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May 2022

reviews

The Vanished Days by Susanna Kearsley

The Vanished Days by Susanna Kearsley

There are many who believe they know what happened, but they do not know the whole of it. The rumours spread, and grow, and take their hold, and so to end them I have been persuaded now to take my pen in hand and tell the story as it should be told…

Autumn, 1707. Old enemies from the Highlands to the Borders are finding common ground as they join to protest the new Union with England, the French are preparing to launch an invasion to carry the young exiled Jacobite king back to Scotland to reclaim his throne, and in Edinburgh the streets are filled with discontent and danger.

Queen Anne’s commissioners, seeking to calm the situation, have begun settling the losses and wages owed to those Scots who took part in the disastrous Darien expedition eight years earlier.

When Lily, the young widow of a Darien sailor, comes forward to collect her husband’s wages, her claim is challenged, and one of the men who’s assigned to examine her has only days to decide if she’s honest, or if his own feelings are making him blind to the truth, and if he’s being used as a pawn in an even more treacherous game.

A story of intrigue, adventure, endurance, romance…and the courage to hope. (publisher)

I didn’t realize this was part of a series when I requested this, but it worked fine as a stand-alone. I’ve read one book, Mariana, from this author before but that was about 20 years ago. I remember liking it, but memories are a bit hazy though… So I was interested to see how this turns out.

Lily Graeme claims to be a widow of a Darien sailor and has come to collect her husband’s wages. However, people don’t believe that she was married to this guy. They were from very different stations of life for one matter. Adam Williamson finds himself entangled in the task of finding out if Lily speaks the truth.

We have a dual timeline with Adam’s pov in the present and Lily’s in the past. The story starts when Lily is a child so there are about 20 years in between. I didn’t know about the Darien scheme or that Scotland tried to establish a colony in Caledonia. So a lot of new stuff. The book is set during the Jacobite risings in Scotland (The Old Pretender).

I liked both Lily and Adam. My one problem was that in the present day, which is from Adam’s pov, there is very little about Lily. Mostly it’s Adam talking about Lily with someone.

I liked the Scotland setting and the writing. Some people have complained about the slowness, but I didn’t have that problem. I’m definitely reading more from the author. Hopefully sooner than in 20 years this time…

4/5

Published: Simon & Schuster UK (May 4, 2022)
Format: eBook
Source: Netgalley

reviews

Elektra by Jennifer Saint

Elektra by Jennifer Saint

The House of Atreus is cursed. A bloodline tainted by a generational cycle of violence and vengeance. This is the story of three women, their fates inextricably tied to this curse, and the fickle nature of men and gods.

Clytemnestra
The sister of Helen, wife of Agamemnon – her hopes of averting the curse are dashed when her sister is taken to Troy by the feckless Paris. Her husband raises a great army against them and determines to win, whatever the cost.

Cassandra
Princess of Troy, and cursed by Apollo to see the future but never to be believed when she speaks of it. She is powerless in her knowledge that the city will fall.

Elektra
The youngest daughter of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon, Elektra is horrified by the bloodletting of her kin. But can she escape the curse, or is her own destiny also bound by violence? (publisher)

I haven’t read the author’s first book Ariadne, but I’ve heard so much good about it that I was very excited to read Elektra.

The story is told from 3 pov’s: Clytemnestra, wife of Agamemnon and sister of Helen, her daughter Elektra and Cassandra of Troy.

Cassandra was my fav of the three, liked Clytemnestra, but didn’t like Elektra or understand her. She definitely wasn’t sad about her sister and the jealousy of the slaves (Briseis and Cassandra) was just weird. I sort of wanted to yell that it could easily be you who’s the slave. Especially as the house of Atreus was such a peace-loving family… Mostly I was between wanting to shake or slap her.

I liked the writing, and I think that I would like Ariadne more. I’m less familiar with the tale and characters and don’t have such strong ideas about them. I felt like the book was much more Clytemnestra’s story than Elektra’s, who has such a small role, especially in the beginning. Elektra becomes more prominent in the end though.

3/5

Published: Wildfire (April 28, 2022)
Format: eBook
Source: Netgalley