Tag Archives: Sheila Connolly

Murder at the Mansion by Sheila Connolly

Murder at the Mansion (Victorian Village Mysteries, #1)Murder at the Mansion by Sheila Connolly

Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Victorian Village Mysteries #1
Publication Date: 6/26/18

Great beginning for a new series. I read Connolly’s County Cork series (set in Ireland) and thoroughly every one of those, so when a new book for a new series popped up, I wanted to read it as well. This one is set in the financially troubled town of Asheford, Maryland. This small town is headed in the same direction as many other small towns today. All of the younger folks are moving to the cities because of the jobs and amenities offered by big cities. Asheford is struggling because the tax base is shrinking and jobs are leaving.

Katherine (Katie/Kate) Hamilton manages a small, very upscale, boutique hotel, the Oriole, in Baltimore. Although it only takes about an hour to get to her hometown of Asheford, she hasn’t been back there in years. She left after high school and has never looked back – especially after her parents moved to Florida. So, Kate was really surprised when her very best friend, Lisbeth, from high school, called and asked to see her.

Lisbeth explains to Kate that Asheford is in serious financial straits and that the town council would appreciate it if Kate would come to Asheford and give any recommendations she might have for using the grand old Victorian mansion that the town now owns. They would love to make it a centerpiece of the town but don’t know if it is feasible or how they could make it work. Kate agrees to take a look. When she sees the old mansion she is enthralled – then, as she looks around the town an idea begins to form. When she learns that her high school nemesis, Cordelia (Cordy), is living in town, Kate is a bit disconcerted, but she’s really ready to deal with her and put those past run-ins to rest. But, then, Cordy is found, by Kate, murdered on the stops of the lovely old Victorian – Barton Mansion.

We are introduced to Joshua (Josh) Wainwright, who is a divorced history professor at nearby Johns Hopkins University. Josh is on sabbatical from the university and is acting as caretaker for the Barton Mansion in return for free rooms while he does some historical research. We are also introduced to Lisbeth who was Kate’s best friend in high school. Lisbeth is now happily married to a successful man and is a stay-at-home mom to two children. I am assuming that these two characters will be fleshed out a little more as the series goes on and that we’ll learn more about them.

Josh and Kate work hard to solve the mysteries – yes, there are two mysteries. Are they related or are they totally separate with two separate perpetrators? As Josh and Kate work to solve the murder, they draw closer and closer. Will they end up in a relationship in future books in the series? I can surely see it because they both seem to have an insatiable curiosity, respect, and reverence for historical research. So, I think the two of them will work together to uncover all of the missing information on Henry Barton, his plant, his house and his wife as well as the rest of the history of the town and how it all relates to the civil war.

Another character we are introduced to is Kate’s high school boyfriend – and Cordy’s ex-husband, Ryan. I assume we’ll see him in future books because he still owns the building that housed Cordy’s B&B. I liked him okay and was glad to see that he apologized to Kate for what happened in high school.

I haven’t said much about Kate because I’m not sure how I feel about her. At this point, I don’t love her. She seems very condescending much of the time – like she is better than those around her. I hope that changes. For instance – here are a few of Kate’s thoughts/quotes:

  • “Was I too smart for the men I met? Too successful?”
  • “. . her crises and mine were so very different. She worried about misplaced baseball gloves, while at the hotel I had to track down international shipments of high-priority documents and make sure they reached the right people.” [This was thought about her best friend]
  • “She really has nowhere else to be. Sad, isn’t it?”

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and look forward to the next one in the series. It will be fun to see what direction the series and the romance moves in. It will also be fun to see what shops they end up bringing into the Victorian Village because some of the ones that Kate mentioned just wouldn’t work – given the population of the town and the fact that the town will depend on tourists. Kate has already moved most of those out, but it will still be interesting to see where they go with that AND what all of the research turns up.

Please check out my reviews at:
Blog: https://flippinpages.blog/
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Twitter: https://twitter.com/FlippinPagesRev
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BarbBookReview

“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”

Many A Twist by Sheila Connolly

Many a Twist (County Cork #6)Many a Twist by Sheila Connolly

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: County Cork #6
Publication Date: 1/9/2018

WOW! I think I want to move to County Cork. This author’s descriptions just immerse you in the countryside and lifestyle. What a wonderful place to live – a slower pace of life, a totally involved populace and scenic beauty beyond compare. Sullivan’s pub is like the Cheer’s TV show – where everybody knows your name and they’re all glad you came. The books are well written, the plots are well thought out, the book stays on-point and the character development is superb. You’ll come to love the recurring characters – they are quirky, down-to-earth, funny, relatable and very believable.

What a difference a year makes in the life of Maura Donovan. A year ago Maura arrived in Leap, County Cork, Ireland without a cent to her name, no job, no prospects and she had just lost her much-beloved grandmother. Since Maura’s father was deceased and her mother abandoned her at the age of two, her grandmother was all she had in the world. Her grandmother’s dying wish was for Maura to travel from Boston to Leap and personally let all of her Irish relatives know of her passing. When Maura arrived, she found that she had inherited a pub and a house – neither in great shape, but functional. What was she going to do – sell them or stay and manage the pub? She stayed and the year has certainly brought excitement, contentment and maybe, just maybe, love. She’s helped the Gardaí five times already and they have developed a good relationship – now – this sixth time might put that trust to the test.

Maura gets a call from the new owners of the Crann Mor luxury hotel in Skibbereen and has no clue what they might want with her, but she agrees to meet with them. When they arrive, the leader of the group John Byrne comes across as arrogant. The party also includes John’s male assistant, Helen Jenkins (an executive with the group) and Helen’s female assistant. Maura is not particularly impressed and is pretty negative about collaborating with them in any way.

Then, John’s dead body is discovered by the groundskeeper at Crann Mor. Is the death a murder or an accident? Things get even more intense when you add a new Garda member who is neither polished nor friendly. He’s bent on proving that it was murder and he’ll brow-beat everyone involved until he can find a murderer.

A call comes in for Maura, asking her to immediately come to the Garda station in Skibbereen. She doesn’t know what to expect, but what she hears when she gets there stuns her. The woman, Helen Jenkins is her mother. The reason Maura is there is that Helen wanted to tell Maura before she told the Gardaí.

While Maura isn’t sure what she wants to do with/about her mother, she can’t let her be accused of murder – unless, of course, she did it. So, Maura sets off to discover what she can and solve the death. Murder? Accident? Maura will ask questions until she finds the answer. Along the way, Maura comes to believe that she wants to learn more about her mother and maybe have a bit of a relationship with her. Her relationship with Mick also deepens and she learns some of his secrets.

This is a wonderfully written series and this book just adds to that. I hope you’ll give all the books a read. While you don’t just have to read the series in order, I would suggest doing so. Otherwise, you’ll miss out on the great character and relationship growth. Great read!

Please check out my reviews at:
Blog: https://flippinpages.blog/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/flippinpages…
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FlippinPagesRev
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BarbBookReview

“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”

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