Ten Lords A-Leaping

Ten Lords A-Leaping: A Mystery (Father Christmas Mystery #3)Ten Lords A-Leaping: A Mystery by C.C. Benison

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In this third book in the Father Christmas mystery series, we take a break from the village of Thornford Regis. This one takes place at a manor house where Father Tom is participating in a skydiving event to raise money for his church. Unable to leave after he sprains his ankle, he becomes involved with the local aristocracy – a very disfunctional and unlikeable family. The tangle of family relationships seems much more straightforward after getting to know so many local villagers in the first two books. I did not feel the need to keep notes on the various characters this time around. We do see the return of several characters from book one – the brother of his vanished verger (Sebastian John), Lord Kirkbride (Jamie) and his wife, Jane (nee Bee). I have just found out that Jane Bee was the subject of three prior books by C.C. Benison (Death at Buckingham Palace) so I am off to find those…

Father Tom is accompanied by his daughter, Miranda, and his housekeeper, Madrun, who continues to write LOL funny letters to her mother throughout the story. I continue to find this series well-plotted, if a tad on the long side, humorous, thought-provoking, and satisfying. A bit expensive as ebooks, but I will definitely be rereading them, probably at Christmas time even though they really don’t have anything to do with Christmas.

Book Description: Although Father Tom Christmas serves his little church in enchanting Thornford Regis with a glad and faithful heart, he never expects to find himself skydiving to raise money for it. Nor, safely back on the ground, to see two of the other divers leap from the plane, then tangle in a midair punch-up and begin falling to the earth. To say that there is tension between the men in question—Oliver, the 7th Marquess of Morborne, and his brother-in-law Hector, the 10th Earl of Fairhaven—would be an understatement. But the trouble among this ancient landed family really began a generation ago, when a marquess divorced his first spouse to marry his brother’s wife, fathering in his two marriages a viper’s nest of arrogant young aristocrats. Now they have all turned up for the show to witness this shocking event in the sky. Thankfully the men land safely, but death will not be slighted. Much to Father Tom’s dismay, he later discovers Lord Morborne lying deceased on castle grounds. Rumors of bigamy, art forgeries, and upstairs/downstairs intrigue fly. So do whispers of unvicarly behavior between Tom and Oliver’s beautiful half-sister, Lady Lucinda. In fact, the vicar may be headed for a very hard landing of his own.

Safe From the Sea

Safe from the SeaSafe from the Sea by Peter Geye

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lots of “R” words come to mind with this book: relationships, reminiscences, reunions, reconciliation, and redemption. This is the story of a shipwreck that scarred the lives of the survivors and their families. I liked the setting and the author does a good job of evoking a Minnesota winter on the north shore. A good book, but I wanted to like it more. Perhaps, like the Norwegians he is writing about, emotions are treated a little too cerebrally, the drama too carefully contained. There is a lot below the surface here though, and it is ultimately a very satisfying and uplifting read.

Book description: Set against the powerful lakeshore landscape of northern Minnesota, Safe from the Sea is a heartfelt novel in which a son returns home to reconnect with his estranged and dying father thirty-five years after the tragic wreck of a Great Lakes ore boat that the father only partially survived and that has divided them emotionally ever since. When his father for the first time finally tells the story of the horrific disaster he has carried with him so long, it leads the two men to reconsider each other. Meanwhile, Noah’s own struggle to make a life with an absent father has found its real reward in his relationship with his sagacious wife, Natalie, whose complications with infertility issues have marked her husband’s life in ways he only fully realizes as the reconciliation with his father takes shape. Peter Geye has delivered an archetypal story of a father and son, of the tug and pull of family bonds, of Norwegian immigrant culture, of dramatic shipwrecks and the business and adventure of Great Lakes shipping in a setting that simply casts a spell over the characters as well as the reader.

Audiobook narrated by David Aaron Baker.