Books We Can’t Wait to Share

 

 


Review by Ann

Attention, fans of Downtown Abbey, The Bletchley Circle, Home Fires – and books like The Alice Network and The Lost Girls of Paris – meet Verity Kent!

Verity is an amazing woman, far ahead of her time. A British wife who ends up working for La Dame Blanche, a real-life intelligence gathering organization in The Great War, Verity may participate in the societal conventions of her time, but she is also an independent thinker, an intrepid spy, and a modern woman by 21st century standards. Her husband, Sidney – whom she thought dead – turns up quite alive, and the two of them sort through these successive shocks in addition to recovering from the psychic ravages and demands of the war.

What’s entertaining and educational about Anna Lee Huber’s Verity Kent mysteries is that they’re anchored by historical fact. In PENNY FOR YOUR SECRETS, the mystery centers on the wreck of the Zebrina, a British cargo ship whose crew mysteriously vanished, and which remains one of The Great War’s still unsolved mysteries.

Huber also drew inspiration from the life of The Duchess of Marlborough, the stunningly beautiful Gladys Spencer-Churchill, who once notoriously brought a pistol to dinner during one of her parties and flippantly threatening to shoot her husband with it. In the book, Lady Rockham is a newlywed who is confused by her marriage’s rules and decorum. The first blushes of romance are gone. The Lady shocks her guests by bringing a pistol to dinner and ponders whether she’s going to fire off one at her husband, Lord Rockham. Then Rockham turns up dead.

Verity finds herself wandering deeper into a thicket of political intrigue: Lord Rockham’s death may be connected to his shipping business. He had lost considerable cargo due to German U-boats in the English Channel and The Atlantic. Why would someone seek revenge over the sinking of a ship if the Germans were to blame? Unless they weren’t? Verity and Sidney are both drawn into the investigation, their strengths and backgrounds and marriage all coming into play as they get dangerously closer to discovering the murderer and the motive.

I love Verity, and you will, too. Until the BBC opts to make a series about her, we have Anna Lee’s books to bring her to life.

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Review by Michaela

October is the month for good spooky fun. What could be better suited to the season than a delightful cozy mystery set on a resort island known for its fudge shops, Victorian hotels, horse-drawn carriages – and murders?

FUDGE BITES is the seventh full-length book in Nancy Coco’s popular Candy-Coated mystery series, featuring yummy recipes as well as plenty of murder and mayhem.  Mackinac Island has been looking forward to its annual Zombie Walk, complete with costumes, treats, and a parade. But there’s something new this year . . . one of the zombies turns out to be an actual corpse! It’s up to hotel owner/fudge maker Allie McMurphy to solve the case – with help from her perky pup and cuddly kitty, of course! I dare you to resist trying one or more of these tempting recipes:

Decadent Dark Chocolate, Cinnamon Chip, Flourless Brownies | Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Fudge | Apple Cinnamon | White Chocolate Fudge | Pumpkin Spice Fudge | Butterscotch fudge | Candy Corn Fudge | Chocolate-coated Truffles 

Happy haunting!

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Review by Alex

As a self-proclaimed, obsessed, “Hamil-fan”, I’ve spent the last four years devouring documentaries and books on the Founding Fathers. The more I learned, the more I wondered about the role females played in the birth of our country.  So many women have been lost-in, and silenced-by, history. That’s where Susan Holloway Scott comes in.

A gorgeous blend of thoroughly researched fact and fiction, THE SECRET WIFE OF AARON BURR tells the story of Mary Emmons, an enslaved woman and her complicated relationship with infamous Revolutionary War hero, lawyer, and Vice President, Aaron Burr, best known for killing Alexander Hamilton one fateful day in 1804.

Strong, smart, and resourceful, Mary Emmons does what she can to survive in an oppressive world, quickly gaining the trust of her new “mistress” Theodosia Prevost. The bond between these women provides Mary with some comfort and companionship, but more importantly, ensures that Mary will continue to serve Theodosia instead of being sold to new “masters” when Theodosia weds Aaron Burr.

Burr is instantly drawn to Mary. Though the relationship between the two is complicated to say the least, Holloway has a gift for expertly depicting the dynamics of all three main characters, leaving the reader with a better understanding of how the relationships could exist in the first place. As Theodosia’s health fails, Burr and Emmons grow closer, eventually marrying in secret and having two children, who go on to have their own impact on American History.

We may never know more about the real Mary Emmons but The Secret Wife of Aaron Burr gives a voice to Mary and women like her. It’s a must-read for fans of the genre and lovers of all things Hamilton.

Speaking of which, be sure to check out I, Eliza Hamilton, Holloway’s take on the lives of Elizabeth Schuyler and Alexander Hamilton while you’re at it. Do not throw away your shot!

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