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review 2017-10-20 03:19
Years of Change (Upstairs Downstairs) - Mollie Hardwick

Before 'Downton Abbey', there was 'Upstairs, Downstairs.' This book, 'THE YEARS OF CHANGE', is based on an episode of Upstairs, Downstairs that takes the Bellamy Family and their servants at 165 Eaton Place from the spring of 1912 to August 1914. 

Once I began reading 'THE YEARS OF CHANGE' on the subway to work earlier this week, I didn't want to put it down. For all of its 239 pages, it was packed with some of the most lively, intense, and at turns joyous and tragic family drama that I've encountered in a novel for quite a while. The reader also gets full views of what the lives of both servants and their so-called 'betters' (i.e. the ones upstairs as represented by the Bellamy Family) were like in considerable detail. For instance, the Bellamy son, James, a rather restless, impatient and frustrated man who had left the Army (he had been an officer in India) to take up a job in London -with his father's help - with a trading company, had married a typist in haste after professing undying love to her. After the first few weeks of shows of passionate devotion and affection, the marriage settles into one of stultifying indolence. One couldn't help but feel sorry for Hazel, James' wife, who clearly deserved better. There is a scene at a hunting party in the countryside (to which James had been invited by one of his moneyed, propertied friends) in which all the invited couples had retired for the night after a day of hard riding and shooting. James was peeved at Hazel for having defied his edict that she not ride. But she had been urged on by Lady Diana Russell (who had fancied James for some time - but having been spurned by James when he was feverishly in love with Hazel, she settled for a marriage offer from another man of her class she didn't love) and several of her friends to join in the hunt. Besides, they assured Hazel they would have a placid-tempered horse for her to ride. Well, Hazel was given at the last minute a more spirited horse to ride, which gave her a fright and made her a spectacle before James and his conferes. Hazel suspected that James, having regretted married her, was awaiting his chance to steal away in the night to Lady Diana's room for some "horizontal refreshment." After all, under such circumstances, it was not at all unusual for the rich and privileged set in Britain to quietly swap partners overnight. So long as discretion was observed and maintained, there was no reason for complaint from an aggrieved husband, or cause for public scandal. 

"THE YEARS OF CHANGE" is packed with so much. I enjoyed becoming acquainted with the Bellamys, the young Lady Georgina Worsley (a distant relation of the elder Bellamy's newly arrived from a Swiss boarding school), the society in which they lived with all its complex social standards and rules, as well as the servants 'downstairs - Mr. Hudson, the head butler and manager of staff; Mrs. Bridges the cook; Edward, the footman; Daisy, the sweet assistant parlour maid he came to love; Rose, the head parlour maid; and Ruby, the loveable, well-meaning, and unassuming kitchen servant. This is a novel that, once you begin to read it, you'll probably find yourself staying up all night to reach the finish. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
 

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review 2017-10-19 16:17
Ghostly Review – The Haunting of Hotel La Belle by Sharon Buchbinder @sbuchbinder
The Haunting of Hotel LaBelle - Sharon Buchbinder

I love the beautiful cover for The Haunting of Hotel LaBelle by Sharon Buchbinder. I am always eager to pay a visit to a haunted place and this is the perfect time of year to do so. Come and in…if you dare.

 

Cover:  Rae Monet

 

 

The Haunting of Hotel LaBelle

 

Amazon US  /  Amazon UK  /  Amazon CA  /  Goodreads

 

MY REVIEW

 

The Haunting of Hotel LaBelle by Sharon Buchbinder starts me out with a laugh and I love that.

 

The story begins at Hotel LaBelle in 1905. Finally Lucius’ dreams came true. He’d worked hard, sacrificed much, including his love. He was ‘left’ with a curse from Mourning Dove’s powerful mother.

 

Present Day:  Tallulah was at the Hotel LaBelle to find out why the hotel’s renovations were being delayed. The outside looked like Hotel LaHelle. She hadn’t had a vision in a year and she wondered, “Why now?”

 

Enter Lucius:  who is neither alive nor dead. My thoughts are of a very unusual romance. Is it possible?

 

Both the living and the dead want her there, to fix what is broken, to save Hotel LaBelle.

The Native American mysticism adds that extra element that intrigues me, that takes this creatively written paranormal/supernatural read to a special place. I love haunted buildings and ghosts. Tallulah also has a dog, a pug. Any time a critter appears in a book I am reading, it adds a little spice to the story. The writing has a humorous side, along with the mystery, and all I can say is, “I want to return to Hotel LaBelle:”

 

I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of The Haunting of Hotel LaBelle by Sharon Buchbinder.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos  4 Stars

 

Read more here.

 

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Source: www.fundinmental.com/ghostly-review-the-haunting-of-hotel-la-belle-by-sharon-buchbinder-sbuchbinder
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review 2017-10-19 15:57
The Furthest Station by Ben Aaronovitch
The Furthest Station - Ben Aaronovitch

Series: Rivers of London/Peter Grant #5.7 (not sure why it isn't 5.5)

 

This novella is an excellent little interlude with a mystery involving ghosts on the Underground and showcases many of our favourite characters: Nightingale, Toby, Abigail, Jaget, and Molly. Even Guleed gets a mention although she doesn't make an appearance. We get exposed to a little bit of the history of the Folly and it's just all around good fun.

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review 2017-10-19 04:55
Lilac Lane
Lilac Lane (A Chesapeake Shores Novel) - Sherryl Woods

A Chesapeake Shores Novel #14

By: Sherryl Woods

ISBN: 9780778331339

Publisher:  MIRA

Publication Date: 10/17/2017

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 4 Stars

 

Sherryl Woods returns with her popular Chesapeake Shores series following (2015) Willow Brook Road Chesapeake Shores, #13 with LILAC LANE (#14) —From Ireland to Chesapeake Shores – A magical place for healing and a little romance.

This time around we catchup with Moira and Luke O’Brien and their baby girl, Kate. Of course, with Nell and many of the familiar characters and places we love.

Moira is concerned about her mom, Kiera. Her husband Peter’s unexpected death was shocking after her second chance and raising her children on her own. Moria wants her to come and live in Chesapeake. 

A steady dose of the O’Briens will restore her spirits. She had wasted years of bitterness and regrets after Moira’s dad left. She had taken a chance on love and now he was gone.

Maybe she could tell her she needs help with the baby, but possibly she can get her a job at the Irish pub, keeping an eye on the chef and making sure he does not stray too far from the proper Irish recipes. 

Her mom needed the family. With much persuasion, she agrees to come to charming Chesapeake Shores as a consultant. She can always return to Dublin. 

She rents a lovely cottage on Lilac Lane and is feeling good being part of a family. However, soon learns her neighbor is none other than Bryan Laramie, the not so pleasant and annoying chef at the pub, with whom Kiera is constantly at war with. 

Moira soon sees the electricity between her mom and Bryan (similar to the relationship between her own relationship with Luke), when they first met. 

However, Kiera thinks he is infuriating. 

Of course, if you know the O’Briens they never mind their own business and the clan is always meddling to make sure everyone is happy.

Bryan, on the other hand, has his own past. He had enough broken hearts to last a lifetime and was still recovering from this last one.

Then his long-lost daughter shows up and both Bryan and Keira may have more in common than they may know. Plus, as always, there is always a community-wide event to ignite the flames.

With two complex personalities, it was time for the annual Fall Festival Irish Stew cook-off. And this town does nothing better than “stir the pot.”

 

 



With some competition, stubbornness, clever planning, Irish recipes, sacrifices, meddling, bets, some risks, and of course a little romance, to demonstrate love conquers all.

If you enjoy heartwarming stories of strong family bonds and authentic characters, Chesapeake Shores will draw you into their world with open arms. For fans of Debbie Macomber, Joanne Demaio, Mariah Stewart, and Susan Wiggs. 

LOVE the Chesapeake Shores series (TV series and have read all the books in the series)— among many of her other books. A longtime fan of Sherryl Woods, starting in my younger years (before Goodreads) thru today. I love the idyllic settings, vivid descriptions, and intriguing characters. 

Looking forward to hopefully Season 3 since Season 2 just wrapped up. Always look forward to the Sunday show. It makes me want to return to these books and read them for the second time. Sherryl allows you to escape and travel without leaving your home. It is the next best thing to being there. An ah moment. 

Many thanks to MIRA and NetGalley for an advanced reading copy. I also listened to the audiobook, narrated by Christina Traister for an engaging listening experience.

In addition, I am very excited about the highly anticipated A Small Town Love Story: Colonial Beach, Virginia Coming Nov 14, 2017, on my Top 20 Books coming Nov. Part memoir, part oral history. The author gives us a rare and intimate look at Colonial Beach, Virginia. 

Readers you will want to add this to your library collection and your must-read list.

JDCMustReadBooks

 

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/08/14/Lilac-Lane
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review 2017-10-19 02:58
Pietr le Letton by Georges Simenon
Pietr Le Letton - Georges Simenon

Series: Maigret #1

 

I admit that I started skimming before the halfway mark but didn't drop it entirely because I wanted to see whether it went anywhere. It sort of did, but I really wasn't impressed by a "mystery" where the supposedly great detective just follows a suspected criminal around because he doesn't have enough on him to arrest him. There was very little detecting going on; it was almost all tailing.

 

Perhaps the series gets better. I'm pretty sure I've read another Maigret that was an ok read but this first book really doesn't want me to pick up any others.

 

At least this book let me reach my French book goal for this year. I need to pick better French books in general, though, because it seems that I rated the majority of my French choices as one-star reads. Ouch.

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