Historical Mystery, Non-Fiction, & More


  • The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy

    RECOMMENDED: The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy by Megan Bannen is still $2.99! Sarah loved this one and gave it an A-:

    If you like fantasy with characters that might sound like your neighbors sometimes, in a world with big stakes and little stakes and magical talking animals who deliver the mail, and especially if you like epistolary novels that lead to characters becoming more of themselves, you’ll like this undertaking. (Bad dum bum.)

    Hart Ralston is a demigod and a marshal, tasked with patrolling the wasteland of Tanria. The realm the exiled old gods once called home is now a forsaken place where humans with no better options or no better sense come seeking adventure or spoils, but more often end up as drudges: reanimated corpses inhabited by the souls of those who’ve died in Tanria before. Hart tells himself that his job is simple: neutralize the drudges with a quick zap to the appendix and deliver them back to polite society at the nearest undertaker’s, leaving the whys and hows of the drudge problem for men without the complexities of a god in their family tree. But working alone, Hart’s got nothing but time to ponder exactly those questions he’d most like to avoid.

    Too much time alone is the opposite of Mercy Birdsall’s problem. Since her father’s decline, she’s been single-handedly keeping Birdsall & Son undertakers afloat in small-town Eternity—despite definitely not being a son, and in defiance of sullen jerks like Hart Ralston, who seems to have a gift for showing up right when her patience is thinnest. The work’s not the problem—Mercy’s good at it, better than any other Birdsall—but keeping all her family’s plates spinning singlehandedly, forever, isn’t how Mercy envisioned her future.

    After yet another run-in with the sharp-tongued Mercy, Hart considers she might have a point about his utter loneliness being a bit of a liability. In a moment of sentimentality, he pens a letter addressed simply to “A Friend,” and entrusts it to a nimkilim, an anthropomorphic animal messenger with an uncanny connection to the gods, (and in Hart’s case, a bit of a drinking problem). Much to his surprise, an anonymous letter comes back in return, and a tentative friendship is born.

    If only Hart knew he’s been baring his soul to the person who infuriates him most–Mercy. As the two unlikely pen pals grow closer, the truth about Hart’s parentage and the nature of the drudges creeps in. And suddenly their old animosity seems so small in comparison to what they might be able to do: end the drudges forever. But at what cost?

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  • A Peculiar Combination

    A Peculiar Combination by Ashley Weaver

    A Peculiar Combination by Ashley Weaver is $1.99! If you’re looking for a new historical mystery to start with a hint of romance, this might be one worth adding to the TBR pile.

    The first in the Electra McDonnell series from Edgar-nominated author Ashley Weaver, set in England during World War II, A Peculiar Combination is a delightful mystery filled with spies, murder, romance, and the author’s signature wit.

    “Filled with wry humor, tight suspense, and a delightful cast of characters.”—Alyssa Maxwell, author of the Gilded Newport mysteries

    FIRST RULE: DON’T LOSE YOUR CONCENTRATION.

    Electra McDonnell and her family earn their living outside the law. Breaking into the homes of the rich and picking the locks on their safes may not be condoned by British law enforcement, but with World War II in full swing, Uncle Mick’s locksmith business just can’t pay the bills anymore.

    SECOND RULE: DON’T MAKE MISTAKES.

    So when Uncle Mick receives a tip about a safe full of jewels in an empty house, he and Ellie can’t resist. All is going as planned—until the pair is caught red-handed. But instead of arresting them, government official Major Ramsey has an offer: either Ellie agrees to help him break into a safe and retrieve blueprints crucial to the British war effort, or he turns her over to the police.

    THIRD RULE: DON’T GET CAUGHT.

    Ellie doesn’t care for the major’s imperious manner, but she has no choice. However, when they break into the house, they find the safe open and empty, and a German spy dead on the floor. Soon, Ellie and Major Ramsey are forced to put aside their differences to unmask the double agent, and stop Allied plans from falling into enemy hands.

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  • Juniper Bean Resorts to Murder

    Juniper Bean Resorts to Murder by Gracie Ruth Mitchell

    Juniper Bean Resorts to Murder by Gracie Ruth Mitchell is 99c at Amazon! This seems to be a mix of contemporary romance and cozy mystery. The main characters are new roommates and get embroiled in a murder.

    Juniper Bean has big plans for her writing career. Swoony kisses, sigh-inducing happily ever afters—she’s going to write them all.

    There’s just one problem: she can’t seem to stop killing off her main characters.

    After accepting that a genre change is in order, Juniper sets out to do some research. What’s the best way to carry a dead body? How exactly does one pick a lock? Juniper is going to find out—with the unwilling help of her new roommate, Aiden.

    But Juniper’s plans go haywire when she stumbles across an actual, real-life dead body—and before she knows it, she and Aiden are thrust into the middle of a murder mystery that seems suspiciously tied to Juniper’s past.

    Who killed the girl in the woods? Can Juniper ever get the hang of mystery writing? And, perhaps the biggest question of all: Why the heck does Aiden look so good in a tweed jacket?

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  • The Unfit Heiress

    The Unfit Heiress by Audrey Clare Farley

    The Unfit Heiress by Clare Audrey Farley is $3.99! I mentioned this non-fiction title on a previous Get Rec’d and definitely suggest it for people who love Old Hollywood settings and family scandals. However, it is incredibly sad and does involve the removal of a woman’s bodily autonomy, which might not be something you want to dig into right now.

    For readers of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and The Phantom of Fifth Avenue, a page-turning drama of fortunes, eugenics and women’s reproductive rights framed by the sordid court battle between Ann Cooper Hewitt and her socialite mother.

    At the turn of the twentieth century, American women began to reject Victorian propriety in favor of passion and livelihood outside the home. This alarmed authorities, who feared certain “over-sexed” women could destroy civilization if allowed to reproduce and pass on their defects. Set against this backdrop, The Unfit Heiress chronicles the fight for inheritance, both genetic and monetary, between Ann Cooper Hewitt and her mother Maryon.

    In 1934, aided by a California eugenics law, the socialite Maryon Cooper Hewitt had her “promiscuous” daughter declared feebleminded and sterilized without her knowledge. She did this to deprive Ann of millions of dollars from her father’s estate, which contained a child-bearing stipulation. When a sensational court case ensued, the American public was captivated. So were eugenicists, who saw an opportunity to restrict reproductive rights in America for decades to come.

    This riveting story unfolds through the brilliant research of Audrey Clare Farley, who captures the interior lives of these women on the pages and poses questions that remain relevant today: What does it mean to be “unfit” for motherhood? In the battle for reproductive rights, can we forgive the women who side against us? And can we forgive our mothers if they are the ones who inflict the deepest wounds?

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