Rhys Bowen

10 Favorite Books

These are books that inspire me, are thought-provoking, that entertain and entrance. In no particular order, my top 10 favorites that I’ve read in 2018 are:

Photo by Laura Kapfer

Photo by Laura Kapfer

  1. In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen: A World War II story in Britain and the death of a man whose parachute doesn’t open against the backdrop of the blitzes of London, war time deprivations, and evacuations.

  2. Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water and Loving the Bible Again by Rachel Held Evans: The author’s return to a life of faith as an exvangelistic Christian.

  3. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles: a World War I story about an aristocrat on house arrest in his hotel room, the politics of his time and the varied people he meets.

  4. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys: A World War II story of three young people—a young Polish woman, a Lithuanian nurse, a Konigsberg artist—fleeing as the Red Army marches through East Prussia.

  5. Perception by Terri Fleming: A story of the Bennett’s middle daughter, Mary, from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

  6. Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson: A story of a young woman and the events that separated her from her four best childhood friends.

  7. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng: An eccentric artist and her young daughter move into a respectable neighborhood and four children of an upstanding couple become friends with them.

  8. Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries by Kory Stamper: Written by a former Merriam-Webster associate editor, a wonderful peek behind the scenes about creating and updating the dictionary and the fascination of words in the English language.

  9. The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill: Villagers sacrifice babies to a appease a witch who lives in the woods nearby. The witch accidentally feeds one baby from the magic of the moon.

  10. Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones: A young girl, whose father is a bigamist, and the effect of living as a secret child on her life.

What are your top 10 favorite reads from 2018?

A Royal Spyness Mystery

I have inducted myself into the Cosy (British spelling) Mysteries. I couldn’t resist with Crowned and Dangerous: A Royal Spyness Mystery by Rhys Bowen.

As Louise Penny is quoted,

Brilliant...So much more than a murder mystery. It’s part love story, part social commentary, part fun and part downright terrifying. And completely riveting. I adore this book.

With a Welsh named author, a heroine named Georgie who’s 34th in line for the British Crown, and an Irish hero named Darcy, that’s all it took for this Anglophile reader! Set it in 1934 November and December (Did you know airplanes were called aeroplanes?) and I’m in.

What’s a woman to do, when the man she loves tells her they’re heading to Gretna Green (in other words—eloping) but they’re interrupted by a blizzard?

Then they read a newspaper article about his estranged father being accused of murder.

Darcy goes to his ancestral estates in Ireland alone, then tells Georgie during a phone call that the elopement is off. She does not take that mildly.

What is a Cozy Mystery?

Elizabeth Spann Craig, a North American author, is my go-to blogger about all things Cozy. She shares a list of what makes a cozy different from other mysteries: thrillers, military, police procedural, and hard-boiled detective.

  • amateur sleuth

  • a body before page 30

  • no gory details about the body

  • little to no use of profanity

  • create a puzzle with red herrings, distractions, and clues

  • close the door on romance subplots

  • write as a series

  • create a pun on the title

  • and, of course, humor

She also lists things to avoid in cozies: too many characters, too much “hook” (subplot that series is based on such as the royal connections in the Royal Spyness series), too much mystery (not enough subplots), too dark, and supporting characters who steal the show (and this can happen in any genre).

If you’re ready for a light and fun read, this is a great book. Rhys Bowen has written twelve books in this series. She has also written two other cosy series: ten Constable Evans Mysteries and seventeen Molly Murphy Mysteries. Bowen is also author of two World War II novels which I have checked out to read next.