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The Secret Letter, by Debbie Rix

The Secret Letter is such a beautiful book, made especially emotional by the fact is is based on the wartime experiences of the author’s parents.
Two girls, one English, one German, grow up during the Second World War. Separated by geography but united in their passion to defeat the Nazis, Imogen and Magda become young women facing the reality of war.
Imogen is in love with Freddie but he joins the war effort and tells her to forget him in case he doesn’t come back. Magda falls in love with an injured airman but can’t avoid Hitler Youth fanatic (and later SS officer) Otto.
I admit that when I started this book I imagined the two girls would have more of a link than they actually ended up with. But actually it was so much better this way as it allowed the author to explore two complete stories with brief connections rather than have one story intermingled, making it much more powerful.
Both Imogen and Magda begin the book as children so are quite naive. As they grow into women, they become more aware of the war and determined to fight injustice. Both women are independent and even ambitious. Love for their countries, and hope for a better Nazi free future, inspires them to help the war effort in whatever way they can.
This book by Debbie Rix firmly focuses on the bravery and hope of those fighting against Nazi rule. There is also sadness about the reality of war and the difficulties faced by civilians. As well as using her own parents’ experiences and letters, the author has obviously done plenty of research to underscore the fictional plot with real life events.

The Secret Letter: Gripping and heartbreaking WW2 historical fiction

AMZ: https://geni.us/B07R4CP2BSSocial
Germany, 1939. A tumbledown farmhouse, on the outskirts of a close-knit village in the heart of the rolling hills of Bavaria. A once happy family home torn apart by Nazi rule. And one young girl who refuses to give up on what she believes in…
2018: When ninety-four-year-old Imogen receives a letter addressed to her in neat, unfamiliar handwriting, she notices the postmark is stamped from Germany – and it sends shivers down her spine…
1939: Thirteen-year-old Magda is devastated by the loss of her best friend, shy and gentle Lotte, cruelly snatched from her and sent to a concentration camp – the Star of David sewn on her faded, brown coat. As the Nazi’s power takes hold, Magda realizes she’s not like the other girls in her German village – she hates the fanatical new rules of the Hitler Youth. So Magda secretly joins The White Rose Movement and begins to rebel against the oppressive, frightening world around her.
But when an English RAF pilot lands in a field near Magda’s home she is faced with an impossible choice: to risk the lives of her family or to save a stranger and make a difference in the war she desperately wants to end. Little does she know, her actions will have the power to change the life of another girl, on the other side of enemy lines, forever…
About the author
 
Debbie Rix has written five novels, the latest of which – ‘The Secret Letter’ – will be published on July 22nd 2019. The novel, set in World War II, tells the story of two girls – one German the other English whose lives eventually intertwine through the noble actions of one RAF pilot. Set in the UK and Germany, the novel is a slight departure as all Debbie’s previous novels have been set in Italy.

The Photograph – set in Sardinia – crosses generations and continents as Sophie, desperate for a child of her own, uncovers the extraordinary secrets of her grandmother, Rachael, fifty years earlier. Like her other novels, it reached the No.1 spot in Amazon’s Italian category. The Photograph will be published in Italy on June 6th 2019.

The Silk Weaver’s Wife – published 19th July 2017 – was shortlisted for the RNA’s Historical Novel category and is about a silk designer named Anastasia from Verona whose life is almost destroyed when she is forced into a marriage to a Venetian silk weaver. In the present day Millie visits an old villa near Verona and uncovers a lost painting. Who is the woman in the painting and how will her experiences affect Millie’s life? 

Daughters of the Silk Road topped the historical fiction charts in 2016, reaching No.1 in Italian, Women’s fiction and Mystery, Thriller & Suspense and spent many weeks in the top 100 best selling lists. It follows the fortunes of a family of merchant explorers who bring a Ming vase back to Venice from China in 15th century. 

‘The Girl with Emerald Eyes’ was published in 2015 and also reached the No.1 spot in Amazon’s Italian category. Set amidst the world of medieval Italy, it explores the creation of the most famous building in the world – the Leaning Tower of Pisa. 

Debbie spends a lot of time in Italy and the setting of the novels reflects her knowledge and passion for the country. She lives in the Kent countryside with her journalist husband, children, sheep, chickens and cats. When not writing, she is usually to be found in the vegetable garden. She began her career with the BBC- initially as the news reader on Breakfast Time, thereafter appearing as a presenter and reporter on a variety of factual and light entertainment television series. She had a spell as an Agony Aunt, and has also written about gardens and gardening – one of her private passions.
 
https://twitter.com/debbierix

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Watch Her Die and Dead of Night, by Deborah Lucy

Two reviews in one!

Watch Her Die
Tensions are high in the police force: financial pressures and personal feuds are rife but will they interrupt a murder investigation?
DI Temple is estranged from his wife, keeps an illegal gun and is loathed by his superior Harker due to an indiscretion with the latter’s daughter that will never be forgiven or forgotten. He is put in charge of the murder investigation following the death of a beautiful woman with a complicated sexual history but is contantly fighting against beligerent officers, a lack of manpower and a whole load of secretive suspects. Meanwhile his own family are at risk due to a previous case.
Temple is paired with dodgy cop Sloper who has plenty of secrets to hide but also has the ear of the chief. Some parts of the book were fast paced and others were the methodical contemplaition of interviews and clues.
Watch Her Die is a solid police procedure novel and the effect of the personalities of the officers on the case is fascinating to read. There are excellent twists in the book and none of the suspects are particularly likeable or blameless.
Temple’s tenacity in the face of adversity makes him endearing depsite the huge mistakes he has made which impact on his work and home life. As an introduction to a new series and detective, I couldn’t ask for more!

Dead of Night
This book is much darker and involves drug trafficking and the sexual exploitation of young teenage girls.
We meet up with Temple again 6 months after the conclusion of the previous book. His family circumstances have dramatically changed again (but I won’t give away how and spoil the ending of the previous book!) He is also facing disciplinary action for disobeying orders and the police chief who hates him has decided to get revenge at last. Simon Sloper is set against him and we see the seedier side to his behaviour.
Reading about the exploitation of the young girls was quite heartbreaking and often difficult due to the intense sadness the descriptions generated. I have heard of county lines in relation to safeguarding at the secondary school I work at, so know how real the danger to children is right now.
Dead of Night was much more emotive than Watch Her Die. We see how the girls are treated and are also shown the thoughts of other characters so understand their actions better. The unfairness that Temple faces at work and the difficult decisions he has had to make regarding his home life make the reader sympathetic towards him and hope he gets a positive outcome.
I’m hoping for more in this series as Temple recovers from the revelations this case produces…

WATCH HER DIE (Detective Temple Mystery Book 1) by Deborah Lucy
 
MEET A NEW AUTHOR WHO WILL TAKE YOU ON AN ADDICTIVE CRIME THRILLER JOURNEY.
Please note this book was originally published as “Death Watch.”
HE WATCHED HER DIE
Who murdered Greta Ashton-Jones? This beautiful married woman is found naked, strangled and tied to her bed. Who’s been watching her and taking pictures of her? Who needed to kill her — and why?
Detective Inspector Temple investigates. It’s not the straightforward ‘domestic murder’ he’s been told. Written off by a boss who’s relegated him to the back office, he knows he has to find her killer and fast, but he soon has trouble of his own.
DISCOVER A MURDER MYSTERY YOU WON’T WANT TO PUT DOWN TILL THE STUNNING CONCLUSION
He’s on the wrong side of the law trying to protect himself and his family when a dangerous criminal with a vendetta is released from prison. As things go wrong, losing his job is the least of his problems.
Temple uncovers a tangled web of deceit, betrayal and blackmail which leads him to a depraved undercover world.
CAN DETECTIVE TEMPLE CATCH THE KILLER BEFORE HIS OWN LIFE FALLS APART?
Perfect for fans of Kimberley Chambers, Damien Boyd, Rachel Abbott, Patricia Gibney or Mark Billingham.
What readers are saying about WATCH HER DIE
Could not put it down.” SP
Well written and plotted, an excellent and complex crime novel.” MP
‘Loved this book, gripping story, kept me guessing till the end.’ DW
Compulsive read!” GC
THE DETECTIVE
As a small boy, DI Temple found his mother dead. She had been brutally murdered, with the crime unresolved. Temple is a man on a mission to find her killer, it’s why he joined the police. With the past throwing a long shadow over his life, as a detective, this makes him even more determined to seek justice for other victims as he hunts their killers. His personal quest makes him difficult to live with and difficult to work with and his relationships suffer. But he’ll stop at nothing to protect his family, even though they are estranged and if it means breaking the law.
THE SETTING
The DI Temple novels are set in Wiltshire, a largely rural county. Its landscape of beautiful rolling hills, downs and valleys gives no immunity to the crime that infects its scattered towns and villages. Steeped in ancient history, the tourist guides make no mention of the organised crime groups, the murders and turf wars, or the drugs that saturate the streets, lanes and school playgrounds. The M4 artery across the top of the county pumps its poison from London and Bristol, linking east and west coasts, providing criminal gangs and networks with an easy route to ply their deadly trade.
DEAD OF NIGHT (Detective Temple Mystery Book 2) by Deborah Lucy
A MACABRE KILLER WORKS IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT. HE’S VERY GOOD – NO ONE SEES HIM.
14-year-old local girl, China Lewis is reported missing by her friend Amy. Detective Inspector Temple is tasked to find her. The more he discovers about China, the greater the danger he knows she’s in.
Temple needs to find her and fast. But when his past suddenly catches up with him and two more girls go missing, it becomes personal. Temple’s quest to find the girls takes him into an evil world of exploitation and it seems he’s the only one who really cares.
ONE SERIAL KILLER. THREE MISSING GIRLS.
Temple has to take a gamble that risks the lives of the girls he’s trying to save. As he uncovers police corruption, he is forced to work in the shadows. Who can he trust now?
TIME IS RUNNING OUT TO SAVE THEM.
Perfect for fans of Kimberley Chambers, Damien Boyd, Rachel Abbott, Patricia Gibney or Mark Billingham.
DISCOVER A RACE-AGAINST-TIME MYSTERY FULL OF TWISTS AND TURNS.
What readers are saying about DEBORAH LUCY
“Could not put it down.” SP
“Well written and plotted, an excellent and complex crime novel.” MP
‘Loved this book, gripping story, kept me guessing till the end.’ DW
“Compulsive read!” GC
THE DETECTIVE
As a small boy, DI Temple found his mother dead. She had been brutally murdered, with the crime unresolved. Temple is a man on a mission to find her killer, it’s why he joined the police. With the past throwing a long shadow over his life, as a detective, this makes him even more determined to seek justice for other victims as he hunts their killers. His personal quest makes him difficult to live with and difficult to work with and his relationships suffer. But he’ll stop at nothing to protect his family, even though they are estranged and if it means breaking the law.
THE SETTING
The DI Temple novels are set in Wiltshire, a largely rural county. Its landscape of beautiful rolling hills, downs and valleys gives no immunity to the crime that infects its scattered towns and villages. Steeped in ancient history, the tourist guides make no mention of the organised crime groups, the murders and turf wars, or the drugs that saturate the streets, lanes and school playgrounds. The M4 artery across the top of the county pumps its poison from London and Bristol, linking east and west coasts, providing criminal gangs and networks with an easy route to ply their deadly trade.
DEBORAH LUCY AUTHOR BIO
Deborah Lucy was born in Southsea and bought up in Portsmouth, the island city. In her working life, Deb has worked alongside a number of senior investigating officers as they’ve investigated major crime – from murder, to missing persons to abduction and kidnaps. She’s been at the 7am starts and the 3am finishes, the ‘golden hour’s,’ the high’s, the low’s, the breakthrough’s, the arrests. The slog. The politics.
For three years she worked in the missing adults and children arena, with police, government policy advisors and charities. Latterly, she conducted lifestyle enquiries for international blue-chip companies into the lives of billionaires, millionaires and politically exposed people around the world.
She is a non-fiction author, ghost-writer and has been a consultant on a forthcoming ITV drama series, A Confession starring Martin Freeman and Imelda Staunton, involving a real case she was involved in. She has a master’s degree in historical research. Her experiences lend authenticity to her stories; she also wants her books to be entertaining and find fans amongst those who are the hardest to please – the most discerning of crime readers and real life detectives.
Links
Website: www.deborahlucy.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DeborahLucy1809348826037410
Twitter: @DeborahLucy6


#Project365 2019 week 29

Day 195: a Sunday afternoon walk over to the river by our house with my parents. Sadly, Matthew didn’t want to join us 🙁

Day 196: Zach is so keen to learn! This is his own game that he started playing: finding words on his kindle or around the house and then finding the letters to make it himself.

Day 197: I had to do some extra hours at work (technically a 6th job?) so treated myself to a pub lunch afterwards. I think it is the first time I’ve ever eaten out all by myself before and it felt a bit odd

 

Day 198: we were sent some Baby Shark toys to review and they are now firm favourites! Check out my competition to win a Baby Shark puzzle!

Day 199: end of year disco for Matthew and Anya. Difference between boys and girls: girls dress up in their finest, boys go in whatever!

Day 200: playing zombies in the garden. Think Ollie was a bit confused…

Day 201: bright sunshine but we’d had really heavy rain just hours earlier.

 

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The Girl in the Grave, by Helen Phifer

A new series from Helen Phifer teams a forensic pathologist Beth Adams with lead detective Josh Walker. The duo are investigating a murder after a woman’s body is discovered under a coffin during an exhumation. The body has been deliberately hidden and then revealed due to the unnecessary exhumation, meaning the murderer is cleverly acting as puppet master.
The anticipation is ramped up by the author’s narrative device of letting us see a variety of perspectives so we are made suspicious of some named characters and some mystery ones. However, there are other secrets that have nothing to do with the murder investigation…
The main characters of Beth and Josh have a wonderful chemistry as he once saved her life. He is enduring an unhappy marriage and Beth is facing her own demons which are gradually revealed over the course of the book.
Featuring a forensic pathologist, there are obviously some graphic details of an autopsy but these are delivered in a clinical way so are not gratuitous or overwhelming. The methodical police procedure is also at the forefront of the plot.
I felt that the explanation of the killer’s motives did not fully explain his choice of earlier victims, and instead focussed on his final act of violence which was the culmination of the clues dropped earlier in the book.
The style of writing was fast paced and the chapters were mostly short, making it tempting to keep reading just one more even when you are desperate to go to sleep! The main characters are really easy to like and the ending gives lots of potential for sequels to develop their friendship.
Read my review of Helen Phifer’s Last Light

 

Title: The Girl in the Grave  
 
Author: HELEN PHIFER
 
Publication Day: July 16th 2019
Buy Links:
Amazon: https://geni.us/B07QQ34JBXSocial
Apple Books: https://apple.co/2Phxl95
Kobo: https://bit.ly/2IE3SEY
Googleplay: http://ow.ly/APUL30osVA4
 
Description:
At least they’d found her. Once the site was processed and the girl’s body removed, they’d be able to identify her so that her family could give her the burial she deserved. This innocent girl was far too young to be lying in a grave, crushed under the weight of someone else’s coffin…
When the body of a teenage girl is found hidden inside a stranger’s grave in a small-town cemetery in the Lake District, an urgent call is made to Forensic Pathologist Beth Adams. One look at the beautiful girl’s broken body is enough to bring Beth out of hiding for the first time since an attempt on her own life…
Beth doesn’t believe it’s a coincidence that the victim was found the same day a threatening gift was left on the doorstep of her secluded home. Her instincts are telling her that it’s a trap, that she should run for safety. But she knows she’s the only one with the expertise to help her trusted friend, Detective Josh Walker, crack the most shocking case of his career.
The tiny traces of material Beth finds beneath the victim’s fingernails is the break in the case the team need to chase down this twisted killer. But this critical lead comes at a dangerous price, exposing Beth’s whereabouts and dragging her back into the line of fire once again.
With Beth’s own life on the line, the investigation is already cracking under the pressure. Then another local girl goes missing… Can Beth stay alive long enough to catch the killer before he claims his next victim?
An absolutely gripping new crime thriller that will grab fans of Patricia Gibney, LJ Ross and Angela Marsons from the very first page and leave them gasping for breath by the last.

 

 

Author Bio:
Helen Phifer lives in a small town called Barrow-in-Furness with her husband and five children.
Helen has always loved writing and reading. Her love of horror films and novels is legendary. Helen adores reading books which make the hair on the back of her neck stand on end. Unable to find enough scary stories to read she decided to write her own.
Author Social Media Links:
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Helenphifer1
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/helenphifer
Twitter:      https://twitter.com/helenphifer1
Website:     https://www.helenphifer.com