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Mine Till Midnight (Hathaways)
Mine Till Midnight (Hathaways)
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Genre: Romance
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
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Fantastic story. The Hathaway family is a bit different than the usual HR. They are of noble birth but without the usual type of society background. There is Leo, the oldest, who recently inherited a title, followed by our heroine, Amelia, and her sisters Win, Poppy, and Beatrix. There is also a not quite family, not quite servant Gypsy man named Merripen who is an integral part of the group. Life has been difficult for the Hathaway family recently. A scarlet fever epidemic killed their parents, Leo and Win nearly died, Leo's fiancée did die. Leo has been so devastated by Laura's death that he is doing his best to kill himself with dissipation. The man that Amelia loved threw her over for another woman. As Leo has no interest in anything but his own misery, Amelia has taken over the running of the family.

As the story opens, Amelia is searching for Leo, who has disappeared once again. She is determined to take the family to their estate in Hampshire, away from the memories and pitfalls of the city, where they can begin again. Amelia is stubborn, independent, and convinced that she is the only one standing between her family and disaster. In her search for Leo, she encounters Cam Rohan, the half-Gypsy/half-Irish manager of a gambling establishment. Though he has no intention of interfering in their family issues, Cam finds himself unable to refuse to help Amelia find Leo. Once he does, he thinks that the end of it. Fate has other plans, and they meet again in Hampshire in a most unusual manner.

Amelia was impressive and frustrating. I loved her determination and her protectiveness toward her family. She will do anything for them. However, she is a bit overprotective and controlling, especially when it comes to Win and Leo. She tends to take charge, steamrollering over any objections. She also exhibits a very human side. I loved that she wasn't always cheerful and unflappable, but shows the effects of bad days, frustration with her siblings and others, and the occasional loss of her temper. There was also a hysterical scene involving a lizard and a dinner party where her behavior was not what I expected.

Cam was wonderful. We get a little bit of his background, and I have high hopes of learning more in later books. He was taken from his Gypsy family at the age of ten and went to work for the gambling house. As an adult, he is the right-hand man to the club owner and extremely (and unwillingly) wealthy. He has a bit of an internal battle going on between his Gypsy and Irish sides, which has made him rather restless. One of my favorite things about him is that he is comfortable with who he is. He has accepted that he is considered an outsider by both Gypsy and non-Gypsy folks, that he has the respect and friendship of those who mean the most to him and doesn't care about anyone else's opinion of him. He thinks about walking away from it all and returning to the Gypsy way of life until he meets Amelia.

I enjoyed the development of Cam and Amelia's relationship. There were sparks between them from the start, though they initially try to resist. Cam quickly became very protective of Amelia. Once he realized that she was the perfect woman for him, Cam was pretty relentless in his pursuit of her. I loved his way with words as he would tell her of his intentions. He also did not suffer from "I'm not good enough for her," that society could deal with them or not. Amelia was a little harder to convince. She did not doubt the power of their attraction, as shown by the flames that erupted between them whenever he touched her. But she was afraid that a half-Gypsy man would never be content in a traditional marriage, and would begin to resent her instead. I loved that Cam didn't give up on making her see that they were meant to be together.

There were also some secondary stories going on. First was the whole issue with Leo and his dissolute attitude. I was very frustrated with his whole "poor me" attitude. Losing his fiancée sucked, but he still had four sisters that he was responsible for. He redeemed himself a little at one point where he supported Amelia during her encounter with her ex, but that was a very small moment. I ached for him at the end, when Cam made him face his past and make a decision.

There was also something going on between Win and Merripen. Merripen's background is very mysterious, and there appears to be some connection with Cam, outside of them both being Gypsies. He is also very protective of Win and sensitive to her moods. I loved the whole cleaning scene and the solution he came up with that satisfied both her and Amelia. It is quite obvious that Merripen is in love with Win, but he does feel unworthy of her. It is hard to tell at first if Win feels the same way about him. Things get very interesting after the fire in which Merripen is injured, and I loved how the fragile Win comes out on top. I am looking forward to their story.


Cuba Straits (Doc Ford, Bk 22)
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Usually love me some Randy Wayne White - makes me wonder if one of his children gave his series a try as a Ghost. Just didn't even feel like his work - especially from Doc's perspective. All over the place in voice, setting, and plot.


A Christmas Memory, One Christmas,  The Thanksgiving Visitor (Modern Library)
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Book Description:
A holiday classic from "one of the greatest writers and most fascinating society figures in American history" (Vanity Fair)!

First published in 1956, this much sought-after autobiographical recollection from Truman Capote (In Cold Blood; Breakfast at Tiffany's) about his rural Alabama boyhood is a perfect gift for Capote's fans young and old.

Seven-year-old Buddy inaugurates the Christmas season by crying out to his cousin, Miss Sook Falk: "It's fruitcake weather!" Thus begins an unforgettable portrait of an odd but enduring friendship and the memories the two friends share of beloved holiday rituals.

A Christmas Memory has been described as "[a] gem of a holiday story" (School Library Journal, starred review), and this warm and delicately illustrated edition is one you'll want to add to any Christmas or Capote collection.

My Review:
I enjoyed this short story from Truman Capote's childhood where at Christmas time they would make fruitcakes and distribute them to friends and family. A great story to read at Christmas.


Summerland: A Novel
Summerland: A Novel
Author: Elin Hilderbrand
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
reviewed on + 39 more book reviews


I've read all of Elin Hilderbrand's novels. I love them all, but this was by far the most captivating for me. Wonderful character development. You will be pulled in and you will feel for these characters as if they were your friends and neighbors.

After reading some of the other reviews, I want to add to my own review. It's almost as if I was not reading the same book as some of the other reviewers. To say that "everything tied up with a pretty bow in the end and not in a believable way" seems to over-simplify the ending. The characters have come to grips with the tragic events that occurred in the novel, and are working through them and trying to deal with them. In no way did everything end up perfectly. In fact, the ending was so emotional it brought me to tears.

I also don't understand the comment about "thinly veiled political statements." I missed that entirely.

If you're a Hilderbrand fan, I think you'll likely love this novel. Go ahead and read it. You won't be disappointed.


The Coroner's Lunch (Dr. Siri Paiboun, Bk 1)
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Book Description:
Laos, 1975. The Communist Pathet Lao has taken over this former French colony. Dr. Siri Paiboun, a 72-year-old Paris-trained doctor, is appointed national coroner. Although he has no training for the job, there is no one else; the rest of the educated class has fled.

He is expected to come up with the answers the party wants. But crafty and charming Dr.Siri is immune to bureaucratic pressure. At his age, he reasons, what can they do to him? And he knows he cannot fail the dead who come into his care without risk of incurring their boundless displeasure. Eternity could be a long time to have the spirits mad at you.

My Review:
This is the first in a new series and I found the main character of Siri Paiboun to be quite charmingly unusual. He is a 72 year old doctor/detective acting as a coroner in Communist Laos where there are quite a few murders happening. The book was full of humor, intrigue and had a great sense of place. I look forward to reading more of the series and would recommend this series to those who like Alexander McCall Smith.


Rocco (Ruin & Revenge, Bk 3)
Rocco (Ruin & Revenge, Bk 3)
Author: Sarah Castille
Genre: Romance
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
reviewed on + 839 more book reviews


Printed ARC was won from Goodreads.com giveaway

I haven't read the first two in this series but I've read other stories from S. Castille and I love those and this is the best one out them all. This is hands down worthy of 10 + stars. I was sucked in from the beginning, they're was connection to the reader and the impossible bonding connection between Rocco and Grace. Granted they fell for each other when he was 20 and she was 10, he didn't touch her until she was 16 and kissed and work up from there. They were together until she was 18 and his dark secret was forced on her that left her scared both emotionally and physically. She ran from New York, NY to Las Vegas,Nevada. She stayed out of her fathers criminal connections and became a new women, for 6 years until her father comes to Vegas and a war is brewing and contracts are put out for her family. Until Rocco becomes a figment of her past and now standing right in front of her at a funeral, her heart will be tested.
Rocco has a dark and twisted upbringing, his adopted father is the âhead' of the De Lucchi crew, aka enforcers or hit men, trained to never feel, no connection, no toys, no anything to that could make the, weak. He was 10 years old when his âfather' gave him a home and trained him, for 10 years Rocco knew darkness, until he was hired to de a driver for a underboss's children to and from school. His darkness has a ray of ligh in a form of a younge and broken Grace. She made him want to feel again. But his feelings will be tested more then once with Grace even when he breaks the bonds of his âfather'......


The Successor : A Novel
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Book Description:
A fictionalized political tale based on true-life events and the author's conversations with the victim's son follows the events surrounding the death of Mehmet Shehu, a hand-picked successor to hated ailing Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha who succumbs to an unlikely suicide and sparks a government maelstrom.

My Review:
This historical and political novel about the death of the successor to dictator, Enver Hoxha, in 1981 Albania read somewhat like an Agatha Christie novel. Was the successor's death a suicide or was it a murder? The author clearly shows the atmosphere that was happening at the time in the Balkans and the conspiracy theories which surrounded the death of the successor. The book leaves you guessing who could have killed the successor until the very end. I would recommend this book to those who are interested in the history of the Balkans and the part that Albania plays in the area in 1981.


Taking the Titanic (BookShots)
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I liked the story plot. The ending was not as I pictured it.


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Book 5 Audio CD)
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The story is intense. Jim Dale is an incredible narrator. Have read the book and listened many times


Dear John (Audio CD) (Unabridged)
reviewed on + 149 more book reviews


excellent love his books


A Murder for the Books: A Blue Ridge Library Mystery
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The town fathers of Amy Webber's new home need to wake up and smell the coffee. The town library is an original Carnegie library with serious-- and I mean serious-- roof issues. Since the building not only houses the library but the town's important documents dating back countless decades as well, many valuable items could be lost. I know-- just an average day in almost any library in this country, but since most of Amy's investigating consists of going through these old records, she's going to be out of a sleuthing job if something isn't done.

I like what author Victoria Gilbert did with the character of Richard Muir. Throughout the book, he is described with words like graceful and elegant, words that we usually don't associate with men. By book's end, readers know that this character not only knows how to move on the dance floor, he's also funny, brave, caring, and sexy. Not bad, eh?

Well... if you're a reader like me who doesn't really care for much romance in her mysteries, it can be. And that's what happened. Too much romance, not enough mystery. In fact, the mystery was rather easy to solve. Couple this with characters that I just didn't grow to care for and my reception to A Murder for the Books was luke-warm at best. However, if your pet peeves differ from mine, then your mileage will certainly vary.


Unnatural Causes: A Dr. Katie LeClair Mystery
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Dawn Eastman, the author of the highly entertaining Family Fortune cozy series, is branching out with this book. Unnatural Causes is a fast-paced, solid mystery that kept me guessing, and the main characters are well placed to solve mysteries. Katie LeClair is a caring, gifted doctor, and what makes her a good doctor makes her a good investigator. Her brother Caleb is very good with computers, and since Katie saved the life of the police chief's dog, she also has an "in" with the police department.

All elements mesh together well and run like a finely tuned machine. The trouble is, I just didn't find myself warming up to any of the characters-- which is one of the main selling points of mysteries on the cozier end of the genre. Unnatural Causes is well-written and does have an appealing main character, so don't be afraid to give it a try. Your mileage may definitely vary!


The Changeling
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A page-turner, for sure! One spellbinding ride from a seemingly normal life that descends into the horrific and bizarre. Good storytelling all around. 4 stars.


Spies of the Balkans (Night Soldiers, Bk 11)
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Every single book I've read by Furst is a delight. The historical accuracy, the suspense, the background, the development of the characters and more, makes it a shame when the novels end.

Each novel is a stand-alone story, but I'm noticing, as I read more of them, how some major characters in other novels have "cameo appearances" in others.


When Bruce Met Cyn (Visitation, Bk 3)
When Bruce Met Cyn (Visitation, Bk 3)
Author: Lori Foster
Genre: Romance
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
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I like Lori Foster's most recent work more than her older books, but it was still an okay fun series to read. For Lori Foster fans you can definitely see the beginnings of her great ability to develop characters you get attached to and invested in. They get progressively better and my favorite and closest to her most recent work is the final book in the series, "Jamie".


The Last Time I Was Me
The Last Time I Was Me
Author: Cathy Lamb
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Book Type: Paperback
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Fun quirky characters that lighten up a story line that is on the serious side. I enjoyed Julia's Chocolates even more than this one, but I'd still highly recommend it.


The Man with a Load of Mischief  (Richard Jury, Bk 1)
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This is a new series for me. A patron of the library recommended Martha Grimes and her character Richard Jury. It is another historical mystery set in England. I have always been a fan of Agatha Christie and M. C. Beaton. I love mysteries set in England. I look forward to reading my way to the latest one.


Grace in Thine Eyes
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This one took me thru roller coaster emotions. I like Higgs writing style and this was is well done. Unbelievable forgiveness and love. Which I do believe in.


The Man in the Rockefeller Suit: The Astonishing Rise and Spectacular Fall of a Serial Imposter
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Excellent read. Explains the history better than movie. I enjoy Mark Seal books and was interested in the subject. Highly recommend.


A Child Under His Tree (Return to the Double C) (Harlequin Special Edition, No 2509)
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Good second chance story. Kelly and Caleb had been high school sweethearts, but when Caleb went away to college he ended his relationship with Kelly in favor of another pre-med student, breaking Kelly's heart. The book opens several years later. Kelly and Caleb had a brief encounter that didn't end well, and Kelly is pregnant. Her mother, a real piece of work and doesn't know about the encounter, wants Kelly to try to pass the baby off as Caleb's because "those people take care of their own" (meaning her). Kelly isn't about to force a marriage of obligation on Caleb, having suffered her mother's resentment all her life. So she packs up and leaves home, swearing to give her baby a better life.

Six years later she has come home to settle her mother's estate, bringing her son Tyler with her. An unexpected trip to the clinic brings Kelly and Tyler face to face with Caleb, who she did not know was back in Weaver. She is very nervous because she never told him about Tyler. Caleb is pretty oblivious because Kelly's mom put out the story that Kelly had eloped and had a baby after leaving Weaver. However, there are definitely some sparks flying between them, and it isn't all anger.

Kelly and Caleb have a lot to overcome before they can have a future together. Kelly still holds a lot of anger and hurt over the way that Caleb had dumped her all those years ago. She had been waiting at home for Caleb and he had been with another girl. It didn't help that Kelly's mother was always down on her, telling her that she wasn't good enough for him. Now she also feels guilty that she didn't tell him about Tyler. Caleb has his own guilt that he has to deal with. Now that he's older, he realizes what a jerk he had been and how badly he had behaved. His reaction after their truck encounter also left him with another reason to feel guilty.

I did enjoy seeing Kelly and Caleb get to know each other again. Kelly's fears had her trying to keep Caleb at a distance, but Weaver is a small town and they see each other frequently. I loved seeing the connection between Caleb and Tyler (right down to their mutual dislike of carrots), which made it more difficult for Kelly to avoid him. There were some really sweet scenes between Caleb and Tyler. Every time he and Kelly meet, the attraction burns a little hotter. Caleb, especially, remembers the things that drew him to Kelly to begin with, and her new confidence and maturity make her even more attractive to him. I liked those times when Kelly could forget the past and allow herself to enjoy Caleb's company. However, the secret of Tyler's birth began to wear on her and she finally blurted out the truth.

This is where Caleb lost me a bit. I understood his initial shock and anger. That was logical and believable. But then he turned controlling and threatening, not even attempting to look for a compromise. I so wanted to grab him and shake him, especially during the confrontation at the hospital. It was so sweet seeing Tyler stick up for his mommy. I ached for Kelly with the solution that Caleb finally arrived at, because she never wanted to be an obligation, and that's all she could see. But she wanted what she thought was best for Tyler, so she put her own needs aside. There were some sweet scenes with Caleb and Tyler, but I continued to want to pound both of Caleb and Kelly because they constantly believed the worst of each other. I liked Caleb's big moment at the end, when he finally figured out his feelings and what he had to do to make things right with Kelly.


Enchantress of Numbers: A Novel of Ada Lovelace
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Enchantress of Numbers by Jennifer Chiaverini is novel about the life of Ada Lovelace. Augusta Ada Byron King, Countess of Lovelace, is the only child of Lord Byron and his wife, Annabella. Not long after Ada was born, Annabella left her husband (Lord Byron had mental problems) and returned to her parent's home. Annabella does everything in her power to make sure the Byron blood does not destroy Ada's life. Fairy tales, make believe, poetry, passion (for life, ideas) and imagination are banned while mathematics, science, and languages are stressed in Ada's education regime. We follow Ada through her lonely childhood into adulthood with her overbearing mother and unorthodox education. While in London during her first season, Ada meets Charles Babbage. Ada is fascinated with Babbage's Difference Engine and the plans he has for the Analytical Engine. Ada wants to do what she can to help Babbage realize his dream. She continues to study advanced mathematics, meets the love of her life, discovers the reason her parent's marriage fell apart, and continues to pursue the development of Babbage's inventions. Will Ada be able to assist Babbage in achieving his dream?

Enchantress of Numbers is well-researched and contains interesting information on Ada's life (if you make it that far into the book). The writing reminded me of a boring textbook (very dry). I loved Jennifer Chiaverini's The Elm Creek Quilts series which is well-written, has a good pace, and wonderful characters. Enchantress of Numbers did not feel like it was written by the same author. Part of the problem was the first-person narrative. The story is first told from Annabella's perspective and then from Ada's point-of-view. She shares her reminisces starting with infanthood (which is unbelievable). Can any person remember being a baby especially with such detail? It reminded me a diary where Ada tells us how her mother controls her life (never meets her father, told her blood is bad). Any time Ada gets close to a caretaker, they are fired. If she shows an interest in a subject (like making wings), it is discouraged. The characters came across as flat. They were not brought to life. Ada (as well as her mother) is an unlikeable protagonist. I find it difficult to read a book when I do not like the main character. The mathematics sections will put many readers (non-mathematicians) to sleep (great if you suffer from insomnia). They dragged on for pages. The book was too long (it seemed to go on forever) and it was overly detailed. Many times, I wanted to abandon my pursuit of completing this Enchantress of Numbers. There were a couple of interesting sections, but they were few and far between. I'm sorry, but I was not enchanted by Enchantress of Numbers.


Live and Let Fly (Kite Shop Mystery, A)
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Live and Let Fly by Clover Tate is the second book in A Kite Shop Mystery series. Emmy Adler owns Strings Attached in Rock Point, Oregon. She is busy preparing her kite for the upcoming kite festival. Emmy needs to win for the publicity to help keep her fledgling shop open over the winter. Emmy is working on her kite when her sister, Sunny arrives unexpectedly and states she is moving in with Emmy. Sunny has quit college and wants to think over her options for her future. While drinking tea, Sunny manages to spill her cup and stain Emmy's kite. Emmy heads to Brew House and sees Jack Sullivan talking with guest judge, Jasmine Normand. Emmy ends up causing a scene. The next morning, Jasmine Normand is found dead, and Emmy is a person of interest. Business at Strings Attached takes a nosedive, so Emmy sets out to find Jasmine's killer. When not busy with her investigation, Emmy starts working on a new kite for the competition. Unfortunately, Sunny ends up burning a hole in it. Maybe the third one will be a winner. Can Emmy find the culprit before the competition begins? Does she stand a chance of getting a kite finished in time with Sunny around?

Live and Let Fly is the second installment in A Kite Shop Mystery series, but it can be read alone. I like that Emmy makes unique one-of-a kind kites. Emmy, though, is bland and I did not like her interactions with Jack Sullivan (jealousy and overreacting when Jack wanted to discuss their relationship). Her sister, Sunny, outshines her throughout the story with her clumsiness, financial advice, and gregarious personality. I found the novel to be slow paced and lacking in action. There was a lot of time devoted to walking, eating, and talking. There is a little action towards the very end of the book. I am giving Live and Let Fly 3 out of 5 stars. The mystery has more than one component and is slightly complex. Most armchair sleuths will have no problem figuring out the solution. I was never drawn into Live and Let Fly. It is one of those stories that I read, but my mind was never fully engaged. I felt that the author did not fully develop her world or characters. Cozy mystery readers who enjoy light, humorous stories will enjoy reading Live and Let Fly. There is humor, romance, a mystery and beautiful kites in Live and Let Fly.


In Too Deep (Arcane Society, Bk 10) (Looking Glass, Bk 1)
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The cops just can't handle psychically powerful criminals who deal in weapons-grade paranormal artifacts. Enter the Jones & Jones detective agency. Investigator Fallon Jones has taken on an assistant, Isabella Valdez, who displays some unusual talents of her own as she helps him dig through an ever-expanding mess of paranormal criminal activity.


72 Hours
72 Hours
Author: Bella Jewel
Genre: Romance
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
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Noah and Lara broke up when she walked in on him with another woman. He tries to explain what she saw, but she won't give him the time of day. Now, three months later, the two of them are captured, drugged, and left in a heavily wooded area. A note from their captor tells them that they have 72 hours to escape, before he hunts them down. How are two people who can't stand to be around each other going to work together to get out of this alive?

There were some things I liked about this story and some I didn't care for. I really liked the suspense. I had a hard time putting this book down. I kept trying to guess how Noah and Lara were going to escape from a killer.

The story was told from both Lara's and the killer's points of view. That just didn't work for me. I wanted to know what Noah was thinking through all of this. I think it would have made the romance portions of the book more interesting. I didn't care what the killer thought. Most of his portions of the story were just him thinking to himself how the couple would never make it out alive. I had no idea why he decided to do this. Was it his hobby? Had he done it before? With no motive for this character, he felt like a cartoon character who was wringing his hands and laughing maniacally. My rating: 3.5 Stars.


Hungry Hill
Hungry Hill
Author: Daphne Du Maurier
Genre: Romance
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
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I've read a few other books by du Maurier and always enjoyed them, most recently Jamaica Inn. Hungry Hill is one of several du Maurier novels that I bought awhile ago at a thrift store. It is basically an historical novel telling the story of several generations of the Brodrick family in Ireland from 1820 to 1920. When I first started reading this, I was not sure if I would finish it but the more I read, the more I was engrossed by the story. It starts out with the story of Copper John Brodrick who starts a copper mine on Hungry Hill outside of the Brodrick estate at Castle Clonmere. Brodrick opens the mine in hopes of making life better for his family and the people of the town but it is frowned upon by most of the community of Doonhaven and especially by the family that formerly owned the land, the Donovans. Old man Donovan tells Copper John that "your mine will be in ruins and your home destroyed and your children forgotten ...but this hill will be standing still to confound you." So the Donovan curse passes through the generations of Brodricks with tragedy awaiting most of the successors to the copper fortune.

From Wikipedia:
Hungry Hill is a novel by prolific British author Daphne du Maurier, published in 1943. It was her seventh novel. There have been 33 editions of the book printed.

This family saga is based on the history of the Irish ancestors of Daphne du Maurier's friend Christopher Puxley. The family resembles the Puxleys who owned mines in Allihies, a parish in County Cork.

The story spans the century from 1820 to 1920 following five male characters from a family of Anglo-Irish landowners, the Brodricks, who live in a castle called Clonmere. It is divided into five sub-books and an epilogue. Each section covers part of the life of an heir. The sections include: Book One: Copper John, 1820 - 1828; Book Two: Greyhound John, 1828 - 1837; Book Three: "Wild Johnnie," 1837 - 1858; Book Four: Henry, 1858 - 1874; Book Five: Hal, 1874 - 1895; Epilogue: The Inheritance, 1920;

The title sometimes is thought to refer to Hungry Hill which is the highest peak in the Caha Mountains in County Cork, and du Maurier's description of the Hungry Hill is similar to the physical aspects of that place. Rather than simply referring to the hill, however, the title alludes to the curse put on the family by Morty Donovan, arch enemy of patriarch Copper John Brodrick, at the start of the novel, and the fact that the mines seem to "swallow up" the lives of the Brodrick family through five generations, by early death, dissipation and unhappiness.

Many of the place names in the novel are imaginary, and the location is never directly stated to be Ireland, although it can be inferred from several references to "crossing the water" to reach to London, Hal's embarkation from Liverpool en route to Canada, and, in the Epilogue, the Irish War of Independence (1919-1921). However, the description of the Brodricks' mansion reportedly was based on the Puxleys' mansion in Carmarthenshire, South Wales.


Overall, this book really had a feeling of melancholia throughout with pending doom coming to the family. I didn't enjoy this as much as some other du Maurier's I have read like House on the Strand but I would still recommend it and I'll definitely be reading more of her novels.


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