Monday, November 29, 2021

Book Review: Power Play by Rachel Dylan

Power PlayPower Play (Capital Intrigue #3). Rachel Dylan. Bethany House (2021). 320 pages.  Genre:  Romantic Suspense, Christian Fiction.

First Lines: "It's going to be a long night.  Vivian Steele checked her glossy pink lipstick one final time before exiting the ladies' room and entering into the shark tank - otherwise known as a diplomatic dinner in the Washington, DC, area."

Summary:  Viv works in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the State Department.  This work keeps her mostly behind a desk looking over policy.  Occasionally, she will be called on to assist in an operation by observing to make sure all the legal bases are covered.  Her boss has insisted she attend the annual summer dinner event attended by diplomats from around the world. She feels like she doesn't belong.  However, there are a few people she knows, so she begins to make the rounds.  Shortly after beginning a conversation, a shriek sounds behind her.  As she looks for the source of the shriek, she see a man hovered over Egyptian Ambassador Zidan.  Unfortunately, he is dead.  As the emergency personnel are attempting to remove him from the scene, the emcee encourages everyone to return to their seats.  

After dessert Viv makes her way to speak to Penelope King, US ambassador to Belgium.  Viv notices that she looks unwell.  Within minutes she collapses.  What is going on?  Are the incidents related?  Is someone trying to take out the ambassadors one by one?  These are all questions that need to be answered.  Viv is assigned to a team that will be investigating.  She is paired with Jacob Cruz, a man she doesn't know, but ran into at the dinner.  He is a supervisory special agent of diplomatic security.  And he doesn't like lawyers.  The two of them get off to a rocky start. However, they are both professional enough to put their opinions aside and work together to figure out who is targeting the ambassadors.

My thoughts:  This is the third book in the Capital Intrigue series.  I have enjoyed this look into a way of life I know very little about.

Viv is a policy lawyer, which means she hasn't spent any time in front of a judge.  She is not used to defending criminals, but she is very skilled in the law.  She mostly looks over documents to make sure they are legally sound.  Except for that one operation she was asked to join that had her at the scene of a prisoner exchange between the US and Egypt.  Her role was to observe and make sure that everything was done by the book.  What she didn't realize at the time was that there could be eyes on her that weren't friendly.  There was an aspect of the story that was frustrating me that involved Viv and her ignorance about possible danger.  But, as I kept reading I realized the author did a great job of using this situation to help the reader understand that Viv was not trained as a field agent and wasn't used to looking for danger.  At one point Jacob has to set her straight:

"They wouldn't think twice about killing someone as an act of revenge.  Their whole purpose is to inflict pain.  These aren't political dissidents.  This isn't diplomacy, like you're used to dealing with.  They're straight-up bad guys.  Understand?"

When Viv is having a hard time understanding, he says:

"That's because you see the light in people, not the darkness.  I specialize in seeing the darkness and fighting it."

That felt very realistic and caused me to realize that there are people out there who "specialize in the darkness and fighting it".  I am very thankful for those people.

The characters of Viv and Jacob are deep characters.  They are multi-layered and complex.  Of course, all of this depth happens rather quickly, but the author only had 300 pages to work with.  

The faith aspect was realistic also.  The characters called on their faith in times of trouble, when they were afraid, or as a means to encourage someone.

This was a fast-paced, enjoyable read.  Unfortunately, this is the final book in this series.  But, I will keep my eyes open to see what Rachel Dylan does next.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving!


"Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise!  Give thanks to Him; bless His name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations." Psalm 100: 4-5

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who are celebrating this week!  

I don't think I will get much reading done as I will have company for several days.  If I get a chance, I will be working on this:

The Dark Vineyard (Bruno, Chief of Police #2)

Here are some things I will be making:

Make-Ahead Turkey

Refrigerator Mashed Potatoes - the recipe I use is similar to this, but replaces the cheese with an 8 oz package of cream cheese.



Our guests will be bringing lots of things to share.

Enjoy this day however you celebrate!

~ Gretchen

Monday, November 22, 2021

Book Review: Plantation Shudders by Ellen Byron

Plantation Shudders (Cajun Country Mystery, #1)Plantation Shudders (Cajun Country Mysteries #1). Ellen Byron. Crooked Lane Books (2015). 282 pages. Genre:  Cozy Mystery.

First Line: "Maggie flew down southern Louisiana's River Road in the red '64 Falcon convertible that she'd inherited from her late grandfather."

Summary:  Maggie Crozat's family owns a Louisiana plantation that they have turned into a bed-and-breakfast.  End of summer is a busy time as guests flock to the area for the local food festival.  The rooms are full with a variety of guests from an elderly newlywed couple to a family with young children.  Unfortunately, things do not get off to a good start when the elderly couple drop dead within minutes of one another.  One appears to have died of unnatural causes.  

Pelican Chief of Police, Rufas Durand, holds a grudge against the Crozat family claiming they put a curse on his family.   The Durands and Crozats have had a rivalry going for years.  The Crozat Plantation can't take bad publicity right now, so Maggie determines to investigate the murder on her own.  Fortunately, there is a new detective on the force who isn't so unkind and Maggie works with him to find the killer. 

My thoughts:  This series has been on my TBR for quite a while.  After reading several positive reviews for the most recent book in the series, I figured I better get started.  I am so glad I did.

Immediately I was drawn into the setting, which is unfamiliar to me.  The series takes place in Louisiana, right in the heart of Cajun Country.  The plantations, the bayous and the southern manners were foreign to me and I enjoyed experiencing them through the pages of this book.

I will admit that it took me a bit to warm up to Maggie.  Initially, she seemed a little over the top.  But, as the story went on I appreciated the way her grandmother or parents reigned her in.  And it really didn't take much reigning, just a simple reminder and Maggie would calm down.  By the end, I appreciated Maggie's loyalty to her family and friends that sometimes caused her anger to flare.  

There is a great cast of characters here.  Topping the list is Maggie's grand-mere Crozat, 'Gran for short. She is a hoot.  The rest of the family, consisting of her mom, dad and cousin, Lia are people I wouldn't mind spending time with.  The Chief of Police is a real piece of work and so is his fiancee.  Fortunately, his cousin, Bo Durand, the newest addition to the police force, treats everyone fairly regardless of the family they belong to.  I hope to see more of all of them in future books.  

The crime had several suspects, but no one really stood out.  Maggie just kept digging until things finally made sense.  She really did work with Bo.  Anytime she uncovered something she would contact him immediately.  I was glad the two of them solved the mystery and explained it to the reader, because I didn't have a clue.  

One small quibble I had with the book was the use of some crude language and over-the-top scenes.  Fortunately, this was not excessive and will not keep me from reading future books.  Overall I really enjoyed this book and am eager to visit the Crozat family again.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Book Review: Backlash by Rachel Dylan

BacklashBacklash (Capital Intrigue #2). Rachel Dylan. Bethany House (2020). 320 pages. Genre:  Romantic Suspense, Christian Fiction.

First Line: "The incessant knocking on her condo door made Layla Karam grumble as she threw off the covers."

Summary:  Layla Karam loves her job as a CIA Analyst.  Her strength lies in being able to scour data and find connections.  However, her bosses at the CIA have been pushing hard to get her in the field.  She recently took part in a DEA operation in Honduras involving the brutal and dangerous Mejia cartel.  The operation was successful, but now members of the team, including Layla, are being targeted.  

Complicating matters further, an internal investigation against Layla is opened.  Her boss has no reason to suspect her of anything and is not being told what the inquiry is about.  To top it off, Layla is assigned a security detail involving her ex-boyfriend, private investigator Hunter McCoy.  As difficult as it is, Layla has to put her trust in this man.  Under constant threat from the brutal cartel, the two of them must work together to discover how the cartel knows who was involved in the operation.

My thoughts:  It has been several months since I read the first book in this series, so I had forgotten some of the information about the characters.  Once I got up to speed, this was a real page turner. 

Layla is truly in a situation where she doesn't know who to trust.  As a reader, I felt the same way.  She was putting her trust in people I didn't think she should.  Layla is a very capable woman.  She was hired as a CIA Middle East specialist.  Her father was Lebanese, she has a degree in Arab studies and is fluent in Arabic.  However, all of these things make her highly sought after to work in the field.  She has agreed to be involved in cases on a temporary basis, but would prefer to be back at a desk analyzing complex information. 

Hunter was in law enforcement, but is now working as a private investigator.  The history that he shares with Layla is complicated.  The story she tells is that Hunter cheated on her and that ended their relationship.  The truth is much more complicated.  While Hunter is very capable as a security detail, Layla has been well-trained by the CIA.  He finds it intimidating when Layla ends up being the one to save him from a bullet.  This felt realistic and I appreciated the way the two of them put aside their feelings to accomplish their goal.  

There are several mysteries going on in this story.  The first involves the cartel targeting the team that worked in Honduras.  This mystery is complex as the pool of suspects is large and most of them are trained agents.  There were several twists and turns that I didn't expect and left me feeling even more on edge.  Next is the investigation opened against Layla.  Are they related? The third involves a secondary character, Izzy.  She was previously in law enforcement and was attacked by her sergeant.  When he is found dead, Izzy becomes a suspect.  The combination of these mysteries really kept the pages turning. 

I enjoy reading books where the author has experience in a particular field and uses those experiences to write fiction.  This is one of those books.  Rachel Dylan is of Lebanese decent and has a degree in Middle Eastern studies.  She also works as a lawyer in the corporate world.  This brought authenticity to the story.  

I enjoyed Backlash and am looking forward to reading more from Rachel Dylan.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Book Review: The London House by Katherine Reay

The London HouseThe London House. Katherine Reay. Harper Muse (2021). 368 pages. Genre: Historical Fiction, Fiction.

First Lines of Prologue:  "17 October 1941. Caro hugged Martine, whispering close to her ear.  'I won't be back. It's too dangerous.'"

Summary:  Caroline Payne is finally feeling some peace.  She has found work she loves to do and is getting settled in Boston.  When she receives a call from an old college friend, Mat Hammond, she is surprised, but agrees to meet him for coffee.  Mat is a journalist trying to make a name for himself.  On the side, he does genealogical research.  A family has hired him to find out what happened to their relative.  In the course of his research, he came across Caroline's great-aunt, Caroline Waite.   He has uncovered a long-held secret: Caroline's great-aunt betrayed her country and family to escape with a German lover during WWII.  This is the type of story that will garner attention.  Mat has written an article about what he has uncovered and believes it will be accepted by a major news publication.  

Caroline can't believe this is true.  She has been told that her great-aunt died of Polio as a child.  Mat has proof that she was alive as an adult.  Caroline is determined to find answers and asks Mat for a little time to try to find them before he submits his article.   Her family still owns a home in London which they refer to as "The London House".  She and Mat travel to London to scour letters and diaries left by her grandmother and great-aunt.  Will they be able to discover the truth before the article deadline?

My thoughts:  What an amazing story this is!  Katherine Reay is a talented author who has woven fact and fiction to create a story that is hard to put down.  

Part of the story takes place in present day and involves Caroline.  As the story unfolds, we learn about her family's complicated past and the way it has shaped her.  Because of circumstances in their lives, both of her parents retreated into themselves when Caroline was young.  She was distanced from both of her siblings for various reasons.  These things left her feeling alone, unloved and like a failure.  However, Caroline has made a life for herself and is doing the best she can.  Combined with this is her previous relationship with Mat.  They were close friends in college, but then lost touch.  Caroline is not even sure what happened, which makes the fact that he has contacted her more confusing.  

The other part of the story takes place in the days leading up to WWII and is told through letters and diaries.  Caroline's grandmother, Margaret,  had a twin sister named Caroline, but they called her Caro.  Caroline was told she died of Polio as a child.  As Mat and Caroline scour the letters and diaries to try to find out what really happened to Caro, they come to know and love Margaret and Caro.  In the late 1930's, Caro left London for Paris where she worked for Elsa Schiaparelli in her famous dress shop.  I loved learning about this business and the culture surrounding it.  Also interesting was the way Caro picked up the beliefs and ideas of the culture she was living in.  Unfortunately, they were in opposition to the beliefs and ideas of her family still living in London.  The created a wedge between them.  Caro rarely returned home because of the conflict. The author did a great job of showing how the distractions of the fashion world blinded people to what was really going on in the world.  Also how people's beliefs divided them.  

"In World War Two, no one can deny there was a real mix and mess of loyalties.  It must have felt like the world was ending and life would never be the same.  What's more, the enemy was sometimes within your own home."

The parallels to our present circumstances were striking. While all of this seems heavy, there is a thread of hope running through the story.  There are themes of love, confession, forgiveness, truth, family and how the past defines us.  Best of all, it is a story of reconciliation that leaves the reader with a sense of hope for the future.  

Saturday, November 13, 2021

The Sunday Salon

The Sunday Salon is hosted by Deb at Readerbuzz.

It truly feels like November.  The days have been rather dark.  Not only does the sun set before 5:00 pm, but we have had several dreary, gray days.  By the time this posts, we will most likely have several inches of snow on the ground.  The forecast says to expect 2 to 4 inches.  Fortunately, it is expected to warm up midweek, so the snow should melt.

Here's what I have been up to this week:

Seeing ~ 
Lots of birds at the bird bath -
*Tufted Titmice
*Black-capped Chickadees

Smelling ~ 
The acrid smell of burning leaves.
Snow. (Did you know you can smell snow?  Just like you can smell rain coming, snow has a distinctive smell in the air.)

In the kitchen ~  

What I read ~

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)

Currently reading ~

The London House

Watching ~
We recently watched 11-22-63, based on the book by Stephen King.  It is an eight part series.  It's a good story.

What have you been up to this week? I hope it's been a good one!

~ Gretchen


Cruisin' thru the Cozies Reading Challenge 2022

 Yvonne at Socrates' Book Reviews hosts the Cruisin' thru the Cozies Reading Challenge.   I will be participating at Level 2 (Investigator) - reading 20 books of my choice.  There is also a Goodreads group you can join here.

I will be listing my books here:

1. The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax (Mrs. Pollifax #2) by Dorothy Gilman

2. Reserved for Murder (Booklover's B&B #2) by Victoria Gilbert

3. Death at High Tide (Island Sisters Mystery #1) by Hannah Dennison

4. Dead Wrong (Agatha's B & B #1) by Vannetta Chapman

5. In the Company of Cheerful Ladies (No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency #6) by Alexander McCall Smith

6. The Highland Fling Murders (Murder, She Wrote #8) by Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain

7. Plain Deception (Amish Inn Mysteries #2) by Tara Randel

8. Clause & Effect (Deadly Edits #2) by Kaitlynn Dunnett

9. Partners in Lime (Seaside Cafe #6) by Bree Baker

10. Danger at the Cove (Island Sisters Mystery #2) by Hannah Dennison

11. Body on the Bayou (Cajun Country Mystery #2) by Ellen Byron

12. Murder with Darjeeling Tea (Daisy's Tea Garden #8) by Karen Rose Smith

13. Murder on the QE2 (Murder, She Wrote #9) by Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain

14. Blue Shoes and Happiness (No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency #7) by Alexander McCall Smith

15. Chained (Kate Turner, DVM #3) by Eileen Brady

16. Books Can Be Deceiving (Library Lovers #1) by Jenn McKinlay

17. Peg and Rose Solve a Murder (Peg and Rose #1) by Laurien Berenson 

18. Hot and Sour Suspects (Noodle Shop #8) by Vivien Chien

19. A Tourist's Guide to Murder (Mystery Bookshop #6) by V. M. Burns

20. A Christmas Candy Killing (Killer Chocolate #1) by Christina Romeril

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter #1). J. K. Rowling. Arthur A. Levine Books (1997). 309 pages. Genre:  Children's Literature, Fantasy. 

First Line: "Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much."

Summary:  After his parents were killed in a car crash, Harry went to live with his aunt, uncle and cousin.  Mr. and Mrs. Dursley didn't approve of his parents' 'kind of people', so they try their best to ignore Harry.  They do feed him, but mostly he stays under the stairs.  One day Harry receives a letter that changes his life.  He has been accepted into Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  

When Harry arrives at Hogwart's, he finds that many teachers and children know who he is.  He has only recently discovered the truth about his parents and how they really died.  They were killed by the evil Voldemort, who also tried to kill Harry and left him with a scar. This made him a legend in the world of wizards and witches.   Nobody knows what happened to Voldemort.  As Harry traverses his first year at Hogwart's, he discovers there is still evil at work.  

My thoughts:  Harry Potter is a very relatable character.  When living with the Dursely's he is neglected and unappreciated, but he realizes there is not a lot he can do about it so tries to make the best of it. When he finally gets to Hogwart's he has to stand on his own two feet.  Even though he is a legend, he is not given special treatment.  He is expected to follow the same rules as everyone else.  But, at times he chooses not the follow the rules and there are consequences.  I appreciated that Harry was always willing to accept those consequences.  There were a couple of other characters who were always trying to get away with something and felt entitled.  They were definitely unlikeable.  

This was a great story with themes of good vs. evil, overcoming obstacles, kindness, things are not always what they seem, and found family.  

I decided to read this thinking I had never read it before.  But when I went to enter it into Goodreads, I saw that I had read it in 2014.  Some of it was familiar, but it felt like I was reading it for the first time.  I enjoyed it more than I thought I would and I am looking forward to reading more in the series. 

Monday, November 8, 2021

Book Review: A Christmas in the Alps by Melody Carlson

A Christmas in the AlpsA Christmas in the Alps. Melody Carlson. Revell (2021). 176 pages. Genre:  Christmas Fiction, Christian Fiction.

First Lines: "Simone Winthrop knew all about loss. But as she sorted through her dead grandmother's cluttered house, she experienced an unexpected wave of hopefulness."

Summary:  Simone Winthrop's grandmother was like a mother to her.  Grandma Betty raised her, after Simone's mother left.  Now, Grandma Betty is gone and Simone is left sorting through her things.  Her best friend, Andrea, is helping her with the process.  When Andrea uncovers an unopened letter addressed to Simone from her Great-grandmother, Simone is curious.  After reading the letter she is even more curious and a bit stunned. The letter was written a couple of years ago and somehow got lost in the shuffle.  Great-grandmamma Winthrop wrote to tell Simone she left a treasure in France and would like Simone to have it.  At first Simone is doubtful.  Would something valuable still be around after all these years?  Andrea convinces her that she will never know unless she attempts to locate it.  There are many obstacles in her way, but Simone is determined to find the treasure. 

My thoughts:  Isn't that cover gorgeous!  This is a sweet story about courage and family with some well developed characters set in a beautiful location.

Simone has had a lot of loss in her life.  Since her grandmother died, she has found herself at a crossroads.  She is not sure who she is and where she belongs.  She knew she had relatives in France, but she has never met any of them and could not even tell you their names. Combined with her fear of flying, she has many excuses for not going to France.  However, this seems to have been her Great-grandmamma's dying wish.  And that means a lot to Simone. I am always impressed with the depth of character Melody Carlson can accomplish in a novella.  Simone grows and changes throughout the course of this story in some significant ways. 

There is some romance in the story as well.  However, it is not the focus of the story, but just adds a bit of joy.  The bulk of the story involves solving the mystery of the treasure.  The first hurdle is getting to France and the second, larger hurdle, is discovering who Simone's relatives are.  Once that is accomplished, the next hurdle becomes getting through the barriers that those relatives seem to be putting between themselves and Simone. Obviously, in real life things don't go as smoothly as they do in fiction and you have to keep that in mind while reading this story.  The author only has a limited number of pages to accomplish this and it might seem a bit too neat and tidy.  If you can let that go, you'll enjoy the story.

As an added bonus, the reader gets to learn something about the watch and clock making business. It was fascinating to learn about and consider some of the obstacles that type of business has today.  This small company was owned by a local and employed many members of the community.  It had been around for many years and represented many generations.  If it were to go away, it would change the landscape of the small French town of Avre.  Knowing all of this created a fuller picture of the setting.  There is a lot to like about this novella and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Friday, November 5, 2021

Book Review: Slashing Through the Snow by Jacqueline Frost

Slashing Through the Snow (Christmas Tree Farm Mystery, #3)Slashing Through the Snow (Christmas Tree Farm #3). Jacqueline Frost.  Crooked Lane Books (2021). 304 pages. Genre:  Cozy Mystery.

First Line: "'I'm not sure there's enough gift wrap left in Mistletoe to cover all these toys,' I said, setting another heaping bag of donations onto a precarious pile in my office."

Summary:  Holly White is excited for her first Christmas season as innkeeper at Reindeer Games Christmas Tree Farm.  Each of the rooms has a guest and Holly is thrilled.  Karen Moody, travel journalist and hospitality critic for New England Magazine, is one of the guests.  She is in town to review the inn and keeps Holly hopping with her complaints and requests.  Holly is trying to accommodate her as she would really love a good review.  Unfortunately, someone else wasn't quite as understanding as Holly.  Karen was hit over the head and her body was thrown into the toy donation receptacle.  

The list of suspects is long.  Karen was known to write scathing reviews, often ruining businesses.  Unfortunately, the evidence is pointing to Holly's friend Cookie.  She was overheard saying someone should hit Karen over the head and the murder weapon was a gift from Cookie to Holly.  Holly knows the threat was just idle talk, but Sheriff Gray has to follow the evidence.  Will Holly be able to sit back and let him solve the case?  

My thoughts:  I will admit that Holly does a better job of sitting back this time.  But, of course, she has to follow some leads.  When Cookie ends up being held at the station and the possibility that she will have to spend Christmas there grows closer, Holly feels the pressure to discover the real killer so her friend can enjoy Christmas.  

The addition of the inn makes for a charming setting.  Holly has her own personal suite at the inn which is convenient and cozy.  This has made room for Evan's sister Libby, who we met in the previous book, to move in to the guest cottage that was previously Holly's home.  Having everyone so close reinforces the theme of family and found family that is so prevalent in these books.  

The focus is on Cookie as suspect this time.  It was interesting to see a different side of her.  She has been portrayed as a quirky, older woman full of zest.  She is still that, but there is a fearful, timid side of her that comes out when she is accused of murder.  The relationship between Holly and Sheriff Gray develops as does the relationship between Libby and Ray.  An added bit of fun is the wedding of Ray's mom set to take place just before Christmas.  

It was easy to see why someone would want to murder Karen Moody.  As we learn more about her, she seemed to be someone who used her position as a reviewer to be as nasty as possible.  She left a trail of angry people and ruined businesses in her wake. The method of murder fit the motive.  But, discovering who had enough anger to lash out was difficult.  In fact, I never saw it coming.  

The Christmas spirit is very prevalent in the story.  It is easy to imagine yourself sitting near a roaring fire at the inn surrounded by "images of Santa, elves and snow-covered villages".  Smelling vanilla, pine greens and cinnamon.  Sipping on hot chocolate and devouring delicious treats.  But most of all it is that spirit of love and family that make it feel most like Christmas.  This is an enjoyable, heartwarming mystery that is perfect for this time of year. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Book Review: Death at Greenway by Lori Rader-Day

Death at GreenwayDeath at Greenway.  Lori Rader-Day. William Morrow (2021). 448 pages.  Genre: Mystery, Historical. 

First Line of Prologue: "South Deven, England, 11:15 a.m., 3 September 1939.  The mistress of the house was at work on the mayonnaise when the kitchen wireless began to speak of war."

Summary:  Bridget Kelly, Bridey, is in nurse's training at St. Prisca's Hospital in London.  After making a terrible mistake, her matron gives her an assignment to help care for children evacuated from London.  That assignment takes her to Greenway, the country home of Agatha M. C. Christie Mallowan and her husband.  

Bridey is terrified that someone will discover she is not really a nurse.  But as the other nurse, Gigi, doesn't seem very capable, Bridey finds herself relying on the training she has.  Gigi often leaves the care of the ten children to Bridey.  As frustrating as that can be, Bridey finds herself desiring Gigi's friendship.  When a body washes up near the estate, Bridey and Gigi are called for to examine the body until the doctor can arrive.  Gigi holds back, but Bridey approaches the body.  It is plain to her that this was no accident.  It is also evident that this man is no stranger.  Bridey remembers seeing him on the train talking to Gigi.  Suddenly, this place that was meant for safety feels dangerous and uncertain. 

My thoughts: Lori Rader-Day excels at creating a character with a past.  She then places this character right in the middle of a situation.  Next, she begins revealing the past layer by layer.  This creates an atmosphere of mystery.  That is definitely the case in this story.

Bridget Kelly, Bridey, has a past.  At first she is timid and uncertain of herself.  But as the story goes on she gains confidence.  She becomes less afraid of questioning things and of asserting herself.  I am not quite sure what I think of Gigi.  Initially she seems to be someone who just lives for fun and sees nothing but drudgery in the events of daily life.  However, as she and Bridey become more acquainted with one another, there is a bit more depth to her. 

The other supporting characters are all interesting in their own way.  Some become suspects, others are definitely not suspects.  Mrs. Christie only makes a couple of appearances, but she is talked about regularly as are her books. 

Once the body washes up on shore and Bridey realizes who the man is and that he didn't die accidentally, there is a mystery to solve.  However, the reader doesn't hear much about an investigation of any sort.  It is more a mystery that comes up in conversation around the estate or in the thought life of Bridey.  If you begin to daydream while reading, you may miss something.  This made a few of the things revealed even more shocking and I found myself going back to make sure I had read correctly.

Best of all is the setting.  Reading about daily life for those who stayed home during the war was fascinating.  I have always thought of how difficult it must have been for parents to send their children away from London.  Not knowing when or if they would see them again.  That aspect is brought into play in this story.  Also, the attitudes regarding serving or helping the war effort were eye-opening.  In some peoples' minds, there was a right way to help and anyone not helping in that way was looked down upon.  

I have read one other book by Lori Rader-Day and that book left me feeling the same way this one did.  I find myself thinking about the characters and the story for some time after reading it. Death at Greenway is a great historical mystery with well-written characters.  It left me eager to read more by this author.