Tuesday 30 June 2020

Murder at Blackwater Bend (Stella and Lyndy Mystery #2) By Clara McKenna (2020)

Wild-hearted Kentuckian Stella Kendrick cautiously navigates the strict demands of British high society as the future Lady of Morrington Hall. But when petty scandals lead to bloody murder, her outspoken nature could be all that keeps her alive . . .

Following a whirlwind engagement to Viscount "Lyndy" Lyndhurst, Stella is finding her footing within an elite social circle in picturesque rural England. Except tea time with refined friends can be more dangerous than etiquette faux pas--especially in the company of Lady Philippa, the woman Lyndy was once set to marry, and her husband, the ostentatious Lord Fairbrother . . .

Outrage erupts and accusations fly after Lord Fairbrother's pony wins best in breed for the seventh consecutive year. The man has his share of secrets and adversaries, but Stella and Lyndy are in for a brutal shock when they discover his body floating in the river during a quiet morning fishing trip . . .

Suddenly unwelcome around hardly-grieving Lady Philippa and Lyndy's endlessly critical mother, Stella faces the bitter reality that she may always be an outsider--and one of her trusted new acquaintances may be a calculating killer. Now, Stella and her fiancé must fight against the current to catch the culprit, before they're the next couple torn apart by tragedy.

This is an excellent series. Stella and Lundy have barely got over their last encounter with a murder investigation but find themselves embroiled in another one.
Stella is a lovely character. She is elegant, rich, and nice! American women are so often portrayed as supremely confident and ready to take the world by storm but Stella is a much quieter character. She is clever and brave but she also has moments where she is overwhelmed by what she's is witnessing and experiencing and that makes her much more relatable and likeable. Lyndy is sweet and nice and I love the way the two of them become closer as they navigate their way to married life together.
This mystery had me guessing. There were so many characters with questionable behaviour it could easily have been any of them. The suspense and fast pace kept me gripped and the romance will keep me invested in the rest of the series. I can't wait.

Murder at Blackwater Bend is out today!

Sunday 28 June 2020

The Footman and I (The Footmen's Club Book 1) by Valerie Bowman (2020)

Let the games begin . . .

Every fortune-hunting female in London is after the newly titled Earl of Kendall, but he’s intent on finding a wife whose heart is true. So, while drunkenly jesting with his friends in a pub one night, he has an idea—what if the ladies of the ton didn’t know he was a wealthy earl? All he has to do is pose as a servant at his friend’s summer country house party and make sure the guest list is full of beautiful, eligible debutantes. What could possibly go wrong?

May the best footman win.

Miss Frances Wharton is far more interested in fighting for the rights of the poor than in marriage, but her mother insists she attend a summer house party—and find herself a husband. Frances would rather wed a goat than the pompous man her mother has in mind, so in order to dissuade the would-be suitor, she vows to behave like a shrew. The only person she can be herself with is the kind, handsome footman she runs into at every turn. Their connection is undeniable, and the divide between them is no match for the passion they feel. But what will happen when Frances learns that the footman she adores is actually the earl she despises? In a game where everything is false, can they convince each other that their love is true?

A fun and charming read. Frances and Lucas are adorable and I loved watching them become allies and friends behind the scenes of a stuffy house party. The dinner party scenes were my absolute favourite! Their interactions as they grew closer were delightful and heartwarming. I couldn't wait for the sparks to fly once Frances figured out Lucas's real identity.
It was a great deal of fun all round and the happy ending left me very content.

The Footman and I will be published on the 30th of June.

Wednesday 24 June 2020

Summer Strawberries at Swallowtail Bay (Swallowtail Bay book 2) by Katie Ginger (2020)


A warm, feel-good romance. Hetty and John are adorable and I couldn't wait to see them end up together. I felt very invested in their first joint entrepreneurial venture and I really wanted it to succeed, especially as John's family estate was at stake and his parents were fragile. There was great chemistry between John and Hetty right from the beginning and despite them having their own admirers they secretly became infatuated with one another. It was a lovely slow-burn romance and I was sorry when the book was over.  The subplot concerning Hetty's parents was great. I loved those two! and hope to see more from older characters like them in the rest of the series.

#SummerStrawberriesatSwallowtailBay is out today!

Wednesday 3 June 2020

The Secret of the Chateau by Kathleen McGurl (2020)

Everything is about to change…
1789. Pierre and Catherine Aubert, the Comte and Comtesse de Verais, have fled the palace of Versailles for their château, deep in the French Alps. But as revolution spreads through the country, even hidden away the Auberts will not be safe forever. Soon they must make a terrible decision in order to protect themselves, and their children, from harm.
Present-day. When Lu’s mother dies leaving her heartbroken, the chance to move to a château in the south of France with her husband and best friends seems an opportunity for a new beginning. But Lu can’t resist digging into their new home’s history, and when she stumbles across the unexplained disappearance of Catherine Aubert, the château begins to reveal its secrets – and a mystery unsolved for centuries is uncovered…
Unlock the secret of the château today. Perfect for fans of Kate Morton, Fiona Valpy and The Forgotten Village!

I love the dual timeline in this novel. Both stories are equally good and absorbing.
The French Revolution and the Reign of Terror is an excellent backdrop for dramatic scenes.  From the outset, I was expecting things to not go too well for the Auberts. But, I found myself not having too much sympathy for Catherine Aubert as she is the archetypical spoilt aristocrat of the era for most of her story. 
In the present day, a group of friends find themselves in a position to retire relatively young and buy a chateau together, which seems idyllic and a great adventure. I was expecting there to be some tensions as they settle in together but everything is harmonious. However, the chateau has the reputation of being haunted which leads to one of the new owners to start researching its history. The story is mysterious, tragic and light at the same time.
I just loved how the two storylines came together and mystery of the chateau became revealed. 

            The Secret of the Chateau is out now  Amazon