My Year In Books Part 2

I write books, I love writing books and the flip side to that is I love reading books.  So here's the second update on the books I've read so far this year; 

1. Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts  - Lucy Dillon 

Rachel has inherited her aunt's house and attached Rescue Kennel as well as Gem her aunt's beloved border collie.  It's come at a bad time in Rachel's life as she's also just lost her job, her boyfriend and her London apartment.  While trying to come to terms with all her losses and decide what to do with her life Rachel also has the added pressure of sorting out the probate on her aunt's property and find homes for the abandoned dogs.  

Matching dogs to potential new parents was a skill her aunt had and after a while it seems maybe Rachel does too, if she can just let go of her past and decide on her future.  

I love dogs, I have a huge cuddly Golden Retriever so any books about dogs pulls at my heart strings.  I liked Rachel and felt for her, but I did feel at some points the story was a little rushed and had two many branches to tell all the stories to their full potential.  I did like getting to know everyone but I wanted to delve deeper in to the past of Rachel's Aunt and I wanted the relationship between Rachel and Gem to be explored more.  

This was a cosy afternoon read for me and I would give it three stars

2. The Secret of High Eldersham  - Miles Burton 

Cosy mysteries are brilliant, they are charming and disarming.  The Secret of High Eldersham is set in a quaint country village where the new land lord of the Rose and Crown has been found murdered.  When the local police call in help in the form of Detective Inspector Young he sets about investigating the supernatural causes of the murder.  Assisted by his old friend Desmond Merrion who helps to work out if the links to witchcraft are just suspicion or if the village is in the grip of something more sinister.  

The characters in this mystery are well defined but the writer does like to hold evidence back from his reader for periods of time so that those trying to solve the mystery are kept in the dark on some of the clues until the end.  The story trots along at a great pace but sometimes looses it's way in explaining smaller points of the investigation and missing out on some of the grander elements.  It's a traditional fireside who dun' it and I had fun trying to figure it out even if I did get a little frustrated at the hidden clues.  

This would be a three star book for me 

3. A Winter's Tale - Trisha Astley 

Sophy Winter's life has never been what you would call predictable, moved by her mother from the family home at Winter's End as a child she has bounced around communes and traveller sites and then as an adult working at stately homes while raising her daughter.  

Now it seems Sophy's grandfather has left her the crumbling Winter's end much to the chagrin of her charming and scheming cousin.  Throwing herself in to restoring the house and turning it from ruin to profitable estate, Sophy has her work cut out.  With a little family mystery lurking in the darkness that just might help her make her fortune.  

This is a fun romp, where the main character is lovable, clumsy, strong willed and brilliantly written.  You can't help but route for her and boo the villains of the piece in equal measure.  

It's a great fireside cold winters eve read 

Three stars 

4. Agatha Raisin - The Day The Floods Came - M C Beaton 

I'm working my way through the Agatha Raisin Collection slowly.  These are such an easy to pick up quick read that become like having a coffee and catch up with an old friend and hearing all the local gossip. 

This story sees our heroine sands the husband taking a break to find herself.  While on holiday she sees a newly married couple and feels there's something not quite right.  On returning home one of her holiday companions informs her the bride was murdered.  The event sticks in Agatha's mind as the river bursts its banks and she sees the body of a girl in a wedding dress floating by. 

Commissioned by the grieving mother Agatha sets out to investigate minus her usual comrades in James and Charles.  She is more alone and lonely than ever until she meets her new neighbour and crime writer.  

This is another great little cosy mystery and I always think fondly of Agatha and her stumbling but effective investigations.  

Three stars 

5, Snobs - Jullian Fellowes 

Edith Lavery is a middle class estate agents receptionist with grand ideas mostly fostered by her mother.  In the early 90's when many still felt the only way to get ahead was to marry in to the upper classes of society.  Told from the perspective of an actor friend of Edith's we follow her rise and fall as lady of the manor and encounter all the social etiquette and  class divides of the English class system and those who covert it.  

Told as a memoir this story is detailed and filled with an analysis of marrying for position not love and all the expectations and conformity's that come with it.  Edith is neither lovable or condemnable in her actions while her mother in law Googie is probably a forerunner for the Dowager Countess in Downton.  

This is a three star social romp 


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