Synopsis

It’s mayhem in Bethlehem…unless they can work together!

Viola Smith plays the viola in an orchestra (yes really!), but this year she’s been asked to stretch her musical talents to organising Notting Hill’s local nativity.
Nate Williams isn’t looking forward to Christmas but as his small daughter, Grace, has the starring role in the show, he’s forced to stop being a Grinch and volunteer with Viola.

With the sparks between them hotter than the chestnuts roasting in Portobello market, Nate and Viola can’t deny their feelings. And as the snow starts to fall over London, they find themselves trapped together in more ways than one…

 

My review

This is a festive romcom with a bit of a twist in that we have a married person as one of the main protagonists.

Musician Viola can’t say no to her family members and as a consequence runs herself ragged and never puts herself first. She’s starting to spread herself too thin and over-committing. Nathan is struggling to be a good dad to Grace whilst his wife is away and he’s working very hard. A school Nativity play brings them together and there’s instant attraction but both have other priorities and calls on them.

The atmosphere is very festive and charming. Rather than an impersonal big city, this area of London comes over as a warm community where people know each other and interact.

The Christmas element is all there with a Nativity play, Christmas trees, decorations, stockings and so on. It’ll make you want to start wrapping presents!

Enjoyable, poignant, a tiny bit edgy this is fabulous, festive novel.

 

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Notting-Hill-Snow-heartwarming-uplifting-ebook/dp/B07RNFF9Q1/

US – https://www.amazon.com/Notting-Hill-Snow-heartwarming-uplifting-ebook/dp/B07RNFF9Q1/

Author Bio –

Jules Wake announced at the age of ten that she planned to be a writer. Along the way she was diverted by the glamorous world of PR and worked on many luxury brands and not so luxury brands. This proved fabulous training for writing novels as it provided her with the opportunity to hone her writing and creative skills penning copy on a vast range of subjects from pig farming and watches, sunglasses and skincare through to beer and stationery.

She writes best-selling warm-hearted contemporary fiction for One More Chapter as Jules Wake and under her pen name Julie Caplin, she writes the Romantic Escapes series.

Between them, the two Js have written twelve novels, Notting Hill in the Snow being the latest.

Social Media Links –

@Juleswake

https://www.facebook.com/juleswake.co.uk/

Instagram: juleswakeauthor

Synopsis

Christmas in a Cornish castle? Sign Ivy Starforth up! Hired to kit out the holiday rental as the world’s most Instagramable festive dreamland, there’s only one thing standing in the way of her hefty paycheque – the lord of the manor.

Bill Markham could give Scrooge a run for his money but Ivy is firmly #TeamChristmas…even if her handsome host seems to be doing everything he can to sabotage her staging. Maybe she shouldn’t have stumbled in on him starkers in the hot tub?

As the temperature outside cools, things inside the castle heat up. It’s been a long time since Ivy allowed herself to give in to temptation…surely one little kiss under the mistletoe won’t hurt?

 

My review

 

This is a charming and enjoyable festive romcom peopled by larger than life, fascinating characters.

Our main character is Ivy, a lively young woman. She’s been through a bad patch but she’s gung-ho about the future and excited about ‘Instagramising’ a Cornish castle.

To counterpoint her is Bill, who is distinctly lacking in the Christmas spirit and seems intent on thwarting Ivy’s ambitious plans.

There’s a lot of drama going on around Ivy and Bill, but they stay centre-stage. With love and support from family, and taking time to truly value themselves and each other, there’s a lot of healing going on which is rewarding and adds richness to this uplifting novel.

The book moves at a steady pace, with some momentum building up and an increasingly festive atmosphere. Lovely Christmas reading.

 

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cosy-Christmas-Cornwall-heartwarming-Cornish-ebook/dp/B07TVZ8VYV

US – https://www.amazon.com/Cosy-Christmas-Cornwall-heartwarming-Cornish-ebook/dp/B07TVZ8VYV

 

Author Bio – Jane Linfoot is a best selling author, who lives in a cottage on a Derbyshire hillside with her family and their pets. Although she loves seeing cow noses over the garden wall, she’s happy she can walk to a supermarket.

Jane grew up in North Yorkshire where she spent a lot of her childhood avoiding horizontal gales blowing off the sea and wrote her first book by accident. While she loves to write feel good books that let readers escape, she’s always surprised to hear her stories make people laugh, admits to (occasionally) crying as she writes, and credits her characters for creating their own story lines.

Jane’s garden would be less brambly if she wasn’t on Facebook and Twitter so often. On days when she wants to be really scared, she rides a tandem.

Her recent stand alone novels are all set in and around the (imaginary) seaside village of St Aidan in Cornwall. They are: Ivy’s Cornish Christmas, Edie’s Browne’s Cottage by the Sea, The Little Cornish Kitchen. Her four book Little Wedding Shop series are standalone stories, also set in St Aidan. They are: The Little Wedding Shop by the Sea, Christmas at the Little Wedding Shop, Summer at the Little Wedding Shop and Christmas Promises at the Little Wedding Shop. They are all published by the Harper Impulse and One More Chapter imprints of Harper Collins.

 

Follow Jane on Twitter @janelinfoot, or find her on her Author Page Facebook or her

Personal Page Facebook. She’s also on Instagram, and has lots of Pinterest boards relating to her novels.

 

Giveaway to Win a signed Jane Linfoot Book and some chocolate (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

 

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494290/

Synopsis

Leah Jensen, Yorkshire lass born and bred, needs money and she’ll do anything – yes, anything – to get it. Her Grandad Thomas is in pain and the cost of an operation on his bad knee is way beyond the family’s means. Leah tries everything to earn the fee – but in the end, and like so many before her, she turns to the world’s oldest profession.
Madam Butterfly’s exclusive escort agency in London is a different world to where Leah comes from. In Whitby, the sea air is sweet, and legends of Dracula jostle with jet-mining and whaling history; it’s a place where dog lovers meet and tourists come to marvel at the views.
Leah may be out of her comfort zone, but one daring, brief encounter will bring many surprises in this memorable romantic comedy full of pithy Yorkshire humour.

 

My review

This is a slightly madcap but touching novel! It’s packed full of energy and larger than life, exuberant characters.

Front of stage are Leah and her camp cousin Joey, who are devoted to each other and their grandfather. They need to raise money, and fast, to pay for his operation as the NHS waiting list is far too long. They try a few crazy and increasingly unlikely things, from dog walking to wing walking, before Leah turns to the oldest profession as a way to make money.

Wealthy, rather-full-of-himself Dan is the man of the hour. His encounter with Leah has unforeseen consequences, due to some sneaky skulduggery. And has our fair-haired, energetic heroine has the willpower and determination to cope with the unexpected…

It’s a fast-paced novel, with lots of humour and twists and turns. However, it touches on gritty issues – the failure of the NHS to look after vulnerable people properly, prostitution – but these are skilfully dealt with so that they don’t jar in this comic novel.

Fun and frantic, and definitely worth a read.

 

Gracie Bond loves a good romantic comedy, either to read or to watch on Netflix. Her favourite go-to novel is (Pride and Prejudice)- and she’s always happy to watch (Bridget Jonesany time of the dayAmong Gracie’s interests are Newfoundland dogs, horses, and handsome Yorkshire men. Her idea of fun would be to ride a spirited horse along a Northumberland beach, followed by a pack of her favourite dogs.

Gracie lives in Yorkshire with her partner John and she has close connections with Whitby, the setting for this novel.

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/graciebondauthor/

https://twitter.com/gracie_author

https://www.instagram.com/graciebondauthor22/

Synopsis

On a grey, London day, Esme’s world crumbles around her when she loses her glitzy job on a top TV programme, her gorgeous, city-slicker boyfriend and her stunning apartment, all in one fell swoop just before Christmas.

Esme is forced suddenly to move back to her sleepy hometown of Sandchester, and despite the snow blanketing the roof and the fairy lights that twinkle in her rustic little cottage, everything is looking bleak. That is until she reconnects with an old crush and finds herself unexpectedly getting swept away.

But Joe, handsome and charming as he is, is not all he seems. Esme soon realises that he has a tragic past which he just might not be able to overcome…

Surrounded by her loving, if harebrained, family and with the support of her hilarious friends, Esme is determined to have a go at forging her own path, even if it all comes to nothing. But one question still lingers in her mind: will she find someone to kiss under the mistletoe this Christmas?

 

My review

This is a warm, joyful, uplifting Christmas novel. If the season of goodwill isn’t the right time for second chances, family happiness and generally recovering from the slings and arrows of everyday life, then I don’t know what is! Oh, and baking!

Our heroine, Esme, is down on her luck but not deterred. A spell at home is what she needs to get herself back together again. Her loving, supportive family are a complete tonic. Esme son embarks on a new venture, and then bumps into Joe. Will they, won’t they? Neither feel inclined to rush into things so we all have to be patient to see how it will turn out.

I just love the atmosphere of the novel. It’s so comforting and festive. I can almost smell the delicious scents wafting from the oven. There’s humour, joyousness, some tension and setbacks, and the precise ending we’d wish for.

If you’re looking for a delightful and delicious Christmas read, look no further!

 

Purchase Links

Amazon UK ebook: https://amzn.to/2NL7fhq

Amazon UK paperbook: https://amzn.to/2Y51uPP

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2LP8Ujm

Amazon US ebook: https://amzn.to/2XHxFR1

 

About the author 

KATIE GINGER lives in the South East of England, by the sea, and apart from holidays to very hot places where you can sit by a pool and drink cocktails as big your head, she wouldn’t really want to be anywhere else. Snowflakes at Mistletoe Cottage is her third novel. She is also author of the Seafront series – The Little Theatre on the Seafront, shortlisted for the Katie Fforde Debut Novel of the Year award, and Summer Season on the Seafront.

When she’s not writing, Katie spends her time drinking gin, or with her husband, trying to keep alive her two children: Ellie, who believes everything in life should be performed like a musical number from a West End show; and Sam, who is basically a monkey with a boy’s face. And there’s also their adorable King Charles Spaniel, Wotsit (yes, he is named after the crisps!).

For more about Katie you can visit her website: www.keginger.com, find her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/KatieGAuthor, or follow her on Twitter: @KatieGAuthor.

 

Sacrificing Starlight

Time’s running out for DCI Hunter. His wife and child are missing, perhaps even dead. Unable to pursue those responsible he’s transferred to the wild landscape of Cornwall where another child has disappeared.

Alice Trevelyan’s father has his own agenda and wants retribution for the loss of his little girl and metes out his own violent justice.

Will Trevelyan help or hinder?

Hunter has to make his move if he wants to save Starlight.

But can anyone in this remote location be trusted?

 

My review

First up, I must apologise to the author for running late with this review. I’d marked down the wrong date in my diary for who knows what reason.

This is a challenging, disturbing novel dealing with the tough issue of child abuse. There’s graphic violence so this is very much a dark thriller, quite horrific at some points. But it certainly makes you sit up and take notice.

We have a good pair of lead characters in DCI Hunter and Iraqi war veteran Trevelyan They’re opposites in many ways, namely personality and their approaches to solving these heinous crimes, but united in their desire to put an end to an organised paedophile ring.

The action moves at a brisk pace and the plot is well thought-out. We are given different points of view on the action. The author keeps us guessing as to who the perpetrators are all the way to the exciting conclusion.

Bleak but realistic, this is a novel for anyone who enjoys a read that will shake them up and give them plenty to think about.

David Pipe is a talented and versatile writer.

 

Purchase Link

http://getbook.at/Starlight

Author Bio –

David Pipe was born in 1949 in a small Essex village. He attended a local grammar school then the University of Hull where he took a B.Sc in chemistry. He worked in the pharmaceutical industry in England and South Africa before studying for a PhD in organic chemistry at Imperial College. After spells at universities in Geneva and Mulhouse he joined the oil industry in Germany where, aged 53, he gratefully took a redundancy package. Following a period of self-employment he wound down his business, eventually giving it up to scratch the writing itch which has produced Sacrificing Starlight, a timely reminder of the risks our children face and Henry’s Tale, where ghostwriting for his furry friend he describes the emotional growth of a puppy on the rollercoaster of life, compressed into a few weeks because puppies learn faster than their staff.

 

When he’s not writing David spends his time travelling, reading, swimming and jogging. He is married and lives in Hamburg with his wife and their Border terrier Henry.

 

Social Media Links –

Twitter @dfpwriter

FB https://www.facebook.com/DavidPipeBooks/

A Typical Family Christmas

For once, Kate Peters would like a happy, family Christmas; the kind of Christmas seen in the movies. She wants harmony and happiness, smiling, glowing faces, tables groaning with food, carol singing around the tree. She wants love, kindness, and goodwill to all men, especially in
her own house.

What she doesn’t want is drama. Absolutely no drama, whatsoever.

But what she gets is three stroppy children, two equally stroppy grandmothers, a husband who can’t manage to change a lightbulb, and Pepe the poodle.

It’s no wonder she feels unappreciated, overworked, and ignored. At the end of her tinsel-coated tether, and with the only Christmas spirit being in the form of a bottle of raspberry gin, Kate decides to leave them to it, and see how they manage without her.

A quiet little hotel somewhere near the sea, where she can pretend Christmas doesn’t exist, is just the thing she needs. Isn’t it?

 

My review

As we all know, Christmas is a time for family get-togethers. Whether you want them or not!

Poor Kate is facing the Christmas from Hell with her really pretty awful family. No one is keen to help but they all have plenty of criticism on hand if things aren’t meeting their expectations. You can’t blame our unappreciated heroine for wanting to get away from it all.

The writing is lovely. Liz Davies knows how to keep us turning the pages with her wry humour, sharp observation and lively imagination.

This story is fantastically festive and lots of fun. It’ll certainly make you appreciate your own family a lot more!

 

Purchase Links:

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07XC7FJHK

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07XC7FJHK

 

Author Bio –

Liz Davies writes feel-good, light-hearted stories with a hefty dose of romance, a smattering of humour, and a great deal of love.

She’s married to her best friend, has one grown-up daughter, and when she isn’t scribbling away in the notepad she carries with her everywhere (just in case inspiration strikes), you’ll find her searching for that perfect pair of shoes. She loves to cook but isn’t very good at it, and loves to eat – she’s much better at that! Liz also enjoys walking (preferably on the flat), cycling (also on the flat), and lots of sitting around in the garden on warm, sunny days.

She currently lives with her family in Wales, but would ideally love to buy a camper van and travel the world in it.

Social Media Links:

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/LizDaviesAuthor1/

Twitter https://twitter.com/lizdaviesauthor

 

 

Synopsis

With her personal life on the rocks, it’s going to take a whale sized miracle to keep her afloat.

Event planner Fiona Reeves did not have her husband’s sudden departure on her schedule. However, she’s certain that it’s only a hiccup and he’ll be back in no time, begging for forgiveness. Fortunately there’s a distraction of mammoth proportions swimming in the River Thames.

Absorbed by the story of Martha the sperm whale, Fiona attempts to carry on life as usual as she awaits her husband’s return. However, nothing can prepare her for the dramatic turn of events that throws her life into ever greater turmoil. The road ahead has many paths and for Fiona it’s time to sink or swim.

Fiona and the Whale is a poignant and often hilarious contemporary fiction novel. If you enjoy topical tales, second chances and a little bit of romance, you’ll love this new book from the Kindle Storyteller Award Winner, Hannah Lynn.

 

My review

This is a very enjoyable novel, dealing with common issues (empty-nest syndrome, marital break-up) but in a definitely unconventional way. The whale element isn’t so unusual either, as there’s just been a humpback whale in the Thames, sadly killed the other day in a collision with a boat.

Our heroine Fiona is thoroughly engaging. She’s flawed (for example, she seems more concerned about breaking up her dinner service than that her son needs plates to go to university with!) but kind, caring and genuine. Her concerns about the environment are timely and firmly but sensitively handles. It’s something we need to hear so as well as being an entertaining story there’s the added beneficial element of gently reminding us to think of our impact on the world around us rather more than we do.

The author has a lively, friendly style that grabs you at once and holds your attention all the way through the book. It’s fun, poignant, informative, quirky and wonderful.

 

Purchase Links

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07XWSRRT9 Amazon UK

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07XWSRRT9  Amazon(dot)com

 

Hannah Lynn

Hannah Lynn is an award-winning novelist. Publishing her first book, Amendments – a dark, dystopian speculative fiction novel, in 2015, she has since gone on to write The Afterlife of Walter Augustus, a contemporary fiction novel with a supernatural twist – which won the 2018 Kindle Storyteller Award and the Gold Medal for Best Adult Fiction ebook at this year’s IPPY Awards – and the delightfully funny and poignant Peas and Carrots series.

While she freely moves between genres, her novels are recognisable for their character driven stories and wonderfully vivid description.

She is currently working on a YA Vampire series and a reimaging of a classic Greek myth.

Born in 1984, Hannah grew up in the Cotswolds, UK. After graduating from university, she spent ten years as a teacher of physics, first in the UK and then around Asia. It was during this time, inspired by the imaginations of the young people she taught, she began writing short stories for children, and later adult fiction Now as a teacher, writer, wife and mother, she is currently living in the Austrian Alps.

For up-to-date news and access to exclusive promotions follow her on

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/HannahLynnAuthor/

Twitter @HMLynnauthor

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13830772.Hannah_M_Lynn

Bookbub – https://www.bookbub.com/profile/hannah-lynn

 

Books

Amazon.co.uk – Amendments

Amazon.com – Amendments

Amazon.co.uk – The Afterlife of Walter Augustus

Amazon.com – The Afterlife of Walter Augustus

Amazon.co.uk – Peas, Carrots and an Aston Martin

Amazon.com – Peas, Carrots and an Aston Martin

 

Whale Sized Giveaway (Open Internationally)

Prizes are

$25 Amazon Gift card

2 print copies of Fiona and the Whale

10 ebooks of Fiona

5 ebooks of The Afterlife of Water Augustus

5 ebooks, of Peas, Carrots and an Aston Martin.

 

Rafflecopter link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/5f8b9ad57/

Anything For Love

Leah Jensen, Yorkshire lass born and bred, needs money and she’ll do anything – yes, anything – to get it. Her Grandad Thomas is in pain and the cost of an operation on his bad knee is way beyond the family’s means. Leah tries everything to earn the fee – but in the end, and like so many before her, she turns to the world’s oldest profession.
Madam Butterfly’s exclusive escort agency in London is a different world to where Leah comes from. In Whitby, the sea air is sweet, and legends of Dracula jostle with jet-mining and whaling history; it’s a place where dog lovers meet and tourists come to marvel at the views.
Leah may be out of her comfort zone, but one daring, brief encounter will bring many surprises in this memorable romantic comedy full of pithy Yorkshire humour.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Anything-Love-Gracie-Bond-ebook/dp/B07XCQBGF1/

US – https://www.amazon.com/Anything-Love-Gracie-Bond-ebook/dp/B07XCQBGF1/

And now – here’s that cover!

Author Bio – Gracie Bond loves a good romantic comedy, either to read or to watch on Netflix. Her favourite go-to novel is (Pride and Prejudice)- and she’s always happy to watch ( Bridgett Jones) any time of the day. Among Gracie’s interests are Newfoundland dogs, horses, and handsome Yorkshire men. Her idea of fun would be to ride a spirited horse along a Northumberland beach, followed by a pack of her favourite dogs.

Gracie lives in Yorkshire with her partner John and she has close connections with Whitby, the setting for this novel.

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/graciebondauthor/

https://twitter.com/gracie_author

https://www.instagram.com/graciebondauthor22/

Synopsis

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… but not for Angie Martinelli…

Having lost her boyfriend, job, and apartment all in the space of a week, Angie has no choice but to leave California and return to her family in New England.

Determined not to let life weigh her down, Angie finds work at the local mall where she worked as a teenager. After an embarrassing run-in with a handsome stranger, Nick, she’s convinced her luck is about to change.

But Nick has secrets of his own… and as the first flakes of snow begin to fall, Angie can’t help but wonder if she’ll ever find love.

 

My review

What a wonderful author Katlyn Duncan is! This book is an absolute pleasure to read. It’s festive and lively, and presents us with a very likeable hero and heroine. Neither of them are perfect, but they’re genuine and well-intentioned and we really care about them.

Christmas is all about family and friends, and both are important in this novel. Reese is the sort of best friend we’d all love to have and she cares so very much about Angie. Angie’s mum and grandparents want the best for Angie too but can be unintentionally annoying, the way that relatives do! Nick has the love and support of his brother and his wife. This aspect gives a warm sense of unity and comfort in the novel.

Angie has come home to more than Christmas: she’s coming home to herself, and, we all hope, happiness.

The plot is clever with the misunderstandings, tensions, incidents – major and minor – and denouement that we want from a Christmas romcom. It’s all presented to us with love, care and a hug from this talented author, wrapped up in a beautiful cover!

Great fun and absolutely one for your Christmas reading list.

 

Purchase Links

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2NGuQyc
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2HBoxs2
B&N: http://bit.ly/32fCF1R
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2NGvUlG
iBooks: https://apple.co/2LmsotI
Kobo: http://bit.ly/32jrSUl
Books2read universal link: http://bit.ly/34deOBH

Author Bio –

Coming from a small town in Western Massachusetts, Katlyn Duncan always had her head in the clouds. Working as a scientist for most of her adult life, she enjoyed breaking down the hows and whys of life. This translated into her love of stories and getting into the minds of her characters.

Currently, she’s a full-time author and freelance writer. When she’s not writing, she’s obsessing over many (many) television series’.

She currently resides in Southern New England with her family. Check out more about her writing and current TV addiction in her newsletter, and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

SCBWI & RWA Member.

Social Media Links –

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorkatlynduncan/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/duncankatlyn/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/katlyn_duncan

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/duncankatlyn/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7060690.Katlyn_Duncan

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/katlyn-duncan

Newsletter sign up: https://www.subscribepage.com/q6i5n1

 

Giveaway to Win a book of your choice from The Book Depository up to the value of $25 (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome, so long as The Book Depository delivers to your country.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494287/

Synopsis

In this Austen-tatious debut, antiquarian bookstore proprietor Erin Coleridge uses her sense and sensibility to deduce who killed the president of the local Jane Austen Society.

Erin Coleridge’s used bookstore in Kirkbymoorside, North Yorkshire, England is a meeting place for the villagers and, in particular, for the local Jane Austen Society. At the Society’s monthly meeting, matters come to a head between the old guard and its young turks. After the meeting breaks for tea, persuasion gives way to murder—with extreme prejudice—when president Sylvia Pemberthy falls dead to the floor. Poisoned? Presumably…but by whom? And was Sylvia the only target?

Handsome—but shy—Detective Inspector Peter Hadley and charismatic Sergeant Rashid Jarral arrive at the scene. The long suspect list includes Sylvia’s lover Kurt Becker and his tightly wound wife Suzanne. Or, perhaps, the killer was Sylvia’s own cuckolded husband, Jerome. Among the many Society members who may have had her in their sights is dashing Jonathan Alder, who was heard having a royal battle of words with the late president the night before.

Then, when Jonathan Alder narrowly avoids becoming the next victim, Farnsworth (the town’s “cat lady”) persuades a seriously time-crunched Erin to help DI Hadley. But the killer is more devious than anyone imagines.

 

My review

This is a very clever, understated cosy mystery. And I mean understated as a compliment in that, as with Jane Austen’s own books, everything is subtle and underplayed which just makes it all the more effective. For example, this book is gently humorous. It’s not a ‘laugh out loud’ type read, but more of a ‘frequent quiet smile’, which I actually prefer and which is harder to sustain since it doesn’t rely on slapstick or cheesy situations for comedy .

The characters are equally subtle. Their personalities gradually emerge as they book progresses, rather than being described in full to us at the beginning. We get strong hints as to what they’re like – Farnsworth is a cat lady and Sylvia is bossy, for example – but there’s a lot more to them than that and we watch them all develop nicely. Erin is an interesting heroine, very much a Jane Austen heroine in that she’s not the sort that’s cut out to play a lead role. She’s an intelligent, thoughtful woman who prefers the quiet life. She’s likeable and we enjoy following the events that unwind around her.

Interactions are great. As in any group of people, within the very dedicated Jane Austen Society there are friendships and animosities, organisers and followers-along, ambition and apathy. The bickering and niggling is extremely life-like – well, it is for me living in a small French village where committee meetings see the full gamut of emotions being run through!

The use of quotes from Austen’s novels is a witty touch. As always the author has a light hand with this and doesn’t overdo it, just throwing in an appropriate quote to add a little richness.

Well worth a read, whether you’re a Jane Austen fan or not.

 

Published by Crooked Lane Books.