The Dress in the Window: A Novel by Sofia Grant (William Morrow, $15.99, 368 pages)
The time is post-World War II and the location is a rundown mill town outside Philadelphia. Three brave ladies are struggling to make ends meet. Sisters Jeanne and Peggy are victims of the war – Jeanne has lost her fiance and Peggy is a widow with a small child. They live with Peggy’s mother-in-law in a bare bones existence eking out a living designing and sewing outfits for the more well-heeled ladies of the town.
Readers are treated to insights about the fabrics being fashioned into unique garments designed by Jeanne and crafted by Peggy. The novel covers several years following the war’s end as the sisters work to better their lives and resolve their personal issues. The chapters are laid out from the various character’s perspectives which make for a well rounded tale.
The book is billed as a debut effort by Sonia Grant. However, a bit of sleuthing by the reader – could it be a pseudonym? – will put that notion to rest.
A Season to Lie: A Detective Gemma Monroe Mystery by Emily Littlejohn (Minotaur Books, $25.99, 290 pages)
Gemma Monroe is a police officer who also happens to be a new mother. Gemma narrates her experiences in Cedar Valley, Colorado during the snowy month of February. The discovery of a frozen corpse at the local private high school begins a very baffling search for the murderer.
Author Littlejohn crafts a fascinating story of small town secrets that may keep her readers from putting down the book until the very last pages. Her smooth writing is enchanting and some paragraphs could be poetry. This is a follow-up Gemma Monroe mystery. The first was Inherit the Bones. Let’s hope another installment will follow in the not-too-distant future.
The Trust: A Novel by Ronald H. Balson (St. Martin’s Press, $26.99, 356 pages)
This time the narrator is Liam Taggart, a private investigator in Chicago, Illinois. Liam left Northern Ireland 16 years ago after some messy business that involved politics and the CIA. A reader who knows very little about Irish politics, AKA, this reviewer, will be fascinated by the fierce loyalties and grudges that span decades – no, even centuries, in this divided country.
Liam’s uncle Fergus has died and left explicit instructions with his attorney regarding the disposition of his estate. There is a secret trust and Liam is named the sole trustee. It’s a daunting task for Liam to unravel the mystery behind Fergus Taggart’s life and death. Author Balson is a trial attorney based in the Windy City who makes good use of his legal knowledge and experience in spinning an international novel worthy of the elegant dust jacket.
Review copies were provided by the publishers.