Loosely based on the true story of the life and last days of Agnes Magnusdottir, this book is a book like no other. This touching and heartbreaking taLoosely based on the true story of the life and last days of Agnes Magnusdottir, this book is a book like no other. This touching and heartbreaking tale is not truly character driven nor plot driven. It is emotionally driven. Starting out slow and numb, just like Agnes, it slowly builds in depth and intensity until the final pages filled with the last frenzied days. The reader is carried along on one woman's tragic journey to belong and be loved, a journey that leads to two murders and her subsequent beheading, the final execution to take place in Iceland. While some may find this book a bit slow to begin and a bit difficult to sink into, once you do you have difficulty putting it down and understand the slow build-up is equivalent to Agnes slowly beginning to open up to those around her, and herself, about her past and her feelings. The rise and fall of the story happen in time with Agnes's coming to terms with the events of her life and her impending death. This is an incredible book, one everyone should read at least once....more
Looking at the title, you know what this is going to be about, another trite story paralleling the lives of its main characters to those in the DickenLooking at the title, you know what this is going to be about, another trite story paralleling the lives of its main characters to those in the Dickens classic. In this case, the story centers around the modern economic recession. While I applaud an author for branching out and taking on such events and issues, this simply doesn't work well for this author or these characters. I must say, I've often found Lucy Stone annoyingly immature and naive. (I mean, how many times can an adult woman use the term "tummy" without seeming ridiculously childlike.) I've been waiting for her to grow as a character, but even as she ages and her children move into adulthood, she continues to devolve and regress. Trying to take on such a complicated issue using a lead character with the emotional development of an eleven-year-old just doesn't work. The issue and the plot become oversimplified and annoyingly self-righteous. Wrap that in yet another dull reissuing of "A Christmas Carol" and this story just becomes one boring and truthfully silly mess of a story. If this is the way the Lucy Stone series is going, then this will more than likely be the last I will bother to read....more
On a cold December evening in WWII era Georgia, a young girl goes missing. First-grade teacher Dimple Kilpatrick sets off as part of the community seaOn a cold December evening in WWII era Georgia, a young girl goes missing. First-grade teacher Dimple Kilpatrick sets off as part of the community search to find her student. She believes she knows exactly where to look, but no one else believes little Peggy Ashcroft could possibly go that far on foot, especially given the girl was ill. Cold and alone, Miss Dimple finds Peggy in the woods, burning with fever. Miss Dimple knows it will be nearly impossible to find her way down the hill in the dark and frigid temperatures carrying the sick child. Thankfully, a strange dog leads Miss Dimple to a small cottage owned by Mae Martha Hawthorne, an elderly artist, who lives there along with her companion, an Asian woman named Suzy, who nurses Peggy through the night until help can be called. Little does Miss Dimple know that this miraculous meeting will lead her into a deep mystery involving Miss Mae Martha's death, for which the prime suspect is Suzy, a fact complicated by her Japanese ancestry.
I really tried to like this book, but this book was virtually unreadable. I felt like I was once again teaching, reading a story written by a slightly advanced fifth-grader. The characters were flat. The dialogue was stilted. The POV changed multiple times within a single paragraph. There was no arc to the story. It was simply stagnant. There really wasn't anyone or anything to attach oneself to as a reader. Therefore, it was impossible to truly become wrapped up in the story as one should be in a good novel. I am very disappointed in this book....more
When Maura Donovan's grandmother dies, Maura makes an effort to fulfill her grandmother's last wishes, that she go to Ireland, her grandmother's motheWhen Maura Donovan's grandmother dies, Maura makes an effort to fulfill her grandmother's last wishes, that she go to Ireland, her grandmother's mother country, visit the land she comes from and say a prayer for her grandmother in the church where her grandmother was married. With little money and no real direction in life, Maura goes to the small town of Leap in County Cork, the area where her grandmother lived, the area where her father was born, the area where her grandfather died and was buried. She meets an array of characters who know more about her and her history than she knows about herself. She finds family and family history she never knew she had. She also stumbles upon not one, but two murders, committed around 80 years apart, two murders she doesn't really have any connection to, yet she holds the key to solving.
I really wanted to like this book. Everyone who knows me knows that I'm more than proud of my Irish heritage and have a keen interest in bog bodies. I just could not like this book, though. Maura, the main character is utterly unlikable. She is cold and detached. She has no real interest in anything that does not directly and immediately impact her. She wonders about the story without every truly getting involved with anyone or anything in anyway deeper than surface level. Because of that, it is hard for the reader to become involved in the story in any meaningful way. On top of that, the mystery involved in this book isn't really much of a mystery. There are no real details of clues given. There is no way to surmise anything until all the details are dropped on you out of nowhere in a very unlikely and drawn out scene toward the end. Then, we are confronted with one of the most anticlimactic endings in literature. All of this makes the story wandering and aimless without a shred of interest. The only reason I am giving this two stars instead of one is because of the scene development. The descriptions of the Irish shores, Druidic ruins, and rolling farmlands are the only saving grace of this book....more
Theodosia Browning is once again serving up tea and tasty treat along with a side of mystery. When her neighbor and fiance of her good friend is murdeTheodosia Browning is once again serving up tea and tasty treat along with a side of mystery. When her neighbor and fiance of her good friend is murder on the wedding day, Theodosia is brought onto the case by Delaine Dish, the grieving almost widow. With possible inheritance, smuggled Cuban cigars, jealous ex-girlfriends, smarmy business partners, angry inn keepers, cocaine, and prodigal step-sons being just a few of the issues involved, Theo definitely has her work cut out for her in uncovering the identity of the murderer before she or one of her friends become the next victim.
The fourteenth installment of this series is pretty much the same as the earlier books. The same characters, the same bumbling investigation, the same drawn out discussions of tea and Theo's bath products. If anything in this book, the plot seems to be slightly more tea with a side of mystery instead of mystery with a side of tea. Theo also seems to be growing a bit more self-righteous and judgmental in her take on other characters and facts that may or may not be relevant to the case. She's more likely to assume that anyone she dislikes in the slightest is almost definitely the killer and that any piece of "evidence" she finds is the most important piece in the case. She also seems to assume that the police don't know how to do their jobs nearly as well as she does, and that if test results don't turn out the way she expects then they must have been done incorrectly. This not only blinds her to facts and suspects, but makes her hard to like or even relate to. The plot in this installment seems slightly rushed and disjointed as well. Regular readers of this series may find these things disappointing, but will still enjoy seeing the old characters....more
Molly Murphy Sullivan promised to give up her life as a private investigator when she married her husband, a New York City police captain, but when aMolly Murphy Sullivan promised to give up her life as a private investigator when she married her husband, a New York City police captain, but when a letter from her homeland, Ireland, comes addressed to her old detective agency, she just can't help herself, despite her promise to Daniel and the fact that she is two months away from delivering her first child. In an effort to help a family find out what happened to their daughter, Molly stumbles upon not only a series of kidnappings, but also her brother Liam, a member of the Republican Brotherhood running from the law and evading execution. When Daniel's overbearing nature, her own need to snoop, and the heat of the city become too much, Molly retreats to her mother-in-law's country home only to become even more deeply embroiled in the drama centered around the missing Irish girl. With little thought for her own safety or the safety of her unborn child, Molly rushes headlong into the investigation, an investigation which leads her to a convent filled with sequestered nuns and unwed mothers, an investigation that may prove more difficult and dangerous than Molly could ever imagine.
I must say that I was deeply disappointed in this book. This is the second book from this series that I've read. I was so looking forward to it, so the poor writing and development was very disappointing. Not only was the plot so filled with happenstance that it became incredibly unbelievable, but the characters were very flat. The only characteristics we see from each character are annoying and exasperating, making them virtually unlikable. Add to that a stilted and simplistic writing style, and you have one boring, predictable, and substandard story....more