The Captain’s Daughter, by Jennifer Delamere

book cover The Captain's DaughterPublisher’s Overview:

London, 1879

Forced to Leave All She Loves Behind, She Seeks a New Life in a City Bursting with Opportunity, But Fraught with Danger

When a series of circumstances beyond her control leaves Rosalyn Bernay alone and penniless in London, she chances upon a job backstage at a theater putting on the most popular show in the city. A talented musician and singer, she feels immediately at home and soon becomes enthralled with the idea of pursuing a career on the stage. That is, as long as the shadows from her past don’t catch up with her.

After a hand injury forces Nate Moran from his army regiment in India, he returns home to London, a place that holds bitter memories. He agrees to fill in temporarily as a stagehand while his brother recuperates from a broken leg, but Nate is counting down the days until he can rejoin his regiment. His future is decided–until he meets a beautiful woman who has found a new lease on life in the very place Nate yearns to leave behind.

First Thoughts:

This is the first in a new London-based series by an author I don’t recall reading before.

My Take:

Let me first say that, although I don’t usually judge books by their covers, I love the back cover of The Captain’s Daughter. It’s of a rural English station made of brick and there’s a steam train pulling in. Growing up in Britain, I did a lot of traveling by train and that illustration took me right back to some of the stations on my journeys.

The cover isn’t the only aspect of this novel that grabbed me. It was delightful to find light opera composers Gilbert and Sullivan within its pages. The plot features HMS Pinafore and includes the debut performance of The Pirates of Penzance. Members of Pinafore’s cast become Rosalyn’s friends. As far as I can tell, the story stays close to known historical facts about Gilbert and Sullivan’s productions, including a copyright performance of Pirates with which Rosalyn gets involved.

I found The Captain’s Daughter difficult to put down. Yes, I was frustrated by the love triangle in it because I wanted Rosalyn to wake up but that just made me want to continue reading. It’s a great start to a new series and I’m looking forward to reading the next book when it comes out.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity and Bethany House for my complimentary copy of The Captain’s Daughter, which I received in exchange for my honest review.

This review is part of a Litfuse Publicity Book Tour

Have you read The Captain’s Daughter? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Excerpt

Publisher: Bethany House (a division of Baker Publishing)

Publication Date: 28 February 2017

Page Count: 352

Read more on:   Jennifer Delamere’s Website   Bethany House’s Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-a-million   Christianbook.com

A Secret Courage, by Tricia Goyer

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

American Emma Hanson came to England to study at Oxford, but joined the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force at the height of World War II. She is stationed at beautiful and historic Danesfield House west of London as part of the highly secretive Photographic Reconnaissance Unit.

Englishman Will Fleming is a handsome young artist who has been commissioned by the British government to record the changing landscape in paintings. His path intersects with Emma’s when his real mission—tracking Nazi spies—leads him to Danesfield House, the target of a sinister plot.

Emma and Will become friends, but neither can reveal the true nature of their assignment. Can their relationship grow amid such secrecy? And can Will save Danesfield House—and Emma and her coworkers—before it’s too late?

First Thoughts:

I’ve enjoyed Tricia Goyer’s previous World War 2 novels, and this is about a war location in the UK that I’d not heard of previously.

My Take:

I’m often drawn to historical novels set in my home country, and World War 2 novels often give me a glimpse of what my grandparents might’ve experienced during that dark time. I occasionally learn something new from them as well; I’d not heard of Danesfield House before reading A Secret Courage, although I knew that aerial reconnaissance was a vital part of the war effort.

The opening scene was set in 1940 and showed Will being chased by the London police through the city. Although it was a tense passage, I admit that I didn’t quite understand how it was important to the plot. Readers were next introduced to Emma at her job in 1943, and then Berndt Eldwin who was obviously the bad guy. I couldn’t see where the plot was going, however, until some way into the book. As the tension slowly built, I felt at times like Emma. I didn’t know who to trust. I knew that Berndt couldn’t have been acting alone, but I didn’t guess the identity of his co-conspirator until that person was introduced at the climax.

Although Emma is American, there are several mentions of her mother being British. One description of Mrs. Hanson really stood out to me: that she was someone who “buttered her bread one bite at a time.” I wanted to shout out, “Yes!” It might not seem as anything other than a passing comment but it rang true for me, because this is something I do.

I’m not sure how I feel about the ending. It isn’t what I would call a perfectly happy ending, but it is one of hope. I thought there were some floating loose ends concerning supporting characters and, since, this is the first book of a new series set during the war, I’d hoped the story of these characters might’ve been continued. It appears, however, that the second book in the series will be about new characters.

Thank you to Harvest House for my complimentary electronic copy of A Secret Courage, which I downloaded via NetGalley.

Have you read A Secret Courage? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Excerpt

Publisher: Harvest House

Publication Date: 01 April 2017

Page Count: 304

Read more on:   Tricia Goyer’s Website   Harvest House’s Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-a-million   Christianbook.com

The Kill Fee, by Fiona Veitch Smith

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

Poppy Denby, arts and entertainment editor at the Daily Globe, covers an exhibition of Russian art, hosted by White Russian refugees, including members of the surviving exiled Romanov royal family. There is an armed robbery, a guard is shot, and the largest Fabergé egg in the collection is stolen. While the egg itself is valuable, the secrets it contains within are priceless–secrets that could threaten major political powers.

Suspects are aplenty, including the former keeper of the Fabergé egg, a Russian princess named Selena Romanova Yusopova. The interim Bolshevik Russian ambassador, Vasili Safin, inserts himself into the investigation, as he believes the egg–and the other treasures–should all be restored to the Russian people.

Poppy, her editor, Rollo, press photographer Daniel, and the other staff of the Globe are delighted to be once again in the middle of a sensational story. But soon the investigation takes a dark turn when another body is found and an employee of the newspaper becomes a suspect. The race is on to find both the key and the egg–can they be found before the killer strikes again?

First Thoughts:

This is an historical fiction book set in London, written by a British-based author. I always appreciate the opportunity to read these when they come along.

My Take:

Poppy Denby first came on the scene in The Jazz Files, which I admit to not having read. This second novel apparently takes place in 1920, shortly after the events of the first title. There are references to those events, but knowledge of them (or lack thereof) didn’t impact my reading enjoyment.

The opening pages consist of a map of 1920s London, highlighting locations pivotal to the story, and a thorough cast of characters. I referred to these often as Poppy and her friends visited various places and interacted with a lot of people. Pivotal Russian historical characters are featured, including Rasputin’s assassin and the mother-in-law of Tsar Nicholas II. I found the narrative slow going through the first couple of chapters, but once it got to the Crystal Palace and the theft of the Faberge egg it sped up and caught my interest.

On her Poppy Denby website, the author makes a point of saying that this series is not Christian fiction. Instead, it’s about a young woman experiencing the world and attempting to reconcile it to her faith. Consequently, there are things some readers may not appreciate. This is the ‘Roaring 20s’ of jazz clubs, drinking, and promiscuity. Not all the characters are Christians; some are anything but. This is a good look at life in London after World War I, and the clash of old and new ideas. For example, Poppy wonders if a woman could marry and keep her career. As for the plot, I found it intriguing and it kept me guessing for much of the story. I wondered who was responsible for the theft and, as information gradually came to light, I began questioning who could be trusted. When the villain was revealed, it made sense even if I hadn’t guessed who it was. Overall, it’s a fun story which kept me entertained for a couple of hours.

Thank you to Kregel for my complimentary copy of The Kill Fee, which I received in exchange for my honest review.

Have you read The Kill Fee? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Excerpt

Publisher: Lion Fiction (a division of Kregel)

Publication Date: 27 November 2017

Page Count: 336

Read more on:   Fiona Veitch Smith’s Website   Poppy Denby Investigates   Kregel’s Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-a-million   Christianbook.com