“On Her majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service” by Rhys Bowen

I love any book written by Rhys Bowen and “On Her majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service” is no exception.  This book is part of her Royal Spyness Mysteries series.  Lady Georgiana Rannoch is engaged to Darcy of Kilhenny.  He is Catholic and she, being a cousin of the King, is not.  In order to marry, she must give up the rite of succession and this must be approved by Parliament.  The Queen summons her to tea and Georgie is sure this is about her marriage.  In talking with the Queen, she is asked to perform a little subtle spying on the Prince of Wales and his lady friend, Mrs. Wallace Simpson.  The fact that Wallis is a Mrs. and that being two-times over, is cause for concern to the royal family.  The Queen, the Prince’s mother, makes arrangements for Georgie to be invited to a house party in Italy.  She is to keep an eye on the Prince and his “friend” and let the Queen know if Mrs. Simpson has acquired her divorce.  Georgie is also going to Italy to help a friend after the house party.

Among a varied cast of characters at this house party something sinister is happening.  Georgie, being the sleuth that she is, cannot keep her nose out of it.  When someone turns up dead, is she the suspect?  Even Darcy is involved in this little drama.  Everyone has a motive.  Some are planning political allegiances which would turn the tide of the current unrest in Germany.

If you enjoy historical fiction along with a little mystery, you will love this book and the way Ms. Bowen brings real figures in history to life in her novels.  I received a Kindle edition of this book from NetGalley.com.

“Murder Between the Lines” by Radha Vatsal

Capability Weeks is at it again.  “Murder Between the Lines” by Radha Vatsal continues the saga of Kitty Weeks, intrepid reporter for the New York Sentinel Ladies’ Page.  This time Kitty is sent to gather information on the girls’ school Westfield.  The school-that is Ms. Howe-Jones, prides itself on its students entering higher education in schools such as Barnard, Radcliffe and Bryn Mawr.  Anything that would compromise this tradition would not be favorably received.

Elspeth Bright is a very intellectual student at this school, ready to graduate and with a highly ambitious attitude.  Something that Ms. Bright says causes interest in Kitty Weeks.  She anticipates meeting Elspeth sometime over the Christmas holidays.  However, before that can happen, Elspeth is found frozen to death not far from her home, a supposed victim of somnambulism, or sleep-walking.  Kitty, of course decides that she needs to look into all circumstances surrounding this death.

During this time, before America’s advent into WW I, many types of defense goods are being tested.  There is some concern that an invention by Thomas Edison is faulty and has caused accidents and death.  Does this have anything to do with Elspeth’s death?  Many scenarios are contrived and investigated by Kitty.  Is this the result of treason, or someone’s needing to secure Elspeth’s silence?

This is the second book by Ms. Vatsal that I have read.  I enjoyed it as much as I did the first one.

“The Taster” – V.S. Alexander

The circumstances surrounding the death of Adolph Hitler have long been discussed and disputed since the end of the war.  “The Taster”, published by Kensington Publishers is a novel based on a woman who was among Hitler’s “tasters”.  These women were chosen for their fidelity to the Fuhrer and were required to taste every bit of food and drink prior to its presentation to Hitler.  Hitler was scared to death that he would be poisoned and thought that everyone was out to kill him.  At the Wolf’s Lair and at The Berghof, Hitler’s places of residence, the tasters followed him and were required to stay within the compound at his service.

Magda Ritter, is the name of the young woman in this novel who is chosen by the Reichstag to be one of Hitler’s tasters.  She is schooled in the different forms of poison so she can recognize them by taste and smell.  If she falters, then she will be the one poisoned.  Magda meets a member of the SS assigned to Hitler’s guard and they become involved.  He is also involved in a group planning to assassinate Hitler.  This story is so interesting and menacing at the same time.  All the while reading this book, I was constantly feeling terrified for all those involved.

I thought that this was a great read and very rooted in historical fact.  The author’s list of background books and articles made the book seem real.  Based on a true character, who would not believe it?

The book will be published in early 2018 by Kensington Books.

“Rachel’s Dream” by Lisa Jones Baker

“Rachel’s Dream” is the third book in the Hope Chest of Dreams series by Lisa Jones Baker.  It is an Amish tale about a young woman who has dreams of her own.  She is usually involved in some sort of mishap and makes her parents crazy with her devotion to animals.  The Amish consider animals just to be a help to the home and farm, not to be loved and cherished as Rachel does.

Rachel’s horse Cinnamon is ill with a serious virus and she is scared that her father wants to put the horse down since she is no longer of any use.  Rachel enlists the help of a young veterinarian who trained with someone from their area.  Dr. Jarred Zimmerman had one step in the English world and one step in the Amish world.  He cared deeply for animals and eventually wanted to set up a foster stable for horses and other animals.  He does everything he can think of to help Rachel’s horse, even going so far as to offering to take the horse if Rachel’s father decides to put her down.

This is a very nice Amish romance.  While there are conditions to consider, such as, an Amish girl cannot marry outside the religion, and other setbacks,  Rachel and Jarred work together to pull her horse through and not to go against her father’s wishes.  I thought that Ms. Baker wrote a very sweet novel…one that you can cuddle up with.

I received this print book from NightOwlReviews.com in return for my honest review.

“Safe in a Stranger’s Heart” by Angel Moore

Angel Moore is writing a series called Mail Order Brides of River Bend.  The first book in the series is “Safe in a Stranger’s Heart”.

The story is about Jason Winters living in River Bend, Texas with his mother.  He is a hard-working farmer and their land is very isolated.  He is looking for a companion for his mother and a bride for himself.  Ruby Humphries is a widow from New England who is longing to leave the area that was nothing to her except memories of sorrow.  She had married in accordance with the wishes of her father who wanted her married and settled before he died.  Little did he know the real motives of the man she had married. Wanting only her fortune, her husband Lewis wanted nothing to do with her and kept a mistress.  After his untimely death, his family was offended that there had been no children born of the marriage and were not going to see to her welfare.

Ruby’s benefactress encouraged her to accept Jason’ offer of marriage and to be a companion to his mother, learning all she could from her.  However, upon her arrival by stage, she was horrified to learn that Jason Winter’s mother had just passed and that she was just in time for her burial.  Both Ruby and Jason decided to go ahead with their plans.  One of the things that Ruby did not share about herself was that she was not a housekeeper, nor a cook.  She actually knew nothing about being a wife.  The reader is treated to a description of what it is like to learn on-the-spot.

I enjoyed the narrative of this story and thought some of the mishaps that Ruby was involved in to be hilarious.  The coming together of these two lonely souls was the highlight of this story.

“Soar Like Eagles” by Terri Wangard

“Soar Like Eagles” is book three in the Promise for Tomorrow series by Terri Wangard.  First of all, this book is definitely written in my favorite genre.  I love historical novels set in World War II.  This book was different because it was written about the Red Cross Doughnut Girls who went to England to staff canteens and to pass out doughnuts and coffee to our boys serving overseas.

Carol Doucet is the young woman in this story who desires to do her part in the war.  She is a society reporter for her hometown paper, but wants to do something worthwhile.  She and friends join the Red Cross in order to be of service, and for some girls, to meet young men.  Carol longs to follow the troops into the battle areas, but has no idea of the hardships and sorrows, danger and heartbreak that it brings.  She is serving in a canteen in the states when she meets a young airman, Chet.  They feel an instant rapport and both are saddened that they may never meet again.  However, Carol is assigned to one of the airbases in England that Chet flies out of.  She doesn’t want to marry him because of the danger they both fact and she doesn’t want that fear.  After the invasion of France, Carol follows the battles to help the morale of the soldiers by bringing a little cheer in the form of doughnuts and coffee to them.  It reminds them of home.

I was totally engaged in the story of this novel.  I thought the descriptive writing about the battle areas and the horrors of war were very convincing.  The chances that Carol and Chet will meet again seem remote, however, nothing is impossible.  I know readers will enjoy this novel, not only because of the historical significance, but also because of the characters, which you will love.

 

“The Highland Commander” by Amy Jarecki

“The Highland Commander” by Amy Jarecki was a fast-paced historical romance thriller.  I marveled at the situations that the heroine, Lady Magdalen Keith, got herself into.  During this time in history, England and Scotland are beginning unification.  Scotland’s ships are now flying under the Union Jack and there is treason and espionage abounding.  Lady Magdalen’s father, a Scot, is a Member of Parliament who is loyal to James Stuart, brother to the Queen of England.  His loyalty is seen as treason in the eyes of the English and he is taken to the Tower of London to be tried for his “crime”.  Lady Magdalen travels to London to see to his release.

She is constantly involved in one problem or another and it seems that the dashing First Lieutenant Aiden Murray is always in the vicinity to rescue her.  He is the second son of a Scottish lord who supports the English, although Aiden disagrees.

This story is non-stop catastrophe after catastrophe which certainly keeps the reader engaged throughout the book.  I think that the author has written a very good story and has included historical facts which bring it to life.  Well done.

I received an advance reader copy of this book from Grand Central Publishing in return for my honest review.