Archive for July, 2009

The Arms Maker of Berlin-Dan Fesperman

July 31, 2009

The Arms Maker of Berlin

Dan Fesperman

Knopf, Aug 4 2009, $25.95

ISBN: 9780307268372

WWII history professor Dr. Nat Turnbull specializes in the German resistance movement.  He is shocked when he learns his former advisor octogenarian Dr. Gordon Wolfe was arrested by Pennsylvania police for possessing stolen archival information from the 1940s.

Nat sees some of the findings and realizes what Gordon had squirreled away is incredible as none of the documents can be found elsewhere as far he knows.  However, he also finds a gap in what the police took and assumes Gordon, for whatever reason, hid part of the cache of data.  When Gordon is found dead in his cell, the FBI asks Nat to investigate Gordon’s strange clues.  As he begins to uncover the secrets of the White Rose Resistance buried for decades, Berlin’s Free University Professor Berta Heinkel offers to help him.  He soon distrusts everyone including the German visitor and the FBI as the evidence point towards a cover-up to protect a German weapons manufacturer, Bauer, who apparently hid his WW II activity so that he could keep his Jewish family members from the camps.

This should be must reading for ideologues as family motives easily supersede everything is this poignant clearly timely and profound thriller.  Although Turnbull is the superstar of the tale from the opening shocker to the final denouement with five survivors at his side, Bauer owns the story line then and now.  He did what he had to for his beloved ones to survive war and the Final Solution; choices are not simple Bushian for or against as the Neocons proclaim and Congressman Tim Ryan has recently affirmed, but instead complex and complicated as Bauer made choices that has haunted him in life and will do so until he dies.

Harriet Klausner

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Slow Burn-Pamela Britton

July 31, 2009

Slow Burn

Pamela Britton

Harlequin HQN, Sep 2009, $7.99

ISBN:  9780373774005

Dana Johnson was about to marry Stewart until she learned he was taking credit for her work.  She quickly ended that relationship.  Her friend and co-worker at Steele and Steele Alysa takes her to a NASCAR race; an event she has never attended before.

However, Dana is appalled to learn that Alysa entered her name in a win a date with driver Braden James contest; and she won.  Dana says no, but Braden persuades her to go through the dating ritual as his sponsor, My-Lovematch.com, demands they do.  She reluctantly agrees though she doubts a rebounder like her will be any fun.  To her shock she begins to fall in love with the hunk; not the macho image, but the sensitive former foster child.  Shockingly Alysa, who sets them up, is jealous with rage.

SLOW BURN is a tender warm contemporary NASCAR romance in which her stepfather puts perspective when he wishes her the best in life and love, but with a quarterback.  Fans will enjoy this engaging tale although the villain has sniffed too many racing car fumes.  Still Pamela Britton provides a wonderful ride to the winner’s circle with the help of the pit crew (and not just those at the track).

Harriet Klausner

How To Tempt A Duke-Kasey Michaels

July 31, 2009

How To Tempt A Duke

Kasey Michaels

Harlequin HQN, Sep 2009, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373773718

In 1814 after fighting for several years on the continent, Captain Rafael Daughtry is coming home to begin his duties as the Duke of Ashurst since his uncle and his cousins mysteriously died while he was fighting Napoleon.  Family friend Charlotte Seavers is a bit aghast with Rafe’s younger out of control sixteen years old twin sisters, Nicole the ring leader and Lydia for the stunt they pulled on letters to and from Rafe, but is elated her childhood buddy is finally returning home safe and sound.

Neither Rafe nor Charlie initially recognizes one another as childhood memories overwhelm adult senses.  However, he needs her to help him somewhat control and chaperone his siblings.  As he falls in love with Charlie, she has always loved him; but conceals her secret as to why she distrusts men even her beloved Rafe.

This is an engaging amusing Regency romance starring two likable lead characters and a terrific support cast starting with the irresistible impish sisters.  The breezy brisk story line also contains a serious mystery subplot as well as Charlie’s related secret.  Fans will enjoy this witty historical and want a future tale or two (in a few years hence) starring the terrible terror twins.

Harriet Klausner

Royal’s Bride-Kat Martin

July 31, 2009

Royal’s Bride

Kat Martin

Mira, Sep 2009, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778326427

In 1854, Royal Dewar comes home after spending several years in foreign countries to pay his respects to his dying father, the duke of Bransford.  His dad insists Royal make a death bed promise to marry an heiress to restore the family’s dwindling fortune that was devastated by a con artist. Unable to say no or even ignore the plea Royal acquiesces.

Although he knows no one but himself is aware of his pledge, the honorable new duke proposes to wealthy snooty Jocelyn Caulfield; she accepts.  However, he falls in love with her impecunious feisty cousin, Lily Moran, who has a criminal history when they team up to recover the money his father lost.  While Jocelyn also falls in love with Christopher Barclay, Lily is abducted by their adversary; Royal vows to rescue his beloved and find a way to marry her.

This is a terrific Victorian romantic suspense starring a strong lead pair and a solid support cast especially the heroine’s arrogant cousin and the villain.  The story line is fast-paced from the moment Royal comes home and never slows down.  Although the post game show is too perfect, fans will enjoy the tense game. Kat Martin always entertains the audience with her fantastic romances.

Harriet Klausner

Never Love a Lawman-Jo Goodman

July 30, 2009

Never Love a Lawman

Jo Goodman

Zebra, Sep 2009, $6.99

ISBN: 9781420101757

In 1882 in Reidsville, Colorado, Sheriff Wyatt Cooper takes his job seriously to protect the townsfolk.  He insures everyone is safe including newcomer Rachel Bailey, who he knows is a creature of habit as every male in town knows when they watch her walk the street to her establishment early in the morning.  However, no one was prepared when Clinton Maddox dies and shockingly leaves the valuable railroad spur to Rachel, which places her in danger as others want the town’s lifeline.

Wyatt and Rachel agree to wed in a marriage of convenience so he can keep her safe.  However, the townsfolk are euphoric and want to celebrate the nuptials.  The only ones not ecstatic are Wyatt and Rachel.  When her past arrives with two goals to destroy Rachel and claim the spur, Wyatt realizes protecting her has become personal.

This is an entertaining Americana romance starring an intriguing heroine and a wolf of a sheriff who sings the refrain from I’m Not in Love.  The exciting story line contains a strong cast who bring to life the small town that would die without the spur.  Jo Goodman provides an enjoyable western romance.

Harriet Klausner

Seduced by a Stranger-Eve Silver

July 30, 2009

Seduced by a Stranger

Eve Silver

Zebra, Sep 2009, $6.99

ISBN: 9780821781302

 

All her siblings died in childhood leaving Catherine Weston lonely and macabre thinking and dreaming all the time of death.  Her only friend is Madeline St. Aubyn, but she is very ill and needs help.  Worried about her friend, Catherine travels to Cairncroft Abbey, notoriously known for its evil past.

 

Catherine is shocked with what she finds at the onerous estate.  Anytime Madeline seems comatose, her cousin Gabriel appears.  Catherine is attracted to Gabriel, but she is confused by the so called curse that haunts him and his family.  Gabriel is stunned with his deep feelings for the visitor, but fears to act on it.  When a woman is murdered, Gabriel is the prime suspect; even Catherine wonders if the man she loves is a killer as she has heard.

 

SEDUCED BY A STRANGER is a terrific frightening Regency gothic that grips the audience from the opening scene of being buried alive near your four interred brothers as the readers wants to know what next to haunt the protagonist.  The story line is fast-paced, but contains all the gothic elements as the heroine wonders if her beloved is a killer like everyone else claims.  Eve Silver provides a tense historical romantic suspense.

 

Harriet Klausner

With Seduction in Mind-Laura Lee Guhrke

July 30, 2009

With Seduction in Mind

Laura Lee Guhrke

Avon, Sep 2009, $6.99

ISBN: 9780061456831

In 1896 London, Daisy Merrick is fired from her typist job for her unbecoming behavior when the boss tried to fondle her and she refused him.  Soon afterward, Social Gazette critic George Lindsay writes a sarcastic mocking review of Sebastian Grant’s new play calling it “rubbish”.  The duke is irate and goes after Lindsay who called him “a second rate Oscar Wilde” only to learn Lindsay is Daisy Merrick and his publisher demands he work with her on completing a novel that is past deadline.  She agrees under the condition her book be considered for release too.

Sebastian tries to hide from Daisy that since he stopped using opiates, he suffers from writer’s block.  He decides to seduce her, which he hopes will lead to his writing again.  However, his plan is to use her as a one-time muse before ending their partnership.  However, though they argue like cats and dogs they fall in love, but will he realize she is his permanent muse.

This is an amusing late Victorian romance starring two likeable enemy combatants in a gender war mindful of the 1930s screwball comedies.  The story line is a series of back and forth bantering as Daisy becomes the new cocaine for Sebastian.  Fans who enjoy a humorous historical romance will want to read the war of the authors.

Harriet Klausner

Beauty And The Duke-Melody Thomas

July 29, 2009

Beauty And The Duke

Melody Thomas

Avon, Aug 2009, $6.99

ISBN: 9780061472671

When they were young, Erik and Christine were once lovers, but that ended with both still attracted to each other.  She went off to see the world of fossils while he did his ducal duty and married twice.

In 1840 while London is swamped with tourists including a horde of unkempt children, fossils are found on Erik’s Scottish estate.  Erik asks Christine to lead an excavation of the dinosaur remains.  Fearless Christine travels to Scotland looking forward to the dig and seeing her former lover who has buried two wives.  When they meet, both know they still love one another, but at the dig site a female human bone is uncovered that places suspicion on the Duke; already rumored to have done away with two spouses.

This is an excellent second chance at love Victorian romantic suspense with the most fun being logical Christine’s archeological skills as she carefully leads the Scottish dig while also  not carefully gives away her heart.  The whodunit enhances the fine tale as the pair investigates an apparent homicide.  Fans will enjoy the escapades of the female paleontologist and the duke as they fall in love over bones.

Harriet Klausner

The Infamous Rogue-Alexandra Benedict

July 29, 2009

The Infamous Rogue

Alexandra Benedict

Avon, Aug 2009, $6.99

ISBN: 9780061689314

In 1825 Sophia Dawson hopes money will bury her past as the daughter of a pirate and as the mistress of Black Hawk, the terror of the sea.  She comes to London to see who is selling a title and preferably can be controlled by her.

At about the same Sophia arrives amidst the Ton with wealth to spare in London, Captain James Hawkins also appears in high society.  Sophia knows James is the one man who could ruin her before she gets started as they were lovers on the high seas.  James remains outraged by her abandoning him; Sophia remains outraged by his refusal to marry her.  These two enemies are ready to duel to the scandal except that in between the halfhearted feints, each knows they remain in love.

This is an enjoyable second chance at love Regency romance starring two infamous rogues.  Sophia and James battled at sea and now battle on land as each has an agenda, he wants vengeance for her ending their affair while she wants a marriage of respectability.  Fans will appreciate this fine historical gender war and look for the prequel e-book novella Mistress Of Paradise (at HarperCollins web site).

Harriet Klausner

The Palace of Strange Girls-Sallie Day

July 28, 2009

The Palace of Strange Girls

Sallie Day

Grand Central, Sep 2009, $13.99

ISBN 9780446545860

In 1959 in England, the Singleton family of four goes on vacation at the seaside town of Blackpool.  There the father, WWII vet Jack has a difficult decision to make between job offers as manager of Prospect Mill or being a union representative. He conceals his concerns from his demanding wife, Ruth who wants them to buy a new house.  His sixteen year old daughter Helen hopes to find a boyfriend soon, but believes to do this she needs the latest fashion and freedom from her mom’s strict control.  His other child seven year old Beth has health issues having just been released from the hospital, but just wants some free time to enjoy the shore, fill in her “I-Spy” book as she tracks everyone and most important escape from her demanding mother’s diligence.

This is an enjoyable historical family drama that stars four fully developed characters; all with differing needs and desires that come to a head during the four day vacation.  The interrelationships ring true though the solutions at the end of the Singleton family vacation seem to quick and unlikely.  Ironically the father and the two kids blame all on the mom due to her demanding manner though she uses her martinet orders to hide her fears from her loved ones.  Fans will enjoy Sallie Day’s fine trip back to 1959 England.

Harriet Klausner