Category: Foyle’s War

Blog Book Tour | “An Unwilling Accomplice” by Charles Todd The sixth novel of the Bess Crawford mysteries!

Posted Monday, 27 July, 2015 by jorielov , , , , , 1 Comment

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on the “An Unlikely Accomplice” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher William Morrow (an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers), in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

I borrowed the first book in this series from my local library for my own edification and was not obligated to post my reflections and/or review on the story’s behalf. I wanted to understand a bit of the back-story on the principle character of Bess Crawford prior to reading the 6th book in the series. I originally perceived the idea to read the first five novels in the series prior to my tour stop, however, the hours disappeared before I could. The lightning storms did not give me any favours towards this goal, either! I was thankful I could meet Ms Crawford and find an anchour to who she is prior to soaking inside the sixth novel; yet I fully intend to go back through the series starting with the second novel and reading through til the fifth, skipping over the short story (non-digital reader) and this sixth one in strong pursuit of the seventh! I find myself wanton absorbed into the series!

Upon immediate notice of this blog tour I was wholly enthused to participate:

The reason I was quick as lightning to confirm my participation on behalf of this blog tour is based on the absolute joy I had in reading my first Todd novel Hunting Shadows! I was quite impressed with the duality of historical novelling from this lovely mother-son writing duo to such an extent: I knew quite instinctively I would become quite partial to Bess Crawford before I ever knew too much about her! Call it reader intuition if you will, but I knew quite in that instant of being broached if I wanted to become a part of this dual-blog tour for both the sixth and seventh novels of a series in progress that I would become Crawford’s newest champion!

There are moments where you are so captured by the breadth and the heart of a novel’s core, you simply want to continue to read as much as you can by the author whose penned a story you can sink your mind inside whilst feeling as though you can equally find comfort in stepping outside this world of intense realism without the worse for wear. Reading a historical suspense novel of the Todds is a delicious respite as you can time travel back inside a particular moment in history, lively at war and match step with dedicated professionals who guide you through their living hours.

Between now and my next stop on this beautiful tour celebrating the series, I will be reading the next books in line to be consumed, as I could only read the very first Bess Crawford mystery, of which I shall relate to you how it tucked inside my soul.

Reflections on “A Duty to the Dead”, the first Bess Crawford mystery:

We enter Ms Crawford’s life in 1916 during WWI, wherein she’s a sisterly nurse on board the Britannic an ill-fated hospital ship struck down by a hidden mine. Bess Crawford is attempting to convey a snippet of her life aboard ship whilst at a proper loss how to express the dullness of an ordinary day at sea without the benefit of the wounded. She is honest about the dangers being on a ship in U-boat territory but with a sly nod to the familiars of ordinary life spent in service. Even her coy banterment with an officer proved she found a balm of normalcy in the midst of war.

A blessing whilst reading a Todd novel, is the assurance of the story-teller(s) to eclipse you so very surely into the novel’s depth that by the time you reach a quell in the horror of war or the emotional hardship of an injury; you have already taken up residence alongside the character Todd has endeared your heart to champion.

I applaud the realism and the choke-hold of gasping shock when the sinking of the Britannic was shown. I felt heart-clenched to Bess, willing myself to see, feel, and taste what she was experiencing whilst longing for her rescue. Todd has a character-centric voice of giving you such a close-personal heady experience, you feel you’ve lived half a lifetime with each novel you read.

Dr. Phillips is a curious fellow – by the time the story shifts from war to the homefront, we become entranced with the eccentric and yet reserved creatures of a small towne of Owlhurst, thus named after a patch of woods known for housing owls! This is where the drama of alarm rings itself out for Ms Crawford, as she has gone henceforth in haste (after managing to put it off for a bit longer than necessary!) to seek out a family a dying man she nursed requested of her to take his deathbed message back to his brother. Dr. Phillips is the towne’s doctor, and along with the rector of the village itself, Ms Crawford finds herself entangled into the thorny past of her beloved soldier; a person of whom her opinions shifts the longer she spends caught up in his affairs. His family is not without their skeletons, but it is how their omissions and their repressions of their past beguiles Ms Crawford that paints the scene all more intriguing to the reader.

Knickers quickened to knots over the competence and tenacious approach of Ms Crawford to take up the heed of medical assistance, not once, but twice whilst she is a guest at the soldier’s family estate. The Grahams are a curious (and aptly suspicious) lot, wherein she could never quite finger what was odd about them until nearly the golden hour in which her own life might have become hung in the counterbalance! One would have felt her aperture to serve whilst not in official capacity would have appeased the family for giving a sign of both courage and strength, yet her efforts had quite the opposite effect! This is the underpinning reasons why Ms Crawford started to nettle inside her mind what was truly lying in wait for her to discover; the more they attempted to hide the truth from her suppositions, the more her mind ferreted out a reason to question their authority on where the truth truly lay.

What hidden secrets in their past reflected out in their cold disdainment for a brother and son? War is known as a cruel mistress, yet those who return with the aftershocks of service had little sympathies from their families and even less compassion from medical and spiritual adviseries. Save the nurses who understood far more than everyone else combined.

Knitted into this first novel of the Bess Crawford mysteries is a trifold of suspense surrounding three young blokes of whom warrant the most attention to be focused upon: Arthur Graham (the wounded gent entrusting Ms Crawford with his message); Ted Booker (a soldier afflicted by PTSD; previously called ‘shell shock’), and Peregrine Graham the eldest of the four brothers, of whom Arthur was related. I could not pull my eyes off the dialogue and text of this novel, because the Todds have become so intrinsically tethered into this WWI era as to alight into our minds an imaginary time where a young and capable woman such as Bess Crawford can not only reside but take up arms against the unjust in such a convincing way as an elder Miss Marple!

I kept turning it over in my mind what drew me the most into her world – it was at first the historical backdrop of the timescape but then, as the layers were fleshed out and stitched together, it was the classic Todd narrative of giving a story an underlit joy of a strong lead character whose self-assurance and capacity for sleuthing was a paramount wealth of excitement on behalf of the reader! Seeing everything through Bess Crawford’s eyes and the underscore of her emotions, knitted together a suspenseful plot writ out of such an ordinary request from a fallen soldier, that it took a skilled story-teller in this duo of writers to give us such a hearty novel to devour!

I read the first 58 pages in my first sitting and consumed the full of the novel in my second; lightning crackling more times than naught, and without the benefit of tweeting out my happy delight in seeing where Ms Crawford’s museful thoughts led me to decipher the mystery; I simply awaited my words to become laid to rest on my blog. By reading this first mystery out of a series of 7 novels, I was able to ascertain the countenance of Bess Crawford but also, the beauty of her life being lived off the pages of her stories — the Todds have such a confluence of creativity between them, it hadn’t felt like a ‘first novel’ of Bess Crawford but one of many already penned. The continuity and attention to even minor details was quite excellent and this novel not only justified being read ahead of another in the series but provided the background necessary to understand who Bess Crawford is as a character. Including her close ties to India and her beloved respect for her father, of whom influences her even when his presence is absent.

Blog Book Tour | “An Unwilling Accomplice” by Charles Todd The sixth novel of the Bess Crawford mysteries!An Unwilling Accomplice
by Charles Todd
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours
Narrator: Rosalyn Landor

In this absorbing and atmospheric historical mystery from New York Times bestselling author Charles Todd, World War I battlefield nurse Bess Crawford's career and life are in jeopardy when a murder is committed on her watch.

Bess Crawford has been summoned by the War Office to accompany a wounded soldier from Shropshire to Buckingham Palace, where he's to be decorated for gallantry by King George himself.

Heavily bandaged and confined to a wheelchair, Sergeant Jason Wilkins will be in her care for barely a day. But on the morning after the ceremony when Bess goes to collect her charge for his return journey, she finds the room empty. How could such a severely wounded man vanish without a trace?

Both the Army and the Nursing Service hold Bess to blame for losing the war hero. The Army now considers Wilkins a deserter, and Scotland Yard questions Bess when Wilkins is suspected of killing a man in cold blood. If Bess is to clear her name and return to duty in France, she must prove that she was never his accomplice. But the sergeant has disappeared again and neither the Army nor the police can find him.

Following a trail of clues across England, Bess is drawn into a mystery that seems to grow darker with every discovery. But will uncovering the truth put more innocent people in jeopardy?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Also by this author: Hunting Shadows

Series: Bess Crawford mysteries


Genres: Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Historical Fiction, War Drama


Published by William Morrow

on 5th May, 2015

Format: P.S. Edition Paperback

Pages: 368

Length: 11 hours, 3 minutes

Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards Badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.Published By: William Morrow (@WmMorrowBks),
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)
Available Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

About Charles Todd

Charles Todd is the author of the Bess Crawford mysteries, the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries, and two stand-alone novels. A mother and son writing team, they live in Delaware and North Carolina, respectively.

Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2015 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Monday, 27 July, 2015 by jorielov in 20th Century, Audiobook, Audiobook Excerpt, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Britian, British Literature, Clever Turns of Phrase, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Disabilities & Medical Afflictions, During WWI, Equality In Literature, Father-Daughter Relationships, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Foyle's War, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Humour & Satire in Fiction / Non Fiction, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Lady Detective Fiction, Library Love, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Military Fiction, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Mother-Son Relationships, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Psychiatric Facilities, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Siblings, Soundcloud, the Nineteen Hundreds, The World Wars, TLC Book Tours, War Drama, Widows & Widowers, Writing Style & Voice

10 Bookish (& Not-Bookish Thoughts) No.1: from the BBC to @ChocLitUK to Indie #SFF & a dash of #HistFic; this #bookblogger is celebrating quite a heap! Including a special note of gratitude to her #library in regards to the #SRC2015!

Posted Thursday, 14 May, 2015 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

10 Bookish Not Bookish Thoughts banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Week of Thursday, 30th of April thru 7th 14th of May, 2015 | Hostess List

I’ve honestly wanted to start participating in this weekly meme in 2014, however, I would always seem to get distracted during the hours leading up to Thursdays OR completely forget to compose my thoughts for this meme until into the weekend; at which point, the time had come and gone. I like the fact we can exchange thoughts percolating in our minds that run the gambit of the bookish world, creative outlets, or thoughts we want to share that might show a bit more about who we are behind the bookish blog we maintain. I am going to attempt to thread the journal of my 10 Bookish / Not Bookish Thoughts by order of the entries arrival into my life rather than a preference of 1-10.

NOTE: This list was originally meant to publish on the 7th of May, however, due to unforeseen reasons which delayed it’s posting, I had intended to share it on the 14th of May when I came down with a migraine, thus taking me away from finishing the edits as I found out a few things earlier in that second week I had not known originally on the 7th. I am back-posting this on the 14th (today) on the 19th of May, as that is the day it belongs hereafter to be seen. A new list will be generated for this upcoming Thursday, the 21st!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

No. 1 | Borrowing the BBC through my local library

One of my favourite joys of being a regular library patron is the access to the BBC through either direct  purchases made by my local library OR the ability to ILL serial dvd collections for mini-series, tv serials, or motion pictures! For the past two to three weeks, I’ve had the incredible joy of being able to catch up with one of my favourite BBC serials: Foyle’s War! I have a soft spot for war dramas and for mystery series because I truly grew up on murder mysteries on tv!

Michael Kitchen plays the title lead as Foyle, and it is such a convicting narrative of stories pulled out of research by the series creator and writer Anthony Horowitz. I knew of his works previously through Alex Rider, as I watched the motion picture hoping there would be more installments; however, this was a bit like hoping the latest Nancy Drew film would have sequels starring Emma Roberts. I cannot even express how much I celebrated there is a Series 7 and a Series 8, except to say, it equaled the joy I had in realising there is a Series 3 for Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries!

You’re taking back to the world wars of the early 20th Century going straight through to the start of the Cold War; the transition in Series 6 to 7 is impressive because Horowitz has amazing continuity by giving his audience the pleasure of staying with characters they are attached too and seeing them move forward with their lives. The only characters I regretted not seeing come forward were Foyle’s partner Paul Milner and of course, Foyle’s son Andrew. Andrew was portrayed by singer Julian Ovenden and his exit I believe was nearly predicted by the fact his career took off. I was thankful I could participate in a live chat with him via PBS last year, and he even answered one of my questions! This was not in reference of Foyle’s War but for his guest starring role on Downton Abbey.

To see Honeysuckle Weeks return as Sam and Foyle to be back as the moral backbone of MI5 is such a true delight of authenticity, I can only hope others are seeking out Foyle as much as I am! He has become such a delight to watch, my family hopes like I do that we have much more Foyle yet to come! It is definitely a series where fans are helping guide the series forward, as it was cancelled and revived!

After Foyle, I wanted to keep the joy of selecting to see new BBC serials, (either newly released or past releases still unknown) which is why I selected to watch Last Tango in Halifax. A drama about two families that are on the verge of coming together due to the fact their Mum and Dad have fallen in love with each other after reuniting after living 60 years apart! It’s such a tragic opening to the story, where a lost letter does not get delivered and they each went their separate ways!

They find each other on social media and as they meet-up for the first time after all these decades, learnt that they are still very much as important to each other as they were then. However, the drama of what ensues is both honest and representative of a families in transition and shifting in/out of difficulties that arise whilst life continues to carry on. The last episode of the 1st Series nearly put me under, because of what happens to Alan, but thankfully, we read up a bit about the series finding that as this is based on a real-life couple who found each other and wedded after a 60 year absence, the series is thriving on fans in the UK who love the show! Already in it’s 3rd Series and moving towards it’s 4th, I can say we devourted the 1st and are about to embark on the 2nd! Read More

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Posted Thursday, 14 May, 2015 by jorielov in #SRC2015 | BookSparks, 10 Bookish (& Not-So-Bookish Thoughts), Blogosphere Events & Happenings, CSI: Cyber, Foyle's War, Last Tango in Halifax, Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, NCIS, When Calls the Heart