Valentine’s Day was pretty perfect for us. No fuss. We went to dinner at a favorite restaurant which was not full, then he took me to the bookstore. That evening at home, I sat on the floor with my beloved dog and watched some of Westminster. It was great. The books I chose were these:

The Red Queen (The Chronicles of Alice #2) by Christina Henry



An Interlude in the  Old City

In a City where everything was grey and fog-covered and monsters lurked behind every echoing footfall, there was a little man who collected stories. He sat in a parlor covered in roses and this little man was small and neat, his head covered in golden-brown ringlets and his eyes bright and green like a rose’s leaves. He wore a velvet suit of rose red and he urged a cup of tea on his visitor, a wide-eyed girl who looked about her in wonder. She was not certain how she’d gotten here, only that this strange little man had helped her when she thought she was lost.

“Do you like stories?” the little man asked.

He was called Cheshire, and the girl thought that was a very odd name, though this room and his cottage were very pretty.

“Yes,” she said. She was very young still, and did not know yet what Cheshire had saved her from when he came upon her wandering in the streets near his cottage. She was lucky, more than lucky, that it was he who found her.

“I like stories too,” Cheshire said. “I collect them. I like this story because I have a part to play in it—a small part, to be sure, but a part nonetheless.”

Mrs. Sherlock Holmes by Brad Ricca

From the publisher:

Mrs. Sherlock Holmes tells the incredible true life story of Mrs. Grace Humiston, the New York lawyer and detective who solved the famous cold case of Ruth Cruger, an 18-year-old girl who disappeared in 1917. Grace was an amazing lawyer and traveling detective during a time when no women were practicing these professions. She focused on solving cases no one else wanted and advocating for innocents. Grace became the first female U.S. District Attorney and made ground-breaking investigations into modern slavery.

In the literary tradition of In Cold Blood and The Devil in the White City, Brad Ricca’s Mrs. Sherlock Holmes is a true crime tale told in spine-tingling fashion. This story is about a woman whose work was so impressive that the papers gave her the nickname of fiction’s greatest sleuth. With important repercussions in the present about kidnapping, the role of the media, and the truth of crime stories, the great mystery of the book – and its haunting twist ending – is how one woman can become so famous only to disappear completely.

Jezebel’s Daughter by Wilkie Collins

From the publisher:

How far is a mother prepared to go to secure her daughter’s future? Madame Fontaine, widow of an eminent chemist, has both the determination and the cunning to bring young Minna’s marriage plans to fruition, with dangerous consequences for anyone who dares to stand in her way. But has she met her match in Jack Straw, one-time inmate of Bedlam lunatic asylum? It will take a visit to the morgue to find out who triumphs—and who comes out alive.

Reminiscent of Collins’s blockbusters The Woman in White and Armadale, this suspenseful case study in villainy is set against the financial world of 1820s Frankfurt and tells the story of two widows, one of them devoted to realizing her husband’s social reforms, the other equally devoted to the pursuit of her daughter’s happiness.

(How had I not heard of this one before? I love Wilkie Collins!)

The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson

From the publisher:

Regina Robichard works for Thurgood Marshall, who receives an unusual letter asking the NAACP to investigate the murder of a returning black war hero. It is signed by M. P. Calhoun, the most reclusive author in the country.

As a child, Regina was captivated by Calhoun’s The Secret of Magic, a novel in which white and black children played together in a magical forest. The book was a sensation, featured on the cover of Time magazine, and banned more than any other book in the South. And then M.P. Calhoun disappeared.

With Thurgood’s permission, Regina heads down to Mississippi to find Calhoun and investigate the case. But as she navigates the muddy waters of racism, relationships, and her own tragic past, she finds that nothing in the South is as it seems.


Thrice the Brindled Cat Hath Mew’d by Alan Bradley

If you haven’t read this series yet, please do.

From the publisher:

In spite of being ejected from Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy in Canada, twelve-year-old Flavia de Luce is excited to be sailing home to England. But instead of a joyous homecoming, she is greeted on the docks with unfortunate news: Her father has fallen ill, and a hospital visit will have to wait while he rests.

But with Flavia’s blasted sisters and insufferable cousin underfoot, Buckshaw now seems both too empty—and not empty enough. Only too eager to run an errand for the vicar’s wife, Flavia hops on her trusty bicycle, Gladys, to deliver a message to a reclusive wood-carver. Finding the front door ajar, Flavia enters and stumbles upon the poor man’s body hanging upside down on the back of his bedroom door. The only living creature in the house is a feline that shows little interest in the disturbing scene. Curiosity may not kill this cat, but Flavia is energized at the prospect of a new investigation. It’s amazing what the discovery of a corpse can do for one’s spirits. But what awaits Flavia will shake her to the very core.

Have you read any of these?

2 thoughts on “Valentine Book Haul”

  1. I am always intrigued by the erasure of women from history. I hadn’t heard of Mrs. Sherlock Holmes but I’m going to add that and the magic book to my list. Glad you had a super chill V-Day. 🙂

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