Sea witch by Sarah Henning

cynthia-sea-witch.jpgA story that reimagines the beginning of the little mermaid story, full of friendship (love), revenge and magic. The pace builds throughout the story, making the second half of the story more enjoyable.

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Half Moon Lake by Kirsten Alexander

Cynthia Half Moon LakeThe reader knows the truth of the story, but it is how each of the characters deal with and treat this truth, that makes the story interesting. I had to keep reminding myself that the story is set in the 1910s and crime investigation worked so differently then. Kristen adds layers to the story, dealing with race and wealth, and how each is regarded and treated. The story is based on a real case and I was glad I read about it after reading Half Moon Lake – it would of ruined the building tension throughout the story – everything had to turn out right, didn’t it?

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The stranger by Kate Riordan

Cynthia The StrangerThree women are sent to Penhallow during the war with the Land Army, each with pasts full of secrets. A woman is found dead on the beach. We are then taken back in time, to six weeks before and find out what has happened and who the dead woman is. I was easily sucked into the story and the lives of those at Penhallow, and all too soon the story was finished – a good weekend read.

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The pearl thief by Fiona McIntosh

Cynthia Pearl ThiefI enjoyed this historical novel. There is horror, revenge and love. It is a story that shows the atrocity of the Nazi regime and the survival of the human spirit. Katerina is shown kindness when needed, and this helps her survive and be able to love again. This balances all the emotions throughout the story. I know many people’s stories did not end so well during and after the war, but it is nice to see a positive ending to this story.

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Still midnight by Denise Mina

cynthia-till-midnight.jpgFirst in a series that introduces DS Alex Morrow. Alex is not on the best of terms with her work colleagues and we discover the many factors contributing to this throughout the story. Alex investigates a hostage situation that is not clear cut to solve. I found it hard to warm to the story at the beginning and found the author assumed you knew about British crime and police enforcement – having to go and find explanations to some terms.
It will be interesting to see how Alex develops through the series and how her relationships develop.

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The cotton town girls

cynthia-cotton-town-girls.jpgA story set around the time of the suffragette movement and was both heartbreaking and inspiring. The author evoked the time period well. There was a great set of characters representing the different types of women involved in the struggle and the effect they had on the community and each other. The story included scenes that I have read about before, such as the hunger strikes and forced feeding and secret meetings and riots, but it still added my knowledge and personal experience.

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The bones of paradise by Jonis Agee

cynthia-the-bones-of-paradise.jpgI was slowly drawn into this fractured family trying to live (I should say survive) in the Nebraska Sand Hills after two bodies are discovered. You are then taken through the events following this discovery and the events that led up to the murders. The story was harsh, sad, hopeful and a good history lesson, a very good western story. I learnt about the horror of Wounded Knee and the harsh life of a rancher. And like any good western it had a touch of romance as well.

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Stolen beauty by Laurie Lico Albanese

Cynthia Stolen BeautyHistorical fiction based on fact. Told through the eyes of Adele, whose portrait is painted by Klimt, and her niece Maria, who flees Vienna during World War II. Although their stories are decades apart they share a strength of spirit. They were remarkale women. The story balances the excesses of Vienna’s Succession Art Movement with the Nazi rule and dispossession of Jewish wealth. I love a story that invites me to explore the topic further, I was looking at the artists mentioned and their work. You will want to watch the movie Woman in gold after reading this story.

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Dead secret by Catherine Deveney

cynthia-dead-secret.jpgThe story is told through Rebecca during the week after her Da’s death. We find out that the family had lots of secrets, one of them about the death of her mother years earlier. I loved the way the story is told through Rebecca’s diary like telling, it’s more than a simple mystery to be solved. I was involved with the story from the beginning and had to keep reading to find out the ending, and though it was not the ending I expected with everything neatly tied up, I enjoyed the story very much.

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