A Good Book You May Have Missed: Part 1

Haven’t you found that every once in awhile you’ll read a book that absolutely blows you away and you want to share it with everyone? Short of buying multiple copies and locking friends and family into cells with their eyes propped open, there’s not much you can do except repeat your recommendation. Forcing someone to read a favorite can sometimes work (CJ and Beth can thank me for Beat the Reaper), but it can just as often backfire – especially when someone gives you a shrug when you ask how well they enjoyed the book.

I’ve decided to offer the electronic equivalent of a “you must read this”, and include a review of a beloved book that some of you might have missed. And you can feel completely free to agree or disagree (I won’t show my disappoint too much).  If you happen to read a recommended book – let me know!


Let me get you started with an intriguing historical fiction (my favorite genre).

      The main character of City of Shadows by Ariana Franklin is Esther, a young woman who has escaped the Russian Revolution for the (comparably) quieter Weimar Republic of post WWI Germany. She works as a secretary for a fake Russian prince, Nick, who owns a number of cabaret nightclubs. Nick shows up one day with a young Russian emigre named Anna; he believes she can be passed off as the lost Romanov, Anastasia, and that he will reap all of the benefits of such a ruse.

     It all escalates from here. Nick, despite his machinations, is an appealing rogue, and Esther is a full-fledged heroine. As she tries to help Nick, protect Anna, and deal with the corruption in the city (and possibly fall in love with one jaded detective), she shines. And when murder interrupts her world, the threat of the Nazis’ rise becomes clearer.

     Franklin packs quite a bit into this story, but she’s very deft at keeping all the plotlines enmeshed and coherent. When the story wraps up, with an unusual twist, you’ll be amazed that everything ties up so neatly.

     I’m not usually one for the “Anastasia” stories, but this one is done so well, that it removed all my doubts.  Sadly, Ariana Franklin (real name = Diana Norman) died earlier this year, but you can still enjoy her writing. Try another of her works:


As Ariana Franklin – The Adelia Aguilar Medieval Historical Mysteries

  1. The Mistress of the Art of Death
  2. The Serpent’s Tale
  3. Grave Goods
  4. A Murderous Procession


As Diana Norman -The Makepeace Hedley Historical Fiction series

  1. A Catch of Consequence
  2. Taking Liberties
  3. The Sparks Fly Upward

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