It may be a coincidence of my own interests, but WWII fiction seems to be taking center stage in historical fiction these days. This time, in The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah brings us the story of two sisters in war torn France, each surviving the war in her own way. One waits for her husband to return, struggling to protect her daughter and reckon with the German officer billeted in her home. The other, young and rebellious, becomes a symbol of the French resistance. Hannah’s treatment of the characters, who each bring a distinct voice to the struggle of WWII France, combined with classic storytelling style make this an engaging read.
My first introduction to Kat Martin is through her historical romance (which I thoroughly enjoyed – so I’ve been hoping for another). Instead I settled for her latest contemporary action-romance. Only I didn’t settle at all. Against the Sky is a non-stop page-turner with action-filled suspense and the perfect mix of romantic tension. It seems Martin’s strong storytelling transitions across many genres. Add in some studly men and admirable women – and Against the Sky is pretty darn good.
Two broken hearts are hard to mend – especially when one of them purposely caused the hurt. Years later Dominick Manton carries the secret reasons for his hurt with him and now he’s thrown into Jane Vernon’s path again. In Sabrina Jeffries fashion, If the Viscount Falls carries the Duke’s Men series into another mystery.
Rebekah Roberts is a stringer for a mid tier newspaper, just going through the motions in her early career until she happens upon a murder mystery that forces her to evaluate her Hasidic Jewish heritage and her own motivations. I was surprised to find that Invisible City was written by a first-time author, former newspaper writer Julia Dahl. The story delves deeply into an interesting, underground-like culture and has a great mystery plot. Narrator Andi Arndt provides a seemless platform for the audiobook – letting the first-person narrative seem effortless and believable.
The novella that introduces the Covent Garden Series by Shana Galen kicks off with good mystery and a fun romance. Though Lord Chesham has one mission in mind, he ends up taking a persistent accomplice, Lady Emma with him. The story that develops is equal parts mystery and romance and a fun intro the the full series. Get ready for the first book in the series out March 3, 2015 Earls Just Want to Have Fun (see our review to come in early March).
My kinda guy: Jake Trent. He’s a former attorney-spy-government man, who escapes to Wyoming to get away from the politics and baggage of his old job. But even in Jackson Hole (close to my hometown!), he soon finds himself up to the neck in several international mysteries. Think James Patterson or Tom Clancy meets modern day John Wayne. David Riley Bertsch is up there with the best of the mystery-suspense writers – and you’ll enjoy this plot driven read no matter your favorite genre.
Lady Calpurnia Hartwell’s lifetime of following the rules has brought her nothing but a fast-approaching spinsterhood and not a bit of fun. When she changes her tune, creating a clever little list of nine things a nice English lady ought not do, she must enlist the help of her old girlhood crush to accomplish her goals. Cheroots, duels, and stolen kisses: just one guess how this one turns out, but it’s lovely diversion, with clever dialogue, and a very funny heroine.
This Angela Hunt portrayal of Esther is dramatic and real – through the eyes of two characters: Hadassah (the Jewish name that Esther is called throughout) and Harbonah, the kind’s personal slave. The two perspective are brilliant in telling the full story and life of Persian times. I loved that this book didn’t glorify Esther, but instead made her real, human as she grows from a Jewish orphan girl living with her cousins to Queen of Persia to a wise and bold influencer of her husband King Xerxes.
Note: It’s interesting to read this and then read the Book of Esther. While Esther Royal Beauty is fiction, it is mostly factually based and gives a dramatic portrayal of Biblical times. While I can’t vouch for every Biblical accuracy of the book, there are no major contradictions; I recommend reading this book as fiction that gives a potential perspective to Esther’s story.
When policeman Virgil Holt takes the illusionist and murderess extraordinaire Amazing Arden into custody, she has story to tell, and one night to do it. Not everything is as it seems in this engaging twist on a whodunit, complete with a hint of the supernatural and flashbacks to the past that slowly flesh out the backstory and keep the reader guessing and wanting more.