THE UNSEEING by Anna Mazzola (Audiobook)


Publisher: Recorded Books
Release Date: February 7, 2017
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★½


It is 1837, and the city streets teem with life, atmosphere, and the stench of London. Sarah Gale, a seamstress and mother, has been sentenced to hang for her role in the murder of Hannah Brown on the eve of her wedding. Edmund Fleetwood, an idealistic lawyer, is appointed to investigate Sarah’s petition for mercy and consider whether justice has been done. Struggling with his own demons, he is determined to seek out the truth, yet Sarah refuses to help him. Edmund knows she’s hiding something but needs to discover just why she’s maintaining her silence. For how can it be that someone with a child would go willingly to their own death?

THE UNSEEING is a vividly written novel of human frailty, fear, and manipulation and of the terrible consequences of jealousy and misunderstanding.


Ripped from the headlines of 1837! Based on the infamous Edgware Road Murder and the trial that followed in London, THE UNSEEING blends facts and fiction to bring to life this disturbing historical mystery.

Who killed Hannah Brown and why? Sarah Gale, poor seamstress and single mother of a small boy, sits in dismal Newgate Prison, waiting to hang for her part in the grizzly murder. But was Sarah unfairly convicted? Lawyer Edmund Fleetwood is sent to investigate. Edmund suspects she is not telling the whole truth about Hannah’s murder, which makes his job of saving her from the gallows very difficult.

This book was well researched and also gave readers an imaginative spin on the Edgware Road Murder. The author did a fantastic job conveying what life was like around the eve of the Victorian Era. It was difficult, to say the least, especially for a poor woman like Sarah. The pacing was slow in spots, and I was kind of annoyed that Sarah kept her secret from Edmund for so long. Clearly, he could be trusted, and Sarah had a child to consider too. I liked how the author had the crime and punishment play out in the end. It was fitting with the the actual events that took place.


Audiobook • 11 hrs, 26 mins • Liz Pearce, Narrator

I enjoyed Liz Pearce’s narration very much! There were several different characters from different classes, and her many accents were spot on and entertaining. I especially liked her voice for the awful prison guard Miss Sowerton. Her character was just as horrible as Newgate Prison itself!


Disclosure: I received a copy of this audiobook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

A BRIDGE ACROSS THE OCEAN by Susan Meissner


Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: March 14, 2017
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★½


Wartime intrigue spans the lives of three women past and present in the latest novel from the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life .

February, 1946. World War Two is over, but the recovery from the most intimate of its horrors has only just begun for Annaliese Lange, a German ballerina desperate to escape her past, and Simone Deveraux, the wronged daughter of a French Resistance spy.

Now the two women are joining hundreds of other European war brides aboard the renowned RMS Queen Mary to cross the Atlantic and be reunited with their American husbands. Their new lives in the United States brightly beckon until their tightly-held secrets are laid bare in their shared stateroom. When the voyage ends at New York Harbor, only one of them will disembark…

Present day. Facing a crossroads in her own life, Brette Caslake visits the famously haunted Queen Mary at the request of an old friend. What she finds will set her on a course to solve a seventy-year-old tragedy that will draw her into the heartaches and triumphs of the courageous war brides and will ultimately lead her to reconsider what she has to sacrifice to achieve her own deepest longings.


Wonderful book! A BRIDGE ACROSS THE OCEAN is a lovely blending of ghost story, historical fiction, mystery, and women’s fiction. The story is told from differing points of view in multiple time periods, mainly during WWII, just after WWII ends, and also present day. It may feel a bit disjointed at first, but I promise the book quickly finds a nice flow and all the pieces come together for an amazing ending.

The majestic ship, the RMS Queen Mary, has served many purposes since its maiden voyage in 1936, one being a vessel to transport thousands of European war brides across the Atlantic to their new husbands in America. In February 1946, two of those brides are Simone Deveraux from France, and Annaliese Lange from Germany. The war years were horrific for both of them, and both women are looking forward to a new beginning in the US. Unfortunately, fate has other plans…

In present day, Brette Caslake is struggling with her special, yet burdensome, gift of being able to see and communicate with ghosts. She’s spent years trying to ignore them, but her experiences during a visit to the Queen Mary has made Brette rethink her position on restless spirits.

A BRIDGE ACROSS THE OCEAN is a unique take on WWII historical fiction. I enjoyed the compelling characters, the paranormal elements, and the multi-layered mystery. Susan Meissner writes beautifully, and I’m looking forward to checking out more of her work.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

THE TAXIDERMIST’S DAUGHTER by Kate Mosse (Audiobook)

The Taxidermist's Daughter
THE TAXIDERMIST’S DAUGHTER by Kate Mosse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jackdaws, magpies, crows, and more, I love birds from the Corvidae family, and they were the perfect Gothic inspiration for Kate Mosse’s gruesome historical novel, THE TAXIDERMIST’S DAUGHTER. This dark mystery centers around Connie, the daughter of a taxidermist – she, too, is one – and her quest to solve the mystery of a young woman’s murder. The story hooked me right away with its Poe-esque atmosphere. Chilling! The mystery itself was puzzling, twisty, and complex. Taxidermy give me the creeps, as did this book, so really it was a fitting backdrop to the story. Nice blend of murder mystery and old fashioned Gothic.


Audiobook • 10 hrs, 20 mins • Michelle Ford, Narrator

Parts of this book I listened to on audio, borrowed from the library. I enjoyed Michelle Ford’s performance. One thing that stood out was her ability to inflect a subtle feeling of dread into her voice, which was perfect for the subject matter of the book. She definitely enhanced the eerie Gothic feeling of the story!


Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

THE LAKE HOUSE by Kate Morton (Audiobook)

The Lake House
THE LAKE HOUSE by Kate Morton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

THE LAKE HOUSE is a lovely story told in alternating time periods, and at its heart, the mystery of a boy who went missing in the 1930s. While on leave from her job, a police detective stumbles upon an abandoned estate in Cornwall, and discovers the 70-year old cold case of Theo Edevane’s disappearance from the house. The story shifts between the present and past, back to 1933 and Theo’s sister Alice’s account of what happened leading up to his disappearance. I enjoyed the book – very descriptive, with well-drawn characters, and a Gothic undertone. The story had some nice twists, though the ending did seem a bit too coincidental. Still, a good book. I had fun trying to figure out the Edevane family secrets.


Audiobook • 21 hrs, 24 mins • Caroline Lee, Narrator

Since this book was nearly 500 pages, I decided to spend an Audible credit so I could switch back and forth reading and listening to it. Fantastic narration by Caroline Lee! She added just the right amount of drama without going over the top. She gave each character a distinct and fitting voice. Very enjoyable!


Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

JANE STEELE by Lyndsay Faye

Jane Steele
JANE STEELE by Lyndsay Faye
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reader, I murdered him. With a tagline like that, how could I resist? I absolutely loved this book! JANE STEELE is a dark retelling of the Brontë classic, JANE EYRE. Granted, the original was already pretty dark, but JANE STEELE takes it to a whole new level.

Like me, Jane Steele is a huge fan of Jane Eyre, and in many ways her life mirrors that of her favorite character. Only, Miss Steele is a wee bit of a sociopath (hence the tagline), but in the best way possible! When she sees an injustice, she handles it in her own vigilante way.

The story follows Jane from her childhood days at Highgate House, to a dismal boarding school, to the rough streets of Victorian London, and eventually to her return to Highgate House, where Jane has come back to collect her due. Did I mention the body count along the way?

JANE STEELE is a beautifully written book, clever and captivating, with a nice blend of mystery, historical fiction, Gothic romance, suspense, and adventure. Highly recommended.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.