Book review: The Portrait of Molly Dean by Katherine Kovacic

Tuesday, November 5, 2019 Permalink

I met Melbourne author Katherine Kovacic at the BAD Crime Writers’ Festival in early September. She was speaking at some sessions and also a finalist at the Ned Kelly Awards, for her debut novel, The Portrait of Molly Dean.

I’d heard of the book but – a bit like The Killing of Louisa by Janet Lee – thought it was non-fiction. And anyone who knows anything about me knows I do not read non-fiction. (Or historical fiction, or fantasy, romance, science fiction etc…) Except on those occasions when I ‘accidentally’ do.

I discovered of course The Portrait of Molly Dean is a fictionalised account of the actual murder of teacher/writer/muse Molly Dean in Melbourne in 1930. And my interest was piqued after I heard Katherine speak about it and how she became intrigued by the unsolved crime and rather cynical accounts of the victim.

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four-stars

Book review: The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal

Monday, May 13, 2019 Permalink

I have to admit to being kinda vexed by this book. I’d normally shy away from a book set in the mid 1800s… not being a fan of historical fiction ‘n’ all. But something about the book must have appealed for me to have requested it and the blurb does set the scene for a creepy but intriguing tale.

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three-stars

Book review: The French Photographer by Natasha Lester

Tuesday, April 23, 2019 Permalink

I’d had this book for a while before I read it as I’m participating in a blog tour for this latest release by Natasha Lester, The French Photographer. It means I’ve seen a few reviews around, including a negative one in mainstream media which Lester shared just after the book’s publication.

I was surprised by that as this is possibly my favourite book by Lester; although it might be a toss-up between this and A Kiss From Mr Fitzgerald, and I think that is because the subject matter is ‘meatier’ than her two more recent novels. (If that makes sense!)

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four-half-stars

Book review: Under the Midnight Sky by Anna Romer

Wednesday, April 17, 2019 Permalink

Although I missed Anna Romer’s much-lauded debut, Thornwood House I’ve read Lyrebird Hill and read and interviewed Romer about Beyond the Orchard.

I’d assumed this book would have gothic or fairytale (are they not the same thing? Different sides of the same coin perhaps?) undertones, but it sits a little more firmly in the mystery genre and what WAS to be a short pre-dinner read, turned into several hours, until I’d finished the book.

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four-stars

Book review: The Spanish Promise by Karen Swan

Monday, March 25, 2019 Permalink

I wasn’t sure about this book as it’s a bit outside of my usual reading genre. I don’t read a lot of women’s fiction and stay far far away from historical fiction.

I do however, often read books that alternate between the past and present (a la Natasha Lester, Kate Morton etc), which this book does and I was thankfully engaged in this story and drawn to the characters from the get-go.

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three-half-stars

Book review: The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer

Monday, February 25, 2019 Permalink

I enjoyed Kelly Rimmer’s Before I Let You Go, released last year. At the time I described it as genre-less. In a good way.

The blurb for her latest mentions World War II and the 1940s which had me worried as I’m not a fan of historical fiction. I do however, read books that flick between timeframes, as per Kate Morton and Natasha Lester, which is exactly what The Things We Cannot Say does.

It’s a book in which Rimmer tackles a couple of weighty subjects: WWII and Nazi Germany; as well as complexities associated when parenting children with disabilities and learning difficulties.

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four-stars

Book review: Bright Young Dead by Jessica Fellowes

Saturday, October 13, 2018 Permalink

Last year I reviewed The Mitford Murders by Jessica Fellowes…. which I described as ‘faction’…. a fictional account of a murder set around real life characters and events.

I’d not heard of the Mitford sisters at the time and was somewhat intrigued.

More interesting though was that the main character wasn’t one of the sisters, but rather their nursery maid or companion, Louisa. And in my review I commented that the Mitford sisters, particularly the elder, Nancy seemed to play a bigger role on the mystery-solving front along with an ambitious young police officer, Guy Sullivan. (And – at the time, as it was billed as #1 – I wondered who might feature in the next book in the series….)

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three-half-stars

Book review: Fatal Inheritance by Rachel Rhys

Saturday, July 21, 2018 Permalink

I don’t tend to read historical fiction unless it’s intermingled with the present, so this book didn’t jump out at me when it arrived (despite the Australian edition’s beautiful cover). However, I decided I’d give it a go as there was something about the blurb that made me think about Agatha Christie’s A Caribbean Mystery, Evil Under the Sun or The Mystery of the Blue Train.

Fatal Inheritance by Tammy Cohen (writing as Rachel Rhys) wasn’t really a hardcore whodunit requiring a Belgian detective or woolly but whip-smart spinster however. Instead it’s an intriguing story with delightful characters and I was surprised how much I enjoyed it.

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four-stars