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Top Reads Recommended by Flaxmere Book Chat

Flaxchat Aug

Flaxmere Book Chat has been really getting into the historical fiction and mysteries lately. Perfect wintertime reading. Click on the titles for catalogue information.

Henry VIII: the heart of the crown by Alison Weir
This is a dense read that will suit the reader who has read the Six Tudor Queens series - also by Alison Weir - as it follows in great detail the life of Henry VIII. It shows how much the King depended on his advisors, but unfortunately, he seemed to have executed most of the good ones. With the right people around him he was a better king, but without them he became self-centred and tyrannical. An interesting read, particularly about Anne of Cleeves, who despite their hasty divorce only months into their marriage, became a great friend of the King.

The Judge’s List by John Grisham
An excellent read following the life of a successful judge who, because of something that happened in his youth, kept a list of those he had a grudge against. Meanwhile the wife of a murdered man has collected information about him and persuades a legal investigator to look into the death, and also many other deaths. Grisham’s a great writer and this is quite a page-turner.

The Silver Wolf by J C Harvey
This is the first in a trilogy set during the 30 Years War which raged in Central Europe in the 1600s. The story follows a young lad, Jack, who is orphaned when his father dies mysteriously, his mother also killed while clutching a silver wolf pendant. Taking it as a talisman, Jack grows up as the war continues, travelling between battles while trying to uncover the truth behind his father’s death. An interesting book, but quite dense.

Home Front Girls by Rosie Goodwin
A great story that follows the lives of three young women living in Coventry during World War II. In spite of each being from quite a different background, they become firm friends while working at a department store. With the war coming closer to home, they find they are going to really need each other. Another terrific read with characters you really care about from this popular author.

The Little Angel by Rosie Goodwin
We have two recommendations by Rosie Goodwin - she's just such a nice read. With The Little Angel, we're in Victorian England this time. A well-to-do couple take in orphaned children and give them a good home-life, including Kitty who grows into a beautiful young woman. The promise of finding wealth and the family she thought lost turn her head and she goes off to tread the boards of music halls in the big city. But can her new-found family be trusted? A wonderful, heart-felt story.

Home Before Night by J P Pomare
This novel is set in Melbourne during the Covid epidemic. A curfew has been put in place so that people cannot be out later than 8:00 pm, nor travel beyond a five km radius from their home. When Lou’s nineteen-year-old son doesn’t come home, she begins to worry. He doesn’t answer his phone and there’s no activity on his social media accounts. Lou can’t go the police because she has secrets, so relies on a private detective. An engaging plot with a terrific twist.

Identity by Nora Roberts
The main character, Morgan, dreams of owning her own bar, but when she’s randomly attacked, leaves the city for her hometown to work at a hotel. But it seems someone has stolen her identity, raking up huge bills on her credit cards. A very clever story that might have you rethinking how you manage your digital profile.

The Lives of Stella Bain by Anita Shrieve
Beginning during World War I, this novel follows a woman who has been found wounded after an explosion near a battlefield in France. She has no memory of the past or who she is. In London she is looked after by a doctor specialising in brain injury. As she slowly recovers her memory, the story fills in her life in America, an unhappy marriage, and her desperation to be with her children. Quite a good read although the lengthy court drags a little.

The Last Heir to Blackwood Library by Hester Fox
This cosy mystery begins when Ivy inherits Blackwood Abbey in Yorkshire. It’s not long after WWI, and Ivy must deal with problematic servants who don’t want her around, a missing manuscript and secret library. There’s also the story of a walled-in nun or anchoress from the 1300s, and the discovery of a mysterious skeleton. Such a lot going on, but a really enjoyable read.

A Remarkable Woman by Jules Van Mil
Avril is a French woman with skills as a seamstress and a designer, taught by her mother. Her dream is to emigrate to Australia where she plans to start a fashion business. It’s just after WWII and Avril has family in Melbourne so her future seems bright. But events in her personal life see her abandoning the city for a cattle station in Queensland to work as a nanny.  An engaging historical romance.

Echo Lake by Joan Sauers
This is a lighter kind of murder mystery following amateur sleuth Rose McHugh who moves to the country after her divorce to start again. Digging in her garden, she finds a roll of film which turns out to reveal the image of a missing woman. When Rose begins to investigate, she finds a killer on the loose. As she gets nearer to uncovering the murderer, danger gets closer too. A really good read.


5 September 2023

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