The Lake House by Kate Morton

Lake House

The Lake house contains all the ingredients I have come to expect in a novel by Kate Morton: mystery, action in different eras, a beautiful house in Cornwall and more than one complex female protagonist.

The core story is of the Edevane family who lived in Leoanneth, a large house by a lake in Cornwall, from 1911 until 1933.  An idyllic love story is blighted by the First World War and as their family life appears to be blossoming again, tragedy strikes.

Moving to 2003, we meet Sadie Sparrow, a feisty police sergeant who has let her emotions take over when investigating the case of an abandoned child.  Visiting her grandfather, Bertie in Cornwall she inadvertently discovers Leoanneth, overgrown and deserted.  Soon she is putting her experience to good use trying to discover what happened on that fateful Midsummer Eve in 1933.  As she researches old newspapers and case notes, we encounter Alice Edevane, who was 16 in 1933 and is now a very successful crime write of 86.  Will she help Sadie or will she keep her secrets?

The intricate plot weaves threads together in a most satisfying way.  The book has a glorious sense of time, of the echoes glimpsed momentarily.  Sadie, Alice and Alice’s mother Eleanor gradually reveal themselves as the book progresses.  They all share sadness and loss which they hide behind strong personas.

Some readers may feel that all the puzzles are solved too perfectly, but I was sad to leave this long beautiful book.

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Taster Tuesday #TuesdayBookBlog

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two or three “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Lake House

I have read all of Kate Morton‘s previous books but it has taken me a while getting round to The Lake House.  This passage comes from Chapter Three.

The lake’s flat surface glistened in a secretive, slatey way and Sadie suddenly felt every bit the intruder she was.  It was hard to say what made her so certain, but as she turned to leave, ducked through the yew and started chasing the dogs home, she knew, in that twist-of-the-gut way a police detective had better hope she developed, that something terrible had happened in that house.

#FridayFiveChallenge

This fun feature is a mini workshop invented by Rosie Amber. We look at book covers just from their thumbnail pictures at online book selling sites and make quick fire buying decisions. We look from a READER’S Point of View and this exercise is very REVEALING.

To join in with the #FridayFiveChallenge please read the rules at the bottom of the page.

Colour of poison

This week I have been researching poisoning in Victorian times using the British Newspaper archive so I searched for novels about poison.  The Colour of Poison instantly appealed to me because of the illuminated letter C, the pattern and colour of the cover and the words, “Medieval Murder Mystery.”

Book Description

The first Sebastian Foxley Medieval Mystery by Toni Mount.

The narrow, stinking streets of medieval London can sometimes be a dark place. Burglary, arson, kidnapping and murder are every-day events. The streets even echo with rumours of the mysterious art of alchemy being used to make gold for the King.

Join Seb, a talented but crippled artist, as he is drawn into a web of lies to save his handsome brother from the hangman’s rope. Will he find an inner strength in these, the darkest of times, or will events outside his control overwhelm him?

Only one thing is certain – if Seb can’t save his brother, nobody can.

The author Toni Mount is a history teacher, speaker and historic interpreter. This is her first novel but her first hardback “Everyday Life in Medieval London” made it to No.1 at Goodreads for the best non-fiction history book and “Medieval Housewives…” book was voted a “Favourite book” of that year.

So far, there are only 3 customer reviews, two 4s and one 5 star.

An evocative description of the times and people make this a very believable tale. I felt that it gathered in strength as it developed and became more gripping as it went along towards it’s finale.

rollicking, fast-moving plot holds the attention from start to finish.

I had a peep inside and after a detailed account of a hanging, we find ourselves in an apothecary’s still room which is a place where I would love to be!  So Shall I BUY or will I PASS?   At only 99p for the Kindle edition I’m going to BUY.

What have others found in today’s #Friday Five Challenge ?

Rosie has discovered a tantalising steampunk novel.

Cathy has found a beautiful blue book of ancient secrets

Shelley has chosen the theme of Good Friday

So now it’s your turn.

cat

 

Get yourself a cuppa and give yourself 5 minutes.

In today’s online shopping age, readers often base their buying decisions from small postage stamp size book covers (Thumb-nails), a quick glance at the book description and the review. How much time do they really spend making that buying decision?

AUTHORS – You often only have seconds to get a reader to buy your book, is your book cover and book bio up to it?

Rosie’s Friday Five Challenge is this….. IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES….

1) Go to any online book supplier.

2) Randomly choose a category.

3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which has instantly appeal.

4) Read the book Bio/ Description for this book, and any other details.

5) If there are reviews, check out a couple,

6) Make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS?

Best Seller by Terry Tyler

Best

 

What is it, that engenders the desire and energy to write fiction?  That is the question which underlies the plot of Best Seller by Terry Tyler.  Three young women are writing and publishing novels.  They have become acquainted through the North Norfolk Novelists, either online or in person.  But the outcome of their efforts varies greatly.

 

Stunningly attractive, Eden Taylor has hit the big time, Becky Hunter has made steady sales from her light romances but not enough to give up the day job, while Jan Chilver writes to escape her sad, lonely life.  Can they support each other and enhance all their careers or will jealousy and the desire for fame and fortune get in the way?

 

The plot of this novella is very intriguing and the conclusion keeps the reader’s imagination active.  It seems as though success as an author may come at a high cost to personal happiness.  The story is told clearly and simply as it unwinds, but the questions of why do we write and why do we select a book to read are the underlying subtext.

 

For fans of Terry’s previous books, this story includes the expected amusing, manipulative, minor characters who make the book both real and such a pleasure to read.  For me, it’s a Best Seller.

Taster Tuesday #TuesdayBookBlog

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two or three “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Best

Terry Tyler’s latest novella will soon be what it says on the cover, a Best Seller  The following few sentences give a taster of one aspect of this story of three writers.

“Do you plan the plot out before you start, or just put fingers to keys and see where it goes?”  Eden gave him a winning smile.  “Well, Gavin, I like to think I’m in total control, but my characters constantly surprise me.  I tell them, you’re supposed to be doing this, but then they take off and do something entirely different.  I’m not the boss, I promise you.”

Becky stubbed out her cigarette in deep irritation.  If she’d heard that pretentious, ‘my characters dictate their own story’ line once, she’d heard it a hundred times.

I will be reviewing Best Seller by Terry Tyler tomorrow.

White Horizon by Jan Ruth

 

new White H

This novel begins with the wedding of Daniel and Tina after they have been together in a tempestuous relationship for 25 years.  It is witnessed by the whole local community including old school-friends Linda and Victoria whose own marriages are disintegrating.  From the moment that Daniel walks into the church in old torn jeans, covered in plaster, it looks as if this marriage is also on the rocks but is it just the curse of the hotel which Daniel has just taken over?

 

Cefn Cyfarwydd, Daniel’s hotel, is in a beautiful setting by a lake and he has restored it sympathetically.  Jan Ruth’s description made me long to book in for the weekend and the food sounded delicious too!  But Tina hates being buried “in the middle of nowhere” and she has health worries which she is hiding from Daniel.  Linda’s husband has left her for a young Polish girl and Victoria’s respectable husband, Max, is a sadistic bully, behind closed doors.

 

The stage is set for life changing decisions by all the main characters, complicated by Daniel’s extended dysfunctional family, who provide humour and tragedy within the storyline.  It would seem as though there can be no fairy-tale ending but the denouement is eminently satisfying.  Another page-turner by Jan Ruth about passionate, real people.

You can find White Horizon in the UK here  and in the US there

Murder on the Levels by Frances Evesham

Levels murder

Murder on the Levels is the second of Frances Evesham’s Exham on Sea mysteries. The main character is Libby Forest, a widow who has started a new life by the sea after many years in an unhappy marriage. Despite having rubbed up some of the locals the wrong way, she has befriended Bear, an enormous Carpathian sheepdog and his handsome but secretive owner, Max Ramshore.

Libby’s new venture is making delicious cakes and chocolates and in this book she is successfully, selling them at the local bakery, but disaster strikes when two people are poisoned by sandwiches made at the bakery and delivered by Libby. Once again, Libby must play detective, this time to protect her own livelihood and to prove that the police have arrested the wrong culprit.

Libby reminds me of Agatha Raisin from the books by M C Beaton but without the acidity. Although often unwise, Libby is well meaning and with the help of Max and also of Mandy her teenage, Goth lodger, she eventually solves the murder mystery. There is a sub-plot connected to Libby’s ex-husband who proves to have had a more unsavoury past than she realised and the machinations of this should continue into the next book.

For a short lively story with an interesting plot, Murder on the Levels is a good read. I shall seek out the next episode to discover more of events in this small seaside town and of Libby’s on/off relationship with Max.

Rosie's Book Review team 1

In addition to  the Exham on Sea contemporary crime series set in a small Somerset seaside town, Frances Evesham has also written the Thatcham Hall Mysteries, 19th Century historical mystery romances set in Victorian England.

An Independent Woman which I have reviewed here  and

Danger at Thatcham Hall which you can read about here

Evesham

Frances Evesham collects grandsons, Victorian ancestors and historical trivia, likes to smell the roses, lavender and rosemary, and cooks with a glass of wine in one hand and a bunch of chillies in the other. She loves the Arctic Circle and the equator and plans to visit the penguins at the South Pole one day, when she’s knitted enough woollen underwear.

During a varied life she’s been a speech therapist, a road sweeper, and an RAF wife. She’s also worked in the criminal courts, seeing the world from both the Dock and the Witness Box alongside vulnerable witnesses and defendants. Now, she walks in the country and breathes sea air in Somerset.