establishment dedicated to celebrating society’s most intrepid and brilliant women.

Shortly after arriving at the club, Veronica is introduced to Lady Sundridge who implores her to undertake a seemingly impossible task. Miles Ramsforth, one of society’s well-known patrons of the arts, has been convicted of a brutal murder that Lady Sundridge is certain he did not commit. With little time left to discover the true killer’s identity, Veronica is faced with a race against time before Miles is set to hang for the crime. However, Lady Sundridge is not exactly what she seems either—a revelation that only serves as the first of many that Veronica must make in order to solve the case.

Once again Veronica joins forces with her natural historian colleague, Stoker—her frequently uncouth, though ruggedly handsome companion—as they set off to unravel this dark mystery that becomes increasingly intricate with each clue they unearth.

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Praise for Deanna Raybourn’s new series

“Wickedly clever and devilishly amusing…Veronica Speedwell is a joy — unflappable, unrepentant, and thoroughly delightful.” —Susan Elia MacNeal, New York Times bestselling author of the Maggie Hope series

 

“Veronica Speedwell is sure to join the greats of mystery fiction.” —Alan Bradley, New York Times bestselling author of the Flavia de Luce series

 

“A smart, plucky, way-ahead-of-her-time heroine…the ending left me looking forward to Veronica’s next exploits.” Fort Worth Star Telegram


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Blog Tour: A Most Extraordinary Pursuit by Juliana Gray

  • a-most-extraordinary-pursuit-104Title:  A Most Extraordinary Pursuit
  • Author:  Juliana Gray
  • Genre:  Historical Mystery
  • Pages:  416
  • Published:  October 2016 – Berkley
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  In February, 1906 as the personal secretary of the recently departed Duke of Olympia—and a woman of scrupulous character—Miss Emmeline Rose Truelove never expected her duties to involve steaming through the Mediterranean on a private yacht, under the prodigal eye of one Lord Silverton, the most charmingly corrupt bachelor in London. But here they are, improperly bound on a quest to find the duke’s enigmatic heir, current whereabouts unknown.

An expert on anachronisms, Maximilian Haywood was last seen at an archaeological dig on the island of Crete. And from the moment Truelove and Silverton disembark, they are met with incidents of a suspicious nature: a ransacked flat, a murdered government employee, an assassination attempt. As they travel from port to port on Max’s trail, piecing together the strange events of the days before his disappearance, Truelove will discover the folly of her misconceptions—about the whims of the heart, the motives of men, and the nature of time itself. (publisher)

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My take: Having read a few books by Beatriz Williams I was surprised to learn she also writes under the name Juliana Gray. A Most Extraordinary Pursuit is the first book in a new series. I agreed to join the blog tour for this book mostly because I love reading about the era of the early 20th century. A few pages in I was surprised by some strange occurrences. No spoilers but what I will say is the reader should be prepared for a bit of time-travel and the occasional dip into the paranormal.

I think my favorite character was Lord Silverton. At first he seems a ne’er-do-well aristocrat but later reveals himself to be a sort of James Bond of his day. He made me laugh a lot with the things he said to Miss Truelove and her reactions were usually equally funny. I liked the (mostly) Greece setting and mythology theme.

Although it took me a bit to get caught up in the story I ended up enjoying the novel and would take a look at the next book in this unusual series due out late next year. Recommended to readers looking for something a bit different in a historical mystery.


Praise for A Most Extraordinary Pursuit:

“Packed with unforgettable characters, exotic settings, and unexpected twists, A Most Extraordinary Pursuit is a delicious adventure from the first word to the last. This book has everything a reader could want: lyrical prose, swashbuckling action, and a heroine worth rooting for. Three cheers for Truelove!” —New York Times bestselling author Deanna Raybourn

 

“If Elizabeth Peters’s Ameila Peabody and Deanna Raybourn’s Lady Julia had an intrepid younger sister, it would, without doubt, be the heroine of Juliana Gray’s new series, Miss Emmeline Truelove.” —New York Times bestselling author Lauren Willig

Spotlight/US Giveaway: A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn

New York Times bestselling author Deanna Raybourn returns to her Victorian-era roots and introduces a new, adventurous protagonist in Veronica Speedwell

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Advance Praise for A CURIOUS BEGINNING:

“The intrepid Veronica’s witty narration and the sexual tension she shares with the equally eccentric and articulate Stoker deliver a fun read with promises of more to come.” Publishers Weekly

“Mastermind of the charming Lady Grey Mysteries series, Raybourn introduces her latest feisty heroine, deftly twining together suspense, romance, and cracking good dialogue….As Veronica and Stoker careen through dastardly plot twists, they match wits, bantering with skill worthy of Tracey and Hepburn. A thrilling—and hilarious—beginning to a promising new series.”  Kirkus

“With wicked intelligence, Deanna Raybourn has created a fresh and fascinating sleuth. Veronica Speedwell is sure to join the greats of mystery fiction. Impeccably plotted and meticulously researched, A CURIOUS BEGINNING will leave you, as it left me, whimpering for more.”  Alan Bradley, New York Times bestselling author of the Flavia de Luce series


A CURIOUS BEGINNING

by Deanna Raybourn

Veronica Speedwell is not your typical Victorian-era woman. Scoffing at the notion of marriage, she is a lepidopterist by training and has traveled the world searching for rare specimens of butterflies, leading to several series of adventures around the world. However, mere hours after burying the second of the two spinster aunts who raised her, she comes home to find her cottage being ransacked and is saved by the kind, yet mysterious Baron von Stauffenbach, who warns her of impending danger. Thus begins the aptly named A CURIOUS BEGINNING (New American Library; Hardcover; September 1, 2015; $25.95).

Packing her few belongings (most importantly her trusty butterfly net), Veronica follows the Baron to London where he leaves her in the care of the ill-tempered naturalist, Stoker. However, the Baron himself is brutally murdered and Stoker fears that they may be being set-up to take the fall, he and Veronica elude the authorities. Aided by her sharp wit (and tongue), the hirsute Stoker, and a well-placed hatpin, Veronica flees London. However, there are still mysterious men trying to single her out. And Stoker, keeping his oath to the Baron, tries to keep her safe at any cost. What follows is a series of adventures involving noble families, harrowing boat escapes, a stuffed mouse, and a traveling freak show.

As Veronica and Stoker get closer to uncovering the Baron’s killer, more details emerge about how this is related to Veronica, as there is still a threat to her safety. And that threat is tied to her true parentage.


Deanna Raybourn_credit Sigmon Taylor PhotographyAbout the author

Deanna Raybourn is the author of the award-winning, New York Times bestselling Lady Julia Grey mysteries and several standalone novels. She lives in Virginia with her family.

 

 

 


More Advance Praise for A CURIOUS BEGINNING:

“Deanna Raybourn writes with wisdom, sass and a rich texture that is a joy to read.  I love this book!  A CURIOUS BEGINNING brings us the powerful Veronica Speedwell who triumphs over diversity and danger with wit, charm and uncanny determination.  This is a real find for mystery lovers!”  —Robyn Carr, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Virgin River series

“A CURIOUS BEGINNING is a fantastic read, both wickedly clever and devilishly amusing. Like a grown-up Flavia de Luce, Victorian explorer and naturalist Veronica Speedwell is a joy—slaying rapscallions, scoundrels and dullards alike with her bon mots—or sharpened hatpin. She’s an unflappable, unrepentant, and thoroughly delightful butterfly of a new heroine—and I’m already impatiently drumming my fingers awaiting the next book.”  — Susan Elia MacNeal, author of the New York Times bestselling Maggie Hope series

“I’ve been a big fan of Deanna’s for some time and this book was a treat to read. How could I resist a royal scandal, an Irish plot, and a really sexy hero who has a tendency to work with no shirt on? Deanna is one of the few writers who can make history feel immediate and exciting without losing a feel for the period.”  —Rhys Bowen, New York Times bestselling author of Her Royal Spyness series and winner of the Agatha Award for Queen of Hearts


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Spotlight/Giveaway(US): The Paris Winter by Imogen Robertson

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There is but one Paris – Vincent Van Gogh

Maud Heighton came to Lafond’s famous Academie to paint, and to flee the constraints of her small English town. It took all her courage to escape, but Paris, she quickly realizes, is no place for a light purse. While her fellow students enjoy the dazzling decadence of the Belle Epoque, Maud slips into poverty. Quietly starving, and dreading another cold Paris winter, she stumbles upon an opportunity when Christian Morel engages her as a live-in companion to his beautiful young sister, Sylvie.

Maud is overjoyed by her good fortune. With a clean room, hot meals, and an umbrella to keep her dry, she is able to hold her head high as she strolls the streets of Montmartre. No longer hostage to poverty and hunger, Maud can at last devote herself to her art.

But all is not as it seems. Christian and Sylvie, Maud soon discovers, are not quite the darlings they pretend to be. Sylvie has a secret addiction to opium and Christian has an ominous air of intrigue. As this dark and powerful tale progresses, Maud is drawn further into the Morels’ world of elegant deception. Their secrets become hers, and soon she is caught in a scheme of betrayal and revenge that will plunge her into the darkness that waits beneath this glittering city of light.

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I must have breathed, but I could not say when. Robertson’s dark tale in the City of Light will haunt the reader long after closing its pages.”  —Erika Robuck, author of Call Me Zelda

 

Intoxicates and satisfies. With dazzling Belle Époque detail and nail-biting plot, Robertson stylishly paints a historical thriller of intrigue and treachery.A compulsive read. I couldn’t put it down.”—Sarah McCoy, author of The Baker’s Daughter

 

Chillingly memorable. Imogen Robertson is an exquisite writer, and this is an extraordinary thriller.” –Tess Gerritsen


IMOGEN ROBERTSON directed for TV, film, and radio before becoming a full-time author. She also writes and reviews poetry. Imogen is the author of several novels, including the Crowther and Westerman series. She was shortlisted for the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Award 2011 and for the CWA Dagger in the Library Award 2012. THE PARIS WINTER was partially inspired by Imogen’s paternal grandmother, a free-spirited traveler who set off through Europe with money sewn into her skirts.


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