by Lucy Clark
Published by Mills & Boon
Tiny tot twins: mummy needed! Dr Abbey Bateman is desperately hoping her new job will be a fresh start. Working alongside her old medical school rival Dr Joshua Ackles definitely wasn-t part of the plan! But Joshua is now a devoted single father to adorable tiny twins, and Abbey quickly loses her heart to this motherless little family. Joshua and his twins bring a joy to her life that she thought was lost for ever, but Abbey longs to be more than just a helping hand - if Josh will let her in, she-ll be a mother and wife too!
I liked the Australian Outback setting of this one, and the overwhelming friendliness of the inhabitants. What didn't completely resonate with me was Abby's reactions to the effects of her past illness: I got no real sense of who she'd been between Med School and her diagnosis and subsequent recovery. I'd like to see more from the author(s) though.
by Laura Wilson
Published by Orion (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd )
London, June 1940. When the body of silent screen star Mabel Morgan is found impaled on railings in Fitzrovia, the coroner rules her death as suicide, but DI Ted Stratton of the CID is not convinced. Despite opposition from his superiors, he starts asking questions, and it becomes clear that Morgan's fatal fall from a high window may have been the work of one of Soho's most notorious gangsters. MI5 agent Diana Calthrop, working with senior official Sir Neville Apse, is leading a covert operation when she discovers that her boss is involved in espionage. She must tread carefully - Apse is a powerful man, and she can't risk threatening the reputation of the Secret Service. Only when Stratton's path crosses Diana's do they start to uncover the truth. But as they discover Morgan's connection with Apse and their mutual links to a criminal network and a secretive pro-fascist organisation, they begin to realise that the intrigues of the Secret Service are alarmingly similar to the machinations of war-torn London's underworld.
I'm really rather fond of Stratton after just one book in the series. He has less objectionable views than his fellow policemen, without ever being anachronistically liberal. And he's rightfully dischuffed when others interfere in his case for reasons he can't possibly agree with. Also he has an entertaining extended family of people he likes, and people he barely tolerates. I have the second in the series already lined up to read shortly.
Tolpuddle Boy: Transported to Hell and Back
by Alan James Brown
Published by Five Leaves Publications
Imagine you are on a wooden ship, tossed by a stormy sea. Your legs are chained to the timbers, there is no light and little air. Around you are dozens of other wretches, wailing and cursing. You think you are going to die. You think you are already in hell.
It is 1834 and James Brine is bound for Australia on a convict ship. His crime is joining with other men to ask for fair pay. His punishment is transportation - seven long years far from everything he knows and loves.
Can James survive the hardships of convict life? And will he ever see his beloved Elizabeth again?
Although I'm familiar with the story, this version took me a while to get into, because of the rather academic narrative voice. About halfway through it became impossible to put down. Rich with historical source material too.
The 39 Steps
by John Buchan
The first of five novels featuring Richard Hannay, an all-action hero with a steely determination and an extraordinary knack for getting himself out of sticky situations; the original, archetypal 'man-on-the-run' character, which has been a staple in literature and film in subsequent decades.
Shockingly, I'd never read this before picking it up in the library the other week, and I haven't watched any of the TV or film versions either. Rather too many coincidences for my liking, but a ripping yarn, nonetheless.