Friday, 30 September 2016

Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street DozenSherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Dozen by Val Andrews
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A bunch of Sherlock Holmes short stories, each one could be read in about five minutes. Nothing too detailed about any of the mysteries.
An enjoyable read.

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A Virtue of Marriage (The Moralities of Marriage #2)A Virtue of Marriage by Elizabeth Ann West
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This Pride and Prejudice variation continues, with the Wickham's marriage going from bad to worse. The Bingleys return from their honeymoon to Netherfield, but Elizabeth is still staying with the Gardiners until she gets an invitation from Charlotte Lucas to visit. Can the plans of the Colonel and Darcy succeed.
Look forward to reading the conclusion of the series.

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Background for Murder (Inspector Chaos Mystery Book 1)Background for Murder by Shelley Smith
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

When Dr. Maurice Royd, the head of a psychiatric hospital, is found dead the police call in Jacob Chaos a Private Investigator to help as they are at a dead end.
I didn't find the plot particularly interesting, and the style of writing did become annoying at times.
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Thursday, 29 September 2016

Elizabeth, Darcy, & Me: A Pride and Prejudice Variation (Elizabeth, Darcy & Me, #1)Elizabeth, Darcy, & Me: A Pride and Prejudice Variation by Georgina Young-Ellis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

To the background of the love stories of Pride and Prejudice we read about the relationship between Mary Bennet and Christopher Jones, the groom of Mr. Bingley. As Darcy leaves Netherfield, his travels taken him firstly to Rosings, where Christopher is a spectator to the events which enfold there and later at Pemberley and London. We also have Mary perspectives of events at Longbourn. Can there really be a happy ending between a servant and a lady, or do Bennet parents finally get some sense.
An enjoyable story and always glad to read a book about Mary Bennet.

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Maria TheresaMaria Theresa by Rev. J Franck Bright
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book published in 1897 covers the political history of Maria Theresa from 1740-1765. Although I got a feel for the political scene of the era I never got an idea who Maria Theresa was. I would have liked to have read about her early life to discover what made her the person she was. This lack made the narrative quite dry.
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Wednesday, 28 September 2016

No Other Choice: A Pride and Prejudice Novella (Choices #2)No Other Choice: A Pride and Prejudice Novella by Leenie Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The continuing story of the Bennet daughters tells of Mary Bennet. As she is invited to London for a season by Lady Sophie Rycroft. Can Mary find happiness among the ton or does she become the source of gossip.
Thoroughly enjoyed this story, and so very easy to read.

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Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Sherlock Holmes at the VarietiesSherlock Holmes at the Varieties by Val Andrews
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

On visiting the 'Murphy's Theatre of Varieties' for an evening's entertainment Holmes and Watson are drawn into the case of ghosts causing the accidents that have been occuring in the theatre for last few months.
A nice little mystery and a quick read, with a similar style of writing to Conan Doyle.

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Blackbird Fly (Bennett Sisters #1)Blackbird Fly by Lise McClendon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

American Merle Bennett life becomes unravelled when her husband dies and his secrets are revealed. To recover she travels to France to access the house that he has left her. Only for her to discover a mystery. One that was connected to her husband's family.
It took a while to get into the rhythm of the book, but I found that it was worth it, and I liked the character of Merle, and quite a few of the other characters.

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Monday, 26 September 2016

Behind the Lines: A NovelBehind the Lines: A Novel by W. F. Morris
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Two young men, Tankard and Rawley decide to enlist in the army, and later meet for a few minutes while in France. The next time Tankard believes he sees Rawley is in front of a German firing squad, as he also has been taken prisoner. This is Tankard's First World War tale.
For the most part this is quite a depressing story, hardly surprising concerning the topic. But worthwhile if this is a genre that you enjoy reading.
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Her Father's Choice: A Pride and Prejudice Novella (Choices #1)Her Father's Choice: A Pride and Prejudice Novella by Leenie Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In this Pride and Prejudice variation we see that it is Mr. Bennet that interferes in Darcy's life by arranging a compromise between Darcy and an unwilling Elizabeth.
I enjoyed the easy flowing writing style of this book, and the extended story-line of some of the minor characters from the original, with the new added ones.

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Sunday, 25 September 2016

The Cavalier of the Apocalypse (Aristide Ravel Mysteries Book 1)The Cavalier of the Apocalypse by Susanne Alleyn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In this prequel, the year is 1785 and Aristide Ravel helps put out a fire in a church where he meets Inspector Brasseur, an ex-neighbour of his. A few months later when Brasseur finds a body he 'invites' Ravel to view the body suspecting he might be the murderer (because of Ravel's subversive writings). Unlike other police Brasseur is convinced that he is innocent. So Ravel becomes a sub-Inspector and investigates with the Inspector to clear his name.
I enjoyed the mystery, and the style of writing which was very easy to read, and I like the portrayal of the characeters. This was my first book in the series that I have read but I will be looking to read the others.

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Saturday, 24 September 2016

A Very Pukka Murder: The First Maharajah MysteryA Very Pukka Murder: The First Maharajah Mystery by Arjun Gaind
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

In 1909, Rajpore, Major William Russell, is found dead. As the Maharajah Sikander Singh enjoys solving problems and is bored, he decides to investigate and solve the case. Because Russell turns out to be of bad character there are plenty of suspects to be examined.
The mystery was fair enough but I am not sure there was one character that I liked, with a lot of the British characters to be just cliches. Also there was certainly too much description of places and buildings for my taste which slowed the pace of the book.
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Friday, 23 September 2016

Murder UndergroundMurder Underground by Mavis Doriel Hay
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Miss Euphemia Pongleton of the Frampton Private Hotel is found dead on the stairs of the Belsize Underground station. Not well liked so there are a few suspects including the possible beneficiaries of her will.
Unfortunately I found the majority of the characters annoying, with a too talky and repetitive style of writing which was probably indicative of the style of the 1930's (The book was written in 1934).
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The Spinster and the RakeThe Spinster and the Rake by Anne Stuart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Still not sure what to make of straight regency romances without the mystery but I did enjoy this tale. The spinster Gillian Redfern who spends her time moving between her brothers and sisters meets the rake - Ronan Patrick Blakely, Lord Marlow as she is travelling to London and her carriage breaks down only to be saved and taken the rest of the way by Marlow. Can the rake win his wager to compromise Gillian. Can there really be a happy ending.
A very easy read and an entertaining story, with some interesting characters.
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Thursday, 22 September 2016

Murder on the MinneapolisMurder on the Minneapolis by Anita Seymour Davison
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In 1900 the S.S. Minneapolis sets off on her maiden voyage from New York to England. So all passengers are assigned as first class, among them is Flora Maguire governess to the 13 year old Edward Viscount Trent. It is not long before an accident results in a death. But Flora is not convinced and is curious to find out the truth.
An engaging cozy mystery with some well developed likeable characters.
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Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Bury Your Dead (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #6)Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache visits his old mentor during a Quebec City winter, to recover from injuries received from an investigation that went terribly wrong. But he ends up investigating the death of amateur archaeologist who has spent his life looking for the body of Samuel de Champlain. Meanwhile he has sent his deputy to Three Pines to determine whether the correct killer of a hermit is in prison.
As this is my first Gamache novel I am not sure if the latter mystery is a continuation or an added plot line.
Interesting characters and an enjoyable read which drew me in. I shall probably look out for the first in the series.

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Family Portraits: A Dearest Friends ContinuationFamily Portraits: A Dearest Friends Continuation by Pamela Lynne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The story continues on from 'Dearest Friends' and we discover what happens to all the various families and characters from Pride and Prejudice, plus a few new characters.
A lovely read, wonderful characters and an engaging style of writing. The only reason I have not given it five stars because they are only given for the second read through, but I was tempted.


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Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Dearest Friends: A Jane Austen Inspired NovelDearest Friends: A Jane Austen Inspired Novel by Pamela Lynne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In this second reading of this Pride and Prejudice variation (it seems I have the paperback and the Kindle copy) Darcy and Elizabeth are both staying in London, after the Netherfield Ball. Elizabeth because she feels betrayed by members of her family because of Mr. Collins and her rejection of his proposal, and so she is now living with the Gardiners.
Both are unhappy but a chance meeting may bring a start to a new understanding.
While some of the characters are not true to canon, I enjoyed their portrayal anyway. I enjoyed the storyline with the Fitzwilliams more than the Darcy/Elizabeth one. With all their faults shown in this book who can fail to love the Fitzwilliams. But my favourite part was Mary Bennet's story and how she was made to grow. More of her story I hope will be in the sequel.
So yes, I loved this book.

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Stabbing Set with Sapphires (Cassie Pengear Mysteries, #3)Stabbing Set with Sapphires by L.A. Nisula
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Cassie is employed by Kleinman Jewellers to type the insurance forms of their stock. Unfortunately this mundane job leads to robbery, a kidnapping and finally murder. Can Inspector Wainwright solve the case with whatever information Cassie can find.
A nice little mystery.
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Sunday, 18 September 2016

The Cornish Coast MurderThe Cornish Coast Murder by John Bude
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A murder occurs at night during a March storm on the Cornish coast.
The Reverend Dodd and his friend Dr. Pendrill are having their usually Monday evening dinner together and deciding which crime novels to read during the next week, when the Doctor is called to Greylings because Julian Tregarthan has been shot. The Reverend decides to also investigate while Inspector Bigswell looks for the killer.
The book, original published in 1935, had multiple red herrings to investigate and discard. An enjoyable read.
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Saturday, 17 September 2016

A Quiet Life In The Country (Lady Hardcastle Mysteries #1)A Quiet Life In The Country by T E Kinsey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Its 1908 and after many years of adventures Lady Hardcastle and her maid Florence Armstrong decide to retire to the quiet countryside of Chipping Bevington.
Then the first body is found, by Lady Hardcastle.
I like all the characters including the secondary ones, and the mystery was interesting enough. I look forward to the next in the series.
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Friday, 16 September 2016

Mystery in WhiteMystery in White by J. Jefferson Farjeon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

On Christmas Eve the train leaving Euston station in London is caught in a snow storm. Some passengers from the third class decide to walk to find the next railway station and hopefully get to their destinations. But thankfully for them they come across a house, an unlocked house with a dining table set for tea. As they try to solve the secrets of the empty house a murder occurs.
Though it was an enjoyable tale I did find the over use of the vernacular annoying at times, and there were times when it was just too much talking nonsense, but this is probably the reflection of the era it was first published - 1937
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Death at Dinner (Cassie Pengear Mysteries, #2)Death at Dinner by L.A. Nisula
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Cassie is asked to be a maid for an evening by Mrs Albright, her landlady. A friend of Mrs Albright, a cook by the name of Mrs Alma Pomeroy, is in need of assistance at a dinner party held by her employers home, a Mr Edgar Carrollton.
Unfortunately one of the guests dies at the table.
Inspector Hamilton with the help of Cassie try and solve the case.
An interesting little mystery.
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Thursday, 15 September 2016

The Moth Catcher (Vera Stanhope #7)The Moth Catcher by Ann Cleeves
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In Valley Farm, a quiet hamlet in Northumberland two bodies are discovered. What is the connection between them,what possible motive for their deaths. It is up to Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope and her team to discover the murderer before another body is found. What secrets do the three couple have that live in the Valley Farm development.
A nice little mystery and a satisfying story, and the style of writing was easy to read.
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Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Killing at the Carnival (Cassie Penner Mysteries, #1)Killing at the Carnival by L.A. Nisula
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The story is set in Victorian London in the Steampunk era. In this cozy mystery, Cassie Pengear visits the travelling carnival with her landlady, Mrs Albright, and her nephew Davy. In one of the side shows a trick goes wrong and a man is dead. Inspector Burrows investigates with the help of Cassie.
A nice quick read, with an enjoyable tale.

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The Kill Fee (Poppy Denby Investigates #2)The Kill Fee by Fiona Veitch Smith
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

In 1920's London Poppy Denby is an arts editor on the Daily Globe where she gets involved with White Russian refugees, Faberge eggs, an art exhibition and murder.
I tried hard to get involved with the characters and the plot but unfortunately it didn't really excite me.
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Tuesday, 13 September 2016

A Fatal Waltz (Lady Emily, #3)A Fatal Waltz by Tasha Alexander
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lady Emily joins a weekend shooting party at the country estate of the political powerful and her enemy Lord Fortescue. Also there is a former love of her fiancée, Colin Hargreaves, the Countess Kristiana von Lange. Murder occurs and Emily's friend Robert Brandon is the accused. Emily is determined to find the real guilty party and goes to Vienna to start her search.
Coming straight into the series at book 3 might be a disadvantage, as the back story to these people is probably missing, which might make them more likeable. Also I like my mystery romances to be more heavily weighed toward mystery.

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Monday, 12 September 2016

A Proposal to Die For (Lady Alkmene Callender Mysteries, #1)A Proposal to Die For by Vivian Conroy
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In the first of a new series we are in London in 1924 when Lady Alkmene Callander teams up with Jake Dubois, a journalist, to investigate the appearance of the heir to a vast fortune - Evelyn Steinbeck - and the 'accidental' death of her uncle Silas Norwhich.
Though the mystery wasn't overly complicated it was satisfying and I will be interested to see how the main characters are developed. As at the moment Alkmene doesn't seem to have much depth of character, though as a 1920's member of the British peerage she probably never had the chance to grow.
A NetGalley Book.


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Sunday, 11 September 2016

A Death in Norfolk (Captain Lacey Regency Mysteries, #7)A Death in Norfolk by Ashley Gardner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's September 1917 and Captain Lacey has decided to visit his old ancestral home in Norfolk. And the criminal, James Denis has requested that Lacey deliver a letter to Brigadier Easton, one of his neighbours. But this is only the start of his troubles - stolen paintings, discoveries from his past, as Denis and his men descend on Norfolk.
Still thoroughly enjoying this series and the character that is Lacey.

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By Consequence of Marriage (The Moralities of Marriage #1)By Consequence of Marriage by Elizabeth Ann West
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In this Pride and prejudice variation problems start for Darcy and his Fitzwilliam family when he fails to arrive at Ramsgate to stop his sister from eloping with Wickham.
To save face he is persuaded to let Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam search for them alone while he visits Netherfield Park, and in his haste to arrive he nearly kills Elizabeth Bennet. The scene is set but can there be a happy ending for any of these characters, or especially for my two favourite characters the Colonel and Mary Bennet.
An enjoyable story which continues into Book 2

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Saturday, 10 September 2016

Messenger of Truth (Maisie Dobbs, #4)Messenger of Truth by Jacqueline Winspear
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the first one of the series that I have read - Maisie Dobbs in 1930 London.
An artist Nicholas Bassington-Hope has fallen to his death within an art gallery and his twin, Georgina needs to determine whether it is an accident as the police have said, or more. So she is directed towards a fellow graduate from Girton College, Maisie Dobbs, psychologist and investigator.
Really enjoyed reading this and the portrayal of the characters, so I will be looking out for another in the series. Thankfully it seems that they are stand-alone books.

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Friday, 9 September 2016

Samuel Pepys and His WorldSamuel Pepys and His World by Geoffrey Trease
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A good introduction to the life of Samuel Pepys - an enjoyable read which was not dry in it's telling.
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Thursday, 8 September 2016

The Wayward Apprentice (Stephen Attebrook Mysteries #1)The Wayward Apprentice by Jason Vail
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Its September 1262 and Sir Stephen Attebrook and just been appointed as deputy coroner for Ludlow, a town in Herefordshire. When he is required with his clerk Gilbert Wistwode to investigate his first death - that of Patrick Carter.
I liked the main character of Attebrook, and the other players which help him, and its a good mystery. So I shall be looking out for the next in the series to see how all these characters develop.

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TangleTangle by Meg Elizabeth Atkins
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Lonely Arnold Peabody kills himself after the death of his mother. Later did Mildred Hewitt also commit suicide. Is there a connection between these people and who or what is it. Chief Inspector Henry Beaumont decides to unofficial investigate the mystery. (Originally published in 1988).
I found the flow of the story a bit too slow and none of the characters were really appealing or that interesting. Which is a pity as I have enjoyed other books by Ms Atkins.
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Wednesday, 7 September 2016

The Trouble With HorsesThe Trouble With Horses by Elizabeth Ann West
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In this Pride and Prejudice variation Elizabeth Bennet's early morning walk is disrupted by finding a riderless horse. When she eventually discovers the rider unconscious - Mr. Darcy - her woes are only beginning.
Liked the input of Colonel Fitzwilliam and Mary into the story, as we are swept to the happy ending.

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Death in the Quadrangle: A Classic MysteryDeath in the Quadrangle: A Classic Mystery by Eilís Dillon
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

First Published in 1956. Retired Professor Daly is invited to give a series of lecture at his old university in Dublin by the present University president Professor Bradley. His underlying reason in doing so is to get Daly to determine who is sending him threatening letters to kill him.
Soon Bradley has been killed and Daly with his friend policeman Mike Kenny they determine the guilty party.
I found the style of writing not really to my taste and the story felt a little flat.
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Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Hell Bay (Barker & Llewelyn #8)Hell Bay by Will Thomas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Two isolated murders on the English mainland, of what is their significance if any? But soon Barker and Llewelyn are off to Godolphin Island in the Scillys. To visit the private estate of Lord Hargrave to provide security for a conference under the guise of a house party, to match-make various young people. Unfortunately it is not long before the killings start. But they are now cut off from help.
Barker and Llewelyn must determine the motive, and stop the killer before all the house guests are murdered.
This is my first reading from the series and I liked the portrayal of the characters and a surprising good mystery. Look forward to reading some more.
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Monday, 5 September 2016

A Killer Closet: A MysteryA Killer Closet: A Mystery by Paula Paul
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Irene Seligman an assistant district attorney moves back to Santa Fe to help out her mother. So she opens a consignment store to provide income. Unfortunately on opening day a body is found in the store's closet. And it will not be the last.
Unfortunately I just didn't like the story, or the style of writing. And I found most of the characters just irritating.
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Sunday, 4 September 2016

Death on the CherwellDeath on the Cherwell by Mavis Doriel Hay
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Written in 1935 and this is fairly obvious by the style of story telling which does occasional get a bit irritating.
On a January afternoon in Oxford the body of the college bursar of Persephone College is found dead in her canoe by four of the college's students. It is these Persephone girls who suspect foul play and decide to investigate.
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Saturday, 3 September 2016

A Rake Reformed (Gentlemen of Worth, #6)A Rake Reformed by Shirley Marks
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Although we are not given the details of the useless and profligate life that the Earl of Brent has lead so far, we are informed that he has gambled all his money away and is greatly in debt. So in December 1817 this leads to the decision to flee London with his best friend Trevor to Penshaw Manor, an estate he owns. This is where his reformation begins when he meets his tenants, and the family of the steward.
I enjoyed this story, and liked the characters, and the style of writing and so shall look out for more of the series.
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Friday, 2 September 2016

Gay Monarch: The Life and Pleasures of Edward VIIGay Monarch: The Life and Pleasures of Edward VII by Virginia Cowles
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A factual description of the life, times and influence of Albert Edward who became Edward VII. Who although lived through the sober and rigid society instigated by his parents was able to create his own liberal society. But who became vastly interested and influential in British foreign affairs to some degree because he was related to virtually all the royal houses.
An interesting read of an era that I knew very little of so consequently I learnt some new facts.
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Thursday, 1 September 2016

April and MayApril and May by Beth Elliott
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

1799, When Rose Grahams and Tom Hawkesleigh fall in love that love is thwarted by their families, and misunderstandings, but they met again in 1804 in Constantinople. Here there is intrigue, spies and foreign agents but Rose is now Mrs Charteris and Tom is in the government employ. But soon they return to London.
Can their love return and what obstacles are put in their way.
The story didn't really catch my imagination nor the characters, particularly the female ones. Probably would have preferred the characters to be more fleshed out.
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The Reluctant HeiressThe Reluctant Heiress by Annabel Laine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Caroline Malcolm, with her brother and mother have returned from India after living there for twenty years. Then her mother's death she decides that it is time she learnt who her father really is. Taking advise she relates to the Earl of Moriston, an occasional detective, all she knows.
We have a plot which includes diamonds, 'accidents', and secrets that have been kept for years as the Earl and his family try to unravel the clues.
I enjoyed this Regency tale as it had more mystery than romance and the style of writing was easy to read. I liked the portrayal of the characters, and the mystery was sufficiently entertaining.
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