The Rain Watcher by Tatainia de Rosnay
It started out as an awkward family birthday celebration but quickly spun out of control when Paul's parents become ill, his father clinging to life as the waters of the Seine River climb over the banks at an alarming rate and Paris prepares for a disaster. Paul is a famous photographer and the son of a tree expert who is akin to "the tree whisperer" also famous and part of a truly dysfunctional family. While Paul communicates his true feelings through his camera he is unable to share the most private parts of his life with his family. A moment of disaster will either bind this family or scatter it to the wind once and for all. A true rainy day read about coming to grips about who you are and who you love and a lesson - silence is not golden.
The Darkness by Ragnar Jonasson
Hulda is an Icelandic cop who is being pushed out of her job early - well, at 64 she considers it too early. She is given a couple of weeks and is released from all her casework but her boss throws her a bone by letting her look at dead cases and it is the one of a young Russian asylum seeker that was deemed a suicide that has Hulda's interest. She is determined to add up all the little details that were overlooked by her colleague and in doing so, makes herself a nuisance. We get a glimpse of her bulldog reluctance to let it go and how her unusual upbringing adds to her feelings about this case. There is a constant reference to how remote the Icelandic landscape is and you realize that there are so many places a killer could hide or hide a body. Time may be running out for Hulda. Grizzly Scandinavian noir thriller with a likable "not ready to retire" heroine - Hulda is the Agatha Christie of Iceland.
The Winters by Lisa Gabriele
A very naive young woman falls hard for an older widowed Senator who comes with baggage- a bratty teenager and a mansion. Not only must she adjust to a life of leisure and privilege, but she must also tackle the toughest job of all, that of trying to help Dani get over her mother's death and guide her into making better choices by being the perfect Stepmom. It is a complete reversal of her hard-working modest life in the islands working the tourist boat trade plus she feels in the shadow of Max's beautiful, competent dead wife.
Creepy mystery, romance and a strong character that scores an A-plus for great Stepmom - this is a fairy tale romance that you hope will end with a happy ending and you are always a bit off-balanced.
Xanthe has the gift of learning about an object's history just from holding it so when she picks up an antique silver chatelaine she knows she must have it at any cost. She and her mother are going through hard times and have decided to start again in a small English village and open an antique store. Xanthe's only concern is her mother's health and making sure the shop is a success until she meets up with a very insistent ghost who makes Xanthe an offer she can't refuse. It is a good thing that Xanthe is an old soul and wears period clothes because she is whisked away into the early 1600's to help rescue a serving girl that has been wrongly accused. The little village is delightful and full of well-meaning quirky characters plus there is the knowledge that she is her mom's only helpmate but there is also someone on the other side that wants Xanthe to stay. A must for all those Outlander fans or anyone who enjoys the trials of time travel. An open-ended ending leaves room for the possibility of more books to come.
The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton
A man is dead- a bad man who captured children and buried them alive. Florence should be one happy policewoman as she is the one who broke the case all those years ago but now she has a nagging feeling that the killer could still be out there. We jump between young Florence as the only female working this horrific crime that will rip her small town apart and years later when she returns with her teenage son in tow to attend the funeral and put things to bed. There isn't time to breathe in this thriller as the tension builds from the first page and it isn't until the very end that you realize you have been holding your breath the whole time. Secret killers, spooky nights in graveyards and witch covens operating under the full moon make this book a powerful one-sitting knockout thriller.
Melmoth by Sarah Perry
This gothic horror tale begins with a friend giving Helen a manuscript that contains shocking accounts of people who have committed sins and been visited by Melmoth - a mythical spirit who acts as a witness to the brutality of others. Soon Helen will get a sense of why the reading of this manuscript is affecting her friends and driving them mad. Each account or story is factual in nature and Sarah Perry's eerie prose pulls the reader deeper into the madness. You may find yourself looking over your shoulder for a woman in black asking you to join her and end her loneliness.
November Road by Lou Berney
Frank Guidry is a gangster, a bad guy who works for bad guys. When he hears something he shouldn't and puts 2 and 2 together when Kennedy is assassinated he realizes he is in trouble and goes on the run. Charlotte is a housewife with two little girls. She is kind and a good mother but she is tired of her life and even more tired of her drunk husband so she packs up the girls and heads out for California.
As fate would have it these two meet and what starts out as a disguise for Guidry turns into something more. Charlotte and the girls make him feel again and that might not be a good thing when you are marked. When Charlotte accepted a ride from the "good Samaritan" Guidry neither one knew how much their lives would change. Wiseguys, good guys and bad guys - this is one cross-country trip of survival and second chances. Perfectly crafted with a blend of quiet wit and charm along with brutal violence, this is a novel that will live in your soul.
Invisible by Stephen L. Carter
Interesting biography of Eunice Hunton Carter, written by her grandson, is a balance of the life of this trailblazing African American woman who became not only the first woman to hold certain positions but also was influential in putting away the kingpin of New York mafia. She grew up under a wing of successful, civil rights influencers and not only continued their political and social ambitions but exceeded those expectations for the African American community and women everywhere. Even when her efforts to combat mobster crime in New York were handled mainly from the spectator seats in the courtroom and not from the Prosecutor's box, she was instrumental in formulating the plans that ultimately took out the most powerful crime syndicate in New York. She counted among her friends some of the most influential and powerful Republicans of the time and consistently pushed on even when she was faced with discrimination and prejudice. In a time where you found few women, let alone an African American woman holding a public office, Eunice Carter rose to the occasion kicking those barriers aside. The inner workings of the late 20's and early 30's New York government in dealing with organized crime were interesting and added a nice balance to the Harlem sassiety social scene.
In true Kate Morton fashion, this is a mystery that spans generations but the key difference is that there are so many narrators you might need to keep a pen and paper handy. An artist's retreat to an English manor house in 1862 which began as a lark ended in tragedy with a woman dead, a love affair gone awry, a priceless pendant missing and an artist who was never quite the same again.
Fast forward through all the various owners of the manor and family members and we come to Elodie who is trying to understand her mother and also solve a puzzle which involves the contents of the artist's valise both of which will bring her to the doorstep of Birchwood Manor. We also have a quiet but persistent ghost who must now spend her time trying to guide the inhabitants of the manor. I always enjoy Kate Morton's unique combination of an interesting property, characters that draw you in and a lasting mystery that begs to be solved.
Bitter Orange by Claire Fuller
A free-spirited young couple befriends a middle-aged spinster where they spend a summer in a crumbling manor house in rural England. They are there to inventory the estate but find that the ruins of the house may hide as many secrets as they themselves are hiding. Their interesting and unusual friendship begins what could be a new life for Frances who has spent her whole life sheltered caring for her invalid mother but soon the couple's odd behavior and haphazard stories begin to derail the trio. The summer that could save them just might do them in instead. It is the lush soft language and atmosphere that draws you in only to come to the ending that punches you in the face. Original and perfectly paced - you won't know who to trust or how much to believe, you only know that you have to keep reading to find the truth.
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