The Friend by Terese Driscoll. Published by Amazon

Sophie and her husband are far away when they get a call that their young son and another boy have been badly injured in an accident. Sophie had left her son in the care of new friend, Emma. She hasn’t known Emma long, but something about the woman invited confidence and Sophie has shared things with her new friend she hasn’t shared with anyone. Now she wonders if she made a terrible mistake. How much does she really know about Emma. Hours away from home and from her son, Sophie becomes increasingly desperate. This is one of those “every parent’s nightmare” stories that will have you second guessing your own babysitter

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The Heart of the Garden by Victoria Connelly. Published by Lake Union

Morton Hall has become a refuge for Anne Marie. The once grand estate and its ruined gardens are the perfect place for her to find respite from her failing marriage. The Hall’s owner, matriarch Emilia Morton only allows one other person on the grounds, Cape, who is instructed to work only on the once glorious garden maze. When Emilia dies, Anne and Cape are shocked to find that they are in her will. They, along with the people of the town have been given one year to fix up the grounds and gardens of the estate. if they can do so, the property will belong to the community, but they must work together and find a way to get along, which proves to be harder than it sounds.  I wish someone I don’t know well would leave me an amazing estate! Probably not going to happen, which is why I love books like this that let me live out my fantasy vicariously

California Summer by Anita Hughes. Published by St. Martins

All their hard work has paid off and Rosie and Ben have a hit on their hands. The filmmakers have been a hit at the Sundance Film Festival, but it turns out success means something different to Ben than it does to Rosie. While she’s content to keep making small, meaningful films, Ben wants the Hollywood dream. Big budgets, big actors, a big house and a big car. He’s also easily seduced by the beautiful women that come with the territory. Hurt and humiliated, Rosie decides to spend the  summer with a friend in Montecito, which is nothing like Hollywood. Here, she makes new friends and learns to regain her confidence and belief in herself. This is an empowering novel about a woman taking control of her own life with a little help from her friends

Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris. Published by St. Martins

It’s been ten years since she vanished from the parking lot of a gas station in France. When he came back to their car, she was gone and no trace of her was ever found. Now, he is hoping for a second chance at happiness, he’s engaged and thinks that he may finally be ready to move on. Then he sees his fiance, the sister of the woman who disappeared holding something that she shouldn’t have. Something he hasn’t seen in a very long time. Is his first love back or is someone playing a sick game with him? Paris writes some of the best thrillers today, with shocks and surprises that keep coming. If you like a book that will keep you guessing, pick up a B.A. Paris novel, you won;t be disappointed

The Romanov Empress by C. W. Gortier. Published by Ballantine

So much has been written about the Russian Revolution and the doomed Romanov family, Nicholas, Alexandra, and their children. This story looks at Maria, the Danish princess who would become Nicholas’s mother. From her privileged upbringing to her marriage to a Romanov and her rise to empress, to the dark days of the Russian Revolution and the rise of communism, this is a unique perspective of a period in history that continues to fascinate us today

Miss Mary’s Daughter by Diney Costeloe. Published by Head of Zeus

After her mother dies, Sophie Ross is left alone in Victorian London with only her old friend (and former nursemaid) Hannah for company. Knowing she will have to make a living to survive, Sophie believes her best option is to procure employment as a governess. Unbeknownst to her, Hannah mailed a letter to a grand home in Cornwall. at Sophie’s mother’s behest before her death.  Sophie is invited to Trescadinnick House where she learns of her true heritage, and the love affair that the Penvarrow family disowned her mother over.  this is a grand and sweeping Gothic novel that will please readers of the genre

Don’t Believe It by Charlie Donlea. Published by Kensington

Grace Seibold has been in a St. Lucia prison for 10 years, convicted of murdering her boyfriend on spring break. Grace insists she’s innocent and in a last ditch effort to prove it, contacts documentary filmmaker, Sidney Ryan. The more Sidney learns about Grace’s case, the more she believes the woman is innocent. Shoddy police work left other line of inquiry unexplored and other suspects ignores. The film she makes convinces everyone else that Grace is innocent too. It looks like Grace may soon be free, just as Sidney gets an anonymous note telling her that she’s made a deadly mistake. Has she unwittingly freed a killer? If you like your thriller with surprises and twists and turns, you’ll love this book