Smorgasbord Book Reviews Round Up – July 2022- #Romance Jan Sikes, #Poetry Harmony Kent, #Dogs #Caravans Jacqueline Lambert, #Flash #Poetry M.J.Mallon, #Dystopian Teri Polen, #Western #Romance Sandra Cox

I had some great reading time in the garden during July and here are my recommendations from the month.

This review is for the first of four biographical novels by Jan Sikes based her own life and lifelong love story. Flowers and Stone.

My review for the book July 9th 2022

This is the first chapter in the passionate love story of a young woman enjoying the freedom of having left a restrictive upbringing with a bad boy of country music.

Although Darlina has tasted the joys of a more liberated lifestyle dancing for extra cash in a nightclub, there is still an air of innocence about her that attracts the much older and charasmatic Luke Stone. Wiser heads warn her of the dangers of becoming involved with a man who has long history of playing fast and loose in relationships, but she is in love.

That love will be tested in several ways over the following months and yet through it all Darlina is totally committed to being there for Luke in every way possible. His demons become hers as she watches him battle through a physical and mental crisis and yet there are still secrets that have the potential to rip them apart.

Despite his approach to women and previous relationships, Luke finds himself deeply connected to this young girl and her convictions. Secrets have a habit of being exposed to the light and in a desperate attempt to protect Darlina, Luke may have to make a major sacrifice.

You can tell that this story is written from the heart and is deeply personal. Even fictionalised the strength of the love and commitment to the relationship shines through and as the onlooker you find yourself hoping against hope things will work out. The love of a good woman can redeem a man who has fallen by the wayside, but the road is going to be long and hard.

The 70s and the setting for this story is also authentic and captures a time in music history that is legendary.

I look forward to reading the second book in this love saga soon.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK

Delighted to share the news of Harmony Kent’s new release and here is my review… Life & Soul (Book 2 in the Soul Poetry series)

My review for the collection July 7th 2022

This collection takes us on a journey exploring the many aspects of life, love, loss and renewal.

The soul that is our unique inner being, can be fragile at times, but also incredibly strong to withstand the storms that sweep through our lives.

The author is very open about her life and the traumatic events that she encountered and overcame and her strength is very evident in the poems she shares in this collection.

There are many that I can relate to, with poems that reflect the heartache of love that has not just faded, but developed a darker side, and being an outsider in a society that has strict rules for acceptance. It is also a celebration of finding love unexpectedly, and discovering true friendships that come with total acceptance.

Clearly love is all encompassing and there is a wonderful section devoted to the romance, growing connection and everyday joys to be found with your soul mate. One line in particular stuck with me.

Love in the simple things
Such as your glasses case left on the kitchen island…

I found the last section of the collection The Life of a Soul fascinating as the author takes us from birth to rebirth with such grace and poignancy. Certainly there are tears for the young child and woman trying to find her way, but also smiles at the determination to overcome a devastating accident and to adapt to the world on her own terms.

There were many poems that struck a chord with me including This Isn’t Love, The Group, True Friendships, Plastic Surgeon and This is Home.

Wild and Free is a lovely example of the authors way with words.

I’m not the prettiest flower in the field
But neither am I a weed
Take the time to watch me bloom
Don’t cut my stem and moan when I fade too soon
Far better that you leave me be
Dancing in the breeze, wild and free

I recommend this collection to those who would like to absorb the wise and poignant words of one soul to another.

Head over to read the reviews and buy new collection : Universal Link

My review for the highly entertaining and fascinating guide to caravanning and travelling through France… with four very individual pups… Year 1 – Fur Babies in France: From Wage Slaves to Living the Dream (Adventure Caravanning with Dogs) by Jacqueline Lambert.

Year 1 - Fur Babies in France: From Wage Slaves to Living the Dream (Adventure Caravanning with Dogs) by [Jacqueline Lambert]

My review for the book 9th July 2022

This book is a very entertaining and informative guide to caravanning with four dogs as companions through France.

Never having been on a caravan holiday, I was ignorant of all the technical requirements needed to not just tow this home on wheels, but manoeuvre it on and off pitches, keep it level, attach all the necessary services and avoid damaging critical pieces of the undercarriage.

The author shares her adventures for the preparation of both caravan and drivers before embarking on an ambitious debut extended tour of France. Daunting enough for the novice caravanner but with four dogs in the mix, quite a logistical challenge.

Whilst excellent information on the technical aspects are included, it is accompanied by an easy going and very humourous narration with some very witty double entendres thrown in for good measure.

For those who are planning a touring holiday of France in a caravan the book has a wealth of information on the best campsites for both scenery and facilities, especially when dogs are not always welcome. Certainly a pack is not usually considered to be acceptable despite the four in question being not only adorable but extremely well behaved. Whilst usually the case, apparently fox poop is the exception and then all bets are off. This can be a problem when you find yourself without a water connection and therefore no showers!

I know France reasonably well, but clearly you get to see a great deal more of the coast and inland areas than visits to the usual touristy hotspots. The book left me yearning for the open road and the freedom to stop in more out of the way places where campsites are the only option to stay for the night. A home on wheels definitely has its advantages, and again with four dogs who love to swim and run the beaches, the only sensible option if you take them with you, as hotels would be out of the question.

This is just the first book in the series and I am very much looking forward to reading the others. I finished this one with a smile on my face and a renewed desire for more travel adventures. I can highly recommend this honest, well written and amusing real life adventure.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US

I am delighted to share my advance review for flash fiction and poetry collection The Hedge Witch & The Musical Poet by M.J. Mallon. The collection is on pre-order for 15th August.


My review for the collection July 16th 2022

This is a poetry and flash fiction collection seeped in nature and illustrates the love the author has for the environment, particular the forests.

The first pages share the delightful love story of the Hedge Witch and the Musical Poet, bringing two solitary characters together in the sanctuary of a magical forest far from the human world.

This story is followed by poems and flash ficton, some of which are poignant such as the tribute to a ginger cat in Chester, Don & I, and bewilderment voiced in The Network of Trees as they stand in danger from the human need for progress.

There is also the sad reflection that much of the beauty and adventures to be found in the forests are being missed as children find themselves engrossed in the online world instead. The author makes sure to include the fun they could be enjoying instead.

The Teddy in the Woods probably should come with a tissue alert.

There are some reminders of poems from another collection which I also enjoyed Mr. Sagittarius Poetry; one of my favourites being Rainbow – Parasol of Light.

In the second section of the collection there is a series of poems inspired by other writers. Set in the woodlands and the beauty they offer. This includes the ethereal The Forest King.

The forest king lives in the shadows
his hair and beard, a flame alight
in his crown, the fairy queen sits
far from the tangled roots of his throne.

This is a collection to savour and to dip into when the technical world we inhabit becomes too demanding, or we are in need of a touch of magic. I recommend to lovers of nature and fantasy.

Head over to pre-order the collection for August 15th: Amazon UK – And:Amazon US

Here is my review for Teri Polen and her exciting Sci-fi thriller The Colony Series Book One – Subject A36

My review for the book 21st July 2022

This is one of the most exciting sci-fi thrillers I have read for some time. Action packed from beginning to end with fascinating and complex characters that pull you into, and along with the story.

Set in the future when those with money and power only want more of the same. To ensure those living in The Colony have health and wealth at their disposal, those outside the walls, particularly the children must pay the price.

There are secrets that have been kept for over ten years and Asher finds himself on the run with insurgents unaware that he knows more than his parents have told him. Given safe haven with and adoptive family he forms bonds that he will fight to the death to protect.

The Colony soldiers widen the net to bring in more test subjects and as the insurgents fight day and night to rescue those trapped, they find themselves embroiled in treachery and deceit. With the lives at risk of those Asher loves most at the hands of an evil scientist intent on revenge, the world becomes an even more dangerous place.

The plot is brilliant as is the writing which evokes an emotional response from the reader, as they connect to the lead characters and share their love and pain, to a feeling of loss as this first book in the series comes to an end.

I can highly recommend, and suggest as I have done, that you buy the second book The Insurgent, as soon as possible so you can discover how the story and its wonderful characters unfolds.

Head over to buy the book: Amazon US –and: Amazon UK

I like to have one of Sandra Cox’s western romances lurking on my TBR for a wet windy day when escapism is a must…Today my review for Montana Shootists.

Montana Shootists by [Sandra Cox]

My review for the book July 23rd 2022

I have never been disappointed with any book I have read by this author and this novel was no exception. Action packed and written with such authenticity you could almost be there in person.

There is supernatural thread throughout the story as Abby finds herself caught with her body in 1882 and her heart still in the present day. Guilt and loss have a firm hold and even the devastating charm of Jake Barrow seems to be completely wasted despite his best efforts.

Abby has a strong sense of honour and duty, and whilst she may be pulled back to the future, she is also aware that there are those needing her help in this new dimension. I882 is smack in the middle of the range wars where cattle and sheep don’t mix according to those on the warpath and wanting to take over the lands of anyone who stands in their way. In a lawless town, there is strength in numbers and few can win against them.

Abby finds herself torn as she finds new friends in unexpected places who need her help despite her need to find a way back to the future to save another. Destiny however seems determined to made itself very clear about which way the cards should fall.

The characters are marvellous and colourful and those with evil intent are painted very vividly. It is easy to get swept along with the action and as always Sandra Cox brings everything together in a surprising and very satisfactory manner. I can highly recommend to anyone who love action filled romances that leaving you wanting more.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UKAnd: Amazon US


Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books.. Sally.




Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore Update – #Reviews – #Memoir Cynthia S. Reyes, #Poetry Harmony Kent, #Contemporary Anne Goodwin

Welcome to the Friday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first author is Cynthia Reyes with a recent review for her memoir A Good Home.

About the Book

A Good Home is an addictive read, a profoundly emotional book about the author’s early life in rural Jamaica, her move to urban North America, and her trips back home, all told through vivid descriptions of the unique homes she has lived in — from a tiny pink house in Jamaica and a mountainside cabin near Vancouver to the historic Victorian farmhouse she lives in today, surrounded by neighbors who share spicy Malaysian noodles and seafood, Greek pastries and roast lamb, and Italian tomato sauce and wine (really strong wine).

Full of lovingly drawn characters and vividly described places, A Good Home takes the reader through deeply moving stories of marriage, children, the death of parents, and an accident that takes its high-flying author down a humbling notch. Its pages sparkle with stories and reflections on home as:

A foundation on which to build connections with children, relatives, and friends
A place to celebrate the joys of elegant design, overflowing gardens (except for the wisteria vine, which cannot be coaxed into blooming), and the sharing of good food
A wise teacher, showing us who we really were — and who we really are

When this brave, clear-eyed, and honest book returns, full circle, to the way it began, readers will want to read it all over again.

One of the recent reviews for the book

This is the second of the author’s three non-fiction books purchased and read over the summer – what a gift!

There are three themes:

1. How your physical and emotional environment becomes you and vice versa

2. How one’s faith is messy at times – we are not promised an easy road, just company along the journey

3. How life’s trials do not come in neat little packages, but persistence and love will help you unwrap them

All three themes resonated with me. I loved learning about the author’s early days, family tales, homes, and gardening, some different from mine, many the same. I also love how she is candid about struggles with faith and openly expresses her questions, not suppressing them as most do. In turn, she is provided with candid responses that support her journey. I also read with tremendous interest the author’s experience with post-trauma recovery which is oftentimes messy and requires sheer persistence during the “going-through” phase until the light breaks through the clouds. I found myself cheering her on as she navigated and negotiated her recovery process!

Such rawness is rare and a sublime talent to do so with poignancy. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us!  

Also by Cynthia Reyes

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – Amazon CA – And : Amazon UK – Follow Cynthia : Goodreads – Website:Cynthia ReyesTwitter: @CynthiaSReyes

The next author is Harmony Kent with a review for her poetry collection Slices of Soul

About Slices of Soul

Slices of Soul is a collection of contemporary poetry from author Harmony Kent that will both delight and call for deeper reflection. ‘Phantoms’ gives a gritty account of pain that you can never catch. ‘Enough’ expresses the contentment of Zen. ‘Diamonds’ shows the beauty to be found on a drab and rainy day. While ‘The Alchemist’ shows you how a guitar can turn lead into gold. This wonderful arrangement of fifty poems takes you from the abstract of Zen to the melody of music, and will reach into your mind, your heart, and your soul.

One of the recent reviews for Slices of Soul

Robbie Cheadle 5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and unusual  Reviewed in the United States on September 17, 2021

Slices of Soul is a compelling and unusual collection of poetry which certainly does give the reader glimpses into the complex soul and unusual life of the poet.

I think it is important to note that the poet spent 13 years living in a Zen Buddhist Temple and that the poems featured in this book were written, during and after this period in her life. I believe that her spiritualism and surroundings had a bearing on the thoughts and ideas expressed through the poems in this book.

The poems are divided into sections: Shaved Head, written during her time at the Zen Buddhist Temple, Short Hair, written during the transitional period of her changing life circumstances, and Long Hair which effectively covers all the remaining sections in the book and were written after she’d adjusted to her new life.

I felt the tone of the poems changed over the course of the book from intense reflections on life, to studies of nature, to fierce expressions of emotion, to gentler articulations of love and contentment.

The two poems that impacted me the most in this collection are from the first two sections of the book, Shaved Hair and Short Hair:

The Path
The ten directions all merge into one
this winding road leads nowhere
and goes straight there

Lost and Found
Deep dark depths
I got lost on purpose
this desolate place
the only way
to get my bearings

Poetry lovers who like poems that make you think about things and see them differently will appreciate this book.

Also by Harmony Kent

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – Follow Harmony:Goodreads – Website:Harmony KentTwitter: @Harmony_Kent

The final review is for Matilda Windsor is Coming Home a contemporary novel by Anne Goodwin.

About the book

“In the dying days of the old asylums, three paths intersect.

A brother and sister separated for fifty years and the idealistic young social worker who tries to reunite them. Will truth prevail over bigotry, or will the buried secret keep family apart?

Told with compassion and humour, Anne Goodwin’s third novel is a poignant, compelling and brilliantly authentic portrayal of asylum life, with a quirky protagonist you won’t easily forget. Published by Inspired Quill.”

One of the recent reviews for the book

Terry Tyler 5.0 out of 5 stars 4.5* ~ Family drama, sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 6 September 2021

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, which is both entertaining and incredibly sad. It is set mostly in 1989/90, with flashbacks to the 1930s, and Matty Osborne, also known as Matilda Windsor, has been a resident in psychiatric hospitals for fifty years – since she was around twenty. The reason given at the time was ‘moral turpitude’ – in other words, becoming pregnant without being married. I remember seeing something on television once, a long time ago, about how, in the first half of this century, young girls who were committed to asylums for getting pregnant, and were never let out again. In this circumstance, Matty eventually lost her mind; her path to this state is not revealed until the end of the book.

She believes that she is in her own stately home – sometimes during the Great War, at other times during World War II – that the other residents are her guests, and the carers are her staff. The story weaves between three points of view: Matty, a young carer called Janice, and Matty’s younger half-brother Henry who doesn’t know where she is or why she left home. The staff of Tuke House have no idea whatsoever what goes on in Matty’s head, or probably within the head of any of the residents. Janice is likable and fun, and I enjoyed the portrayals of the people she worked with, most of them ghastly, grey jobsworths with limited imagination. She is very much a young woman of the Thatcher years with anti-Thatcher ideals; I felt such a sense of going back over 3 decades when I read about her.

I guessed early on what had led to Matty’s dreadful fate, but it’s not obvious, and I did change my mind a few times; either way, the fact that we don’t know ‘how, who and why’ adds to the page-turning quality of the book. When I got to the end of her 1930s story, I could have cried at how alone she was, how there was no-one, anywhere, who would listen to and believe her. It was so tragic, so shocking, made even more so because you know that this sort of thing happened to so many girls, never mind the stories of some of her friends in the unmarried mothers’ home.

Another element that adds to the suspense is Henry’s search for the long lost sister he hardly remembers, and all the near misses when he could have found her but didn’t. They’re frustrating; each time I though, oh, they’re going to find each other!

I found this book particularly interesting because I’ve worked at a psychiatric hospital in the past, and because I was reminded of my late mother, who had Alzheimer’s for eleven years and lived in a care home for the last seven or so years of her life. I visited her often; I remember her being under the impression that the place was a hotel, and the carers were waitresses.

Although this story has a certain amount of resolution, I gather there is to be a sequel. I admit to being a little disappointed as I expected to get to the end and have everything nicely wrapped up – but life isn’t like that, and the stories of Matty, Janice and Henry will continue. I look forward to reading the next book when it appears!  

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK – And:Amazon US

Also by Anne Goodwin

Anne Goodwin, Buy:Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – follow Anne : Goodreads – blog: Annecdotal – Twitter: @Annecdotist


Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books – Thanks Sally.



Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Weekly News – #Paranormal Marcia Meara, #Supernatural Adele Marie Park, #Poetry Harmony Kent, #Adventure Audrey Driscoll.

Welcome to the Cafe and Bookstore Weekly News – where I will share recent reviews for authors in the Cafe.

Firstly some great news from Marcia Meara who has created a three book boxed set of The Emissary series for you to enjoy..

About the series and book 1

From Book 1: Was Gabe Angelino, the mysterious truck driver in Finding Hunter: Riverbend Book 2, really an angel, as Willow Green believes? Or was he simply a good man, determined to help a stranger in need? Find out, as author Marcia Meara reveals the truth in the first Riverbend spinoff novella, The Emissary.

An angel’s work is never done—that’s part of the gig. But angels hadn’t been created to deal with such a vastly over-populated planet, rife with misery, suffering, and general chaos. Helping souls in peril has become a nearly impossible job, and even angelic tempers are frayed.

The archangel Azrael has had enough. He believes he’s found a way to ease their burden while saving jeopardized humans, too—hired help.

When Jake Daughtry lost his life rescuing a total stranger from certain death, he was on the fast track to Heaven. But that was before Azrael pulled him right out of line at the Pearly Gates. Now, as an Emissary to the Angels, Jake is taking to the highway in a quest to help souls in trouble. But the innate stubbornness of human beings bent on self-destruction is a challenge unlike any he’s ever faced.

It’s up to Jake and Azrael to bridge the gap between humans and angels. Will they ever convince the Council of Angels this endeavor is worthwhile? Can Jake figure out how to play by Azrael’s complicated rules? Will Azrael ever master the use of contractions in general conversation?

To find out the answers, hop on board Jake’s big red-and-white semi and travel the roads from the Florida Keys to north Georgia on an adventure that will make you laugh hard and cry even harder.

A five star review for Book 1 in the series to whet your appetite.

Harmony Kent5.0 out of 5 stars Fun and intriguing  Reviewed in the United States on September 14, 2020

I won this book, along with the other two in The Emissary series, from an online competition. As I’ve read other books by this author, I was eager to read these. And I’m so glad I bumped this novella up my to-be-read list. It is a short but thoroughly enjoyable read, and I’ll be reading the next two as soon as I can.

The writer brings you all the emotions you could ask for in a book: humour (lots of laugh-out-loud momemts), sadness, despair, grief, determination, hope, etc.

I loved the two main characters in The Emissary, and Azrael is brilliant. The whole concept of overworked angels grabs my interest and arouses my sense of humour. All in all, a fun and intriuging read. It gets 5 stars from me.

Buy the series : Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK


Discover other books by Marcia Meara, read the reviews and buy: Amazon USAnd : Amazon UK – Marcia Meara on: Goodreads – Blog:Marcia Meara WritesTwitter: @MarciaMeara

The next author with a recent review for her latest book is Adele Marie Park – #gothic #supernatural – Wolfe Manor

About Wolfe Manor

Once she lived a normal life, a good, boring life, but a safe one…

Abandoned as a baby on the steps of Wolfe Manor, Fianna was raised with love, secure inside its walls. Now her bubble of safety is about to burst. Can she save the home and school which once cocooned her when old fears overwhelm? Facing students at the start of a new term is frightening enough without nightmares resurfacing which terrify Fianna.

She may have a degree in teaching but will this skill help her?

The return of old friends sends Fianna spiraling down the rabbit hole of her past. Wolfe Manor may call her to be what she was born to be, but can she find out in time to save it from an evil only she can defeat? Or if she fails and Wolfe Manor falls, what happens when the evil faces humanity unchallenged?

One of the early reviews for Wolfe Manor

marjorie mallon 5.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric, intricate supernatural story with elemental magic  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 13 March 2021

An atmospheric story demonstrating the writing talent of Adele Marie Park. If you enjoy supernatural coming of age stories with elemental magic, witches, family secrets, gateways, portals between worlds, nightmares and dark demons this is for you.

It is an intricate read with a fair few characters and quite a complicated back story, so be prepared to invest time and attention to the narrative. There are some wonderful passages to enthrall you. I particularly loved the sections with the animals: the wolf, mouse, stag, owl, and badger. I’m a sucker for animals in books!

The authors words really shine in this latest book. I particularly enjoyed the passages devoted to art. I believe the author also paints and this is evident in how detailed and real these are.

I particularly enjoyed the humour and flurries of brilliance in this novel, as you can see in these quotes:

“Hey. Demon,” he shouted, and the chaos stopped for a second. “Yes. You know me. I remember and so do you. Leave or I’ll do what I did years ago.”

“As memory infiltrated the adult personae her emotional shield dropped. It was as it had been when she was a child and Miss Appleton chased away the darkness.”
Highly recommended. 5 stars.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And: Amazon USFollow Adele: Goodreads – Website: Firefly WordPressTwitter: @Binky567

The next author is Harmony Kent with a recent review for her poetry collection Slices of Soul.

About Slices of Soul

Slices of Soul is a collection of contemporary poetry from author Harmony Kent that will both delight and call for deeper reflection. ‘Phantoms’ gives a gritty account of pain that you can never catch. ‘Enough’ expresses the contentment of Zen. ‘Diamonds’ shows the beauty to be found on a drab and rainy day. While ‘The Alchemist’ shows you how a guitar can turn lead into gold. This wonderful arrangement of fifty poems takes you from the abstract of Zen to the melody of music, and will reach into your mind, your heart, and your soul.

One of the recent reviews for Slices of Soul

Gwendolyn Plano 5.0 out of 5 stars An account of the Soul…  Reviewed in the United States on March 10, 2021

I have a growing interest in poetry and play around with various poetic forms. When I came across Kent’s book, I was intrigued by the cover and the suggestion that the writer might focus on life’s mysteries. I purchased the book and didn’t stop reading it until I finished it. It is a beautiful account of soul-inspiration. Sometimes desperate, sometimes exalting, always raw and perfect. I loved the collection and highly recommend it.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – Follow Harmony:Goodreads – Website:Harmony KentTwitter: @Harmony_Kent 

The final author today with a recent review is Audrey Driscoll for Hunting of the Phoenix: (The Herbert West Series Book 4)


About Hunting the Phoenix (The Herbert West Series Book 4)

Journalist Alma Halsey chases the story of a lifetime to Providence, Rhode Island and finds more than she expected – an old lover, Charles Milburn, and an old adversary, renegade physician Herbert West, living under the name Francis Dexter. Fire throws her into proximity with them both, rekindling romance and completing a great transformation.

More Details: Middle-aged and cynical, journalist Alma Halsey looks back on the missed chances in her life with bitterness and regret. Revisiting her home town of Arkham, she comes into possession of a letter that changes everything. So what if it’s not addressed to her, but to her old flame, librarian Charles Milburn? Suddenly she’s chasing down a big story, and maybe she’ll reconnect with Charles as well.

Giving up her New York City life, Alma moves to Providence, Rhode Island and begins tracking down another man from her past – one she’s assumed to be dead for more than 15 years – none other than renegade physician Herbert West. It seems he’s living in Providence under the name Francis Dexter, and is once more engaged in nefarious doings. Once she’s gathered enough information, Alma plans to write an expose.

Things get complicated when Alma discovers that Charles Milburn is also in Providence, working for “Dr. Dexter,” and English neurosurgeon Edward Clapham-Lee is also looking for Herbert West. Everything goes wrong when the house she is living in catches fire. Seriously injured and far from home, Alma is forced to accept the hospitality of the man she has made her quarry. In Dexter’s house she finds healing, strangeness and unexpected friendships, and realizes that her real quarry is herself.

Alone with Dexter for several days, Alma has occasion to revisit her relationship with him and discover the roots of her disaffection. Soon after Charles’s return from a business trip, the three repair to Cape Cod where they celebrate their renewed friendship, until the appearance of Edward Clapham-Lee – a man as amoral and dangerous as Dexter’s former self – demands a return to Arkham for a final reckoning.

A recent review for the Book

Mr. F. Parker 5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly written mystery with hints of the supernatural  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 26 February 2021

I had not got very far into this book before I realised that I was reading something worthy of the highest praise I could possibly lavish upon it. A mere five stars would not be enough for this superbly written novel. A cynical and middle aged journalist is on the trail of a man who claims to be able to perform medical miracles. He must, she believes, be a fraud, preying on wealthy women in order to secure for himself their inheritance. She makes it her mission to prove this theory.

So far, so straight forward. It’s the twists and turns of plot and sub-plot that follow that make this book so hard to put down. That, and the sheer literary genius of the writing. From the description of a classical music concert and the effect of the music upon the listener, to beautifully realised erotic episodes, the writer demonstrates a mastery of her craft that makes me wonder why her books are not up there with the prize winners.

She also manages two first person narrators with distinctly different voices, some poetry (did I mention that the principle narrator is a professional writer?) and a number of letters that introduce further characters with well differentiated voices.

The book is set in New England in 1938 & ‘9 but covers the period between the twentieth century’s two world wars. This makes it, first and foremost, a piece of historical fiction and it succeeds on that level because the period is so well depicted. The preoccupations of middle class academics of the time are featured, though not in an overbearing manner. Some of these issues, like eugenics and fascism, should have been put to bed by the second of those wars yet they have resurfaced in the twenty first century. Perhaps they never fully went away.

But there is also an element of what I can only describe as magical realism, which reminds me of the best of Conan Doyle. The magic does not go as far as ‘His Dark Materials’, the Harry Potter books, or the comic book super-heroes so beloved of Hollywood. But it is enough to pique the interest of readers who like a mystery that hints at elements of the supernatural.

I was not aware until the end that this is the fourth in a series. There is enough back story included to ensure the book can be read without prior knowledge of the preceding three episodes. For anyone who has read those this will surely make a satisfying finale. But that is not all. We are introduced towards the end to a character who will, apparently, feature in another novel set in the time of the Cuban missile crisis. I can’t wait to read it.  

To discover all of Audrey’s books and read the reviews: :Amazon US – And:  Amazon UK – follow Audrey: Goodreads – Website: Audrey Driscoll – LinkedIn: Audrey Driscoll



Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books… thanks Sally.