Book Reviews

Book Review: Girls Like Us

Like a detective determined to crack a cold case, I am compelled to uncover family secrets and unearth family skeletons. I am energized by endless hours patiently paging through aged records, and I revel in the thrill of finding a clue or solving a genealogical puzzle. So, is it any wonder why I enjoy suspense/mystery novels?


Cristina Alger’s psychological suspense novel, Girls Like Us, opens on a somber note. FBI Agent Nell Flynn has come home to Suffolk County, New York to lay her father Homicide Detective Martin Flynn to rest. Because Nell and her father were estranged, Nell feels semi-detached as her father’s ashes catch the breeze of the Orient Shoal in the Long Island Sound.

For Nell, Suffolk County holds only heartache. When Nell was seven-years-old, her mother Marisol was murdered. An only child, Nell had no one but her father to turn to in her grief. But Martin Flynn was a hard-to-love, loathe-to-comfort type of guy. As the years passed, the distance between father and daughter grew until Nell packed her bags and left for good. That is until Martin Flynn died in a motorcycle accident, and Nell must return to settle her father’s estate.

A few days is all Nell needs to get his affairs in order before she is able to leave Suffolk County and return to duty in D.C. However, just when she thinks that she can make a clean break, her father’s former partner, Detective Lee Davis, asks Nell for her insight into and assistance with the investigation of the murders of two local young women. Nell agrees halfheartedly, but the further she digs, the more she uncovers. Who were these women, why were they killed, who murdered them, and exactly how was her father involved?

From the first page to the last, Girls Like Us kept me guessing. Engrossing and emotional, this book engages not only the mind but also the heart. I quickly came to care about Nell and wanted to comfort her as she struggled to make peace with her father’s shortcomings, her mother’s murder, and her own guilt.


I received a complimentary copy of this book from G.P. Putnam’s Sons, courtesy of a Goodreads giveaway. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

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Book Review: The Summer Country

In April 1816, the largest slave revolt in Barbadian history, Bussa’s Rebellion, took place. It was the first of three significant rebellions that eroded public support of slavery, thereby resulting in its abolition in 1834, when more than 80,000 British Empire slaves were emancipated.

After emancipation, labor contracts provided freed slaves with the opportunity to work as indentured servants. Unfortunately, these labor contracts had 12-year terms, as well as ridiculously low wages. Some former slaves were forced to work 45-hour weeks without pay in exchange for sparse accommodations. Also, indentured servants in Barbados were barred from receiving an education.

So, although emancipated, many of these freed slaves were still not free. It wasn’t until 1838, with the passage of the Masters and Servant Act (a.k.a. the Contract Law), that discrimination against people of color was prohibited, and these former enslaved were finally free.

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Book Review: Dearly Beloved

In between Shakespeare and statistical analyses, Austen and annual reports, I indulge in historical romances. I especially relish reads whose heroines are spirited, steely-spined, softhearted survivors. And when it comes to strong women, author Mary Jo Putney always delivers.

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Book Review: The Cowkeeper’s Wish

What would you give up and how far would you go to make a better life for yourself? Would you pack up what little you had and leave your loved ones and your rural homeland to seek your fortune in the big city? Would you walk 250 miles over mountains and moors while driving a herd of cattle to forge a new destiny? Just what would you do?

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Book Review: Time After Time

I remember the first time I saw New York’s Grand Central Terminal. I was in college. My Immigrant Fiction class had embarked on an excursion to New York City to walk in the footsteps of the approximately 12 million people who immigrated there between 1892 and 1954.

Like the immigrants before us, our first stop was Ellis Island, the official entry point.  As we crossed the harbor to Ellis Island, I stood at the ferry’s rail, gazing at the Statue of Liberty who welcomed these people to their new home: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

After we visited both Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, we headed over to 42nd Street and Park Avenue to tour Grand Central Terminal, built in 1913. Perhaps some immigrants heading to different locales to live might have caught a train at Grand Central Station? It is possible. Grand Central Terminal was and still is the most famous railway terminal in the world.

However, Grand Central is much more than a railroad station. High above the exterior doors is the ethereal sculpture featuring Hercules, representing physical strength; Mercury, the god of travel and commerce; and Minerva, the goddess of wisdom and protector of cities. Under them is an ornate clock made of Tiffany glass. Then, there is the main concourse. I remember gazing across the expanse to the information booth with its famous four-faced clock; each face crafted of opal.  And above was a ceiling of constellations, painted backward as if I were seeing the stars from God’s vantage point. What a wondrous sight!

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