england

May 18, 2020

For Lydia Bird, love can overcome anything, even death.  

When Lydia's fiance, Freddie Hunter, is tragically killed in a car accident she cannot imagine life moving on without him. Unable to sleep, her mum finds a doctor who is conducting trials on a new sleeping pill. This magical pink pill allows Lydia to fall asleep and jump back into her old life with Freddie. Her dream life with Freddie is continuing on without her.  

New things are happening to the couple and the people around them. Trying to juggle these two worlds is overwhelming and difficult at first. However, Lydia cannot

Aug 14, 2019

August is Read-a-Romance month. Do yourself a favor and check out what the genre has to offer and what it has been up to lately. I guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised.

The Romance genre has made a huge comeback, for me, recently. There are just so many great titles being released and I cannot resist their beautiful, colorful, happy covers. I took a break from reading romances because the love story lines and happily ever after endings got a little boring for me. I switched to dark mysteries, thrillers, and literary fiction for a long time. This past fall and spring so many titles

The Little Stranger

By The Little Stranger
4
Rated by Sam S.
Dec 3, 2018

The Little Stranger follows Faraday, a respectable country doctor in post-World War II England who is called to assist the Ayres family—an aristocratic family whose once elegant home, Hundreds Hall, has fallen into disrepair as their power and wealth dwindle with the collapsing noble class. His patient, Roderick, lives there with his mother and sister as they all wage daily battles to prevent the inevitable loss of their formerly prosperous country estate. Roderick was wounded in the second World War and has never recovered—but his injuries are not all that plague him. The entire family is

Aug 23, 2018

Pip is a young boy who lives with his older sister since both of his parents died. He is raised in a depressing and abusive manner, but seems to rub it off quite well. He has high hopes of becoming a rich gentleman and living in London, but his dreams are all crushed as his sisters husband (Joe) is only a blacksmith, and Pip by law needs to follow in his steps. This all changes when one of the most unexpected characters sponsors him, and pays for his journey to become a gentleman.

Although this book has some suspenseful and interesting chapters, the bulk of it is quite filler. Since the

Jul 31, 2017

Line of Duty is a British cop show that follows the internal affairs unit as they attempt to flush out corruption in their own ranks. In the first series, Detective Sergeant Steve Arnott is transferred to the anti-corruption squad after he refuses to participate in the cover-up of a botched counter-terrorism raid. In his new position, he finds himself charged with looking into the possibly-shady activities of Detective Chief Inspector Gates, who has come to the attention of the anti-corruption unit because of his team's unusually high solve rate for their cases. Gates' unique success has

Jul 5, 2017

Having read many books with Anne Boleyn as either a periphery or main character, Anne Boleyn: A King's Obsession offers a very different take on this notorious woman. In this second novel of the Six Tudor Queens series, Alison Weir paints Anne Boleyn in an almost sympathetic light. Where she is generally seen as a conniving, cold and adulterous woman, Weir shows her as a woman shaped by the events of her upbringing and pushed to her limits by the pursuit of a king who always gets his way, and the promise of being Queen.

The second and perhaps most well known of King Henry VIII's wives, Anne

A Room with a View

By E.M. Forster
4
Rated by Heather B.
May 13, 2017

I'm a regular reader of classic literature, and I've enjoyed Merchant-Ivory films based on E.M. Forster novels in the past, so I'm not sure why I had the impression that his work was stuffy. Imagine my surprise when I found myself laughing out loud while listening to the audiobook of A Room with a View--and actually describing it repeatedly to one of my friends as "hilarious." 

In the first half of the novel, Lucy and her Aunt Charlotte are visiting Florence, and their lives unwittingly become entangled with those of their fellow English travelers, particularly an unconventional father and

Black Rabbit Hall

By Eve Chase
4
Rated by Roxanne B.
Apr 2, 2016

Black Rabbit Hall is a debut novel by journalist Eve Chase. Londoners Lorna, a school teacher, and her fiancé, Jon, a carpenter, are in Cornwall looking at wedding venues. They arrive at Pencraw Hall (or Black Rabbit Hall as known to the locals). Although the manor house and grounds are in a state of disrepair, Lorna is entranced and seems to feel a kinship to it. The elderly owner, Mrs. Alton, is somewhat mysterious, and lends a gothic air to the story.  Lorna’s visit to Black Rabbit Hall turns into an extended visit on the pretense that she will help Mrs. Alton with promoting her estate as

A Fine Romance

By Susan Branch
5
Rated by Hannah Jane C.
Feb 19, 2016

I couldn’t have read A Fine Romance at a more perfect time. It was the perfect book to read while cooped up in a hospital room waiting for a loved one to heal. I sailed right along with Susan Branch and her husband, Joe, as they journeyed to England via ship and explored the country for two months. This book is not only Susan’s diary during their vacation in England, it is also a very informational and exhilarating guide to both well-known and hidden places in England, many of which belong to the National Trust. Above all else, this book is a journey of the senses, using a mixture of her

In a Dark, Dark Wood

By Ruth Ware
3
Rated by Katie S.
Oct 5, 2015

Leonora (Nora/Lee/Leo) Shaw's past has come back to visit her. With a mysterious invitation to a hen-do (British bachelorette party) in the English countryside for a friend she hasn't seen or spoken to in years, she is forced to get out of her apartment and shed her closed-off personality for a weekend. She doesn't, however, quite know why she is invited and when she begins to ask around, no one else seems to know why they have been invited either. The hostess, Flo, is crazy about the bride, Clare, and puts all of the guests ill-at-ease. The Glass House where they stay is freaky as well with

Goddess of the Hunt

By Tessa Dare
4
Rated by Amanda H.
Aug 6, 2015

Tessa Dare is one of my favorite newer romance authors, even though I had some problems with her first book, Goddess of the Hunt. The way it starts is enough to turn me off continuing: the heroine barges into the hero’s room at night demanding he help her practice kissing. Lucy Waltham wants to learn how to entice Toby, her brother’s friend whom she’s loved for years although he’s never shown any signs of reciprocating. She thinks that Jeremy Trescott, another friend of her brother’s whom she’s always felt antagonistic towards, will be a safe learning experience because no feelings will be

A Lady Awakened

By Cecilia Grant
5
Rated by Amanda H.
Jul 26, 2015

Sensible young widow Martha Russell is all set to cede her late husband’s estate to his younger brother, until she learns of his past villainy towards the housemaids. As a champion of the weak and the poor, Mrs. Russell decides to cast propriety aside and take matters into her own hands. She looks to her new neighbor Theophilus Mirkwood, banished to the countryside for his spendthrift ways, for his assistance in getting her with child. She does not respect him, he does not understand her. Can mutual esteem grow from such a cold bargain?

So begins Cecilia Grant’s explosive debut on the

Into the White (DVD)

By Peter Naess
3
Rated by Katie S.
Jun 14, 2015

Into the White portrays the true story of soldiers aboard German and British fighter planes after they are shot down over the wilderness of Norway on April 27, 1940. The three German soldiers stumble upon an abandoned cabin after trekking through the snowy landscape for days only to find two British soldiers wanting to use the shelter as well. Out of pity, the Germans take the British soldiers in as their prisoners and they begin a push-and-pull for power as the days drag on. Cold, hungry and with one wounded soldier, all five men learn that in order to survive, they have to work together. In

Maisie Dobbs

By Jacqueline Winspear
3
Rated by Katie S.
Jun 3, 2015

Maisie Dobbs' first case as a private detective is not what she expected nor wanted. But in the spring of 1929 in her new London office her first client walks through her door and asks for her assistance with a love triangle. Maisie, who was born into a working class family, is aware of her status and sex and is trying to make her mark in the detective world and so takes on the case as professionally as she possibly can. She has an inherent intuition about people and situations as well as a skill for attention to detail which she honed through years of reading, attending university and finally

Apr 29, 2015

Anglophiles listen up – this book is for you! Talented artist, writer, and blogger Susan Branch has put together a charming travel journal of her two month long trip to England. A Fine Romance is chock full of wonderful photos she and her husband took on their trip interspersed with the colorful drawings and lettering that have set apart her work and style as distinctly her own.

The trip starts off with a six day ocean voyage, onboard the Queen Mary 2, from New York to Southampton, England. This dream trip is divided into mainly three areas – the Southwest of England, the Lake District and

Dec 3, 2014

My original reaction to this series was acerbic (see below). But now that I have watched all 4 seasons of The Tudors, I believe it’s worth sticking it out. It grows on you. The characters grow deeper and more complex. I actually learned a lot about the period, especially what turns out to be the very significant religious clashes of the time. The series does well in showing how each queen made her mark in history. So despite my original review, I’ve decided it’s worth some eye rolling to see the history of King Henry VII’s reign come alive.

Original Review:

Although I’m a fan of many of

Callander Square

By Anne Perry
4
Rated by Katie S.
Sep 15, 2014

Callander Square is the second book in the Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series by Anne Perry. Set in the late 1800s, this novel tells the story of multiple mysterious deaths in a posh area of London. Thomas, a police inspector, is called to the central garden of the high-society Callander Square after two baby corpses are found buried among the flowers. Immediately suspecting a poor servant girl, Pitt begins to investigate each household, causing an uncomfortable mood to hang over the residents of the square. The heads of household wish to be left alone, leaving Pitt with several hurdles to

The White Princess

By Philippa Gregory
4
Rated by Terri B.
Jul 31, 2014

The White Princess is the fifth of Philippa Gregory's Cousins' War series, this one focusing on Elizabeth, daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville.  Henry Tudor defeated Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field, ending the War of the Roses, to become Henry VII.  To unite the York and Lancastrian families, Princess Elizabeth was forced to marry Henry VII, whom she believed to be the murderer of her love, Richard III.  Henry VII was suspicious of everyone and everything around him, making one wonder how anyone could have had a very satisfactory life. 

Ms. Gregory has created fear and

Harvest

By Jim Crace
4
Rated by Hope H.
Feb 19, 2014

I confess, I was not immediately entranced by Harvest, and it was not until I started following the popular Downton Abbey television series that I began to appreciate the perspective presented in Jim Crace’s novel. This book offers a glimpse of life on the grounds beyond a great house during a time of modernization.

The story takes place in a secluded English village in some unspecified past, during a time when Inclosure Acts began allowing privatizing the open fields of English manors, and landowners transitioned from community crop harvests to more profitable forms of agriculture. Against

Me Before You

By Jojo Moyes
4
Rated by Lisa J.
Nov 19, 2013

What makes life worth living?  Will Traynor is struggling with this very question since an accident left him paralyzed from the shoulders down and often in excruciating pain.  Confined to a wheelchair and dependent on others to assist with even the most basic tasks of daily life, Will isn't sure life is worth living.  Then his mother hires Louisa (Lou) Clark as his daytime assistant/caregiver.  Two very different personalities, Will and Lou get off to a rocky and stilted start.

As they spend more and more time together Will realizes that Lou has very little experience outside of her small

Jul 13, 2013

What if saving the world isn't all it is cracked up to be? Eight years ago, Daniel and Freya did just that with the help of sleeping warriors underneath England. However, both are now suffering the consequences. Daniel is a homeless vagabond who can't get his life together, and Freya is an OCD university student on the verge of a mental breakdown. Things are happening in the world; things they never thought to see again. Now the two must come together to protect each other and maybe the world again. I enjoyed the premise of Lawhead’s tale. The idea of hidden warriors waiting for the time they

Mar 30, 2013

This sometimes drawn-out tale revolves around the life of Dorothy Nicolson and her family.  It moves between present day, 1959 and 1942.  Chapter headings help the reader keep track of the time frame.  Dorothy is dying and her daughter, Laurel, wants to learn the reason for a murder she saw her mother commit in 1959.  She tries to talk with her mother who lapses in and out of reality.  Laurel searches diaries and other accounts of people she believes to be involved in her mother’s life before her marriage.  Much of what she learns takes place in 1942 London during the Blitz.  The first half of

Mar 6, 2013

A modern English cozy, Wicked Autumn is set in the village of Nether Monkslip. Everyone you expect is there along with some new friends: There’s the retired Major; the flamboyant owner of the antique store; a New Age wiccan; the village doctor and his sexy sister; a restaurateur with a Continental background; and a woman who spins her own yarn before knitting it into expensive garments. Of course a peaceful English village would be incomplete without the village’s social tyrant, Wanda Batton-Smythe. The new vicar just happens to be a retired MI5 agent turned Anglican priest, but those skills

A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare

0
Rated by Amanda H.
Jan 7, 2013

A Night to Surrender kicks off a new historical romance trilogy from Tessa Dare, one of my favorite authors of the last several years. Dare writes humorous romps that stand out from the flock with fluid, well-crafted prose, witty dialogue, and lots of snort-worthy situations. Set in England in 1813 during the Napoleonic Wars, this tale concerns the small southern coastal town of Spindle Cove, nicknamed Spinster Cove because it’s known as a town without men. Without men, you ask? Okay, there are a few merchants and fishermen, but it’s without the risk and temptation of eligible men, be they

Dec 5, 2012

QB VII is a work of historical fiction that was written in 1970 and that takes place from the 1940’s to 1967. QB VII is a courthouse in London where a good portion of the book takes place. Before getting to the trial, the story follows the lives of Dr. Adam Kelno, a Polish doctor who was in the infamous Jadwiga Concentration Camp during World War II, and Abraham Cady, an American author who wrote about the Holocaust. Both men are haunted by their pasts. Through the course of the book we are given glimpses into different parts of the world during the first half of the twentieth century

May 22, 2012

A woman opens her eyes to find herself surrounded by dead bodies. She has no idea what happened. What’s just as, if not more, frightening and disorienting is that she has no idea who she is. The only information she has to go on comes from two letters she finds in her pocket, letters that begin “Dear You” and that seem to have been written by herself. Slowly, Myfanwy Thomas learns who she is and what she does. It turns out that there’s a whole supernatural world that exists alongside the “normal” world. Myfanwy works for a secret organization in England that keeps tabs on this other world and

May 11, 2012

The Tale of One Bad Rat is a very special story. In this graphic novel, Bryan Talbot tackles the serious subject of child sexual abuse and its after-effects. “Once upon a time, there was a very bad rat …” thus begins the story of Helen Potter, an abused English teenager, who runs away from home with her beloved pet rat and finds herself begging on the streets of London. Helen, an artist herself, has always found solace in the books of (Helen) Beatrix Potter and found similarities between her life and the life of her favorite author. Beatrix Potter’s courage and success provide a very powerful

Feb 19, 2012

Death Cloud is the first in Andrew Lane’s excellent new series about young Sherlock Holmes.  Lane, a Brit who has written fan fiction for Doctor Who and James Bond, explains in his afterword that, “Arthur Conan Doyle gave little away about Sherlock’s early years… That has given me the freedom to create a history for Sherlock that is consistent with the few hints that Conan Doyle did let slip, but also leads inevitably to the man that Conan Doyle described.”  And he did a great job: this is the first teen series to be endorsed by the Conan Doyle estate. The book opens on a secondary character

Nov 15, 2011

In The Complete Talking Heads, British playwright Alan Bennett has written twelve monologues about ordinary people dealing with personal crisis. First produced for BBC television in 1987, they were broadcast on American public television as part of its Masterpiece Theatre program. In "Bed Among the Lentils" a vicar's wife with a fondness for drink discovers happiness with an Indian shop owner. In "A Cream Cracker Under the Settee" an elderly woman, living alone,  suffers a debilitating fall and wonders whether the only place left for her is a nursing home. In "A Chip in the Sugar" middle-aged

A Bitter Truth by Charles Todd

0
Rated by Jane R.
Oct 19, 2011

Bess Crawford, home on leave from her nursing duties in World War I France, finds a woman cowering in the cold doorway of her London flat.  Julianna has run from her abusive husband and has nowhere to turn.  At Julianna’s request Bess returns with her to Vixen Hill, the Ellis family estate in Sussex.  To say the Ellis family is dysfunctional would be an understatement.   Per the other Bess Crawford mysteries, murder ensues and Bess and family friend Simon are there to help set things right.  An interesting, if somewhat unbelievable story sends Bess back to France in search of the illegitimate