Yesternight by Cat Winters (Oct 2016)
Yesternight, being a historical mystery, is really not something different for me, although the 1920s time period is. This book reminded me of those by Simone St. James. It wasn’t perfect but it did keep me interested all the way through to the end.
Alice Lind is a female psychologist who travels around to rural Oregon schools giving intelligence tests to children. She would prefer to be going to graduate school and doing research but those kinds of things are reserved for the menfolk. Alice is independent and she’s used to doing what she wants. She’s also a bit unsettled and has some dark secrets in her past that will come back to haunt her.
In Gordon Bay, she’s presented with 7-year-old Janie, who is a mathematical genius but also claims to be/have been a 19-year-old woman named Violet Sunday who drowned violently (and yes, I did keep reading her name as Violent Sunday!). Alice does not believe in reincarnation but Janie’s father is convinced and wants Alice to help him prove the truth of his daughter’s wild tales. Janie’s mother, divorced from dad, is completely opposed to this.
I will say that the characters are somewhat shallowly written but the mystery of Janie’s past life and Alice’s past are intriguing enough to keep you reading. I didn’t really find Janie creepy, even when she was speaking as Violet, but let me tell you, the ending took a really dark twist and the epilogue really creeped me out.
All in all, an entertaining read.
Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins (Jan 2016)
I am slightly embarrassed to admit that I’ve never read Beverly Jenkins so she was my “new to me author” this month.
Though published in 2016, this is an old-school romance. And I mean that in a good way. Jenkins builds a community here with a wonderful cast of secondary characters who enrich not only the story, but the lives of the main characters as well.
I loved the premise of this story. The heroine Eddy is an independent woman who decides to move from Denver to San Francisco. While she encounters some kind and generous strangers along the way, she also meets a not-so-nice stranger and ends up stranded in Virginia City, Nevada. The hero, Rhine, is a former slave who fought for the Union Army in the Civil War. His mother was a slave; his father the slave owner. After the war, Rhine decided to pass as a white man and has built up his fortune and reputation in Virginia City.
As Rhine and Eddy fall for each other the main conflict is that he is supposedly white, she is black, and any relationship between them is fraught and marriage is illegal. I was hoping for an emotion-filled story that would include a gut-wrenching climax for this couple. Unfortunately that’s not what I got. I was underwhelmed by how their story played out and was hoping for much more for these characters I cared about. The ending was rushed and the “villain,” Rhine’s scorned ex-fiancée, felt tacked on.
I liked Jenkins sense of humor and her descriptions. I think if I read another I would choose something from her backlist.