Friday, March 31, 2023

Book Review and Giveaway - Murder in Postscript (A Lady of Letters Mystery) by Mary Winters

My Review

Murder in Postscript is a historical mystery set in 1860 London.  Countess Amelia Amesbury is a young widow and guardian to her 10 year old niece, Winifred. She is just finishing a two year mourning period when she meets her husband's friend, Simon Bainbridge, a marquis. Amelia has a secret that no one but her best friend, Kitty, and friend/editor, Grady know -- she writes a Lady Agony column for the newspaper.  When she receives a letter from a reader that is not a request for advice but a plea for help, she becomes involved in a mystery which includes several murders and many adventures through London and the countryside. She is assisted in detecting by her friend Kitty and her new friend Simon.

I wanted to read this novel because I love historical fiction and also love cozy mysteries.  This mystery combines both genres!

Murder in Postscript is such a strong start to a new series. It is fast paced and the mystery is compelling. There are several possible suspects, and Amelia does a wonderful job of detecting as a new amateur sleuth.  

I enjoyed Amelia's friendship with Kitty and with Grady, and especially her new friendship with possible romantic interest Simon. He is so charming, handsome, and swoon-worthy -- especially as they banter back and forth throughout the book.

The writing is strong, with fascinating historical details.  I had heard of agony columns before but this book gives a new, very interesting, insight into them through Amelia's writing work.

I am delighted that Murder in Postscript is the start of a new series. This series is sure to be one of my favorites, as it combines so much that I enjoy in historical mysteries.  I cannot recommend this mystery highly enough for fans of cozy mysteries, historical fiction, Victorian settings, and lively storytelling.  Five enthusiastic stars!

Book Synopsis 

When one of her readers asks for advice following a suspected murder, Victorian countess Amelia Amesbury, who secretly pens the popular Lady Agony column, has no choice but to investigate in this first book in a charming new historical mystery series.

Amelia Amesbury—widow, mother, and countess—has a secret. Amelia writes for a London penny paper, doling out advice on fashion, relationships, and manners under the pen name Lady Agony. But when a lady’s maid writes Amelia to ask for advice when she believes her mistress has been murdered—and then ends up a victim herself—Amelia is determined to solve the case. With the help of her best friend and a handsome marquis, Amelia begins to piece together the puzzle, but as each new thread of inquiry ends with a different suspect, the investigation grows ever more daunting. From London’s docks and ballrooms to grand country houses, Amelia tracks a killer, putting her reputation—and her life—on the line.

Author Bio

Mary Winters is the author of Murder in Postscript, the debut novel in A Lady of Letters Mystery series. A longtime reader of historical fiction and an author of two other mystery series, Mary set her latest work in Victorian England after being inspired by a trip to London. Since then, she’s been busily planning her next mystery—and another trip! Find out more about Mary and her writing at

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Book Review - Second Time Around by Melody Carlson

My Review

Mallory Farrell is a successful interior designer, divorced with grown children. When she suddenly inherits her grandmother's little tourist shop in coastal Oregon, her life changes.  Mallory visits the shop and decides she would like to move there. She has plans to renovate the old, somewhat ramshackle building, putting a home decor shop downstairs and living in the small apartment upstairs.  After moving she meets her teen crush from years ago, Grayson Mathews, and finds sparks are still there - although he wants to tear down the older shops and put in a multi-use development mall.  Mallory struggles with her feelings for Grayson and also with a renovation project that has one surprise after another.

I wanted to read this novel because I love Melody Carlson's books.  Her women's fiction reads like the very best Hallmark movies, with relatable protagonists and charming characters (often in small town settings).

I thoroughly enjoyed this book!  I read it in just a couple of days because I couldn't put it down;  if I had spare time, I was reading Second Time Around.  

Mallory is a very likable character -- I felt for her moving back to a place she loved through her childhood, wanting to make a success with a new shop there.  Grayson is also likable, although they initially have very different life goals.  Their romance starts slowly, as a friendship, with some twists and turns.

There are also many twists and turns with the renovations of Mallory's shop and apartment upstairs.  I love HGTV shows that focus on renovating old homes or buildings, so loved the details in this book.  

I recommend Second Time Around for fans of small town fiction, home renovation stories, women's fiction, and sweet romance.  (Please check out Melody Carlson's other books too - they are delightful!)

Book Synopsis

Who doesn't love a second chance?

When Mallory Farrell inherits her grandmother's run-down tourist shop in Portside, Oregon, she knows selling it is the only sensible thing to do. The place holds treasured memories for her, but it would take a fortune to restore it.

But when she learns that her childhood crush, Grayson Matthews, wants to buy the building to redevelop the funky town's business district into a soulless, cookie-cutter outdoor mall, Mallory digs in her heels. With a lot of hard work and a little bit of help, she is sure she can renovate the property herself.

Though Mallory makes incredible progress turning the store into an eclectic home decor shop, she's heartbroken when an exciting opportunity turns into a guaranteed nightmare. Should she surrender her dreams to Grayson's bulldozers? Or is there a future for both of them in this charming seaside town?

Author Bio 

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of more than 250 books with sales of more than 7.5 million, including many bestselling Christmas novellas, young adult titles, and contemporary romances. She received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award, her novel All Summer Long has been made into a Hallmark movie, and the movie based on her novel The Happy Camper premiered on UPtv in 2023. She and her husband live in central Oregon. Learn more at