Saturday, January 11, 2014

My Reading Radar 1/11/2014

I came across this title on Edelweiss. It's been made into a TV show, just as Call the Midwife came from a memoir. The TV show isn't playing here. I hope it does eventually. On my wishlist...

Murder on the Home Front: A True Story of Morgues, Murderers, and Mysteries during the London BlitzMurder on the Home Front by Molly Lefebure. It is 1941. While the "war of chaos" rages in the skies above London, an unending fight against violence, murder and the criminal underworld continues on the streets below.

One ordinary day, in an ordinary courtroom, forensic pathologist Dr. Keith Simpson asks a keen young journalist to be his secretary. Although the "horrors of secretarial work" don't appeal to Molly Lefebure, she's intrigued to know exactly what goes on behind a mortuary door.

Capable and curious, "Miss Molly" quickly becomes indispensible to Dr. Simpson as he meticulously pursues the truth. Accompanying him from somber morgues to London's most gruesome crime scenes, Molly observes and assists as he uncovers the dark secrets that all murder victims keep.

With a sharp sense of humor and a rebellious spirit, Molly tells her own remarkable true story here with warmth and wit, painting a vivid portrait of wartime London.



***

Spotted on LibraryThing, Near the Hope by Jennifer Davis Carey is on the wishlist as well.


Near The HopeNear the Hope tells the story of a young woman, Ruth Adele, called Dellie, and her emigration to Brooklyn in pursuit of a life freed from the strictures of class, sugar cane, and colony that set the parameters of life on the tiny Caribbean island that she loves. Barbados is emptying out. Young men are leaving to dig the Panama Canal or to work on one of the merchant vessels servicing His Majesty's Empire. Women are departing to find their way in the United States. Sugar plantations are breaking up as the market for cane crashes de-stabilizing the economy and daily life. Yet despite these changes the Great Houses of the sugar estates still rule every aspect of life. Brooklyn is filling up with a mosaic of people struggling to make their way. As Dellie works to craft a life she encounters a new set of choices, yet many of the same challenges now presented with a New York accent. Her tale reflects that of thousands of women who set foot on these shores-either running from or heading toward something. Or like her, doing a bit of both. Near the Hope blends historical fact, folk practice and beliefs with a vivid sense of place and time. It moves from the exotic and lush world of Barbados at the turn of the twentieth century to the hazy glow of New York in the gaslight era to probe questions of home, family, and what we choose to hold on to or to let go.

***

NetherwoodAnother Edelweiss spotting and another book on the wishlist: Netherwood by Jane Sanderson. They had me at the DA reference.


Eve Williams is about to discover just how the other half really live, in this epic and absorbing "big house" drama perfect for "Downton Abbey" fans.

Above stairs, Lord Netherwood keeps his considerable fortune ticking over with the profits from his three coal mines in the vicinity. It's just as well the coal is of the highest quality, as the upkeep of Netherwood Hall, his splendid estate on the outskirts of town, does not come cheap. And that's not to mention the cost of keeping his wife and daughters in the latest fashions--and keeping the heir, the charming but feckless Tobias, out of trouble. Below stairs, Eve Williams is the wife of one of Lord Netherwood's most stalwart employees. When her ordered existence amid the terraced rows of the miners' houses is brought crashing down by the twin arrivals of tragedy and charity, Eve must look to her own self-sufficiency, and talent, to provide for her three young children. And it's then that "upstairs" and "downstairs" collide in truly dramatic fashion.



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Another Edelweiss find, The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams made the wishlist. *No cover for this one*

Manhattan, 1964. Vivian Schuyler, newly graduated from Bryn Mawr College, has recently defied the privilege of her storied old Fifth Avenue family to do the unthinkable for a budding Kennedy-era socialite: break into the Mad Men world of razor-stylish Metropolitan magazine. But when she receives a bulky overseas parcel in the mail, the unexpected contents draw her inexorably back into her family’s past, and the hushed-over crime passionnel of an aunt she never knew, whose existence has been wiped from the record of history.

Berlin, 1914. Violet Schuyler Grant endures her marriage to the philandering and decades-older scientist Dr. Walter Grant for one reason: for all his faults, he provides the necessary support to her liminal position as a young American female physicist in prewar Germany. The arrival of Dr. Grant’s magnetic former student at the beginning of Europe’s fateful summer interrupts this delicate d├ętente. Lionel Richardson, a captain in the British Army, challenges Violet to escape her husband’s perverse hold, and as the world edges into war and Lionel’s shocking true motives become evident, Violet is tempted to take the ultimate step to set herself free and seek a life of her own conviction with a man whose cause is as audacious as her own.

As the iridescent and fractured Vivian digs deeper into her aunt’s past and the mystery of her ultimate fate, Violet’s story of determination and desire unfolds, shedding light on the darkness of her years abroad . . . and teaching Vivian to reach forward with grace for the ambitious future and the love she wants most.

***
Barbados Bound (Patricia McPherson Nautical Adventure, #1)Barbados Bound, spotted on Netgalley, by Linda Collison, looks to be a good one too and is also on my wishlist.

Portsmouth, England,1760. Patricia Kelley, the illegitimate daughter of a wealthy Barbadian sugarcane planter, falls from her imagined place in the world when her absent father unexpectedly dies. Raised in a Wiltshire boarding school sixteen-year-old Patricia embarks on a desperate crossing on a merchantman bound for Barbados, where she was born, in a brash attempt to claim an unlikely inheritance. Aboard a merchantman under contract with the British Navy to deliver gunpowder to the West Indian forts, young Patricia finds herself pulled between two worlds -- and two identities -- as she charts her own course for survival in the war-torn 18th century.

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