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.


 

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Blog Tour: A Strange Scottish Shore by Juliana Gray

 

  • Title:  A Strange Scottish Shore
  • Series:  Emmeline Truelove #2
  • Author:  Juliana Gray
  • Genre:  Historical Mystery; Time Travel; Fantasy
  • Pages:  400
  • Published:  September 2017 – Berkley

Description:  The acclaimed author of A Most Extraordinary Pursuit brings a dazzling voice and extraordinary plot twists to this captivating Scottish adventure…
 
Scotland, 1906. A mysterious object discovered inside an ancient castle calls Maximilian Haywood, the new Duke of Olympia, and his fellow researcher Emmeline Truelove north to the remote Orkney Islands. No stranger to the study of anachronisms in archeological digs, Haywood is nevertheless puzzled by the artifact: a suit of clothing that, according to family legend, once belonged to a selkie who rose from the sea and married the castle’s first laird.
 
But Haywood and Truelove soon realize they’re not the only ones interested in the selkie’s strange hide. When their mutual friend Lord Silverton vanishes in the night from an Edinburgh street, their quest takes a dangerous turn through time, which puts Haywood’s extraordinary talents—and Truelove’s courage—to their most breathtaking test yet.  (publisher)

My take:  Emmeline Truelove and Maximilian Haywood, Duke of Olympia, find themselves on another adventure – this time to Scotland. It involves a selkie legend, the Orkney Islands in the 14th century, and a chase like no other that could threaten Truelove’s newfound happiness. No one is more surprised than I that I thoroughly enjoy a time travel series. I love suspending all logic and belief and just go with the story. I guess it’s my kind of adventure. This novel moves from the early 20th century to the 1300s. I love the prim and proper (smart and intuitive, as well) Truelove, her handsome and clever colleague Silverton, and the rather enigmatic Max who seems to know more than he’s letting on. They’re all on the side fighting against evil, this time in the form of a vengeful, potty-mouth, 21st century thug. There’s a mystery to solve and plenty of medieval action scenes. I liked it all and look forward to whatever Juliana Gray comes up with next for Truelove, Silverton, and Haywood. Recommended to fans of time travel/fantasy.


About the author:

Beloved New York Times bestselling author Beatriz Williams is known for her beautifully wrought historical women’s fiction novels including bestsellers such as, A Hundred Summers, Tiny Little Thing and Along the Infinite Sea. Last fall, under the pseudonym Juliana Gray, fans became familiar with another side of her writing in A Most Extraordinary Pursuit, the first in a historical mystery series unlike anything she had ever written before. Now she is back with the highly anticipated follow up in the Emmeline Truelove series, A STRANGE SCOTTISH SHORE (Berkley Trade Paperback Original; September 19, 2017).


 

Spotlight/US Giveaway: A Conspiracy in Belgravia by Sherry Thomas

Description:

The game is afoot as Charlotte Holmes returns in USA Today bestselling author Sherry Thomas’s Victorian-set Lady Sherlock series.

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?


About the author:

Sherry Thomas is one of the most acclaimed historical romance authors writing today, winning the RITA Award two years running, and appearing on innumerable “Best of the Year” lists, including those of Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, Dear Author, and All About Romance. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and sons.


Praise for Sherry Thomas:

“Thomas’s lyrical writing is really the star of the show. There are writers who can tell a great story, and writers who can tell a great story with beauty and artistry. Thomas is in the latter category, and her writing is, quite simply, a cut above.” —All About Romance

“Searing, tender, and filled with passion, her writing is nothing short of a revelation.” —Lisa Kleypas, New York Times bestselling author

“Thomas…has made a name for herself with her exquisite use of language.”—Library Journal


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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

a-perilous-undertaking

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