Wednesday, May 20, 2009

One Deadly Sin by Annie Solomon

Edie Swann heads back to her hometown, Redbud, with one intention only - and that is revenge. She has a list given to her by her dying aunt that has the five names of the men that her father had dealings with shortly before his tragic death. Her only problem is that someone starts off-ing these men making her the main suspect in their murders.

Local lawman and the man that makes Edie's heart race - Holt Drennen is handling the death cases of these prominent Redbud residents... but are they accidental deaths or murders? As his feelings for Edie grow so do his suspicions of her somehow being involved.

This book can be emotional when it delves into Edie's insecurities and fears. Although on the outside she might look tough riding a Harley, tattoos all over and wearing leather - she is rather fragile on the inside. She is a strong character that has to overcome her past and learn to live for herself and her future.

While spine-tingling is not a word that is usually associated with romance Annie Solomon makes it so by her masterful descriptions of these crimes. The not over descriptive intimate love scenes are frequent and varied throughout this read - add in a mysterious murderer, and you have a true page-turner.

There were some interesting plot lines, and the narrative was good enough to keep me intrigued, sometimes to push me to go to the next chapter when I know I should stop and go to bed. It definitely had me guessing as to the twists and turns it was going to take and I was never able to guess whodunnit until the very end. Overall, I enjoyed the book as a nice little romantic suspense read and would definitely recommend it.

Monday, May 18, 2009

*Reprinted with permission from A Comfy Chair and a Good Book

Title: One Fine Day
Author: Mollie Panter-Downes
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 241
Date Finished: 19 Jan 2009
My Rating: 5
Challenges: Decades, New Author, Library, Numbers, 100 +

In this beautiful and lyrically told novel Mollie Panter-Downes chronicles a day in the life of the Marshall family, a middle class family living in post World War II England.
While Britain has come out of the war victorious, life has not returned to what it once was and for most, it never will.

The change the Marshall family feels most keenly is domestic. They have been left to manage a house and garden without the servants that they once had.

"And it suddenly struck him as preposterous how dependent he and his class had been on the anonymous caps and aprons who lived out of sight and worked the
strings. All his life he had expected to find doors opened if he rang, to wake up to the soft rattle of curtain rings being drawn back, to find the fires bright and the coffee smoking hot every morning as though household spirits had been working while he slept. And now the strings had been dropped, they all lay helpless as abandoned marionettes with nobody to twitch them."

The gardener who kept Stephen's garden growing and vital was killed in Holland. The maid, nanny and cook left to help with the war effort and won't be returning. Finding new help is all but impossible as the younger generation looks to expanding possibilities that have opened up beyond their country villages.

Flighty Laura is left to keep the once beautiful, now crumbling, house together and keep dinner from boiling over, burning or being eaten by the cat. Stephen is left with only the occasional help of a slow, plodding, half-deaf old man in the garden. Their daughter, Victoria, does not remember much about life before the war and does not understand her parent's present concerns and stresses.

Mollie Panter-Downes created a very powerful, character driven novel illustrating how life has been irrevocably changed on all levels of society following the war. Through following the seemingly mundane day in the life of one family on a hot summer day we see an entire nation coming to grips with a new way of life and a new social order.
While there is a strong sense of what has been lost throughout the novel, there is also a sense of hope and optimism.

"But never, even then, had Laura felt quite this rush of overwhelming thankfulness, so that the land swam and misted and danced before her. She had had to lose a dog and climb a hill, a year later, to realize what it would have meant if England had lost. We are at peace, we still stand, we will stand when you are dust, sang the humming land in the summer evening."

Originally published in 1947 this novel examines the war and it's impact on those left to pick up the pieces of a post war life.