Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Overdue Book Reviews

Here are two book reviews I've owed people for a month or more. I thought about waiting to post until people were over the guilt of Christmas spending, but then I thought you might be sitting on an Amazon e-gift card from the relative who waited until 5pm Christmas Eve to do his shopping. While I'm about it, here's my general disclaimer:

Yes, about 90% of the new books I review are written by people I know. That's why I read them. Of that 90%, about another 90% are solicited, but only in a general way among groups I belong to (e.g. "I'd be grateful if any of you would review my book"). Apart from when I reviewed for the Historical Novel Society, I've never received anything other than a PDF for my efforts. I'm not an affiliate of Amazon or any other retailer, so I provide links for your buying convenience, not my profit. We all have different tastes; I'm aware that even if I'm not completely in love with a book, you might be. To that end, I always single out aspects I liked about the book, rather than attack an author. Plus, I publish a little, and I don't want to create bad karma.  If I really dislike a book, I don't review it at all. So there you go. And here are...

Murder On The Minneapolis by Anita Davison

I've had the chance to read drafts of the second and third books in this series through my online critique group, so I already knew what would happen in the future
of the key characters. Despite that, I was completely drawn into the story and the developing dynamics of their relationships.
Governess Flora MacGuire boards the SS Minneapolis with her young charge, Viscount Trent (Eddie), bound for England. Soon, she finds a body on deck. Despite the evidence she has seen otherwise, the incident is declared an accident. But another murder soon follows. Are Flora and Eddie in danger because of her involvement? And what of the budding shipboard romance between Flora and the upper class Bunny Harrington: surely the class divide will be too strong once they reach the shores of England?
This is a deftly written, classic, cosy whodunnit, with a large net of characters hiding secrets and probable motives, unexpected twists, plus a charming romance. Reading it gave me the pleasure of an entertaining story, and the satisfaction of a well-written novel: the perfect combination in my book (well, and Anita's!).
The other reason you should buy this book is that, sadly, family publisher Robert Hale officially ceased trading in December. Its imprints have been acquired by Crowood Press, who will probably not be continuing its fiction line. This series deserves to live on, so vote with your pocketbook!
Here are the UK and US Amazon links. If you wish to know more about Flora or the author, Anita blogs at The Disorganized Author.

Lady Hope and the Duke of Darkness by Maggi Anderson
A conventionally-published author who has recently taken publishing matters into her own hands is the romance novelist Maggi Anderson. Since I only got to critique her latest novella part way through
before baby days took over, she was kind enough to send my a PDF of the final story. Lady Hope and the Duke of Darkness is the third in the self-published Baxendale Sisters Series - and there are three more sisters to go!
Unlike her two elder sisters who disappointed their parents by marrying for love, Hope is determined to restore the family fortunes by marriage with a man of suitable wealth, rank and social standing. She and her family set their sights on the Duke of Winslow, but then the solitary, secretive French widower, the Duc de Tenebres, enters her social circle, and their mutual attraction threatens to derail her careful plans.
As always, Maggi creates a heroine who is strong in heart and head, willing to be vulnerable, but never a walkover. For those who care, there is only one sex scene, which comes after marriage. I think the only 'complaint' by readers is that they want more! To prevent disappointment, I recommend purchasing the three current novellas in the series and reading them as one novel :)
Here are the UK and US Amazon links. For more, see Maggi's blog at Maggi Anderson Author.


  1. Susan, thank you so much for this review! Although I planned a series of novellas, each book gets longer. Book No. Four, The Seduction of Lady Charity will be released in novel length in the next few months. I absolutely agree with you about Anita Davison's novel, it's a beautifully written, intriguing story!

  2. Thanks so much Susan for this lovely review, and I appreciate the appeal to continue Flora and Bunny's adventures. Thanks too to Maggi for her lovely comments, and if I didn't have an incentive to keep the stories going before I do now!