Every time I read a book, I learn something. Non-fiction books, of course, are true stories (for the most part). Historical fiction books tell a story, but the characters, plots, historical references may be changed due to the writer’s fancy. “Grounded Hearts” by Jeanne M. Dickson is a fictional story of a downed RAF pilot in Ireland. I was not aware that Ireland was a neutral country in the Second World War. I was also not aware that downed pilots were interned in a camp for the duration of the war. Anyone harboring these fugitives was sent to prison. I found this a fascinating aspect of the war that I did not know.
This is the story of Dutch Whitney whose bomber crashed in County Clare in a marsh. He and his crew parachuted out of the doomed plane, but Dutch doesn’t know the whereabouts or status of his crew. He happens upon a house where a midwife lives. Nan O’Neill takes pity on him and tends to his wounds. Since he cannot manage on his own, she decides to hide him from the Local Defense Force (LDF). The story continues as Nan and Dutch are involved in keeping themselves free.
Ms. Dickson’s writing served to keep me interested until the last page and aggravated that I could not sit and read this book in one sitting. I thought this novel touched on something I had not read or heard of and this provided a most interesting read for me. This book was a wonderful debut for the author and I look forward to many more novels in whose pages I can lose myself.
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.
“The Lost Deposition of Glynnis Smith McLean” by Scott Stevens is an historical novel based on fact. Glynnis was a survivor of the RMS Titanic disaster. She and her new husband were sailing from Ireland to America to start their new life. She made it to a lifeboat while her husband went to a watery grave in the North Atlantic. She was aboard the Carpathia, but for some reason the record was lost. She was, however interviewed on board ship before sailing back to Ireland by Senator William Alden Smith and his stenographer Mary Altford. He was then to return to the Senate and share his findings with the investigation. Mrs. Altford’s granddaughter discovered this “lost’ interview among her personal belongings after her parents passed away. She offered it to the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner and it was published as a serial in 1962 in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.
The deposition conveys what transpired after it was determined that the Titanic would indeed sink. It was heart-rending to read about the separation of families due to the absence of enough lifeboats for the passengers and crew. “Women and children first” was the procedure that the ship’s crew went by, however because of the delay in realizing just what a perilous dilemma they were in, no one was anxious to leave their loved ones until it was too late.
I found this book to be a very imaginable tale of the last moments of the Titanic and its passengers and crew. So much has been written about this event and the fact that there is a first-hand account available is remarkable. History buffs who are genuinely interested in that event in 1912 will definitely regard this book as important to their interest.
I received a complimentary print copy of this book from NightOwlReviews.com.
“In Dublin’s Fair City” is book number six in the Molly Murphy Series by Rhys Bowen. It is always helpful to follow the series in order because previous novels lend understanding to the current one being read.
In this novel, Molly Murphy is hired to travel to Ireland in search of the baby sister of a man who had to leave the isle during the famine. Because she was sickly at the time, the family had to leave her in the care of a parish priest who then put her in an orphanage. Tommy Burke thought his sister may not be alive anymore since she would be now around fifty, but he wanted to find out for sure. During the ocean voyage she is thrust in another role; taking the place of a famous actress at her request. Not only is she travelling under another name, she is involved in a ship-board murder, and is implicated in other illegal actions having to do with the Brotherhood. This was quite an interesting and exciting novel. It is another winner for Ms. Bowen.
“The Family Way”, a Molly Murphy Mystery, written by Rhys Bowen was perhaps the most menacing of all her novels to date. This is the twelfth book in the series and the latest that I have read.
Molly Murphy Sullivan is with child and it being summer in New York and hotter than Billy blue blazes, her doting husband Daniel sends Molly to visit his mother in Westchester County, out of the heat of the city and out of the way of his investigations. Before leaving, Molly sees her estranged brother Liam, who is on the lam and witnesses a baby’s kidnapping. Both of these seemingly separate occurrences lead Molly to her most terrifying investigation yet.
I enjoy reading Ms. Bowen’s novels because they always help me conjure images of life as it was then. I marvel at Ms. Bowen’s inspiration in the writing of this mystery series. Even though the premise is the same, in all of the novels that I have read, there is never a lack of intriguing plot.
“Longing for Home” by Sarah M. Eden kept my interest until the very last page. In fact, I cannot wait until the sequel, “Hope Springs”. The story takes place in Wyoming Territory in 1870. Katie Macauley answers an ad for a housekeeper for Joseph Archer and his two children. His wife passed away and it is hard to be a full time rancher and a full time father to his children. When Katie finally arrives on the train, she is met by Tavish O’Conner and his brother Ian. They deliver her to Mr. Archer. Imagine her surprise when, upon learning that Katie is Irish, Mr. Archer says he cannot hire her. She makes her way to the O’Conner family where she is warmly welcomed. Mr. Archer agrees to keep her on until a new housekeeper can be found. As she becomes comfortable in her life in Wyoming, Katie is torn between Tavish and his flirty ways and Joseph’s kindness and caring. She also longs for the day that she can return to Ireland and her family to make peace with them.
The anti-Irish sentiment is so strong in this little community that there are two roads that come together where Mr. Archer’s home stands. One way is the Red Road and the other way is the Irish Road. I was unaware that there was this kind of division between the settlers in the Wyoming Territory, and the open hostility that pervaded their lives every day.
I loved this book and was so disappointed that the book ended when it did. I am eagerly awaiting the sequel.
I was sent this free kindle copy of this book from Shadow Mountain Publishing and NetGalley.com in return for my honest review of the book.