Book Review: Sir Philip’s Folly (The Poor Relation #4) By M. C. Beaton

“Sir Philip’s Folly” is the fourth book in “The Poor Relation” series. However, it can still be read as a standalone book as most of the gist from the prior titles are highlighted here. Check out my reviews on the other three titles by clicking “Book Reviews” the homepage of this blog.

Sir Philip is smitten with the vulgar and fat Mrs. Budge and his fellow co-owners of the Poor Relation hotel are not happy at all as her presence may have a negative effect on  the image of their hotel which will be bad for business. Therefore, they swing into action with a plan to dislodge Mrs. Budge from the hotel and from Sir Philip’s life. At the same time, the recently widowed Lady Carruthers who is desperately looking for a new husband is lodged at the Poor Relation hotel with her nineteen year old daughter whom she deliberately dresses up as a school girl to make people believe she is much younger as having a grown up daughter is a disadvantage to her plans. Lady Carruthers has eyes for the dashing Lord Denby but the Poor Relations have something else in mind and as usual spring into action to bring out the beautiful Arrabella  who is usually locked up in her room by her mother.

Filled with the usual drama, action, suspense and wit, the author continues to humor us with the escapades of the “odd lot” who own the Poor Relation hotel on Bond street, London. I enjoyed this book thoroughly and was glad that for once, the others were able to beat the ever cunning and crafty Sir Philip to his game.

I highly recommend this book to all romance lover. It also a very clean read quite suitable for teenagers. Now on to the next book……

Rating: 4 Stars

Published: August 15, 2013 by Canvas (First published in 1993)

Pages: 192

Genre: Historical Romance

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/misstonks

The Author: Marion Chesney was born on 1936 in Glasgow, Scotland, UK, and started her first job as a bookseller in charge of the fiction department in John Smith & Sons Ltd. While bookselling, by chance, she got an offer from the Scottish Daily Mail to review variety shows and quickly rose to be their theatre critic. She left Smith’s to join Scottish Field magazine as a secretary in the advertising department, without any shorthand or typing, but quickly got the job of fashion editor instead. She then moved to the Scottish Daily Express where she reported mostly on crime. This was followed by a move to Fleet Street to the Daily Express where she became chief woman reporter. After marrying Harry Scott Gibbons and having a son, Charles, Marion went to the United States where Harry had been offered the job of editor of the Oyster Bay Guardian. When that didn’t work out, they went to Virginia and Marion worked as a waitress in a greasy spoon on the Jefferson Davies in Alexandria while Harry washed the dishes. Both then got jobs on Rupert Murdoch’s new tabloid, The Star, and moved to New York.

Anxious to spend more time at home with her small son, Marion, urged by her husband, started to write historical romances in 1977. After she had written over 100 of them under her maiden name, Marion Chesney, and under the pseudonyms: Ann Fairfax, Jennie Tremaine, Helen Crampton, Charlotte Ward, and Sarah Chester, she getting fed up with 1714 to 1910, she began to write detectives stories in 1985 under the pseudonym of M. C. Beaton. On a trip from the States to Sutherland on holiday, a course at a fishing school inspired the first Constable Hamish Macbeth story. They returned to Britain and bought a croft house and croft in Sutherland where Harry reared a flock of black sheep. But Charles was at school, in London so when he finished and both tired of the long commute to the north of Scotland, they moved to the Cotswolds where Agatha Raisin was created.

 

 

Book Review: Mrs. Budley Falls From Grace (The Poor relation #3) by M. C. Beaton

“Mrs. Budley Falls From Grace” is the third book in “The Poor Relation” series but can be read as a stand alone (Check out my reviews on the other two books in this series).

This time the story focuses on Mrs. Budley, the young widow who is one of the owners of  the “The Poor Relation Hotel”. Again, they are in need of funds and when they cast lots, Mrs. Budley  picks up the short straw. She is supposed to go on a visit to any of her wealthy relatives and steal something of value for their use. Unfortunately, all her relatives have cut her off and she has no one to go to so the cunning Sir Philip invents a relative for her.

The Marquess of Peterhouse turns out to be a younger, attractive man contrary to Sir Philip’s description and this changes everything for Mrs. Budley and all the poor relations.  As usual, the author takes us through a romantic story packed with action, deceit and humor. In the end, we always have a happily ever after and then something to look forward to in the next book……..

I highly recommend this book.

Rating: 4 Stars

Published: 2013 by Canvas (First published in 1993)

Pages: 188

Genre: Historical Fiction

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/mrsbudley

The Author: Marion Chesney was born on 1936 in Glasgow, Scotland, UK, and started her first job as a bookseller in charge of the fiction department in John Smith & Sons Ltd. While bookselling, by chance, she got an offer from the Scottish Daily Mail to review variety shows and quickly rose to be their theatre critic. She left Smith’s to join Scottish Field magazine as a secretary in the advertising department, without any shorthand or typing, but quickly got the job of fashion editor instead. She then moved to the Scottish Daily Express where she reported mostly on crime. This was followed by a move to Fleet Street to the Daily Express where she became chief woman reporter. After marrying Harry Scott Gibbons and having a son, Charles, Marion went to the United States where Harry had been offered the job of editor of the Oyster Bay Guardian. When that didn’t work out, they went to Virginia and Marion worked as a waitress in a greasy spoon on the Jefferson Davies in Alexandria while Harry washed the dishes. Both then got jobs on Rupert Murdoch’s new tabloid, The Star, and moved to New York.

Anxious to spend more time at home with her small son, Marion, urged by her husband, started to write historical romances in 1977. After she had written over 100 of them under her maiden name, Marion Chesney, and under the pseudonyms: Ann Fairfax, Jennie Tremaine, Helen Crampton, Charlotte Ward, and Sarah Chester, she getting fed up with 1714 to 1910, she began to write detectives stories in 1985 under the pseudonym of M. C. Beaton. On a trip from the States to Sutherland on holiday, a course at a fishing school inspired the first Constable Hamish Macbeth story. They returned to Britain and bought a croft house and croft in Sutherland where Harry reared a flock of black sheep. But Charles was at school, in London so when he finished and both tired of the long commute to the north of Scotland, they moved to the Cotswolds where Agatha Raisin was created.

Book Review: Miss Tonks Turns To Crime (The Poor Relation #2) by M. C. Beaton

This is the second book in “The Poor Relation” series. You may not need to read the first title to catch up with the story as all the relevant details are highlighted in this book.

The five “Poor Relations” are low on cash again even when the Duke of Rowcester paid for the damages from the fire at the hotel. They decide to send the feeble Miss Tonks to her sisters’ to steal something valuable to enable them raise money to get back on their feet. Miss Tonks journeys home to her sister’s house where she meets the very eligible Lord Eston who helps her and she is suddenly pulled into a sea of adventures. These adventures transform Miss Tonks into a bolder, stronger woman who her friends do not recognize and she ends with a big triumph as she helps to hook up her niece Cassandra Blessop with her true love.

This story is spiced with mystery, action, suspense and of course romance and I loved every bit of it. As usual, it is a quick, well paced read with lots of new things to learn about regency England. In these times, men wore wigs, high heels and powdered their faces white. This I found absurd but interesting. An unmarried lady had to be chaperoned by an older lady almost all the time and could not be alone with any gentleman and the most intriguing was the way gossip traveled so fast without mobile phones or the internet. Eavesdropping was the order of the day and obviously part of the culture then. These and many more were my take aways from this beauty.

I recommend this book to  romance lovers and teenagers.

Rating: 4 Stars

Published: August 15, 2013 by Canvas (First published in 1993)

Pages: 192

Genre: Historical Romance

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/misstonks

The Author: Marion Chesney was born on 1936 in Glasgow, Scotland, UK, and started her first job as a bookseller in charge of the fiction department in John Smith & Sons Ltd. While bookselling, by chance, she got an offer from the Scottish Daily Mail to review variety shows and quickly rose to be their theatre critic. She left Smith’s to join Scottish Field magazine as a secretary in the advertising department, without any shorthand or typing, but quickly got the job of fashion editor instead. She then moved to the Scottish Daily Express where she reported mostly on crime. This was followed by a move to Fleet Street to the Daily Express where she became chief woman reporter. After marrying Harry Scott Gibbons and having a son, Charles, Marion went to the United States where Harry had been offered the job of editor of the Oyster Bay Guardian. When that didn’t work out, they went to Virginia and Marion worked as a waitress in a greasy spoon on the Jefferson Davies in Alexandria while Harry washed the dishes. Both then got jobs on Rupert Murdoch’s new tabloid, The Star, and moved to New York.

Anxious to spend more time at home with her small son, Marion, urged by her husband, started to write historical romances in 1977. After she had written over 100 of them under her maiden name, Marion Chesney, and under the pseudonyms: Ann Fairfax, Jennie Tremaine, Helen Crampton, Charlotte Ward, and Sarah Chester, she getting fed up with 1714 to 1910, she began to write detectives stories in 1985 under the pseudonym of M. C. Beaton. On a trip from the States to Sutherland on holiday, a course at a fishing school inspired the first Constable Hamish Macbeth story. They returned to Britain and bought a croft house and croft in Sutherland where Harry reared a flock of black sheep. But Charles was at school, in London so when he finished and both tired of the long commute to the north of Scotland, they moved to the Cotswolds where Agatha Raisin was created.

 

Book Review: Lady Fortescue Steps Out (The Poor Relation #1) by M. C. Beaton

“But there were also the members of the invisible poor, the victims of genteel poverty who, with many subterfuges and stratagems, hid their condition from the eyes of polite society.” – M. C. Beaton in “Lady Fortescue Steps Out”

“Lady Fortescue Steps Out” is the first book in M. C. Beaton’s “The Poor Relation” series. After just reading her “Daughters of Mannerling” series, I found her writing and style quite agreeable, witty and well paced. This is why I am going on an M. C. Beaton binge until I get sick of it or someone else takes over.

Lady Fortescue is an old widow from the genteel class in regency England but has found herself so poor that she sometimes has nothing to eat. She has to rely on the goodwill of her more affluent relatives and after a terrible experience at the home of her nephew the Duke of Rowcester, she knows something has to change. With four other “Poor Relations” she comes up with the bright idea of pooling their little resources together and living in one place instead of staying hungry on their own. They all move to her house and soon after, “The Poor Relations” hotel is born.

I loved reading this book for several reasons, asides the fact that it was humorous and entertaining, it also brought to light the fact that there are many people even in today’s world who were born rich but are now poor due to some circumstances beyond their control and are forced to keep up appearances to shield their disgrace from the prying eyes of the world. At this time in English history, people of the “genteel class” were not raised to work or “trade” as they call it so if you fell on hard times, you were at the mercy of your rich relatives who had to invite you to their mansions to stay and if your relatives were cruel or merely self centered, then you would starve to death. Lady Fortescue and her friends choose to damn the consequences and take their destinies in their hands despite the disapproval of all their relatives even if some of their choices were outright outrageous and wrong. Another reason I loved this book is the fact that it is a romance novel but didn’t focus of the objects of romance from the onset of the story. The romance creeps up on you and that was different but good. One of the things I love the most about historical fiction is how you learn about history through fiction. I never quite knew the difference between “genteel” and “aristocracy” but I have learnt that from this story.

This was a breezy, easy and funny read. I loved the romance in the story and the happy ending which is what I desire to read these days. I recommend this book to romance lovers and hope you look out for this title. Most importantly, it is very clean with no suggestive or sexual scenes at all which makes it quite suitable for teenagers and Christians to read. I will now move on to the next book in this series.

Rating: 4 Stars

Published: August 15, 2013 by Constable (First Published in 1993)

Pages: 184

Genre: Historical Romance

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/ladyfortescuestepsout

The Author: Marion Chesney was born on 1936 in Glasgow, Scotland, UK, and started her first job as a bookseller in charge of the fiction department in John Smith & Sons Ltd. While bookselling, by chance, she got an offer from the Scottish Daily Mail to review variety shows and quickly rose to be their theatre critic. She left Smith’s to join Scottish Field magazine as a secretary in the advertising department, without any shorthand or typing, but quickly got the job of fashion editor instead. She then moved to the Scottish Daily Express where she reported mostly on crime. This was followed by a move to Fleet Street to the Daily Express where she became chief woman reporter. After marrying Harry Scott Gibbons and having a son, Charles, Marion went to the United States where Harry had been offered the job of editor of the Oyster Bay Guardian. When that didn’t work out, they went to Virginia and Marion worked as a waitress in a greasy spoon on the Jefferson Davies in Alexandria while Harry washed the dishes. Both then got jobs on Rupert Murdoch’s new tabloid, The Star, and moved to New York.

Anxious to spend more time at home with her small son, Marion, urged by her husband, started to write historical romances in 1977. After she had written over 100 of them under her maiden name, Marion Chesney, and under the pseudonyms: Ann Fairfax, Jennie Tremaine, Helen Crampton, Charlotte Ward, and Sarah Chester, she getting fed up with 1714 to 1910, she began to write detectives stories in 1985 under the pseudonym of M. C. Beaton. On a trip from the States to Sutherland on holiday, a course at a fishing school inspired the first Constable Hamish Macbeth story. They returned to Britain and bought a croft house and croft in Sutherland where Harry reared a flock of black sheep. But Charles was at school, in London so when he finished and both tired of the long commute to the north of Scotland, they moved to the Cotswolds where Agatha Raisin was created.

Book Review: Homecoming (Daughters of Mannerling #6) By M. C. Beaton

This is the last book in the “Daughters of Mannerling” series and has been a delight reading this series.

In “Homecoming”, Lizzie is the last one of the Beverley sisters and this has left their mother Lady Beverly in despair as she doesn’t think that her last daughter with her fire red hair will attract any suitable suitors, talk less of the highly eligible new owner of Mannerling.

M. C. Beaton in her usual style, takes us through a lot of  suspense, mystery and some laughs before she gives us the happy ending that we deserve. Although I found this book the most predictable in the entire series, it still made for enjoyable reading. In the end, love always wins over the Mannerling obsession.

I recommend this book to all romance lovers. I think the author is phenomenal.

Rating: 3.8 Stars

Published: Published 2014 by Constable and Robinson

Pages: 197

Genre: Historical Romance (Fiction)

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/homecoming

The Author: Marion Chesney was born on 1936 in Glasgow, Scotland, UK, and started her first job as a bookseller in charge of the fiction department in John Smith & Sons Ltd. While bookselling, by chance, she got an offer from the Scottish Daily Mail to review variety shows and quickly rose to be their theatre critic. She left Smith’s to join Scottish Field magazine as a secretary in the advertising department, without any shorthand or typing, but quickly got the job of fashion editor instead. She then moved to the Scottish Daily Express where she reported mostly on crime. This was followed by a move to Fleet Street to the Daily Express where she became chief woman reporter. After marrying Harry Scott Gibbons and having a son, Charles, Marion went to the United States where Harry had been offered the job of editor of the Oyster Bay Guardian. When that didn’t work out, they went to Virginia and Marion worked as a waitress in a greasy spoon on the Jefferson Davies in Alexandria while Harry washed the dishes. Both then got jobs on Rupert Murdoch’s new tabloid, The Star, and moved to New York.

Anxious to spend more time at home with her small son, Marion, urged by her husband, started to write historical romances in 1977. After she had written over 100 of them under her maiden name, Marion Chesney, and under the pseudonyms: Ann Fairfax, Jennie Tremaine, Helen Crampton, Charlotte Ward, and Sarah Chester, she getting fed up with 1714 to 1910, she began to write detectives stories in 1985 under the pseudonym of M. C. Beaton. On a trip from the States to Sutherland on holiday, a course at a fishing school inspired the first Constable Hamish Macbeth story. They returned to Britain and bought a croft house and croft in Sutherland where Harry reared a flock of black sheep. But Charles was at school, in London so when he finished and both tired of the long commute to the north of Scotland, they moved to the Cotswolds where Agatha Raisin was created.

Coming Soon! A Broken People’s Playlist By Chimeka Garricks

Chimeka Garricks, author of the highly acclaimed novel “Tomorrow Died Yesterday” is coming out soon with his new new Collection of Short Stories titled, “A Broken People’s Playlist”. 

It promises us lots of beautiful tales filled with love, laughter and tears. Keep your ears open for the official release date in March 2020 and be one of the first to own and read one of the best Short Stories Collections yet.

The Book: A Broken People’s Playlist is a collection of short stories with underlying themes so beautifully woven that each story flows into the other seamlessly. From its poignant beginning in “Lost Stars” a story about love and it’s fleeting, transient nature to the gritty, raw musical prose encapsulated in “In The City”, a tale of survival set in the alleyways of the waterside. A Broken People’s Playlist is a mosaic of stories about living, loving and hurting through very familiar sounds, in very familiar ways and finding healing in the most unlikely places.

The stories are also part-homage and part-love letter to Port Harcourt (the city which most of them are set in). The prose is distinctive as it is concise and unapologetically Nigerian. And because the collection is infused with the magic of evocative storytelling, everyone is promised a story, a character, to move or haunt them.

The Author: Chimeka Garricks was born in Dublin, and raised in Port Harcourt (the city which, like all first loves, still inexplicably holds his heart). He is the author of the acclaimed novel, ‘Tomorrow Died Yesterday’. He started writing short stories, and eventually, ‘A Broken People’s Playlist’ to avoid working on his second novel. He would rather choose soundtracks for movies or be a DJ, but lawyering, and, erm, writing a second novel stand in his way. He lives with his wife and three children in Lagos.

Expected Publication Date: March, 2020 By Masobebooks

Genre: Short Stories

Purchase @ www.masobebooks.com/ABPPL

 

Book Review: A 100 Random Light Bulbs By Emma Ugolee

“The system idolizes physical attractiveness and so the woman today most unfortunately thinks she is not worth much without it. A lie. A lie, she must unlearn. A lie, we must stop passing on to the girl child. It is transient and says little about her true value. It would turn heads but not win respect”.  #41 “A Woman’s Worth” – Emma Ugolee in “A 100 random Light Bulbs”

“Calling money nothing is that thing that stops a wife from disrespecting her hubby when she brings in the bread, stops hubby from thinking madam is not sexy enough for the girls he can now afford, keeps greed in check, keeps many hatchets buried and many more legs closed”. #52 “How Much Are You worth” – Emma Ugolee in “A 100 random Light Bulbs”

This year, my plan was to read books with very light themes especially romance novels and I had hoped to keep it up until the end of February before I delve into serious business but “A 100 Random Light Bulbs” truncated this plan.

They say ‘beauty is skin deep’, this is how I feel about this book. I stumbled upon this book on social media and didn’t quite think much of it (I don’t particularly like the cover design) until I read a comment about the author who is said to have battled Kidney disease for the past 10 years. I became suddenly interested to know what he had to say and my experience reading this book is beyond words.

it's on youThis is one of those rare occasions that I am asked to talk about a book I have read and I find it difficult to explain what I feel. This book is about everything. With a 100 short chapters, this book is filled a 100 life lessons and words of wisdom that are motivational, inspirational and true.I would liken it to reading the book of “Proverbs” (One of my favorite books) in the bible but a more modern, witty and “Nigerian” version of it.  Laced with stories from the life experiences of icons, celebrities and the author himself, this book got me thinking deep thoughts and searching for a pen to take notes (I think I underlined almost every page). The topics as random as they can be ranged from friendship, romantic relationships, self worth, pride, responsibility, hope to how to keep secrets, how to filter your “friends” list, coping with slander and making the right choices.

This book is so well written that I can not seem to find one thing I do not like about it.  I have found a treasure chest here and I will definitely keep it close.

Everyone should read this book. It is highly recommended.

“Many times most of us become insecure over how blessed we are because we have constantly been criticized and disrespected by the undeserving company to whom, we stubbornly keep offering ourselves. Sinfully seeking acceptance or approval by people who do not even know half of your capacity. The regular ignorant assessment begins to make some feel less of everything from intelligent to beautiful or even loyal. Is that your story? Please change it right now. Stop looking at cracked mirrors for a complete reflection of you. “Stop giving what is holy to dogs” – #24 “Luciano” – Emma Ugolee in “A 100 random Light Bulbs”.

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Published: November 17, 2019 by Design Africa Concept Limited

Pages: 174

Genre: Non – fiction (Motivational)

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/a100randomlightbulbs   

or follow @emmaugolee on instagram and inbox him to purchase a copy.

The Author: Born on October 4, 1075 in Jos City, Plateau State, Nigeria, Emmanuel Chinenye Ugolee is an ace Nigerian Broadcaster, TV Presenter and Producer, Poet, Blogger, Writer, Voice over Artiste, Economist and Marketing Communications expert. He is popular for his contribution to the Nigerian entertainment industry where he produced the first all Nigerian Top 10 Music Video Countdown to run on Nigerian Television. He is also the founder of the Nigerian Social Media awards (NSMA). His hit TV show “The Gist With Emma Ugolee” is currently running across Nigeria as one of the one of it’s kind talk show to strictly discuss the problems and prospects of the Nigerian entertainment industry with the nation’s foremost celebrities and stakeholders of the entertainment business in Nigeria as weekly guests. His current project (Something to write home about) is a TV show that flips the narrative on the Nigerian spirit of hard work and global impact as against the popular notion of fraud as perpetrated by a few. Having battled with chronic kidney disease for almost a decade, h is popularly known for his vocal stand and public activities promoting kidney health awareness in Nigeria. “A 100 Random Light Bulbs” is his first published book.

Book Review: Romance (Daughters of Mannerling #5) By M. C. Beaton

 “Jealous people are always in competition with their object of jealousy” – M. C. Beaton in Romance (Daughters of Mannerling #5).

Reading “Romance” was a great delight as the “Beverly Sisters” were once again obsessed with their ambition to regain their old home “The Grand Mannerling Estate”. It’s new owner Lord St. Sinclair whose father had gifted Mannerling on the condition that he marries a wife and starts a family hates the place but his cousin Peregrine is in love with the estate and hopes for his uncle to disinherit his ungrateful son and give him Mannerling instead. Belinda Beverly finds Sinclair a fop and all things that she dislikes but feels it her duty to marry him to enable her family regain Mannerling although she finds “The Marquis” Lord Gyre more agreeable. The fact that Mannerling is suspected to be a haunted house with it’s tinkling chandelier and the alleged sighting of ghosts it makes matters worse for Belinda.

Filled with a lot of plotting, scheming and gossip, this book is a welcome addition to this series. It is funny and racy read that got me glued to it until I got to the end.

Lady Beverly was still as annoying as ever and Sinclair’s vanity was so hilarious that I laughed out loud many times. Miss Trumble remains my favorite character and the mystery around her past still keeps me curious so I am jumping straight to the next and last book in this series “The Homecoming”.

With several sub plots laced around the main plot, this is a light, enjoyable read and I highly recommend this book to all romance lovers.

Rating: 4 Stars

Published: 2014 by Constable and Robinson

Pages: 194

Genre: Historical Romance

Purchase Audio Book @ www.audible.com/romance

The Author: Marion Chesney was born on 1936 in Glasgow, Scotland, UK, and started her first job as a bookseller in charge of the fiction department in John Smith & Sons Ltd. While bookselling, by chance, she got an offer from the Scottish Daily Mail to review variety shows and quickly rose to be their theatre critic. She left Smith’s to join Scottish Field magazine as a secretary in the advertising department, without any shorthand or typing, but quickly got the job of fashion editor instead. She then moved to the Scottish Daily Express where she reported mostly on crime. This was followed by a move to Fleet Street to the Daily Express where she became chief woman reporter. After marrying Harry Scott Gibbons and having a son, Charles, Marion went to the United States where Harry had been offered the job of editor of the Oyster Bay Guardian. When that didn’t work out, they went to Virginia and Marion worked as a waitress in a greasy spoon on the Jefferson Davies in Alexandria while Harry washed the dishes. Both then got jobs on Rupert Murdoch’s new tabloid, The Star, and moved to New York.

Anxious to spend more time at home with her small son, Marion, urged by her husband, started to write historical romances in 1977. After she had written over 100 of them under her maiden name, Marion Chesney, and under the pseudonyms: Ann Fairfax, Jennie Tremaine, Helen Crampton, Charlotte Ward, and Sarah Chester, she getting fed up with 1714 to 1910, she began to write detectives stories in 1985 under the pseudonym of M. C. Beaton. On a trip from the States to Sutherland on holiday, a course at a fishing school inspired the first Constable Hamish Macbeth story. They returned to Britain and bought a croft house and croft in Sutherland where Harry reared a flock of black sheep. But Charles was at school, in London so when he finished and both tired of the long commute to the north of Scotland, they moved to the Cotswolds where Agatha Raisin was created.

Book Review: Folly (Daughters Of Mannerling #4) By M. C. Beaton

This is the 4th book in the “Daughters of Mannerling” series and it only gets better. In “Folly” the Mannerling Estate is without an owner once again and the Beverley sisters are anxious to know who the new owners will be. When Charles Blackwood, a widower with two adorable children and his father, General Blackwood buy Mannerling, all hope to regain ownership of their old home through marriage to a new owner seems out of reach as Charles is already 40 years old and is too old for the girls. Their mother, Lady Beverley thinks she may have a chance with General Blackwood and plays to the gallery but the General seems to be smitten with Miss Trumble the governess which complicates everything.

Beautiful Rachael who is the oldest of the remaining three Beverley girls is hoping to find a match for herself and is delighted when a charming but mysterious plantation owner appears on the scene. However, Miss Trumble, the ever efficient governess is suspicious of his background and tries to investigate him before Rachael makes the biggest mistake of her life.

This is not a flat out romance novel where boy meets girl, they hate eachother and later fall in love. This is different. I love the way the author throws in a lot of mystery, suspense and humor into the story and this makes it a quite enjoyable read and leaves you pinning for more. As always with romance, the story ends well and there is a happily ever after that thugs at your heart strings.

I highly recommend this book or better still, the entire series. I am excited to read the next book “Romance” and I will definitely give you a feedback on that one too.

Rating: 4 Stars

Published: 2014 by Constable & Robinson

Pages: 216

Genre: Historical Romance (Fiction)

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/folly

The Author: Marion Chesney was born on 1936 in Glasgow, Scotland, UK, and started her first job as a bookseller in charge of the fiction department in John Smith & Sons Ltd. While bookselling, by chance, she got an offer from the Scottish Daily Mail to review variety shows and quickly rose to be their theatre critic. She left Smith’s to join Scottish Field magazine as a secretary in the advertising department, without any shorthand or typing, but quickly got the job of fashion editor instead. She then moved to the Scottish Daily Express where she reported mostly on crime. This was followed by a move to Fleet Street to the Daily Express where she became chief woman reporter. After marrying Harry Scott Gibbons and having a son, Charles, Marion went to the United States where Harry had been offered the job of editor of the Oyster Bay Guardian. When that didn’t work out, they went to Virginia and Marion worked as a waitress in a greasy spoon on the Jefferson Davies in Alexandria while Harry washed the dishes. Both then got jobs on Rupert Murdoch’s new tabloid, The Star, and moved to New York. Anxious to spend more time at home with her small son, Marion, urged by her husband, started to write historical romances in 1977. After she had written over 100 of them under her maiden name, Marion Chesney, and under the pseudonyms: Ann Fairfax, Jennie Tremaine, Helen Crampton, Charlotte Ward, and Sarah Chester, she getting fed up with 1714 to 1910, she began to write detectives stories in 1985 under the pseudonym of M. C. Beaton. On a trip from the States to Sutherland on holiday, a course at a fishing school inspired the first Constable Hamish Macbeth story. They returned to Britain and bought a croft house and croft in Sutherland where Harry reared a flock of black sheep. But Charles was at school, in London so when he finished and both tired of the long commute to the north of Scotland, they moved to the Cotswolds where Agatha Raisin was created.

January 2020: Top 10 New Books To Read

Happy New Bookish Year Again! I hope this year brings us more interesting books to read, lovely poetry and new authors to follow.

January is already promising with a good number of new releases and I have picked the 10 must read books this month. Across different genres, there is definitely a book that may catch your fancy on this list so please check them out.

 

1.American Dirt By Jeanine CumminsAmerican dirt

Expected Publication Date:  January 21st, 2020 by Flatiron Books
Pages: 400
Genre: Fiction
Blurb: Already being hailed as “a Grapes of Wrath for our times” and “a new American classic,” American Dirt is a rare exploration into the inner hearts of people willing to sacrifice everything for a glimmer of hope. Lydia Quixano Perez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable. Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with four books he would like to buy–two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same. American Dirt will leave readers utterly changed. It is a page-turner; it is a literary achievement; it is filled with poignancy, drama, and humanity on every page. It is one of the most important books for our times.

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/americandirt

 

2. Long Bright River By Liz MooreLong bright River

Expected Publication Date: January 7th, 2020 By Riverhead books
Pages: 496
Genre: Fiction (Mystery)
Blurb: In a Philadelphia neighborhood rocked by the opioid crisis, two once-inseparable sisters find themselves at odds. One, Kacey, lives on the streets in the vise of addiction. The other, Mickey, walks those same blocks on her police beat. They don’t speak anymore, but Mickey never stops worrying about her sibling. Then Kacey disappears, suddenly, at the same time that a mysterious string of murders begins in Mickey’s district, and Mickey becomes dangerously obsessed with finding the culprit–and her sister–before it’s too late.
Alternating its present-day mystery with the story of the sisters’ childhood and adolescence, Long Bright River is at once heart-pounding and heart-wrenching: a gripping suspense novel that is also a moving story of sisters, addiction, and the formidable ties that persist between place, family, and fate.

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/LBR

 

3. Westering Women By Sandra Dallaswestering women

Published: January 7th, 2020 By St. Martin Press
Pages: 336
Genre: Historical fiction
Blurb: It’s February 1852, and all around Chicago Maggie sees the postings soliciting “eligible women” to travel to the gold mines of Goosetown. A young seamstress with a small daughter and several painful secrets, she has nothing to lose. So she joins forty-three other women and two pious reverends on the dangerous 2,000-mile journey west. None of them are prepared for the hardships they face on the trek through the high plains, mountains, and deserts. Or for the triumphs of finding strengths they did not know they possessed. And not all will make it. As Maggie gets to know the other women, she soon discovers that she’s not the only one looking to leave dark secrets behind. And when her past catches up with her, it becomes clear a band of sisters will do whatever it takes to protect one of their own.
Purchase @ www.amazon.com/westeringwomen

 

4. All the Ways We Said Goodbye By Beatriz WilliamsAll the ways

Expected Publication Date: January 14th, 2020 by Harperluxe
Pages: 640
Genre: Historical Fiction
Blurb: France, 1914. As war breaks out, Aurelie becomes trapped on the wrong side of the front with her father, Comte Sigismund de Courcelles. When the Germans move into their family’s ancestral estate, using it as their headquarters, Aurelie discovers she knows the German Major’s aide de camp, Maximilian Von Sternburg. She and the dashing young officer first met during Aurelie’s debutante days in Paris. Despite their conflicting loyalties, Aurelie and Max’s friendship soon deepens into love, but betrayal will shatter them both, driving Aurelie back to Paris and the Ritz— the home of her estranged American heiress mother, with unexpected consequences.
France, 1942. Raised by her indomitable, free-spirited American grandmother in the glamorous Hotel Ritz, Marguerite “Daisy” Villon remains in Paris with her daughter and husband, a Nazi collaborator, after France falls to Hitler. At first reluctant to put herself and her family at risk to assist her grandmother’s Resistance efforts, Daisy agrees to act as a courier for a skilled English forger known only as Legrand, who creates identity papers for Resistance members and Jewish refugees. But as Daisy is drawn ever deeper into Legrand’s underground network, committing increasingly audacious acts of resistance for the sake of the country—and the man—she holds dear, she uncovers a devastating secret . . . one that will force her to commit the ultimate betrayal, and to confront at last the shocking circumstances of her own family history.
France, 1964. For Barbara “Babs” Langford, her husband, Kit, was the love of her life. Yet their marriage was haunted by a mysterious woman known only as La Fleur. On Kit’s death, American lawyer Andrew “Drew” Bowdoin appears at her door. Hired to find a Resistance fighter turned traitor known as “La Fleur,” the investigation has led to Kit Langford. Curious to know more about the enigmatic La Fleur, Babs joins Drew in his search, a journey of discovery that that takes them to Paris and the Ritz—and to unexpected places of the heart. . . .

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/ATWWSG

 

5. A Long Petal Of Sea By Isabel AllendeA long petal of sea

Expected Publication Date: January 21st, 2020 by Ballantine Books
Pages: 353
Genre: Historical Fiction
Blurb: From the New York Times bestselling author of The House of the Spirits comes an epic novel spanning decades and crossing continents, following two young people as they flee the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War in search of a new place to call home.
In the late 1930s, civil war gripped Spain. When General Franco and his Fascists succeed in overthrowing the government, hundreds of thousands are forced to flee in a treacherous journey over the mountains to the French border. Among them is Roser, a pregnant young widow, who finds her life irreversibly intertwined with that of Victor Dalmau, an army doctor and the brother of her deceased love. In order to survive, the two must unite in a marriage neither of them wants, and together are sponsored by poet Pablo Neruda to embark on the SS Winnipeg along with 2,200 other refugees in search of a new life. As unlikely partners, they embrace exile and emigrate to Chile as the rest of Europe erupts in World War. Starting over on a new continent, their trials are just beginning. Over the course of their lives, they will face test after test. But they will also find joy as they wait patiently for a day when they are exiles no more, and will find friends in the most unlikely of places. Through it all, it is that hope of being reunited with their home that keeps them going. And in the end, they will find that home might have been closer than they thought all along.

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/alongpetalofsea

 

6. Tweet Cute by Emma Lordtweet cute

Expected Publication Date: January 21st, 2020 by Wednesday Books
Pages: 368
Genre: Romance
Blurb: Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming ― mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.

Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time. All’s fair in love and cheese ― that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life ― on an anonymous chat app Jack built. As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate ― people on the internet are shipping them?? ― their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.
Purchase @ www.amazon.com/tweetcute

 

7. Big Lies In A Small Town by Diane Chamberlainbig lies in a small town

Expected Publication Date: January 14th, 2020 by Martin’s Press
Pages: 400
Genre:
Blurb: North Carolina, 2018: Morgan Christopher’s life has been derailed. Taking the fall for a crime she did not commit, she finds herself serving a three-year stint in the North Carolina Women’s Correctional Center. Her dream of a career in art is put on hold – until a mysterious visitor makes her an offer that will see her released immediately. Her assignment: restore an old post office mural in a sleepy southern town. Morgan knows nothing about art restoration, but desperate to leave prison, she accepts. What she finds under the layers of grime is a painting that tells the story of madness, violence, and a conspiracy of small town secrets. North Carolina, 1940: Anna Dale, an artist from New Jersey, wins a national contest to paint a mural for the post office in Edenton, North Carolina. Alone in the world and desperate for work, she accepts. But what she doesn’t expect is to find herself immersed in a town where prejudices run deep, where people are hiding secrets behind closed doors, and where the price of being different might just end in murder.What happened to Anna Dale? Are the clues hidden in the decrepit mural? Can Morgan overcome her own demons to discover what exists beneath the layers of lies?

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/bigliesinasmalltown

 

This is not how it ends8. This Is Not How It Ends by Rochelle Weinstein

Published: January 1st, 2020 by Lake Union Publishing
Pages: 352
Genre: Romance (Fiction)
Blurb: When Charlotte and Philip meet, the pair form a deep and instant connection. Soon they’re settled in the Florida Keys with plans to marry. But just as they should be getting closer, Charlotte feels Philip slipping away.
Second-guessing their love is something Charlotte never imagined, but with Philip’s excessive absences, she finds herself yearning for more. When she meets Ben, she ignores the pull, but the supportive single dad is there for her in ways she never knew she desired. Soon Charlotte finds herself torn between the love she thought she wanted and the one she knows she needs.
As a hurricane passes through Islamorada, stunning revelations challenge Charlotte’s loyalties and upend her life. Forced to reexamine the choices she’s made, and has yet to make, Charlotte embarks on an emotional journey of friendship, love, and sacrifice—knowing that forgiveness is a gift, and the best-laid plans can change in a heartbeat.
This Is Not How It Ends is a tender, moving story of heartbreak and healing that asks the question: Which takes more courage—holding on or letting go?

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/TINHIE

 

 

9. Dear Edward By Ann NapolitanoDear Edward

Expected Publication Date: January 6th, 2020 by Dial Press
Pages: 352
Genre: Fiction

Blurb: One summer morning, twelve-year-old Edward Adler, his beloved older brother, his parents, and 183 other passengers board a flight in Newark headed for Los Angeles. Among them is a Wall Street wunderkind, a young woman coming to terms with an unexpected pregnancy, an injured vet returning from Afghanistan, a septuagenarian business tycoon, and a free-spirited woman running away from her controlling husband. And then, tragically, the plane crashes. Edward is the sole survivor. Edward’s story captures the attention of the nation, but he struggles to find a place for himself in a world without his family. He continues to feel that a piece of him has been left in the sky, forever tied to the plane and all of his fellow passengers. But then he makes an unexpected discovery–one that will lead him to the answers of some of life’s most profound questions: When you’ve lost everything, how do find yourself? How do you discover your purpose? What does it mean not just to survive, but to truly live?
Dear Edward is at once a transcendent coming-of-age story, a multidimensional portrait of an unforgettable cast of characters, and a breathtaking illustration of all the ways a broken heart learns to love again.

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/dearedward

 

10. When We Were Vikings By Andrew David MacDonaldwhen we were vikings

Expected Publication Date: January 22nd, 2020 by Gallery/Scout Press

Pages: 336

Genre: Fiction (Young Adult)

Blurb: Sometimes life isn’t as simple as heroes and villains. For Zelda, a twenty-one-year-old Viking enthusiast who lives with her older brother, Gert, life is best lived with some basic rules:

1. A smile means “thank you for doing something small that I liked.”
2. Fist bumps and dabs = respect.
3. Strange people are not appreciated in her home.
4. Tomatoes must go in the middle of the sandwich and not get the bread wet.
5. Sometimes the most important things don’t fit on lists.

But when Zelda finds out that Gert has resorted to some questionable—and dangerous—methods to make enough money to keep them afloat, Zelda decides to launch her own quest. Her mission: to be legendary. It isn’t long before Zelda finds herself in a battle that tests the reach of her heroism, her love for her brother, and the depth of her Viking strength. When We Were Vikings is an uplifting debut about an unlikely heroine whose journey will leave you wanting to embark on a quest of your own, because after all…

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/WWWV