BOOK REVIEWS

HIS MISTRESS BY CHRISTMAS by Victoria Alexander

Listening to HIS MISTRESS BY CHRISTMAS, I was caught in somewhat of a dilemma. I eagerly anticipated the next disc to have the story continue, but also dreaded it as it would bring me closer to the end.

This is a wonderful and charming story to get lost in. With brilliant descriptions and eloquent dialect, author Victoria Alexander transforms the reader (or listener) to 1885 England. With all the sights and sounds of the era, the reader can’t help but be immersed in the story.

Narration by Susan Duerden’s beautiful English accent adds more depth to each character’s personality. Her tones and mannerisms bring out the warmth and humor of the story.

Readers (listeners) get a bit of a history lesson along with a tale of following one’s heart. We are reminded while the Victorian era may have been grand and lavish, women’s roles were much different than today. However, strong and independent women, such as the protagonist, have existed throughout the centuries.

Lady Veronica Smithson doesn’t want to marry but misses a man in her life since the death of her husband 3 years prior. She decides to become  a mistress and sees Sir Sebastian Hadley-Attwater as the perfect man to seduce.

Sir Sebastian is an adventurer and explorer having traveled all over the world. He hasn’t been around his family very much in 12 years. While he’s not ready for marriage, he is ready to settle down a bit buying an estate and not planning any new expeditions. That is until he meets Lady Smithson and marriage become part of his new plan.

Using her best friend, who turns out to be Sebastian’s cousin, Veronica arranges an introduction to Sebastian. Sparks fly between the two during their brief encounter and the games begin. He wants her as his wife, she wants to be his mistress. When both families get involved the chaos that follows is witty and heart-warming.

The author does a beautiful job of portraying the many emotions between the two main characters. In addition, the supporting characters add spark and humor to the story.

HIS MISTRESS BY CHRISTMAS is an enchanting story filled with romance, history, humor, independence, and hope for happy endings. I saw where this is the first in a series and can’t wait to see what the families are up to next.  

His Mistress By Christmas by Victoria Alexander, Read by Susan Duerden, Brilliance Audio, @2011, ISBN: 978-1455800186, Unabridged, 8 Discs, Listening Time: 9 Hours 35 Minutes

FTC Full Disclosure - This audio book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

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 WHERE ALL THE DEAD LIE by J.T. Ellison

If you like Daphne du Maurier’s classic REBECCA, you’ll enjoy WHERE ALL THE DEAD LIE by J.T. Ellison.

While Ellison’s novel may have shadows of REBECCA, it’s in a world of its own with unique twists and turns to keep you wondering.

Not having read any of the prior books in this series, I can honestly say new readers will have no problem keeping up in this 7th installment of the Taylor Jackson series. While this story is built on the outcome of a prior book, there is enough background given. In fact, not knowing all the details of the prior case added extra mystery for me.

A good portion of the book is told from the thoughts of the main character, Nashville (TN) homicide lieutenant Taylor Jackson, who has lost her speech. The author does a wonderful job of putting the reader in Taylor’s place. The reader feels the frustrations of being unable to speak while having much to say.

Taylor is recovering after a terrible case left her shot in the head, a fellow officer’s eye mutilated and her best friend kidnapped and tortured causing her to lose her unborn child. Left unable to speak, Taylor feels guilt and pain from the ordeal. With her own demons closing in, Taylor accepts the offer of Memphis Highsmythe to visit his ancestral home in the Scottish Highlands. She goes despite the concerns of her fianc√©.

As the story unfolds from there readers will find themselves wondering if Taylor is losing her mind or if someone is out to get her by driving her mad. While you may figure out who is behind the troubles, there are still some surprises in store at the end.

Joyce Bean does a beautiful job of narrating this suspenseful tale. She brings Taylor’s confusion and fears to life.

WHERE ALL THE DEAD LIE
is a good mix of suspense, mystery and a little Hitchcock-style intrigue on the side. A perfect book for anytime but especially on a cold, rainy night as the wind howls outside. Pull the covers up, settle in and get lost in Taylor’s mind.

Where All The Dead Lie by J.T. Ellison, A Taylor Jackson Novel, Read by Joyce Bean, Brilliance Audio, @2011, ISBN: 978-1611063035, Unabridged, 9 Discs, Listening Time: 10 Hours 15 Minutes

FTC Full Disclosure - This audio book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

THE WINTERS IN BLOOM by Lisa Tucker

I’ve always hear there are 3 sides to any problem a couple has - her side, his side and the truth.

In the case of THE WINTERS IN BLOOM, the secrets each bring to their marriage creates a most unusual and very sheltered world where the truth is hard to find.

David and Kyra Winters appear to be the ideal family with a bright young son, careers they enjoy, and a stable home life. However, both parents are extremely overprotective of their son, Michael, fearing something will happen to him. Then the unthinkable happens and Michael disappears from their backyard one afternoon.

As the couple searches for their son, they must each revisit their own troubled past to determine if someone they betrayed has found them.

Author Lisa Tucker does a wonderful job of keeping the reader guessing who is behind the kidnapping and why. In addition, her story pulls at the heartstrings reminding readers never to give up hope despite the risks of everyday life.

The story is told from both the parents and a grandmother’s point of view. The author makes the story flow from one to the other without problems. Though the story goes from present to the characters’ past and back again, it is never confusing and the transition is smooth.

Narrator Joyce Bean gives panic to the characters when needed and compassion at the difficult scenes. Her delightful voice brings the characters to life and adds depth to this intriguing story.

The Winters in Bloom by Lisa Tucker, Read by Joyce Bean, Brilliance Audio, @2011, ISBN: 978-1455819461, Unabridged, 7 Discs, Listening Time: 8 Hours 30 Minutes

FTC Full Disclosure - This audio book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.