by Tana French
Published by Hodder Paperback
When he was twelve years old, Adam Ryan went playing in the woods one day with his two best friends. He never saw them again. Their bodies were never found, and Adam himself was discovered with his back pressed against an oak tree and his shoes filled with blood. He had no memory of what had happened. Twenty years on, Rob Ryan - the child who came back - is a detective in the Dublin police force. He's changed his name. No one knows about his past. Then a little girl's body is found at the site of the old tragedy and Rob is drawn back into the mystery. Knowing that he would be thrown off the case if his past were revealed, Rob takes a fateful decision to keep quiet but hope that he might also solve the twenty-year-old mystery of the woods.
This was rather a disappointment, possibly because I was expecting a stand-alone story, rather than the first in the series. So there were lots of loose ends left hanging, and I didn't find the characters compelling enough to want to track down the next in the series. Especially as I have a sinking feeling that those loose ends will continue to be left hanging as a way to tie in subsequent books.
by Lynne Connolly
Published by Samhain Publishing Ltd
When Richard and Rose visit his family estate in Derbyshire to celebrate the christening of their firstborn, Rose comes face to face with some hard realities about the powerful Kerre family. The vast majority of them are far from delighted with Richard’s choice of wife. Plus, they think a man who shares his bed with his wife every night must have something wrong with him. Rose is driven half mad by Richard’s overly careful love for her. Somewhere underneath that smooth, sophisticated surface lies the passionate, intense lover she longs for—and she takes steps to seduce that savage lover back into her bed. Their joyous occasion is marred by the theft of a valuable necklace. Richard’s family looks to him to solve the crime—but something isn’t adding up. Evidence pointing to two trusted servants seems too convenient…and then they’re murdered. From the tangle of jealousies, secrets and desperate lies, Richard and Rose once again dance on the edge of danger to achieve justice—without dragging the family name into public scandal.
A good solid mystery with the usual wealth of historical detail and intriguing characters, but not my favourite of the series so far. Somehow it all felt just a little too insular compared to the wider implications of developments in previous novels. Lots of potential for situations and characters to come back later, though, and I'm looking forward to reading the next.
The Daddy Dance
by Mindy Klasky
Published by Harlequin
Injured ballerina Kat Morehouse had come home to convalesce and help out her overburdened mom. And between caring for her niece and restoring her mother's dance studio, romance was the last thing on Kat's mind. Until Rye Harmon turned her plans--and her heart--topsy-turvy.Rye had been her high school crush, and he still made her weak in the knees--not a desirable condition for a dancer! But as their sizzling attraction drew them together, their ambitions pulled them apart. Because Rye's dreams were taking him away from Eden Falls--just when Kat was starting to suspect that small-town life wouldn't be so bad...if she could share it with the right person.
There was plenty to like about this story, even though I'm not much of a fan of the 'good sister, bad sister' trope in romance novels. Where it fell down for me, and I suspect this is a UK vs US difference, is why so much hinged on the hero wanting to move to a town two hours' drive away. In UK terms, this would be the equivalent of couples I've known where one has worked in Sheffield and one in Manchester, who have lived in one of the many villages lying between the two. Or in closer-to-this-story terms a couple living in a North Derbyshire or South Yorkshire village when one of them has a thriving business in the village and the other commutes to York or Leeds every day. I did like the way the Big Misunderstanding got resolved, on the other hand.
I also listened to two audiobooks over the holiday: S J Bolton's Awakening and Georgette Heyer's Powder and Patch. Both sets of CDs had damage to some discs, so I'm not going to write them up now, beyond mentioning that I liked Awakening enough to get a print copy out of the library, whereas Powder and Patch has put me off reading any more of Heyer's Regency novels for now.