Under Currents by Nora Roberts ~ Every Town Has It’s Ugly Little Secrets #FamilySaga #TuesdayBookBlog @NoraRobertsFans

Author: Nora Roberts

Performed by January LaVoy

Published: July 2019 by Hachette Audio UK

Category: Contemporary Fiction, Family Saga, Romance, Audiobook, Book Review

Zane Bigelow grew up in a beautiful, perfectly kept house in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Strangers and even Zane’s own aunt across the lake see his parents as a successful surgeon and his stylish wife, making appearances at their children’s ballet recitals and baseball games. Only Zane and his sister know the truth, until one brutal night finally reveals cracks in the facade, and Zane escapes for college without a thought of looking back…

Well respected chief of surgery Dr Graham Bigelow and his wife, Eliza lived in the small and exclusive community of Lakeview Terrace, overlooking the lake and the Blue Ridge Mountains, with their teenage children Zane and Britt. To outside appearances they have the perfect life and want for nothing. Appearances can be very deceptive and nobody really knows what really goes on behind closed doors. Graham wasn’t the man everyone thought he is. Nor was his wife the woman she showed to the world. Zane and Britt lived in fear of the very people they should be able to rely on and trust implicitly. 

Zane and his sister were looking forward to Christmas, seeing their grandparents and hanging out at their aunt Emily’s house across the lake. But Zane didn’t get to see anyone or go anywhere over Christmas. That was when he decided to start a journal and swore to himself he’d build his strength.

Maybe nobody will believe me. He says they won’t. He’s too important, too smart, so they won’t believe me, but my English teacher says that writing things down can help you think and to remember stuff. I need to remember.

Zane loved baseball. To play for a major team was his dream and college was his way of escape. He worried what would happen when he wasn’t there to look out for Britt and knew he’d have to be very careful, pretend acquiescence, or his father would make good on his threat to send him to military school. Everything changed on one horrifically violent night when Zane’s dream was shattered.

In the second part of the story set several years later, we meet Darby McCray, looking for a new start and a good place to settle. Lakeview seems perfect and is far enough away from her bad memories. Darby is soon integrated into the local community as she builds up her gardening and landscape business. I had major envy for the garden schemes described so beautifully.

Zane has returned home after several years as an attorney, wanting to be near his aunt, her family and Britt who is now a psychologist. Both he and Darby feel the need to belong, and find they have to face up to and deal with events from their pasts before they can fully move forward.

Nora Roberts has written a powerful story about abuse, the far reaching effects and the comfort and healing provided by a caring extended family unit and a close knit community. The characters are fully rounded and realistic. The evil ones may be a little stereotypical and it’s pretty easy to guess more or less what will happen with regard to them. Rather than suspense, the strength in this story lies in the wonderfully vivid characters, family dynamics (be they good or not) and relationships, the feelgood factor when good triumphs and certain people get what they deserve. Having said that, the first part of the book is a difficult read, dark and intense, and may not be suitable for anyone who has had experience of abuse. Counteracting the horror are those people who go the extra mile to help and are always there for love and support.

January LaVoy is one of my favourite female narrators and she did a great job with Under Currents.

Book links ~ Amazon UK | Amazon US 

About the Author

Nora Roberts is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than 200 novels, including The Liar, The Collector, Whiskey Beach, The Witness, and many more. She is also the author of the bestselling In Death series written under the pen name J. D. Robb. There are more than 500 million copies of her books in print.

You can keep up with Nora via her Website and Facebook

#ThrowbackThursday ~ The Regrets of Cyrus Dodd ~ The Wyattsville Series Book 4 by @BetteLeeCrosby ~ Family #Saga

Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favourites, as well as books that have been waiting on the ‘to be read’ pile for however long, and are finally getting an airing.

This week my choice is another Bette Lee Crosby book. The Wyattsville series is a lovely collection of books with charming and empathetic characters.

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The Lost Letters by Sarah Mitchell ~ Dual Timeline #Family #Saga reviewed for #RBRT @SarahM_writer @Bookouture

Author: Sarah Mitchell

Published: August 2018 by Bookouture

Category: Contemporary, Historical, Fiction, Dual Timeline, Book Review

Norfolk, 1940: Sylvia’s husband Howard has gone off to war, and she is struggling to raise her two children alone. Her only solace is her beach hut in Wells-Next-The-Sea, and her friendship with Connie, a woman she meets on the beach. The two women form a bond that will last a lifetime, and Sylvia tells Connie something that no-one else knows: about a secret lover… and a child.

Canada, present day: When Martha’s beloved father dies, he leaves her two things: a mysterious stash of letters to an English woman called ‘Catkins’ and directions to a beach hut in the English seaside town of Wells. Martha is at a painful crossroads in her own life, and seizes this chance for a trip to England – to discover more about her family’s past, and the identity of her father’s secret correspondent. Continue reading

Chasing Ghosts (The Dudley Sisters #6) by Madalyn Morgan #BlogTour #Giveaway @rararesources #HistFic @ActScribblerDJ

Welcome to my stop on the Blog Tour for Chasing Ghosts by Madalyn Morgan, courtesy of Rachels Random Resources. Heres a short summary of the book before my review…

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Mourning Dove by Claire Fullerton ~ 1970s Southern Family Saga @cfullerton3 #TuesdayBookBlog

Author: Claire Fullerton

Published: June 2018 by Firefly Southern Fiction

Category: 1970s Southern Fiction, Family Saga, Book Review

The heart has a home when it has an ally. If Millie Crossan doesn’t know anything else, she knows this one truth simply because her brother Finley grew up beside her. Charismatic Finley, eighteen months her senior, becomes Millie’s guide when their mother Posey leaves their father and moves her children from Minnesota to Memphis shortly after Millie’s tenth birthday. 

Born in Minnesota, and spending their formative years there, ten-year old Mille Crossan and her older brother Finley were uprooted and moved to Memphis.

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#ThrowbackThursday ~ Spare Change by Bette Lee Crosby #FamilySaga #HistFic

Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favourites, as well as books that were published over a year ago. Not to mention those that are languishing on the to be read pile for whatever reason.

Today I’m returning to Spare Change by Bette Lee Crosby. First published in 2013 it’s the first in a gritty, small town family saga.

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Beyond the Carousel (Wyattsville 5) by @BetteLeeCrosby #BookReview #FridayReads Family #Saga

  • 32951455Author: Bette Lee Crosby
  • Published: January 2017 by Bent Pine Publishing
  • Category: Family Saga, Romance
  • five-stars

A FAMILY TRAGEDY, A 25 YEAR OLD MURDER, AND A DETECTIVE DETERMINED TO MAKE THINGS RIGHT…

Laura Wilkes has everything a woman could want when she snaps the carousel picture. Her daughter, a happy little five-year-old, is holding the brass ring and smiling at a daddy who adores her. Each time the carousel circles around Laura snaps another picture, seven in all. This is a day of unforgettable happiness; one of the few Laura has left.

When Emory Hawthorne came into money bequeathed to him from his long absent father, he moved his family from their cold water flat into a dream house. For all her inherent frugality, Emory’s wife, Rose, and eleven year old Laura, loved the house. As the years passed and Emory’s salary increased, Rose learned to adapt and became more accustomed to being able to buy what she wanted. Laura secured a secretarial job at the bank working for the vice president. And it was there she met Franklin Wilkes. Continue reading

The Secrets Amongst the Cypress ~ The House of Crimson & Clover Vol VIII by Sarah Cradit Family #Saga @thewritersarah

  • 31685273Author: Sarah M. Cradit
  • Kindle Edition
  • Category: Family Saga, Fantasy, Historical
  • five-stars

Amelia and Jacob have landed in a very familiar where. The when is a whole other matter.

Jacob’s first experience with time travel leaves him and Amelia stranded in 1861 Louisiana on the cusp of the Civil War. With no luggage and no invitation, they find themselves at the mercy of Charles and Brigitte Deschanel, who, for now, believe they are cousins visiting from abroad.

Secrets Among the Cypress, the eighth volume in the House of Crimson and Clover series follows the fortunes of Jacob and Amelia. As a result of horrifically tragic events and to escape more danger, Jacob transports himself and Amelia back in time, not certain where they will end up. Recovering from the disorientation they realise with incredulity they are at Ophélie, but a very different Ophélie than they know. Jacob and Amelia find themselves the uninvited guests of Charles and Brigitte Deschanel in pre Civil War Louisiana, the day of Ophélie Deschanel’s sixteenth birthday. Continue reading

The Regrets of Cyrus Dodd ~ The Wyattsville Series Book 4 by @BetteLeeCrosby ~ Family #Saga

  • 29983645-2Author: Bette Lee Crosby
  • Published: June 2016 by Bent Pine Publishing
  • Category: Contemporary, Family Saga
  • four-half-stars

Revenge, death, deception… These are the things Cyrus Dodd has to overcome if he is to give Ruth the life he’s promised her. The problem is he’s got a prideful nature and when a seemingly innocuous argument leads to a bitter feud with his neighbor, his life changes forever. The plans he has falls by the wayside and before he finds a way to fix it, he comes to understand the meaning of regret.

As Cyrus Dodd looks back over a long life, threaded through with what he considered regrets, he realises those regrets he was holding onto were actually challenges, which eventually developed into blessings in disguise. ‘Mine has been a complicated life, a story worthy of telling, but to appreciate the end you have to go back to the beginning.’

In 1930 Cyrus Dodd and his wife, Ruth lived and farmed in Elk Bend, West Virginia. Cyrus’ neighbour, Virgil Jackson, controlled the water supply to the adjoining farms. When Cyrus and Virgil had a falling out, neither would back down and it escalated until Virgil dammed the spring on his land and cut of Cyrus’ water supply, causing his crops to fail. Unsuccessful attempts to end the feud only seemed to make matters worse. Both men were stubborn and strong-willed. Continue reading

Empire of Shadows ~ The House of Crimson and Clover #5

  • EoSAuthor: Sarah M Cradit
  • Kindle Edition
  • Category: Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance, Saga
  • five-stars

Two dynasties clash for power. Only one empire can emerge. In a time now legend, a sacred vow united the Farværdig and the Tuatha Dé Danann. One race born of fire, the other risen from nature. Together, they enjoyed centuries of peace and prosperity, under the protective blanket of this hallowed oath. But when war came to the doorstep of the Tuatha, the Farværdig turned their backs. Expelled from their lands, those Tuatha who were not extinguished went into hiding, later re-emerging in secret as the Quinlans. The broken vow took its toll on the Farværdig, dividing the race into two factions: those willing to fall to heel of new restrictive laws, and rebels determined to restore the peaceful values of their kind. In the midst of years of strife that follows, a Prophecy emerged, promising hope. Unite the races once more, and right the ancient wrong. As the shadows of age and myth are exposed, the Deschanels find themselves deeply enmeshed in this war. Their bloodline and futures closely intertwined with both races, each member of the family must uncover their own vital role in fulfilling the Prophecy or risk decimation. 

Empire of Shadows opens with Anasofiya, Finn and Aidrik’s search for Finn’s grandfather’s house in the Scottish highlands. They are desperate to find shelter in time for Ana to give birth. Finn’s strong connection with nature is growing rapidly, thanks to Aidrik and finally, with some assistance, they find the house in a clearing in the forest. Limited by the fact Empyrean blood causes babies to grow rapidly and, as in a few weeks the child’s appearance will be that of a young man, this was their only option.

They stay for nearly three months as Ana recovers and the now adolescent Aleksandr continues developing.

“I wish we could stay forever.” Aleksandr sighed, as they eased down next to him. Their son, now a man. It happened before Aidrik could process the way his soft head felt in his hands, or ingrain the sound of baby giggles to memory. he knew this sensation must be worse for Anasofiya, although she said nothing to him on the matter.

The narrative alternates between several groups ~ Nicolas and those family members at Ophélie ~ Finn, Ana and Aidrik with Agripin and the Empyrean Senetat ~ and Amelia and Jacob in Ireland.

As Ophélie is being readied to house and educate as many Empyrean children as possible, Nicolas is feeling inhibited by events. Knowing he will follow through with his commitment doesn’t make things any easier, being responsible for others is completely out of his comfort zone and he struggles with unfamiliar emotions. The Deschanels, and Oz, are all involved in the project and have their individual tasks. The uncertainty of what is to come and the unpredictability of how long much longer Ophélie will stay under the Empyreans’ radar is affecting them all.

The threat of the Eldre Senetat hangs over Aidrik, Finn, Ana and Aleksandr. As Aidrik appeals to Agripin, the son of the Empyrean emperor, for help, Amelia and Jacob begin to learn about their destiny and past connections. Shocking events in Ireland take them to the edge and beyond. All the family members need to use their enhanced resources like never before. Lives are on the line.

Empire of Shadows weaves together storylines, past and present, and a lot of questions are answered, even as more arise, in a turbulent and highly charged narrative. The situations the characters find themselves in are dangerous and challenging in the extreme and the parallel storylines keep the fast paced narrative flying along, tragic and terrible as it unfolds.

The relationships and characters, and there are lots both new and old, are detailed and defined and considerably more developed. The writing and plot line are incredibly imaginative and involved. The continuation of the druid storyline and Amelia and Jacob’s story is one of my favourites and the mythology aspect is an added bonus. A fascinating continuation of the saga.

My thanks to Sarah Cradit for sending an ARC in return for an honest review.

Book links ~ Amazon UK Amazon US

C&C