The Secret Keeper

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

This book is told in three different timelines, 1940s, 1960s, and 2011 England with four different narrators: Laurel (1960s + 2011) and Dorothy, Jamie, and Violet (1940s).

1960s

Greenacres

Laurel Nicolson is 16-years old. They are having a party for her little brother Gerald, but instead of going out to the yard to join them in the picnic, she stole away from her large family to the barn loft to read a play and dream about her motorcycle driving bad boy crush.

She decides to go in the treehouse as it is cooler and a better spot. She is sitting up there and spots her mom, Dorothy, holding her little brother and the special birthday cake cutting knife. When all of a sudden a man approaches her mother and brother. She can see her mother is upset, scared? She sets Gerald down as the man speaks to her, and then Laurel watches her mother stab the man, killing him.

The police are called and when questioned, both Laurel and Dorothy’s stories match up with self-defense and that ends the event. Laurel forgets all about it and when she turns 18, leaves the farm and heads to London to pursue acting.

2011

London and Greenacres

Laurel has become a successful actress and has never returned home. She’s stayed in touch and isn’t separated from her family, she just never returned to the farm. Now it is her mom’s 90th birthday, and the family is getting all together to celebrate. Dorothy has dementia and resides in a facility, so Laurel decides to stay at Greenacres.

onthefarm

While there the whole memory of the killing comes back to her. More questions arise when she looks through their mother trunks that were always off-limits growing up. Laurel realizes that she has no clue who her mother was, and sets out to find out who she was.

I thought I knew my mother, but I was wrong.

1940s

London

Dorothy Smitham has always wanted the finer things in life, to be more-have more. She falls in love with Jimmy Metcalfe, aspiring photographer. She wants to get married, but Jimmy wants to have a job, money, and a place. He goes to London and travels around photographing the city and World War II.

Dorothy follows him to London and starts renting an old closet in a boarding house (housing shortage) and searching for a job. Her friend’s father, a psychologist, gets her hired as a companion to a Lady.

There Dorothy gets the taste of the high life and becomes consumed with moving up. She has always loved nice things and now she lusts after it-doing all she can to be the one the lady leaves her money and wealth to. She cuts all her true friends and Jimmy, to make sure she is exactly what her employer wants.

Dorothy also becomes obsessed with the beautiful socialite across the street, Violet Jenkins. She meets her at a WAC meeting and does all she can to emulate her, and believes them to be friends.

But when Dorothy is betrayed and finds Violet to be at fault, she searches out Jimmy and has him join her in a plan to get back at Violet and get the money to run away and start a farm.

But things don’t according to plan. Violet and Jimmy fall in love and someone winds up dead. Will Laurel be able to handle the truth about her mother?

Thoughts After Reading:

I loved it. It was really interesting, completely compelling, and had one fantastic twist of an ending.

For more books that take place during World War I, go to The Butterfly and the Violin

For more not in a series mysteries, go to The Phantom of the Opera

The Butterfly and the Violin

18850688

The Butterfly and the Violin (A Hidden Masterpiece Novel) by Kristy Cambron

This book is two stories intertwining that connect by the end of the novel.

He’s cute!

First we have Adele Von Bron concert violinist and Austria’s sweetheart, living in pre-World War II Europe. She is the daughter of a high ranking Nazi official, but doesn’t agree with his politics as they go against her Christian faith.

She is part of the Philharmonic, where she meets the son of an average man, but the one she falls in love with is, Vladamir.

Everything in her world is changed when she is caught trying to help a Jewish family flee Austria. She is caught and her punishment to be sent to Auschwitz to work in the camps.

But when she gets there, she is set to join Auschwitz’s Women’s Orchestra. There she goes through all kinds of troubles and problems, doing her best to stay alive.

The second half of the book is about Sera James, art gallery owner. She was left at the altar two years ago, and has been completely brokenhearted.

Since then she has focused all her attention on trying to find this painting of Adele Von Bron, one that was created while they were in Auschwitz.

Her research has reached a dead end and Sera is at a loss for the next step until she discovers a a copy of the painting behind an object up for auction at an estate sale. She emails the owner and then receives a plane ticket and request from millionaire and businessman Will Hanover.

She flies out to meet him and finds out that Will Hanover is in a tough spot. His grandfather died recently and left all the money, assets, and business to the owner of the painting of Adele.

He has been searching for the owner when he heard from Sera. He infuriates Sera when he accuses her of trying to steal his family’s fortune.

He returns and asks for forgiveness. The two then begin searching and Sera starts falling for Will. But does Will feel the same way? Or is he just using her to get the painting?

Hmm…

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

Thoughts After Reading:

The book wasn’t that good.

The author suffered from trying to do too much with the two story lines that it caused her to fall into overdone clichés and have a lack of character development. The book was rushed too fast to reach a conclusion, and to quote Wayne’s World they made it a “super happy ending”.

I hate it

I didn’t care for it and thought it would be better if it had been focused on either storyline of Adele or the search of the painting instead of stretching the author with these two pairings. Adele’s journey is told in half points with a quick summary of what happened next, and Sera’s search barely anything as the painting felt like it was instantly discovered after the two “joined” forces.

That’s it?

Like Will’s grandpa just choose to leave it to the girl so Will could become a minister instead of taking the mantle of the business. Well that’s fine for him but what about everybody else? Did you even think how that would affect them all?

And what qualifications does that woman have to run a business? I mean really? All he knows of her was what happened in WWII. How do you know she won’t run everything down to the ground?

For more historical fiction, go to Whistling in the Dark

For more books that take place in World War II, go to The Hyde Park Murder

For more Christian books, go to The Undoing of Saint Silvanus

For more bible verses, go to Everybody Called Her a Saint

The Yellow Room

yellowroom

The Yellow Room by Mary Roberts Rhinehart

Thoughts Before Reading:

I have only read one other mystery by Mary Roberts Rhinehart, The State Versus Elinor Norton. I thought it was boring, predictable, and I did not like it.

I never would have picked up another one of her books, but this was free and she is considered  one of “the grand dames” of mysteries and the “American Agatha Christie”, so I thought I would give it another shot.

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

Plot Synopsis:

The book is set during World War II. Our main character is Carol Spencer. Her fiancé is believed dead and Carol at loose ends and grieving;

To give her something to do, her mother sends her out to open the old holiday home in Maine, Crestview.

Carol loved it as a child, but now it has creepy elements.

And in the linen closet, Carol finds the dead, burned body of a girl.

Nooo!

Soon Carol is suspected as the killer, even though she has a rock-solid alibi. It is up to her to figure out who the murderer is.

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

Thoughts After Reading:

SO BORING I HATED IT.

Mary Roberts Rinehart, I don’t think I’ll be reading you anytime soon.

For more mysteries that are not in a series, go to The Madwoman Upstairs

For more book reviews, go to The Hyde Park Murder

The Hyde Park Murder

Happy 4th of July Everyone!

applepie

Typically I post a recipe, but as I stumbled upon a book that not only takes place on the 4th of July but features a president, I thought I would post on this instead.

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

Hydeparkmurder

The Hyde Park Murder (Eleanor Roosevelt Investigates #2) by Elliot Roosevelt

Neighbor Adriana van der Meer comes to Eleanor Roosevelt for help. She was engaged to Bob Hannah, but her parents no longer want her to see him. His father, Alfred Doolittle Hannah, has just been accused of a multi-million dollar stock swindle.

But before the case can go to court, Bob’s father dies by suicide.

Not only are the upcoming nuptials on hold, but Bob is convinced that not only did his father not participate in the scam, but that he did not die by suicide but:

Bob sets out to investigate, going undercover as a lowly employee in his father’s former company. He also gets assistance from a call girl, Miss Moira Lasky.

On the case!

Eleanor decides to assist, bringing in the Securities and Exchange Commissioner, Joseph P. Kennedy, Mayor Fiorella La Guardia, Supreme Justice Brandies, and congressman Sam Rayburn.

It turns out that what they stumbled on is more than just a con, but masking who is really behind it all; the growing German Nazi Party.

Seriously?

Will they be able to stop them before they take America’s money to fund their war?

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

Thoughts After Reading:

It was okay.

I didn’t think it was as bad as the first one, but it was pretty boring and bland.

They go on and on about stock information I really did not care to know about.

 The only interesting character was Moira but she wasn’t in the book enough.

So pretty much:

For more Eleanor Investigates, go to Murder and the First Lady

For more 4th of July posts, go to Happy 4th of July Triple Berry Salad

For more holiday posts, go to Crazy Cantina Chili

For more books based on real people, go to The Alchemy of Murder

For more on mysteries with embezzlement, go to Murder Well Done

God Bless America,
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Thru the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home.

Happy 4th of July!

Murder and the First Lady

3138983

Murder and the First Lady (Eleanor Roosevelt Investigates #1) by Elliot Roosevelt

When one of Mrs. Roosevelt’s employees is suspected of murdering her boyfriend, Mrs. Roosevelt decides to investigate in order to clear her aide’s name.

The murdered boyfriend is the son of a congressman and he does not care for the First Lady’s involvement, especially as she starts to unearth some unsavory things about his son.

Mrs. Roosevelt will not give up, going from gambling dens to brothels in order to find the truth.

Thoughts After Reading:

I hated it.

It was so dumb. How could the President’s wife go undercover as a prostitute and no one notice?

Yeah, thought this was dumb and boring. Definitely a skip.

For more mysteries based on real people, go to The Alchemy of Murder

For more historical fiction, go to A Duty to the Dead

For more on going undercover as a prostitute, go to A Most Peculiar Circumstance

For more mystery reviews, go to The Sign of the Four