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Reviews by Leah A. Zeldes

Tenterhooks

by Ada Leverson

This second novel in "The Little Otleys" trilogy focuses on Bruce and Edith, and their disintegrating marriage. Hyacinth Reeve does not appear, nor any other significant characters from the first book, and you can read this one without having read the earlier novel.

Edith Ottley finds herself drawn to Aylmer Ross, a man very much more her intellectual equal than the fatuous and self-centered Bruce. Ross is deeply in love with her, yet she keeps him at arm's length out of a disinterested loyalty to her ridiculous husband. Even when she knows that Bruce is having affairs with other women, she refuses to leave him for the sake of convention, her children, her mother-in-law and the hapless Bruce himself much to Aylmer's unhappiness.

This book is much more serious than "Love's Shadow," more real and even better written, though something of a downer. The tone is less like Jane Austen and more like a cross of Evelyn Waugh and Barbara Pym.

Reviewed on 2016.01.11

Love at Second Sight

by Ada Leverson

The third "Little Otleys" book takes place three years after the close of book 2.

World War I is in progress. Bruce Ottley, back with Edith, whom he left in "Tenterhooks," has used a hypochondriac's excuse to avoid military service. The couple is hosting an older widow, the charming but peculiar Madame Frabelle, who has insinuated herself into their household and social group.

Aylmer Ross, injured at the front, has returned to London to recover. He and Edith haven't seen each other in three years, yet they find their feelings for each other revive. Also on the scene is a beautiful young nurse, in love with Ross.

It's not quite so strong as book 2, but still quite well written, and readers who enjoyed that will surely want to read this one.

Reviewed on 2016.01.11

Miss Cayley's Adventures

by Grant Allen

In this fun romantic adventure, intrepid Lois Cayley, freshly graduated from Girton, and all but penniless, decides to travel the world, with no advance planning whatever.

Through luck and serendipity, she starts out as a companion to a cantankerous old lady, Lady Georgina Fawley, bound for a rest cure on the Continent. Lois next becomes a sales agent for bicycles in Switzerland, opens a typewriting business in Florence and then tries her hand at journalism in Egypt. Along the way, she winds up involved with several other members of Lady G's family, receives several proposals of marriage and foils various machinations of an artful con man.

Fans of Elizabeth Peters and Alexander McCall Smith, among others, should enjoy the feisty Miss Cayley.

Reviewed on 2016.01.11

The Notting Hill Mystery

by Charles Felix

This epistolary novel covers the deaths of an heiress, her husband and her sister, all of whom have come under the influence of the sinister Baron R***, a mesmerist. The mechanism of the murder seems unlikely, but it becomes very obvious quite early on.

Reviewed on 2015.12.23

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Martha Conway
Martha Conway's fascination with history, her love for her six sisters and the beauty of the Ohio landscape inspired her to write Thieving Forest, an extraordinary novel that will keep readers wanting more. In this interview, she reveals just how much research went into the book, how she created her characters and what inspires her.
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