Wednesday, 25 December 2019

"Love in the Valley of the Kings" is like watching an Indiana Jones movie

Love in the Valley of the KingsLove in the Valley of the Kings by Nicola Italia
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It is the 1920ties and a young female archaeologist accompanies her father on a dig in Egypt joined by the rest of her family and some friends and colleagues of her father. There she meets a fellow archaeologist who is half English half Egyptian. Happily in love she suddenly is in the middle of danger when one of their team is murdered and it seems she is also a target.

It is a nice read but I am sure a normal excavation would take a lot longer but who cares. This is just escapism reading.

For the people who cannot stand sex in novels you best keep your heartbeat evenly and skip this novel as the couple does a lot of coupling.

Review of "Devious lies" by by Parker S. Huntington

For this kind of novel it is actually quite a good one! She is the daughter of someone who was in the middle of a fraud scandal. He was the son of the help. His father died when losing all his savings in that fraud case. Years later they meet again. Both are atoning each for their own reasons. He thinks she knew and was into the fraud. She thinks he is a complete @sshole. But now he is the rich guy and she the one with hardly money to eat. And there is so much they do not know.

While in these kind of novels the man is often a bad person who is a member of the maffia or just a very unpleasant man and only is nice to the woman, the author here gives a way better signal to her younger readers: this guy is a genuine good guy.

And the man modelling on the cover is a hottie.

Oh and the commenting on Disneymovies is hilarious.

Review of a novel set during the French Revolution "The Reign of Love and Chaos" by Nicola Italia

I had learned about the Terror-episode during the French revolution but this novel brings it to life by focussing on a young man and woman coming of age. He is a young man from a middle class background who is elected in the new parliament and she is a foreigner who wants to join a convent as a novice. We witness how the good intentions of the delegates turn into bloodshed. And while it is more or less common knowledge that the nobility died en masse under the guillotine the fact that the religious people were also persecuted was completely unknown to me. I thought the dissolving of the monasteries had been in line with what happened under Henry the Eighth in England.

It seems each century has madmen like Hitler or the Inquisition and normal people would be in grave danger. The writer has a nice style of prose and keeps you invested in the main leads. Unlike the first novel in this series it does have some bedscenes but is not meant as an erotic read. To be honest if I could advice the author I would not link this novel to her Sheikh bestseller as it is a completely different style and also the motivation of the Arabian princess for a life of seclusion sounds a bit strange as in those days the Arabian women were kept out of the public. However her other motivation is that she would like to devote her life to a religious life and convents are not existing under Islam and she has a Christian mother could be a solid motive but the link to the other novel is not that necessary.

It is a shame only 7 other readers reviewed it on Amazon until now as it is a very good novel.

Review of "In Farleigh Field: A Novel of World War II" - a spy novel by Rhys Bowen set in a Downton Abbey kind of setting

Well this means me getting up at 5 am to get my work done because this novel kept me glued to my kindle.

For those who have seen Downton Abbey picture an estate like that in 1941.

It is the beginning of World War II and America has not joined the war yet. England is desperate and people expect they will be invaded. The son of a local rector and the young adults from two noble families all find a job in the war machine. One becomes a pilot and is captured over Germany and the others ended up in secret jobs they cannot tell anyone about.

But then a spy drops from the sky. Why in that rural area? Who might be a traitor?

I truly enjoyed this novel although the clue is a bit strange all the rest is very entertaining and mixed with enough historical facts. I understand the author wrote mysteries before turning to wartime novels (those I found pretty predictable). This novel however combines a wartime setting with a great mystery that has to be solved. Well done.

Monday, 16 December 2019

A Christmas Tale - Review of "What child is this" by Rhys Bowen

A couple faces Chrismas alone in a bombed out London. A story about the situation during the Second World War: rations, fire bombs, shelters.......  A bit short. As a documentary interesting but the writer might have extended the story a bit or made it a volume of short stories all set during wartime christmasses.

3 stars out of 5

Review of "The victory garden" by Rhys Bowen

Set during World War I this novel is about Emily Bryce, an (almost) 21 year old daughter of a judge who falls in love with an Australian airman. Pregnant and pretending to be a warwidow she joins the Land Army of women doing agricultural work when the men are away fighting. While billeted near an estate she finds an old diary full with recipes for herbal remedies.

Unfortunately the Amazon blurb almost told the whole plot! That deducted one star.

The book is quite predictable and I kept wondering if the concept of the Land Army and a Victory Garden was not more a WW2 concept.

Ok read. 3 stars out of 5.

Review of "The Tuscan Child" by Rhys Bowen

An English pilot is shot down over Tuscany during World War II and a local woman nurses him back to health.
Thirty years later his daughter finds a letter mentioning a "beautiful boy" when she is clearing his house after he had died. She wonders if her father sired a child when he was in Italy during the war. She travels to the little village to try to find out more about his past and comes to enjoy the life in rural Tuscany.

In the beginning the two storylines were a bit irritating but later on they became more entwined and I started to like the novel a lot more.

There are some big plotholes:
1) If the death duties on an estate were over a million pound would you ever be able to buy the building 30 years later for a couple of hundred thousands?
2) If you were an arthistorian and in desperate need of money and had a house full of paintings would you not get them appraised so you could sell them?

I also have the feeling the people in general fall very fast in love and taking very big leaps. You would expect more soulsearching first.

4 stars out of 5

Monday, 9 December 2019

Review of "The Duke's bride" by Joanne Wadsworth - now FREE on Amazon

This novel has the usual ingredients for a regency romance: a lady from the ton is in love with a duke, a lot of teadrinking ladies in a drawing room, a ball, riding in the park.

Lady Ellie has been smitten with her brother's friend her whole life but after a tragedy he seems determined to live as a recluse and never to marry. What to do?

If you like period drama's and regency romances this is the book for you. It is a situation that is not unfamiliar. Someone who definitely likes you but who is not taking a step towards a relationship. Do not expect a very layered story. I also stumbled upon some things that I thought to be unlikely in the timeperiod. Like when riding in a side saddle you cannot squeeze your legs around a horse and I think after an afternoon of horseriding people would change out of their riding clothes before dinner as to not stink of horses and stables. And being out for seven seasons? I think one was expected to marry in one or two and otherwise doomed to live as a spinster.

For the people who insist on a very "clean" book, this is no series of romping story but the people are young and do think about sex and hands stray. You can survive that I think. At the end a marriage is consummated. If that is not your cup of tea you can just skip the HEA after the wedding.