Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Heiress by Susan May Warren

Heiress - Book One of Daughters of Fortune Series. Susan May Warren. Summerside Press. August 2011. 380 pp. paperback. ISBN #: 9781609362188.

Who am I? When one has been raised in the wealthy society of the Gilded Age in the late 1800s, one has a book of rules, Godey's Lady's Book, to scrupulously follow if one would be successful as a debutante and respected society female. Esme and Jinx Price have opposite dreams, the former to become a famous journalist and the latter to be the envy of her social class after making a prize marriage with a wealthy gentleman. Indeed, Jinx little by little is falling in love with the man Esme is supposed to marry, Foster Worth, a genuine cad for sure!

Esme, however, has a secret, a butler's son who loves her and wants to marry her; he even nurtures her passion for journalism by having her stories submitted as "Anonymous Writer" to Esme's father's newspaper, The New York Chronicle. Jinx and her mother are responsible for the most outrageous machination, designed to save the family's fortune but that truly seems to bring ruin to all involved.

Esme will lose one love and escape to Silver City, Montana where she will start her own small newspaper, fight for the causes she believes in, and meet a man who will briefly love her in the truest sense of the word but not until she suffers a great deal of poverty and prejudice because she is a woman working in a man's trade. Jinx, on the other hand, gets her man but the relationship turns out to be a dark nightmare, exacerbated by the presence of one family member she shares a very dark secret with, as well as a passionate love!

Heiress is full of dreams, adventures, disappointments, passion, secrets, battles, bloodshed, fistfights, murder, and more that make the pages fly. Words of faith begin to resonate in all of these characters, offering a peace that passes the understanding of most people restlessly pursuing their devastating and chaotic goals, conforming without thinking or feeling about a larger purpose for living.

Susan May Warren's first novel in this Daughters of Fortune series is guaranteed to leave you wanting to read the next book in the series soon. She knows how to spin a multilevel plot with varied characters, together with constant changes that surprise the reader as well as the characters. Heiress is peaceful, frantic, passionate, and inspiring - a superb combination, Ms. Warren!

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Battle Won: A Novel by S. Thomas Russell

A Battle Won: A Novel. S. Thomas Russell. Berkley Trade Paperback: Penguin Group USA Inc. August 2011. 464 pp. ISBN #: 9780425241325.

Charles Hayden is an officer in the English Navy, a man whose father was honored for his naval service but who himself has been misunderstood and scorned because of a mutiny that resulted in the hanging of all who participated. It's as if The Themis is cursed because no one wishes to board let alone serve on it. But Charles Hayden who dreamed of commanding his own ship is appointed Master Commander of The Themis and commanded to serve as a convoy to other ships traveling to a volatile area in Gibraltar. The reputation of the ship is the least of his problems!

In the thrilling tradition of Patrick O'Brian, Bernard Cornwall and other writers depicting the highs and lows of military warfare, S. Thomas Russell joins their eminent world as a well-deserving writer whose hero faces every possible trial one could endure at sea. How is one to deal with a clergyman who challenges Hayden as a traitor because his parents were from both England and France? How does one get respect for a crew boy who is part Jewish, anathema to these Anglican believers? What about the character whose sole intent is not to serve but to incite rebellion and dissension among the crew when total unity is absolutely necessary to survive the storms and battles lying ahead that threaten to wipe out both crew and ship?

Like the men under his command, Hayden earns the reader's respect as he bravely handles every command to survive a storm or an attack from the French and even risks his own life to save every man forced to abandon a fellow, sinking ship. More and more action fills these pages with fear and courage that continuously fluctuates like the swaying ship. Arriving in Gibraltar after influenza has taken its toll on his crew, Hayden is again misunderstood but told to proceed to Corsica, where the Spanish and French are vying for control and revolution!

While many conspire to wreck his career and The Themis, Hayden proves himself to be the noble warrior of integrity and limitless courage who will delight every reader who loves a good military and nautical tale. What a thrilling work that has given this reviewer a desire to read more books like this! Best seller material for sure!

The Undertaker by William F. Brown

The Undertaker. William F. Brown. Published by William F. Brown as e-book. January 2011. ISBN #9781617505119.

Peter Talbott is mourning the death of his wife and hardly beginning to move forward as so many things remind him of the loss of his love and best friend. Imagine his shock when he finds himself facing a mobster, Gino Parini's gun and the hood's insistence that he read his own obituary. So begins the race toward the truth when he decides to find out who has killed him off and why!

Peter's quest takes him first to a small town where he attends what is his own funeral, a sad affair attended by no one other than the town sheriff. More investigation amazes him as not only he and his wife's obituary are there but also other couples and a few individuals. As he enters this weird arena, he discovers a group of select people are behind something shady and even sick. Those people, the sheriff, the owner of a prestigious law firm connected to the government, a mortician, a senator, and others who are trying to stop Peter from finding out the truth and when that doesn't work they will try to kill him.

"Zero Defects" is a strong clue to the machinations of these sleezy characters whom even the Mob want to see disappear. But why? To tell more would be a spoiler, but be assured the nerve-wracking tension of this espionage novel is full of surprises, attacks, revelations, and a feisty, feminine gal unafraid to not only discover the truth but seek justice, no matter what the cost. You'll travel from Ohio to Chicago to Washington and more places all tied together in this sinister world of death after death. No one is innocent - not even the FBI!

No, you won't be able to guess the end of this tale until well toward the end - one that will startle you and leave you wanting more from this writer who knows how to spin a great, action-packed, crime-driven, thrilling story!

Well done, indeed, William F. Brown!!!