Under the Jewelled Sky by Alison McQueen. Publised by Sourcebooks

As a child in India, Sophie befriended Jag, the son of a servant. Their friendship grew and began to blossom into something more, but their union was never to be. Taken back to England, Sophie is married to Lucien, a diplomat who ten years later, is posted to India. Sophie has no desire to return to Delhi, her memories are too painful, but she is a dutiful wife and follows her husband. There, her marriage begins to disintegrate and Sophie must finally come face to face with her past.

Beautifully written, evocative of a forgotten age. Readers will be transported through time and space.

Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan. Published by Ballantine

When Fanny discovers her husband cheating on her, she takes her children and nanny and flees San Francisco for Belgium to study art as she has always dreamed. When the unthinkable happens, Fanny and her children move to a small artists colony in France to recover. It is here that she meets Robert Louis Stevenson, a man she views as pallid and sickly, but whom falls head over heels in love with her. In time she grows to care for him as well, and the two travel to such exotic locations as the South Seas for his health. Their romance spans time and distance and becomes one of the great, if largely unknown, love stories of its time. A remarkable achievement.

My Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead. Published by Crown

Mead was a girl when she first read Middlemarch and it has since touched every part of her life. A move to the United States, a job as a journalist and marriage  Рall the major events in her life, she finds reflected between the pages of a venerable classic. Readers journey with Mead as she travels to Edinburgh and coastal towns in the UK. A must for readers and lovers of England.

The Poisoned Island by Lloyd Shepherd. Published by Atria

In 1769 British sailors arrive on the shores of beautiful Tahiti. The island is a paradise, but a serpent has entered this paradise. The soldiers bring disease and death and when they leave they carry a cargo that is every bit as deadly. In London, three years later the Solander returns from his trip to Tahiti, carrying in its hold, precious plants for Kew Gardens. When the crew begins to die one by one, there is talk of a curse, but the crew remains mum on the topic. Police chief Charles Horton must find a way to discover the truth before more people die.

Part historical, part ghost story, this book is impossible to put down. Highest recommendation

Dying to Know by T.J. O’Connor. Published by Midnight Ink

“Tuck” is shot and killed with his own service weapon when Angela send him to explore strange noises one night. To his surprise, he is able to come back to the world of the living, where he slowly learns to communicate with Angela, They both want to find his killer and begin to investigate. Has it got something to do with his former partner, who has a hidden file in his office?¬† Is it the supposedly reformed mobster?¬† Or has it gotten something to do with the historical research that Angela has been conducting?

A lively cozy with a ghost as its hero. Clever!

 

The First True Lie by Marina Mander. Published by Crown

Luca loves his mom, even though she brings home a lot of different men; temporary “fathers’ for Luca. He’s happy enough in his room with his cat Blue and his words. One day though, his mother cannot take him to school – she won’t wake up. Luca makes a decision to carry on as if his mother is still alive, attending school, doing the wash. All the while, his mother’s body is beginning to decompose and discovery seems imminent. Luca sinks deeper into himself and has grand adventures with Blue, pretending all sorts exciting scenarios, like taking trips to outer space. In the end Luca somehow learns to cope and become a person “a single human being” unto himself.

A haunting look inside the mind of a child in crisis and how he learns to cope in the most untenable situation possible

Murder Strikes a Pose by Tracy Weber. Published by Midnight Ink

Kate Davidson love her job as a yoga instructor. She truly believes that the practice of yoga is beneficial and especially calming to the nervous system. She needs that calm when a local indigent and his dog take up residence outside her yoga studio to hawk newspapers. When she tries to reason with him, the two form a friendship and she is devastated when he is murdered. Police believe it was a drug related murder, but Kate knows he never used drugs. She sets out to find out who killed her friend and also to find a loving home for his overgrown pooch, Bella

Kate is a vastly appealing heroine who befriends the friendless and champions homeless animals. I love her!