A novel in two time eras, Into the Fire is set in Orleans, France. In present day, police officer Ines Picaut is investigating devastating fires that have been wreaking havoc in the city. The latest one is different - there is a fatality. She begins to realise that the identity of the dead person is the key to the crimes, and that it has some connection to the legend of Jeanne d'Arc. Back in the fifteenth century, we follow the Maid of Orleans through the eyes of Tod Rustbeard, a spy for the English working in the French camp. He finds himself bound up in her story more closely than he had ever imagined, and his actions have a consequence that reaches down the centuries. Knife-edge moments, passion and historic detail abound in this great read.
Sarah Maine - The House Between Tides
Hetty has ambitious plans for the ruined house she has inherited on a Scottish Hebridean island, connected to the main island by a tidal causeway. It belonged to her great-uncle, Theo Blake, a troubled, talented artist. Muirlan House has lain empty for decades. But on the day she arrives, local architect Jamie Cameron discovers human remains while surveying the property. As Hetty waits for the mystery of the house to be uncovered, and for the planning permission to come through for her hotel, she begins to investigate the past of the house. Theo's young wife fascinates her, especially as she vanished from his life after a short marriage, and seems to be the most likely identity for the bones. Beatrice's story unfolds in parallel with Hettie's, as both come to love the island but struggle as outsiders to become accepted. Sensitively written with a deep feeling for the landscape and its history, it's clear why this is a prize-winning novel. Engrossing reading for my Hebridean summer holiday.
Diana Gabaldon - Written in My Own Heart's Blood
The eighth instalment of the renowned Outlander series, this was my paperback reading for my two week summer holiday. A mighty book, something that a reader can dive into. I'm not intending to provide any spoilers, as others may not have read previous novels in the series. Suffice to say that Claire and Jamie's deep bond of love provides them with a solid foundation as they embark on more adventures set in the time of the American War of Independence. Lord John and his family provide further intrigue and incidents. In the 1980s, Claire and Jamie's daughter, Brianna, is embroiled in a distressing mystery concerning her own little family, which has its roots in the timeline of her father. Fulle of vivid scene painting which plunges the reader into the past, it's a book I couldn't wait to pick up again and continue reading. The author confesses that it takes her four years to write each book. It's now a matter of waiting until she completes the next one!