Posted in Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Murder Mystery, New Books

The Trust M.H. Eccleston (Astrid Swift, 1) 5*#Review @MarkEccleston1 @HoZ_Books @AriesFiction #TheTrust #AstridSwift #CozyMystery #MurderMystery #Dorset #BookReview

Ever so wholesome.
Ever so deadly…

When a local man is found murdered in an English Trust stately home, the community is shaken to its core.

None more so than newcomer Astrid Swift, who finds the body. When she moved from London to the sleepy Dorset village and got a job at the house as an art restorer, she thought she was heading for a quieter life.

Far from it. Because it turns out that rather than being the genteel organisation it seems on the surface, the Trust is a hotbed of politics and intrigue. As Astrid’s new friend Kath from the village says: ‘It’s like the mafia, but with scones.’

As the suspicious deaths mount up and the threat draws closer, Astrid must use every gadget in her restorer’s toolkit to solve the mystery, save her reputation – and maybe even her life.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus-Aries via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Whilst this story undoubtedly has the cosy mystery vibe. Astrid Swift doesn’t immediately strike the reader as the quirky amateur sleuth persona essential in this type of mystery. A successful fine art restorer working in a high profile gallery., Astrid enjoys her life until a. chance discovery forces a rethink. Astrid finds herself in coastal Dorset, discovering the legacy left to her by her favourite uncle.

As she sheds her city glamour, a new Astrid emerges, and she is a charming blend of astute, funny and vulnerability. The people she meets are flawed but believable characters, and she soon realises these are people she can trust. Discovering a body turns her into an amateur sleuth determined to find the truth whatever the risk to her safety.

There is an excellent cast of suspects in a twisty plot with pleasing original touches. Astrid’s emotional journey of self-realisation explores controlling relationships and gives the female protagonist positive character development.

The story has lots of humour, a sound mystery and a believable emotional quality that makes it engaging reading. I look forward to Astrid’s next adventure.

M.H. Eccleston

M.H. Eccleston has had a fairly meandering career – starting out as a radio presenter for the BBC, then staying at the Beeb as a journalist and producer for six years. After that, it’s a bit of a blur – he spent a couple of decades, at least, freelancing as a foreign correspondent, TV presenter, voice-over artist and film critic. For the last few years, he’s been a full-time screenwriter and now novelist, with some wildlife gardening in the summer to keep himself sane and pay the bills.

Posted in Audiobook Review, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Historical Fiction, New Books, Romance

The Drowned Village Norma Curtis 4*#Review #Audiobook #Review @TheNormaCurtis @bookouture #WW2 #Wales #historicalfiction #contemporaryfiction #romance #relationships #secrets #lies #loss #TheDrownedVillage

She’s guarded her secret for a lifetime. He’s not ready to let go.

Sixty-five years ago. Pushing aside drooping hollyhocks, Elin Jenkins tosses back her dark hair and runs up the familiar path to the tiny village of Capel Celyn, past the mossy graveyard with its crumbling stones, towards the farm that’s been in her family for generations. Laughing, Al catches her around the waist, squeezing her tight. ‘Marry me,’ he whispers. ‘I’ll use my Navy liberty leave, we’ll go ask your parents. I don’t want this to end.’ Tears prick her eyes as she smiles up at him.

Three days later, Al is on his ship back to Pennsylvania. And in the months that follow, Elin’s frantic telegrams to him go unanswered. Then she receives the wedding invitation. Scribbled on the back are three words: No hard feelings.

Present-day. Al Locke, retired Navy Captain, smooths his silver hair and finishes up with a spritz of aftershave. With a spring in his step he hasn’t had for decades, he sets off up the well-worn track through the valley. As he rounds the last bend, his heart begins to race. He has no doubt he will meet her in the village today. He will, at last, hear the horrible truth of what happened to Elin after he left, and he’ll confess why he couldn’t face coming back… until now.

As Al crests the final, familiar hill, a startling brightness draws him in like a vision. Before him, a glittering lake fills the entire valley. The pretty stone village of Capel Celyn, and all traces of Elin, are gone…

A beautiful and heartbreaking story about lost love, forgiveness and family secrets.

(Previously titled The Captain’s Wife)

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this audiobook from Bookouture Audio via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This story works well as an audiobook. The narrator brings each of the main characters to life in a believable way, drawing the reader into their world. It’s a dual timeline story set in WW2 and the postwar period and then in present times. The revised title is apt because it concentrates on the opposition to a proposed reservoir that involved the drowning of the village.

The story’s heart is the short and tragic romance between a young village girl Elin and an American Navy sailor, Al. The novel captures the intensity of their relationship and its sad aftermath beautifully. This story has a mystery, friendship, lies, and secrets and shows first love can resonate for a lifetime.

The gently paced story is full of emotion and historical detail. The ending is poignantly romantic yet realistic.