Book Review | The White City by Grace Hitchcock

Book Description:

Mysterious Disappearances Taint the Chicago World’s Fair
Step into True Colors — a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime

While attending the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, Winnifred Wylde believes she witnessed a woman being kidnapped. She tries to convince her father, an inspector with the Chicago police, to look into reports of mysterious disappearances around the White City. Inspector Wylde tries to dismiss her claims as exaggeration of an overactive imagination, but he eventually concedes to letting her go undercover as secretary to the man in question—if she takes her pistol for protection and Jude Thorpe, a policeman, for bodyguard.

Will she be able to expose H. H. Holmes’s illicit activity, or will Winnifred become his next victim? 

This was my first historical fiction based on real life novel and I LOVED IT!

Henry Howard Holmes (among other aliases) was an actual serial killer believed to be running around the Chicago’s World Fair, establishing relationships with women and then murdering them in his “Murder Castle”. I ended up doing a little bit of research online before jumping into the book, which made it that much more interesting.

This book starts out with 19-year old Winnie Wylde witnessing a tall man holding a revolver to a woman’s side and rushing her through the crowd at the fair. Because she is the daughter of an investigator, she is intrigued and begins to follow this man to a building nearby. Against her father’s wishes, she gets his permission to investigate, but only as long as she will take an escort for protection. She is assigned a new detective, Jude Thorpe, who recently moved to Chicago to secretly investigate the death of his brother-in-law.

Winnie’s being raised in a well-off home, by her aunt, as her mother passed away when she was younger. Her aunt is intending to help her become a bride, so she is setting up men to “call” on Winnie. She is briefly courted by Percival who happens to be the author of the romance novels she loves to “escape in” and though he is handsome and charming, she also begins to have feelings for Jude.

Winnie also establishes a relationship with H. H. Holmes and obtains an interview, as well as a job at his building, where she does odd jobs and only goes through files he allows her access. When in the building, she explores and finds certain items that lead her to believe that there is indeed some nefarious happenings in the “castle”.

The element of faith in this novel was endearing. Jude is forbidden to have a relationship with Winnie, primarily because he is her escort and protection, but also because Winnie’s dad knows the pain he caused Winnie’s mother by being gone long hours as an investigator, and doesn’t want his daughter to endure the same loneliness and heartache. Jude demonstrates his faith, as does Winnie, by offering prayers up throughout the story. Their inner desire for each other, among the focus of the investigation and the danger they ultimately enter, tries their faith and boundaries of love.

I thoroughly enjoyed this light romance novel, with faith and plot twists. It was easy to read, a great pace, humor was peppered in, and also suspense and terror. I would definitely read another book by Grace Hitchcock and enjoyed this genre debut! I’ve got a few more TRUE COLORS novels on my TBR list with reviews coming soon, so stay tuned!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Barbour Publishing and NetGalley.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 ( “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review | The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian

the flight attendant

Cassie is a flight attendant who is known for her partying and drinking. So after an evening indulging in what she does best, she wakes up next to a man she met the night before, a hedge fund manager who is now dead.  Her blackouts are getting worse, but could she really have anything to do with this?  Surely she would know if she killed someone, right?  And as she leaves the hotel room, she makes a choice to run, and find a way to prove her innocence to the Dubai police and to the American investigators with the FBI.  But even her own flight crew is questioning who she really is.

The story was fast-paced and I loved the descriptions of where she would stay during her fights. I liked the book, as I do enjoy flight travel, and the author does give real life examples of what it’s like to be a flight attendant.  Cassie gets to continue working, even during the investigation, so it was interesting to learn the patterns of flying, staying in hotels, finding things to do before flying back to base, all of that.

I also enjoyed the perspective shifts from Cassie to another woman whom Cassie met the night the murder happened.  The main character is believable, yet I will admit a few times that I didn’t agree with her decisions, and was beginning to lose hope.  She has a history of alcoholism attributed to her relationship with her father, and it’s almost annoying how much she thinks about drinking.  However, the ending did tie things up nicely and has a nice touch.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Doubleday through NetGalley.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 ( “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

And since this book was just released on March 13, 2018, I’m including a review from USA Today written today.  Add it to your weekend list!

Book Review | The Watson Girl by Leslie Wolfe

the watson girl

This was an interesting thriller!  The second in this series, Special Agent Tess Winnett is seen again (previously in “Dawn Girl”), and this time, she is returning early to work, to interview the “Family Man”, a death row inmate who is slated for execution.

The book, however, does not open with Tess as the main character, it focuses on the killer from fifteen years earlier, on the night of a murder, and after taking out an entire family, realizes he missed one member who is still alive!  Laura Watson is indeed now a young woman in a relationship with her boyfriend, unaware that the killer on death row, may not be the man who murdered her family.  Could there be a copycat?  If so, who, and why?

Tess and her team investigate, interrogate and keep pressing until they get the answers she feels from the beginning of the book.  And switching perspectives between the killer who has a field day “feasting” and taking women’s lives, to Laura who is afraid to undergo regression therapy to see if she can remember anything, to Tess who is convinced of Laura’s imminent danger, this book keeps moving like a runaway train.

You’ll begin to theorize certain people as the book progresses, only to eliminate them as one by one, people are revealed to be not whom they appeared to be.  The book ends with a shocking reveal that threw me for a loop!  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!  And now, onto book three with Tess Winnett, “Glimpse of Death”.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Italics Publishing and Leslie Wolfe. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and I appreciate the opportunity to receive an advanced reader copy to do so. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review | And Then She Was Gone by Christopher Greyson

and then she was gone

I love mysteries, and this one did not disappoint. This story follows Jack Stratton, a 17-year old, who has goals of going into the military and becoming a police officer, mostly a detective. In his neighborhood, a woman goes missing and he jumps into the case, interviewing coworkers, family members and those in the vicinity of her disappearance. When her body finally turns up in a park, he continues to interview bystanders, and gets a slap on the wrist from the local police department for impeding the investigation. But he just can’t seem to help himself. He is drawn to figuring out who the killer is, and won’t believe that the police have the right person in custody.  He continues his own investigation amidst attempts by his parents, police and others to stop, but his persistence is unmatched.

Jack is an adopted child who had a very hard upbringing until he landed in a loving family. His desire to prove himself is evident and though sad at times, he grows up and learns lessons throughout the book.  When certain testimonies don’t add up, he keeps pushing until it makes sense.  This is definitely a novel that will take off into other novels, and Christopher Greyson has them laid out on his website. I found it to be a little juvenile at times, but I think that is because the main character is a young teenage boy, who hasn’t fully grown up yet.

I liked the book and would read other works by Greyson. Much thanks to him, NetGalley and Greyson Media Associates for the advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review. Best wishes on your future works!