Category Archives: Harper Paperbacks

Review: Escape to Florence by Kat Devereaux

Title: Escape to Florence by Kat Devereaux
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary, Historical (’40s)
Length: 270 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher


Moving between the Second World War and the present, an exhilarating debut novel in the vein of Jennifer Robson, Kate Quinn, and Natasha Lester, about two women, decades apart, whose fates converge in Florence, Italy.

Only fourteen, Stella Infuriati is the youngest member of her town’s resistance network during World War II. Risking torture and death, she relays messages, supplies, and weapons to partisan groups in the Tuscan hills. Her parents have no idea, consumed instead by love and fear for their beloved son, Achille, a courier and unofficial mechanic for a communist partisan brigade.

Then, after 1945, Stella seemingly vanishes from the records. Her name and story are overshadowed by the tragic death of her brother—until a young writer arrives in Tuscany in the spring of 2019, uncovering long-buried secrets.

Fleeing an emotionally abusive marriage and a lonely life on an isolated estate, Tori MacNair has come to Florence, the beautiful city her grandmother taught her to love, to build a new life. As she digs into her family history with the help of Marco, a handsome lawyer, Tori starts to uncover secrets of the past—truths that stretch back decades, to a young woman who risked everything to save her world . . .


Escape to Florence by Kat Devereaux is an engaging debut that seamlessly moves back and forth between the present day and World War II.

In the past, Stella Infuriati is part of the resistance in her small Italian town along with her brother, Achille.  She keeps her activities hidden from everyone including her parents. After the war’s end, Stella’s disappearance remains unsolved.

In the present, Tori MacNair returns to Florence where she spent many happy vacations with her beloved grandmother. She is also in the midst of a divorce and working a book. During her research, Tori has discovered an unexpected mystery about her grandmother’s time in Italy.

Tori and the other people she meets in Italy are very likable characters. However, her mother, sister and her soon to be ex-husband are absolutely insufferable. Tori has become a pushover who avoids conflict and she is a little quick to forgive.

Escape to Florence is an engrossing novel with a lovely setting. The Italian towns spring vividly to life in the past and the present. Stella’s story arc is incredibly fascinating as is Tori’s search for her grandmother’s connection to Italy. Kat Devereaux brings to intriguing novel to a wonderful conclusion.

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Filed under Contemporary, Escape to Florence, Harper Paperbacks, Historical (40s), Kat Devereaux, Rated B, Review

Review: Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas

Title: Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary, Historical (90s), Domestic Mystery, Suspense
Length: 432 pages
Book Rating: 000b=

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


A twisty, compulsive thriller full of jolting shocks and startling secrets involving two sisters, a disappearance, a double murder, and a reporter determined to find the truth from the bestselling author of Local Girl Missing, Last Seen Alive, and Do Not Disturb.

Everything changed the night she disappeared . . .

On a summer’s night in 1994, sixteen-year-old Flora Powell vanished from her sleepy seaside town without a trace. Their hearts shattered, Flora’s mother, her sister Heather, and Heather’s best friend Jess had to somehow carry on not knowing what happened.

Twenty-five years later, tragedy strikes again when Heather walks into a stranger’s house and allegedly kills two people in cold blood.

Why would this loving wife and doting new mother commit such a heinous crime? Jess, now a reporter, returns to the hometown she left behind to cover the case and dig for answers. But this isn’t like any other story. Jess was like a sister to the Powell girls, until the summer that tore them all apart.

What happened to the girl she used to know?

The question haunts Jess and propels her to find the key that may unlock the mysteries involving both sisters. But the search may reveal more . . . a darker side to this idyllic place she thought she knew.


Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas is a mesmerizing domestic mystery with a clever storyline.

In the 1990s, Jess Fox becomes close friends with Heather Powell. The two are practically inseparable as they spend their days together. Heather is also quite close with her older sister Flora.  All of them have quite a bit of freedom and this enables Flora to enjoy an illicit romance with fair worker Dylan Bird. Relying on Heather and Jess to cover for her, Flora steals as much time as possible with Dylan. But the relationship comes between the two sisters and when Flora vanishes one summer day, Jess and Heather’s friendship falls apart. With no leads, Flora’s case quickly goes cold.

In 2012, Jess and her partner Rory have left London and now live close to the seaside town where the Powell family still reside. A shocking double murder puts Jess back in touch Heather’s mum, Margot. Jess works for a local newspaper and she hopes her former ties to the family will give her insider access during the investigation.  She and Margot become rather close as she interviews her for an upcoming article. Heather is currently in a coma after her suicide attempt. Heather is also the prime suspect in the double murder of newcomers, seventy-six-year-old Deirdre Wilson and her fifty-eight-year-old son Clive. No one knows why Heather would kill the two in cold blood but Jess hopes to uncover the truth as she spends time with Margot.

Jess cannot shake the feeling that someone has been following her. She is also receiving threatening notes which leave her wondering if these personal threats are related to the reason she left London or the Wilson murders. She is keeping secrets from Rory and their relationship soon begins to buckle under the strain. She is fortunate to be friends with her co-worker Jack Renton but much to her dismay, he is becoming unreliable.  Hoping to unearth the truth about Heather and the murders, Jess is stunned when her search takes her to a very unexpected discovery.

Then She Vanishes is an atmospheric domestic mystery that is fast-paced and engrossing. The storyline seamlessly moves back and forth in time as Jess tries to understand why her old friend would murder two people. The characters are vividly developed and multi-faceted. The plot is unique and the settings spring vibrantly to life. With a late in the story plot twist,  Claire Douglas brings this brilliant mystery to a breathtaking conclusion.

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Filed under Claire Douglas, Contemporary, Domestic Mystery, Harper Paperbacks, Rated B+, Review, Then She Vanishes

Review: Have You Seen Me? by Kate White

Title: Have You Seen Me? by Kate White
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


From New York Times bestselling author Kate White comes a gripping novel about one woman’s dangerous quest to recover lost memories someone would rather she never find.

The key to her missing memories could bring relief—or unlock her worst nightmares.

On a cold, rainy morning, finance journalist Ally Linden arrives soaked to the bone at her Manhattan office, only to find that she’s forgotten her keycard. When her boss shows, he’s shocked to see her—because, he explains, she hasn’t worked there in five years.

Ally knows her name, but is having trouble coming up with much beyond that, though after a trip to the psychiatric ER, she begins to piece together important facts: she lives on the Upper West Side; she’s now a freelance journalist; she’s married to a terrific man named Hugh. More memories materialize and yet she still can’t recall anything about the previous two days. Diagnosed as having experienced a dissociative state, she starts to wonder if it may have been triggered by something she saw. Could she have witnessed an accident—or worse—had something happened to her?

Desperate for answers, Ally tries to track where she spent the missing days, but every detail she unearths points to an explanation that’s increasingly ominous, and it’s clear someone wants to prevent her from learning where those forty-eight hours went. In order to uncover the truth, Ally must dig deep into the secrets of her past—and outsmart the person who seems determined to silence her.


Have You Seen Me? by Kate White is a spellbinding domestic mystery that is quite suspenseful.

Thirty-four year old Ally Linden notices a few differences when she goes to work after an absence. She is also concerned about her appearance which is not quite up to her usual standards. Grateful when her boss Damien Howe finally arrives at work, Ally is soon shocked at the news she no longer works for the company. And even worse, that she has not worked there for five years. 

Ally soon discovers that her memory loss is actually a dissociative state which is usually caused by some type of trauma. She is further stunned when her husband Hugh Buckley tells her she has been missing for the two days she cannot recall. Ally then contacts her therapist Elaine Erling whose advice she soon ignores as she begins trying to uncover what happened to her.

Ally is a finance journalist who is successfully juggling her weekly podcast, written column and book writing until her dissociative state. Although she tries to get back to work, she is distracted by trying to recover her memories and the distance between her and Hugh. Ally thinks she knows why she and Hugh have failed to reconnect but she puts fixing her marriage on the backburner for the time being.

Against Erling’s advice, Ally actively pursues trying to figure out what happened during the days she has lost.  During one of her therapy sessions, Ally does not have much success with recovering her recent memories.  However, she does recall an important piece of information about a bit of a traumatic incident from her childhood. Realizing she must do the right thing with this new detail, Ally contacts her brother Roger to help her navigate her next steps. Ally cannot help but wonder if what happened in the past might have something to do with her present day problems.

Frustrated by her inability to remember any new details,  Ally decides to hire a private investigator for assistance. He does uncover startling leads, but she is more confused than before because she still cannot recall anything new. Even worse, Ally begins to have a chilling sensation that someone is watching her and she becomes even more anxious about her safety.  With a few nebulous memories beginning to resurface, Ally begins to fear for her safety.

Have You Seen Me? is a clever mystery with a twisty, turny storyline.  Ally’s frantic effort to recover her memories provides a sense of urgency as her anxiety and frustration increase. With some brilliant red herrings and outstanding misdirects, Kate White brings this tension-filled mystery to a jaw-dropping conclusion. I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend this absorbing mystery to fans of the genre.

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Filed under Contemporary, Harper Paperbacks, Have You See Me?, Kate White, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Suspense

Review: Something She’s Not Telling Us by Darcey Bell

Title: Something She’s Not Telling Us by Darcey Bell
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 317 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


From the New York Times bestselling author of A Simple Favor comes an electrifying domestic thriller of how one woman’s life is turned upside down when her brother brings his new girlfriend to visit—and no one is telling the truth about who they really are.

She’s on the verge of having it all…

But one woman stands in her way.

Charlotte has everything in life that she ever could have hoped for: a doting, artistic husband, a small-but-thriving flower shop, and her sweet, smart five-year-old daughter, Daisy. Her relationship with her mother might be strained, but the distance between them helps. And her younger brother Rocco may have horrible taste in women, but when he introduces his new girlfriend to Charlotte and her family, they are cautiously optimistic that she could be The One. Daisy seems to love Ruth, and she can’t be any worse than the klepto Rocco brought home the last time. At least, that’s what Charlotte keeps telling herself. But as Rocco and Ruth’s relationship becomes more serious, Ruth’s apparent obsession with Daisy grows more obvious. Then Daisy is kidnapped, and Charlotte is convinced there’s only one person who could have taken her.

Ruth has never had much, but now she’s finally on the verge of having everything she’s ever dreamed of. A stable job at a start-up company, a rakish, handsome boyfriend with whom she falls more in love with every day—and a chance at the happy family she’s always wanted, adorable niece included. The only obstacle standing in her way is her boyfriend’s sister Charlotte, whose attitude swerves between politely cold and outright hostile. Rebuffing Ruth’s every attempt to build a friendship with her and Daisy, Charlotte watches over her daughter with a desperate protectiveness that sends chills down Ruth’s spine. Ruth knows that Charlotte has a deeply-buried secret, the only question is: what? A surprise outing with Daisy could be the key to finding out, and Ruth knows she must take the chance while she has it—for everyone’s sake.

As the two women follow each other down a chilling rabbit hole, unearthing winding paths of deceit, lies, and trauma, a family and a future will be completely—and irrevocably—shattered.

From its very first page, Something She’s Not Telling Us takes hold of readers’ imagination in a harrowing, unforgettable thriller that dives deep into the domestic psyche and asks the question:

Is anyone ever really who they say they are…?


Something She’s Not Telling Us by Darcey Bell is an enthralling domestic mystery.

Charlotte and her husband Eli are cautious when her brother Rocco introduces them to his new girlfriend, Ruth Seagram.  His dating history is full of troubled women so they do not have high hopes about the newest lady in his life. Although she is not thrilled with Ruth, Charlotte’s five year old daughter, Daisy, is absolutely crazy about her. The deeper Ruth insinuates herself into their family, the more uneasy Charlotte becomes. And her worst fears are realized when Daisy is kidnapped and Charlotte, along with Rocco, discover the depth of Ruth’s lies.

Charlotte turned her love of flowers into a thriving floral business. However, due to her dysfunctional childhood, she has serious anxiety issues. She is a helicopter mother who worries constantly about Daisy who is asthmatic. Charlotte is trying to give Ruth the benefit of the doubt, but she is unhappy and envious that her daughter is enthralled with Rocco’s girlfriend.

Rocco is a recovering alcoholic with a job that he loves. Unfortunately, not only does he have terrible luck with girlfriends, he has a hard time breaking up with them. But with Ruth, he feels like he has finally broken his unlucky streak. However, just before he, Ruth and the rest of the family travel to Mexico to visit his mother, Rocco learns some troubling information about his girlfriend. Although not completely mollified by her explanation, they are soon off on their vacation which becomes the catalyst for a series of shocking events.

Something She’s Not Telling Us is an intriguing mystery that unfolds from multiple points of view and weaves back and forth in time. The storyline is well-written with tension building with each chapter. The characters are interesting but not always likable. With the suspense building to a fever pitch, Darcey Bell brings this compelling mystery to a twist-filled conclusion that is a little abrupt yet satisfying.  Highly recommend to fans of the genre.

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Filed under Contemporary, Darcey Bell, Harper Paperbacks, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Something She's Not Telling Us, Suspense

Review: Grace Is Gone by Emily Elgar

Title: Grace Is Gone by Emily Elgar
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 327 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


From the bestselling author of If You Knew Her comes this harrowing tale of suspense—a story ripped from today’s headlines—of a tight-knit English community, who’s rocked by the murder of a mother and the mysterious disappearance of her daughter, and the secrets that lie concealed beneath a carefully constructed facade.

A small town’s beloved family.

A shocking, senseless crime—and the dark secret at the heart of it all.

Everyone in Ashford, Cornwall, knows Meg Nichols and her daughter, Grace. Meg has been selflessly caring for Grace for years, and Grace—smiling and optimistic in spite of her many illnesses—adores her mother. So when Meg is found brutally bludgeoned in her bed and her daughter missing, the community is rocked. Meg had lived in terror of her abusive, unstable ex, convinced that he would return to try and kidnap Grace…as he had once before. Now it appears her fear was justified.

Jon Katrin, a local journalist, knows he should avoid getting drawn back into this story. The article he wrote about Meg and Grace caused rifts within his marriage and the town. Perhaps if he can help find Grace, he can atone for previous lapses in judgment. The Nichols’ neighbor, Cara—contending with her own guilt over not being a better friend to Grace—becomes an unexpected ally. But in searching for Grace, Jon and Cara uncover anomalies that lead to more and more questions.

Through multiple viewpoints and diary entries, the truth about Grace emerges, revealing a tragedy more twisted than anyone could have ever imagined…


Grace Is Gone by Emily Elgar is a twisted domestic mystery set in a small town in Cornwall.

Cara Dorman makes a shocking discovery when she goes to neighbor Meg Nichols’ house to make a delivery. Meg has been brutally bludgeoned to death and her very ill seventeen daughter Grace is missing. The entire town rallies around the much loved and admired family of two and begins their own search for Grace. Cara is somewhat traumatized by her memories of finding Meg’s body and she is also wracked with guilt she has allowed her once close friendship with Grace to fall by the wayside. She unexpectedly teams up with despised journalist Jon Katrin to find the missing teen before it is too late.

Cara and her mum Susan have been close to Meg and Grace for years. They, along with the rest of the town, have nothing but admiration for Meg and her selfless care of her very ill daughter. But as Cara joins forces with Jon to find Grace, she begins to rethink some of the things she has witnessed over the years. They have uncovered some very unexpected information that alters her opinion of Meg and Grace. But the big question is whether or not these shocking new details have any bearing on Meg’s murder and Grace’s disappearance.

Jon has been living in disgrace since his article about Grace and Meg was published in the local paper. Originally from London, he grossly miscalculated the angle of his article and he is now separated from his wife, Ruth and their son, Jacob.  During the course of his investigation, he realizes that he might have allowed his personal situation to color his perception of Meg and her estranged husband, Simon.

A few minor findings and insatiable curiosity lead to unexpected clues. With the town’s attention focused on finding Grace, Cara avoids the limelight and inadvertently stumbles onto an absolutely shocking discovery. Jon, too, has found unanticipated information that changes the course of their investigation. Jon and Cara soon put themselves into an increasingly dangerous situation as they try to uncover the truth about what happened to Meg and Grace.

Based on true life events, Grace Is Gone is a clever mystery that is quite riveting.  The storyline is well-executed and the characters are well-drawn. Emily Elgar brings this engrossing mystery to a twist-filled yet ethically questionable conclusion.  I completely enjoyed and highly recommend this thought-provoking novel  to readers of the genre.

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Filed under Contemporary, Emily Elgar, Grace Is Gone, Harper Paperbacks, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Suspense