Tiresome bunch of choices this go round but I did manage to find two that I wouldn't mind having in my permanent library.
World War II comes to Farleigh Place, the ancestral home of Lord Westerham and his five daughters, when a soldier with a failed parachute falls to his death on the estate. After his uniform and possessions raise suspicions, MI5 operative and family friend Ben Cresswell is covertly tasked with determining if the man is a German spy. The assignment also offers Ben the chance to be near Lord Westerham’s middle daughter, Pamela, whom he furtively loves. But Pamela has her own secret: she has taken a job at Bletchley Park, the British code-breaking facility.
As Ben follows a trail of spies and traitors, which may include another member of Pamela’s family, he discovers that some within the realm have an appalling, history-altering agenda. Can he, with Pamela’s help, stop them before England falls?
Inspired by the events and people of World War II, writer Rhys Bowen crafts a sweeping and riveting saga of class, family, love, and betrayal.
Right, In Farleigh Field looked really intriguing. I love the cover and I was looking forward to reading it since a historical mystery is a favorite of mine. However, as my rating indicate did I not enjoy this book very much and I will list the reasons for it below.
1. Predictability - Whether it be the story or the characters did this feel like everything was following a guidebook on how to write a book for dummies. Sorry, I kept on going through the book because I wanted answers to the dead parachute mystery. But, the ending was so obvious that it was silly. It did try to be a bit surprising, but by then was my patience wearing thin with the story.
2. Stereotypes - The characters, and here I mostly think of the daughters are the usual type, the brainy one, the easy-going one, the exemplary one and the brave one and the young one. Nothing new here, I've seen these characters before so many types, but done better. I nominate Dido as the most annoying character of the year. "Buuhuu, I didn't get to come out and be presented by the court because of the stupid war. I want to dance, meet men and have sex"! When she did something quite unforgiving towards the end was, I not at all surprised since I've been waiting for it since the beginning of the book.
3. Phrases - Jolly, crikey, and blimey. Take a drink every time anyone says that. You will be drunk, but at least you have fun.
So, why did I keep going if the book when I felt that the book didn't work for me? Well, I was almost half-way through when it really started to bother me and I did want to get some answers to the mystery in the book. However, the drama in this book almost made me quite the book several times. I was not bored with the book as much as I was annoyed.
There is no getting around that these books are the very definition of cozy; they're also charming in a way that endears them to even a thoroughly unromantic soul such as mine. And while the focus of the series is an overall sweetness and innocence, Bowen occasionally slips edgier tragedies in that makes them all the more heartbreaking. I think Bowen manages to capture perfectly a certain naiveté at a time in history when the world was at a tipping point, before everyone found out how truly evil humanity can be.
This eleventh book is a good example of this, even though the mystery itself wasn't quite as finely crafted as some of her others. Anyone who has read the series will be thoroughly at home with Georgie and Belinda (another one!), Darcy and Fig. And Queenie was left behind in this one - YAY! This time Georgie is in Mussolini's Italy and there are dodgy goings-on at a house party the Queen has sent Georgie to, in order to spy on her son and that hussy Wallis Simpson.
I guessed the murderer early on (too much page time) but the story never failed to keep me amused, and there was a scene between Georgie and a German soldier that purely broke my heart for it's sweetness and naiveté.
The ending for Belinda's story line was just way too convenient, in the way these story lines always are, but in spite of that, I'm happy to see it wrapped up and I'm looking forward to the next book - may the fates keep Bowen from turning it into a wedding-in-peril story.
Book: Hush Now, Don't You Cry
Author: Rhys Bowen
Genre: Historical Mystery/Fiction
Summary: Molly Murphy, now Molly Sullivan, and her husband, Daniel, a captain in the New York Police Department, have been invited to spend their honeymoon on the Newport, Rhode Island, estate of Alderman Brian Hannan in the spring of 1904. Molly doesn't entirely trust the offer. Hannan - an ambitious man - has his eye on a Senate seat and intentions of taking Tammany Hall to get it. When Hannan is found dead at the base of the cliffs that overlook the Atlantic, Molly's suspicions are quickly justified, and as much as she wants to keep her promise to Daniel that she won't do any more sleuthing now, there isn't much she can do once the chase is on. Rhys Bowen's brilliant wit and charm are on full display in Hush Now, Don't You Cry, another outstanding addition to her Agatha Award - and Anthony Award-winning historical series. -Minotaur Books, 2012.