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At Home in Mitford–welcome to Mitford
At Home in Mitford
by Jan Karon
You’ll want to start the Mitford Years series at the beginning with At Home in Mitford. This character-driven novel introduces you to the fictional, small, North Carolina town of Mitford inhabited by people you will want to know—flaws and all. Father Tim is a devoted and hard working bachelor rector whom everyone loves. He is caring and lives out his Christian faith in his interactions with others from Barnabas, the huge dog that adopts him, settling down only at the quotation of Scripture, to Dooley, a young boy who has had a hard life and needs stability and love.
If you are tired of the endless news cycle, reading At Home in Mitford will give you the break you need. It is a peaceful story spiked with humorous characters and situations, gentle romance, some mysterious happenings, and a little action. Although it has a definite Christian bent, this novel is never “preachy.” One of the themes of the book is found on the first page as Father Tim stops at his office door to pray: “Father, make me a blessing to someone today, through Christ our Lord. Amen.” Overall, you will enjoy the time you spend in Mitford and look forward to returning for another visit.
Category: Fiction, Christian
Notes: This is the first of 14 books, which may seem like a daunting number, but I encourage you to give it a try. Even if you don’t plan on reading the whole series, I think you will enjoy At Home in Mitford. I have read the series, some as a group when I discovered this author and many others as they were published over the years. I just reread this first novel with my book club, and I enjoyed it thoroughly all over again.
Publication: 1994—Penguin Books
“You don’t ramble at all, you get right to the point, and it’s always God’s point, as far as I can see. But, do you know what I appreciate more than your sermons?” “What’s that?” “The fact that you love us. Yes, that’s enough for me, that you love us.”
Good heavens, thought the rector. No wonder he had never felt the need to devour mystery and suspense stories. Nearly every day he encountered mysteries and suspense galore.
How could he have considered taking Monday off? Monday was the diving board poised over the rest of the week. One walked out on the board, reviewed the situation, planned one’s strategy, bounced a few times to get the feel of things, and then made a clean dive. Without Monday, one simply bombed into the water, belly first, and hoped for the best.
A Deathly Silence–horrific crime
A Deathly Silence
by Jane Isaac
Detective Chief Inspector Helen Lavery has been recuperating from work related injuries when she gets called back by the horrific death of a young woman. Helen, a widow and the mother of two boys, was fast-tracked into her current position and leads a team of investigators in Jane Isaac’s A Deathly Silence which is a police procedural on steroids.
This mystery details the dangerous investigation that leads Helen and her team to examine evidence, interview suspects and witnesses multiple times, attend autopsies, engage in stake-outs, create timelines, and gather to brainstorm theories. The clues become even more muddled as a leak appears and Helen and her team wonder who they can trust. One death seems to lead to more, and even the gang that previously sidelined Helen comes under suspicion. A Deathly Silence is a top-notch mystery and police procedural. Helen is a likable main character, but the plot is the show stopper in this book that will set you up to want to read more in this series. The murder is a surprise as is the motive.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Legend Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: Mystery, General Fiction (Adult)
Notes: As #3 in the the DCI Helen Lavery Novel Series, this book can most definitely work as a standalone; I was not aware it was part of a series until I prepared to write this review.
Publication: October 15, 2019—Legend Press
He was in a tailspin, a swirling vortex of emotions, his heart fighting to burst out of his chest.
Teamwork existed on trust and the very idea that one of her people had betrayed that trust was like a fishbone lodged in the back of her throat.
There were always more casualties than the dead in a murder investigation.
It Won’t Be Christmas Without You–white Christmas in England
It Won’t Be Christmas Without You
by Beth Reekles
Cara and Eloise are twins in Beth Reekles’ It Won’t Be Christmas Without You. The author never tells if they are identical twins or not, but they are certainly different in personality. Cara is a workaholic, driven to earn an early promotion. She feels she has always had to work extra hard to achieve grades and jobs. Eloise is a teacher and success in school and in finding her first job comes easier for her. She, however, always feels lacking in the friendship department.
This year Eloise’s world is turned upside down as their parents announce that they will take a beach vacation on what is Eloise’s favorite holiday, Christmas. Cara decides she may opt out of their traditional celebration also in favor of working. The conflict in the book revolves around the tension between the siblings as they move closer to December 25. Both of the twins become involved in romantic relationships with likable young men.
The chapters move along a timeline which is a countdown to Christmas. It was a quick read, but I never felt fully invested in the characters. I was more of an outsider looking in on the action. I enjoyed learning about some mentioned British foods: roasties, bacon sarnies, and the sweet treats of individual, packaged mince pies, Celebrations, and Roses.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to HarperCollins (One More Chapter) for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: General Fiction (A), Romance
Notes: Contains a lot of British Vulgarisms
Publication: August 30, 2019—HarperCollins (One More Chapter)
Wow. She’d actually done it. She’d gone for the blackmail card. Guilting her twin with her own broken heart.
But it did mean she was lacking in experience when it came to relationship problems. Like what to do when you think your boyfriend is lying to you. (Google wasn’t very helpful, when she asked it.)
The burn on the back of her forearm she’d got an hour ago was still red and angry, so she slapped a little Savlon on it. Salon would cure everything that a good cup of tea couldn’t, she was convinced.
Nothing could fix this Christmas.