Meet Me In Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb #HistoricalFiction #Romance @msheatherwebb @HazelGaynor #TuesdayBookBlog

Authors: Hazel Gaynor, Heather Webb

Published: September 2019 by WmMorrowPB

Category: Historical Fiction, Romance, Book Review

Movie stars and paparazzi flock to Cannes for the glamorous film festival, but Grace Kelly, the biggest star of all, wants only to escape from the flash-bulbs. When struggling perfumer Sophie Duval shelters Miss Kelly in her boutique to fend off a persistent British press photographer, James Henderson, a bond is forged between the two women and sets in motion a chain of events that stretches across thirty years of friendship, love, and tragedy.

Fact and fiction mingle in this delightful story. It’s 1955 and Grace Kelly was attending the Monaco Film Festival. Pursued by determined photographer, James Henderson, Grace sought shelter in Sophie Duval’s perfumery boutique. Little did either woman know a friendship had been born that would last a lifetime, or that meeting both of them would change Sophie’s life.

Since her beloved father had passed away, Sophie was the head of the Duval family business which meant having to divide her time between Cannes and Grasse. Not that she minded. Sophie always found it a pleasure to spend time in Grasse. Although in the process of developing a new fragrance and hoping to expand it into a new line, Sophie was aware finances would be a major problem. She was finding it hard to make ends meet as it was, and her mother was no help. She and Sophie’s boyfriend were united in doing their best to persuade her to sell, with their own agendas in mind.

I clenched my jaw to hold back the comments that rose to my tongue. She could stop wasting our money on her late-night spending sprees for one, and two, she could work for a change. With the new fragrance I was developing and tourist season just beginning, I could use the help. But dear Maman worked best from her chaise longue with a glass in her hand, barking orders at a maid we couldn’t afford.

Told from Sophie’s and James’ perspectives——with occasional news articles relating to Grace Kelly, her meeting and subsequent marriage to Prince Rainier of Monaco, and ultimately her tragic death——the three characters’ stories intertwine throughout this wonderful tale. I enjoyed how how Sophie and James interacted with Grace Kelly, each in their own way, the differing experiences of the wedding and particularly how Grace was portrayed.

The intricacies of perfume making were fascinating to read and Sophie’s passion shone through. Love and loss mingle with the vividly atmospheric descriptions of Monaco, Cannes and Grasse.

This is my first book from the Gaynor and Webb collaborations. The writing was so evocative and smooth, with no sign it was co-written. Any worries were completely unfounded. Historical fiction mixed with fact gives the story an added realism plus a glimpse into how the rich and famous live, along with the inevitable paparazzi pack, and I enjoyed it immensely.

About the Authors

Hazel Gaynor is an award-winning New York Times, USA Today, Irish Times, and international bestselling author. Her 2014 debut THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME won the 2015 RNA Historical Novel of the Year award, A MEMORY OF VIOLETS was a 2015 WHSmith Fresh Talent pick, THE GIRL FROM THE SAVOY was shortlisted for the 2017 Irish Book Awards, and THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER’S DAUGHTER was shortlisted for the 2019 HWA Gold Crown Award. LAST CHRISTMAS IN PARIS (co-written with Heather Webb) won the 2018 Women’s Fiction Writers Association Star Award.

Author links ~ Website | Twitter | Facebook

Heather Webb is the USA Today Bestselling and award-winning author of 6 historical novels set in France. She’s also an avid traveler, foodie, and history nerd. A little more about her books: In 2017, LAST CHRISTMAS IN PARIS won the Women’s Fiction Writers Association award, and in 2019, MEET ME IN MONACO was shortlisted for both the RNA award in the UK and also the Digital Book World Fiction prize. Up and coming, Heather has a solo novel set in 20th century U.S. coming soon, as well as her third collaboration with her beloved writing partner, Hazel Gaynor, (as yet to be titled!) publishing in 2021 from HarperCollins.

Author links ~ Website | Facebook | Twitte

Mini #AudiobookReviews ~ Murder Under The Sun/Killing Time/Still Dead by @neilmustard & @katonahprod #Cherringham #CosyMurderMystery #FridayReads

Cherringham is a long running cosy mystery series of shorts, featuring Sarah Edwards and Jack Brennan and narrated perfectly by Neil Dudgeon. Each story is complete, with character development and lives evolving as the time frame moves on. Great for a quick listen and I enjoy catching up with the characters.

Jack, a retired NYPD homicide detective, relocated to the Cotswolds after his wife died and now lives on an old Dutch barge moored at Cherringham, with his dog Riley. Sarah Edwards, a web designer, returned to Cherringham from London with her two children when her husband left the family for his boss. She now runs her own company. She and Jack are Cherringham’s answer to private investigators, except they help out for free.

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#ThrowbackThursday ~ My Grandfather’s Eyes by B.A. Spicer #Psychological #Drama

The kindle edition of My Grandfather’s Eyes, a dark psychological drama, was published in 2013.

My Thoughts

Alex’s story is told, in the first person and present tense and draws the reader into her world of extremely well drawn and distinct, albeit not always likeable, characters that surround her. The narrative begins with the death of Alex’s grandfather, his funeral and the first signs that maybe something about this family is slightly skewed. The heated words Alex overhears exchanged between her mother and father later that night unnerve her although she’s not sure why. 

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The Killings At Badger’s Drift (Chief Inspector Barnaby #1) by Caroline Graham #MidsomerMurders #BookReview #TuesdayBookBlog

Author: Caroline Graham

First Published in 1987 by Century Hutchinson Ltd

Category: Murder, Mystery, Police Procedural, Book Review

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

Badger’s Drift is an ideal English village, complete with vicar, bumbling local doctor, and kindly spinster with a nice line in homemade cookies. But when the spinster dies suddenly, her best friend kicks up an unseemly fuss, loud enough to attract the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby. And when Barnaby and his eager-beaver deputy start poking around, they uncover a swamp of ugly scandals and long-suppressed resentments seething below the picture-postcard prettiness.

Miss Simpson and her long time friend, Lucy Bellringer, had an ongoing but friendly rivalry as who could spot the spurred coral root orchid first. Each summer they searched in the beech woods for the rarely flowering bloom and this year Miss Simpson was excited to have the triumphant first sighting. Marking the almost hidden site she turned to return home when a sound stopped her and she tentatively decided to investigate. Miss Simpson saw something she shouldn’t have that day, and unfortunately sealed her fate.

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A Holiday By Gaslight by @MimiMatthewsEsq #VictorianRomance #HistFic #FridayReads

Author: Mimi Matthews

Published: November 2018 by Perfectly Proper Press

Category: Historical Fiction, Victorian, Romance, Book Review

A Courtship of Convenience

A Last Chance for Love

Sophie Appersett is quite willing to marry outside of her class to ensure the survival of her family. But the darkly handsome Mr. Edward Sharpe is no run-of-the-mill London merchant. He’s grim and silent. A man of little emotion—or perhaps no emotion at all. After two months of courtship, she’s ready to put an end to things.

Sophie had decided to end her courtship with Edward (Ned) Sharpe after two months of trying to draw him out, to get to know him, discover his feelings through meaningful conversation. But it was proving fruitless. He was self contained to the point of impassiveness and their engagement was doomed before it really began.

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The Shadow Man by @Helen_Fields #CrimeFiction #NetGalley #TheShadowMan #TuesdayBookBlog

Author: Helen Fields

Due to be published (Kindle, Audio and Paperback) February 2021

Category: Police Procedural, Crime Fiction, Psychological, Book Review

Elspeth, Meggy and Xavier are locked in a flat. They don’t know where they are, and they don’t know why they’re there. They only know that the shadow man has taken them, and he won’t let them go.

Desperate to escape, the three of them must find a way out of their living hell, even if it means uncovering a very dark truth.

Because the shadow man isn’t a nightmare. He’s all too real.

The Shadow Man is a collector of people, an abductor, watching his victims and planning while learning their routines, until it’s time to make his move. In the opening sequence his plan goes fatally wrong causing him to be careless with his next victim.

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Grace & Serenity by @AnnalisaCrawf #ContemporaryFiction #Manipulation #Psychological #RBRT

I reviewed Grace & Serenity back in July for the blog tour run by Rachel’s Random Resources and am reposting for Rosie Amber’s book review team. 

My Thoughts

This was quite a dark, although sensitively addressed story, and one that emphasises how easily someone can get sucked in to situations they feel unable to control. Grace was just sixteen when she met Neil, and not much older when she became pregnant. Neil had charmed Grace from the beginning but she saw another side of him when she told him she was expecting their child. He didn’t want to know and made his feelings plain. This was the first sign of his true character and a precursor of what was to come.

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High Wire in Nuala (The Inspector de Silva mysteries Book 9) by @harrietsteel1 #HistFic #BookReview for #RBRT #TuesdayBookBlog

Author: Harriet Steel

Kindle Edition

Category: Historical Fiction, Cosy Mystery, Book Review

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Much to the delight of the locals, a colourful Russian circus rolls into Nuala, but the fun ends abruptly when, on the opening night, a tragic accident takes place.

Shanti de Silva and his wife, Jane are among the crowd to witness the accident. Or was it an accident? Inspector de Silva senses murder, and soon, he’s juggling with the evidence. Will the trail lead to the circus’s dashing stunt rider and master of horse, Alexei Goncharov, or to Alexei’s brother Boris, its boisterous ringmaster?

The racecourse in Nuala was busy, but not for the racing. The Russian circus had come to town with its colourful wagons and big top. Excitement had built with the appearance of posters advertising trapeze artists, jugglers and high wire, even a snake charmer—de Silva’s dislike of the reptiles causing him to shudder at the thought—along with several other acts.

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#ThrowbackThursday ~ The Dry by Jane Harper #Murder #Mystery set in Australia

For this week’s Throwback Thursday I’m looking back at The Dry, a book I’ve recently reread to hopefully get my reading mojo back. Published in 2017, The Dry was Jane Harper’s debut novel.

My Thoughts

The small town of Kiewarra is in the deadly grip of a drought. It hasn’t rained for two years and the community is under extreme pressure, becoming ever more scared and desperate, the oppressive heat wearing them down. Then Karen Hadler, and her young son, Billy, are found brutally murdered. Luke Hadler, dead in his truck, a suspected murder/suicide. In response to a note from Gerry Hadler, Luke’s father, ‘Luke lied. You lied. Be at the funeral,’  Federal Police Investigator Aaron Falk arrives back in Kiewarra after an absence of twenty years. 

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The Searcher by Tana French ~ Set in Ireland ~ Character Driven #LiteraryFiction #Audiobook #TuesdayBookBlog

Author: Tana French

Performed by Roger Clark

Released: November 2020 by Penguin Audio

Category: Murder, Mystery, Literary Fiction, Audiobook, Review

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Cal Hooper thought a fixer-upper in a remote Irish village would be the perfect escape. After twenty-five years in the Chicago police force, and a bruising divorce, he just wants to build a new life in a pretty spot with a good pub where nothing much happens.

But then a local kid comes looking for his help. His brother has gone missing, and no one, least of all the police, seems to care. Cal wants nothing to do with any kind of investigation, but somehow he can’t make himself walk away.

Cal Hooper, retired from the Chicago PD after 25 years, relocated to the rural west coast of Ireland after the break up of his marriage and having become disenchanted with the way things were going in America.

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