Friday, April 18, 2014

A Sensible Arrangement-Tracie Peterson

A Sensible Arrangement Tracie Peterson Bethany House Publishers, Apr 1 2014, $14.99 ISBN: 9780764210587 In 1892 Martha Olson knows she needs to move passed her grief that has crippled her since her beloved husband Thomas died in a ranching accident several years ago. The Widow believes to do so she must find a new spouse outside of Texas; especially leaving their ranch where the memories of happier times and the tragedy are everywhere. Thus Marty responds to a Dallas Daily-Times Herald add in which a Texan living in Colorado wants to meet a Lone Star lady. Affluent banker Widow Jake Wythe and Marty exchange correspondence and soon agree to marry once she arrives in Colorado. As they fall in love, her only regret at being Mrs. Wythe is his insistence they return home and buy a ranch. She also feels guilt for concealing one major secret from her spouse that she still owns the spread where her first husband died. A Sensible Arrangement is an entertaining inspirational Americana romance starring two lonely people finding love and solace with each other, but lies of omission threaten their happiness; both believe the truth will not set them free. Although the late nineteenth century storyline slows down with too much detail about the behavior of the upper class and the era’s banking (though I enjoyed the tidbits seemingly related to the upcoming Great Depression Panic of 1893). Readers will enjoy this tender tale of second chances. Harriet Klausner >

The Bachelor Doctor’s Bride-Caro Carson

The Bachelor Doctor’s Bride Caro Carson Harlequin Special Edition, Apr 15 2014, $5.50 ISBN: 9780373658169 In Austin, West Central Texas Hospital cardiologist Dr. Quinn MacDowell meets realtor Diana Connor at a major charity event in which her boss assigned her as his next to last choice (eight before her rejected the ticket) to give a business card to every doctor in attendance. Though he feels the time is right to find a woman to forge a relationship with like his brother recently has (see The Doctor’s Former Fiancée), he limits his pool to the medical world and definitely not a crazy realtor. Known for her matchmaking proclivity, Diana believes she has found her life mate in Quinn. However, the heart doctor rejects her as he finds the effervescent Diana too distastefully vivacious for him. Diana tries her best to get Quinn to recognize her as the only woman for him, but he refuses to acknowledge her as his beloved. Finally giving up, Diana concludes her cardiologist will never mend her broken heart. This Doctors MacDowell Texas romance is an amusing lighthearted contemporary starring seemingly total-opposites in every way, even apparently when it comes to falling in love. Mindful of the 1960s movie Tammy & The Doctor but with a twenty-first century spin, readers will enjoy this engaging tale. Harriet Klausner

The Argentine Triangle-Allan Topol

The Argentine Triangle Allan Topol Select Books, Apr 15 2014, $16.95 ISBN: 9781590791417 Former CIA assassin Craig Page lost his position as the agency’s director when President Treadwell needed a sacrifice to keep a scandal out of the White House. Distrusting POTUS and his advisors especially Edward Bryce, Page ended his relationship with his girlfriend out of concern for her safety and underwent plastic surgery to alter his appearance. Instead of spying, Page drives racing cars in Europe. However, someone Page trusts, current CIA Director Betty Richards contacts him as his nation and a close mutual friend need him. While undercover seeking proof that Dirty War General Alfredo Estrada plans a coup d’etat, CIA agent Ted Dunn vanished in Argentina. Additionally, attracted to Buenos Aires La Nación reporter Gina Galindo, Bryce arranges arms shipments to loyal supporters of Estrada. The latest Craig Page CIA thriller is an action-packed tale; as the hero tries to expose the ugly history of Estrada during the vicious Dirty War so this brute loses support while also preventing the arms reaching him. Although the exhilarating storyline is much more straightforward than his previous missions (see The Russian Endgame, The Spanish Revenge and The China Gambit), readers will appreciate globetrotting Page’s South American escapades. Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ember Island-Kimberley Freeman

Ember Island Kimberley Freeman Touchstone, Apr 15 2014, $16.00 ISBN: 9781476743509 In 2012, highly regarded author Nina struggles with writer’s block of which she believes she knows the underlying cause that she conceals from everyone especially her agent Marla. She rationalizes to Marla that she needs to get away to complete her book. Although she knows her grandmother Eleanor’s house Starwater on Ember Island in Brisbane's Moreton Bay suffered storm damage, Nina heads there to oversee the repair and hopefully complete her writing; unaware of what she will find there. In 1891 Dorset, Matilda and Jasper marry but the ceremony turns tragic when her beloved grandpa dies. Grieving her loss, Tilly obediently follows her husband to the Channel Islands off of Normandy, but instead of solace and loving comfort in Guernsey she finds terror. Fleeing another trauma, Tilly arrives on Ember Island seeking inner serenity. There she becomes the governess to the prison superintendent’s daughter, Nell. Tilly diligently hides her past, but Nell observes everything and keeps journals that she hides all over the house. Although there is a thematic similarity to Kimberley Freeman’s previous Australian novels (see Lighthouse Bay and Wildflower Hill), the three fully-developed key females provide a fascinating look at two women separated by over a century struggling with similar issues. Rotating the lead between Nina and Tilly, but linked by Nell, Ember Island is an engaging tale focusing on efforts regardless of the era to surmount heart-wrenching tragedy. Harriet Klausner

The Bodyguard-Lena Diaz

The Bodyguard Lena Diaz Harlequin Intrigue, Apr 15 2014, $5.50 ISBN: 9780373697632 Suffering physical and mental spousal abuse from the moment she married financier Richard Ashton III, Caroline plans to flee her cruel husband who throughout Georgia has been anointed a saint and her pathetically needy. Fearing Richard’s reaction and knowing he uses Stellar Security, Caroline hires rival firm Savannah-based Dawson’s Personal Security Services owner Luke Dawson as her bodyguard when she runs away. When Caroline and Luke arrive at the safe cottage she leased, they find Richard’s murdered corpse there. Chatham County Police Detective Cornell considers the victim’s siblings Daniel and Grant as persons of interest, but his main focus is on the wife who discovered the body and her bodyguard. Luke believes in his heart his client is innocent especially when someone makes several attempts to kill Caroline. He vows to keep her safe from her unknown lethal adversary while also investigating the identity of her attacker who he assumes killed Richard and soon afterward others. The Bodyguard is an exciting action-packed thriller in which keeping the heroine safe and uncovering who the deadly enemy is supersedes the frequently used romantic premise of love between a bodyguard and a client. Filled with red herrings and several surprising twists, readers will enjoy Lena Diaz’s strong intrigue. Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Given Time Living Our Last Months Together-Helene Park Bigelow

Given Time Living Our Last Months Together Helene Park Bigelow Fithian Press/Daniel & Daniel Publishers, Apr 7 2014, $14.95 ISBN: 9781564745538 In 2005, seventy-one year old Helene and sixty-eight years old Ed, a couple for over three and a half decades, enjoyed walks on the Maui beach though he always wore a hat to keep sun radiation off a spot on his head. When he went to the doctor for a routine biopsy of that spot, neither were concerned as both had skin biopsies before that came up negative; though Ed was warned as a teen that this spot, probably harmed by swimming and sunning at Lake Michigan and he diligently protected for fifty years, could someday be a problem. Ed’s prognosis was the dreaded “M Word” Melanoma. He soon found out that the cancer had spread and with chemotherapy he could live a few extra months. Wanting to spend as much time as he can with his beloved Helene, Ed chose chemo. This profound memoir provides a powerful look at a loving couple sharing their last few months together as much as possible in the same upbeat manner they had for the thirty-five years before Ed’s death sentence. Besides a brief look into their shared lives together (including raising three children) before the M Word, Helene Park Bigelow provides a deep glimpse into the impact on the caregiver as she watched Ed’s deterioration; if God forbid I am in the same situation as her I hope to be as strong as her. Though the Bigelow’s wanted another thirty-five happy healthy years together, they know what the Navaho told Ed at Window Rock that “There are blessings, there are blessings , there are blessings”; and they surely were blessed. Harriet Klausner

A Dark Song Of Blood-Ben Pastor

A Dark Song Of Blood Ben Pastor Bitter Lemon Press, Apr 15 2014, $14.95 ISBN: 9781908524300 In 1944 Rome, German Embassy Secretary Fraulein Magda Reiner falls from her apartment window to her death. Italian Police Inspector Sandro Guildi investigates although his superiors, fearing accusations of collaboration with the Nazis as the American military victory in Italy is assured rather soon, insist that National Confederation of Fascist Unions official Ras Merlo killed the now cremated woman. As Guildi looks into the homicide, he begins to believe someone framed Merlo. Wehrmacht Major Martin Bora surprisingly reappears in his life to assist on the inquiry, which concerns the cop as he does not want to be associated with a German when the Americans take the city. Bora’s wife Benedikta arrives to inform him she filed for divorce as the war ended their five year marriage. While Bora feels gut punched though not shocked; at the boarding house where both reside Guildi meets and is attracted to Francesca Lippi. As the case turns even more complicated with additional killings and ties to the Vatican, Gestapo and other high ranking Germans; Rome increasingly turns violent with the Resistance mounting bolder assaults. The third Martin Bora WWII drama (see Liar Moon and Lumen) is an intriguing historical that uses a police procedural to enable readers to look inside the heads of those in Rome at a time when the Nazi control is almost over. Suffering from physical ailments and PTSD, Bora feels ancient due to being divided between his moral sense of right and wrong, and patriotism; while Guildi also wants to do the right thing but fears the consequences. Readers will relish this entry in one of the best WWII series. Harriet Klausner