Book Review: Miss Seeton Quilts the Village by Hamilton Crane

The new Miss Seeton mystery – the first in almost 20 years!

It’s practically a Royal Marriage. The highly eligible son of Miss Seeton’s old friends Sir George and Lady Colveden has wed the daughter of a French count.

Miss Seeton lends her talents to the village scheme to create a quilted ‘Bayeux Tapestry’ of local history, inspired by the wedding. But her intuitive sketches reveal a startlingly different perspective—involving buried Nazi secrets, and links to the mysterious death of a diplomat and to a South American dictator . . .

Serene amidst every kind of skulduggery, this eccentric English spinster steps in where Scotland Yard stumbles, armed with nothing more than her sketchpad and umbrella!

From Netgalley in exchange for a review.

Now I will admit that, despite this being the 22nd book in the series, I had never heard of Miss Seeton, never mind reading any of the books. Which is possibly because it’s a parody of, rather than challenger for Miss Marple. A golden age cozy mystery this isn’t!  Set sometime in the 1970s (long after suicide and Homosexuality were decriminalised) Miss Seeton is a retired art teacher, riding round her village of Plummergen on her push bike.   The other residents of Plummergen are used to Miss Seeton getting into untold “adventures” and are prone to overhearing half conversations and making up whole new stories….such as Miss Seeton wanting a new belt for her inherited sewing machine, and a whole story being fabricated over her taking part in kinky sex parties with the much younger Dan Eggleden from the Smithy (where she had gone for a replacement leather strap).    Later, seeing the police in the churchyard with a metal detector (looking for tunic buttons) only lead to gossip about body snatching and calls for the dead to be left to rest in peace.

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Book Review: Merry and Bright by Debbie Macomber

 

 

Merry Smith is pretty busy these days. She’s taking care of her family, baking cookies, decorating for the holidays, and hoping to stay out of the crosshairs of her stressed and by-the-book boss at the consulting firm where she temps. Her own social life is the last thing she has in mind, much less a man. Without her knowledge, Merry’s well-meaning mom and brother create an online dating profile for her—minus her photo—and the matches start rolling in. Initially, Merry is incredulous, but she reluctantly decides to give it a whirl.

Soon Merry finds herself chatting with a charming stranger, a man with similar interests and an unmistakably kind soul. Their online exchanges become the brightest part of her day. But meeting face-to-face is altogether different, and her special friend is the last person Merry expects—or desires. Still, sometimes hearts can see what our eyes cannot. In this satisfying seasonal tale, unanticipated love is only a click away.

Ebook from Netgalley in exchange for a review.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a Debbie Macomber (and the day after I finished this one, I got the offer of another one from a friend in London! yay!).

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Netgalley #booktag

This was copied from “Destiny at Howling libraries” and her post on the subject. Like her, I haven’t been tagged for this post, but thought it would be something to post on, especially since so many of my books come from Netgalley.

AUTO-APPROVED:

Who’s one author whose books you automatically want to read, regardless of what they’re about?

I’m auto-approved for Erica Ridley as an author and have read many of her Romance novels as a result. I’m also auto approved for Tule Publishing and was approved for Le French Book, before they left Netgalley

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Book Review: Christmas on the Little Cornish Isles: the Driftwood Inn by Phillipa Ashley

Christmas has arrived on the Cornish Isles of Scilly, bringing mistletoe, surprises and more than a sprinkle of romance . . . Fans of Poldark and Carole Matthews will love this brand-new festive read from the author of the bestselling Cornish Café series.  For Maisie Samson, this Christmas is going to be different. After years working in a busy Cornish pub, she’s moved back to quiet Gull Island where she grew up, to help her parents run the family inn. But even though she can’t wait for the festive season to arrive, Maisie cannot shake the memories of what happened to her last Christmas – the day she lost everything. She keeps herself busy, setting up the tree and hanging mistletoe ready for her first proper family Christmas in years.

Until a new arrival to the island walks into her bar and changes everything. Australian backpacker Patrick is looking for a job for the low season. When Maisie takes him on, she doesn’t expect him to last the week, but to her surprise Patrick is the perfect fit. Charming and handsome, could Maisie allow herself to hope that she and Patrick could be more than just colleagues?

As Christmas approaches, Maisie finds herself dreading the spring, when Patrick is due to leave. With the help of a little Christmas magic, can Maisie get the happily ever after she always dreamed of?

 

From the Publishers, via Netgalley in exchange for a review.

This is the first book I’ve read this year with “Christmas” in the title, and I promptly got told off by someone for starting Christmas early (it is September after all).  I tried to explain about lead times, and sales etc, but to no avail.

This is the first in a new series by this author (I have read Christmas at the Cornish Cafe before, from the same author) and is set on the Scilly Isles, and Gull Island in particular.  Whilst Gull Island is small with a smattering of businesses, the book has been set up with enough secondary characters split across a number of islands to allow for books to be added to the series.

This is the first Christmas and New Year that Maisie has spent on her home island in more years than she cares to admit. Her previous job – running a successful pub “on the mainland” – stopped the previous Christmas due to personal reasons. Her parents run the Driftwood Inn, and have semi-retired now that that Maisie is running the joint.  She has an immediate attraction to “The Blond” (who she finds out later is called Patrick), an Australian who has come to the UK because of a promise made to a recently deceased friend.

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Book Review: A Chieftain’s Wife by Leigh Ann Edwards

As Alainn and Killian O’Brien begin their married life together, Alainn encounters many new and unexpected challenges. Stricken by the disturbing, reoccurring vision of Killian’s death, she desperately seeks a way to prevent it from happening. In hope of providing a normal life for their unborn child Alainn turns from her own magical abilities, but soon realizes that doing so may endanger everyone she cares for. 

Set in 16th century Ireland, A Chieftain’s Wife continues the captivating story of Alainn and Killian’s passionate love. Past indiscretions, deep jealousy, a vindictive witch, and tragic hardships all threaten to disrupt Killian and Alainn’s happiness and future together.

From Netgalley in exchange for a review.

This is the 4th in the series, the 1st I have read, and unfortunately it suffers from what I hate the most about series books – the “here’s what happened in previous books” info dump, especially in the first few chapters. It does get a little better later on in the book – the curse on Killian’s family regarding the birth of healthy children was alluded to well enough to make me consider going back to perhaps reading previous books. Unfortunately, the damage had already been done – why read a previous book, if you’ve already told me everything I need to know in this book?

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Book Review: One Summer in Tuscany by Domenica De Rosa

High on a hill in the Tuscan countryside stands a castle of golden stone, home to Patricia O’Hara’s writers’ retreat – a serene hideaway where you can polish your prose by the pool, gain inspiration from your peers and eat the best melanzane in Italy, courtesy of chef Aldo. But, while the splendour of their surroundings never fails to wow the guests, huge maintenance bills and bad news from the bank threaten to close Patricia down. It’s make or break time for the Castello de Luna.

This August each of her seven aspiring authors arrives with emotional baggage alongside their manuscripts. But something is different. It may be just the prosecco, but soon lifelong spinster Mary is riding on the back of Aldo’s Vespa, and smouldering odd-job man Fabio has set more than one heart racing.

As temperatures rise, the writers gossip, flirt and gently polish their prose by the pool. But with some unexpected visitors to contend with, one thing’s for sure: neither the Castello, nor Patricia, has ever seen a summer like this. 

From Netgalley in exchange for a review

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Book Review: The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan

The Brides of Rollrock Island

Rollrock island is a lonely rock of gulls and waves, blunt fishermen and their homely wives. Life is hard for the families who must wring a poor living from the stormy seas. But Rollrock is also a place of magic – the scary, salty-real sort of magic that changes lives forever. Down on the windswept beach, where the seals lie in herds, the outcast sea witch Misskaella casts her spells – and brings forth girls from the sea – girls with long, pale limbs and faces of haunting innocence and loveliness – the most enchantingly lovely girls the fishermen of Rollrock have ever seen.

But magic always has its price. A fisherman may have and hold a sea bride, and tell himself that he is her master. But from his first look into those wide, questioning, liquid eyes, he will be just as transformed as she is. He will be equally ensnared. And in the end the witch will always have her payment.

Margo Lanagan has written an extraordinary tale of desire, despair and transformation. In devastatingly beautiful prose, she reveals unforgettable characters capable of unspeakable cruelty – and deep unspoken love. After reading about the Rollrock fishermen and their sea brides, the world will not seem the same.

Paper copy given to me as a discard.

Having grown up with the idea of Selkies as part of Irish folklore, I decided to read this before I passed it on.

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