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A wonderful historical mystery
By , Submitted on 2019-08-07

I first read a book by A. L. Sowards a couple of years ago and I'm never disappointed in her books. This one is a little different than her historical war novels, as this one is what I would consider a suspense (the author calls it a historical mystery) which takes place in a small town after WWII.

Evie has already lost her mother to an illness and her brother died in WWII before the book starts, so it's just Evie and her dad, who's a professor at Redgrave University where she works in the bursar's office. She's dating Gary, a Native American and veteran of the war who suffers from what we know of as PTSD. Evie's life is good until the brakes on her dad's new car fail and she barely escapes having an accident. This is just the beginning--a few days later her dad is found dead in their home and the police's main suspect is Gary.

Like all of this author's books I've read, this story pulled me in right from the start. I learned how life was for those returning from the war. Times were still tough for a lot of people without enough jobs and those who fought trying to recover from the horrors of war. There were no treatments or support groups for those who suffered from shell shock (the term used back them) or PTSD. Evie's relationship with a Native American was also looked down upon at this time (1948), even though he was a hard worker and was attending school using the GI Bill.

I liked Evie. She knew even though Gary had issues because of the war he wouldn't kill anyone. So when he was arrested she immediately acted to at least get him released on bail, then did her own sleuthing to find someone who had a motive. I found that unexpected for a woman in 1948. I didn't figure out who was behind the murders until right before Evie put it all together.

I really liked this book--the cover, the story, the characters in the story. It all made for a great whodunnit. Thanks to Covenant Communications via NetGalley for my copy to read. All thoughts expressed in my review are my own.

An excellent review novel
By , Submitted on 2019-07-13

Isn't the cover of this book eye catching? I love it. I feel like it captures the era the story is set in, and while it's beautiful it has a sinister feel, which captures the tone of the book extremely well. So, nice job to the cover artists on this one. My kids kept asking me questions about the cover and I had to keep responding that I didn't know! I hadn't read the book yet! Well now that I have I can say that this cover is perfect for the novel.

This was set in such an interesting time period. I haven't read many novels post WWII that discusses PTSD. How devastating to classify these men as psychoneurotic, and to just write them off because they were "crazy". Gary had an even more difficult time because he was Indian and was discriminated because of that as well, and had the crappiest childhood ever. Evie was wonderful to see a person as a person and judge them based on that.

You really feel for Evie and everything that happens to her during the course of the novel. She has to be really strong to combat everything and still remain standing, so to speak. The author creates feelings of doubt, and love, and suspense, and whew...I went through a myriad of emotions while reading this book. The "who done it" is artfully done, and she keeps you guessing throughout the novel. The only negative thing I have about this book is that Evie suffers loss after loss, and it seems that she doesn't ever really mourn. She just accepts and moves on...which is plausible since someone is trying to kill her, but it seemed like she was emotionless during these deaths.

I will definitely keep reading more from this author, and I will pass on this book to all my book reading friends (and if you like to listen to the audio version, the narrator does an excellent job with it).

*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Loved it!
By , Submitted on 2019-07-13

I have read a handful of A.L. Sowards' books and enjoyed them, but this one was just... wow! I think it was the mix of suspense and post-WWII history that made this story so captivating. There are a lot of books about WWII, but you don't hear much about the emotional trauma that those soldiers had to deal with after they came home. Gary not only had to deal with that, but the trauma that he suffered as a child as well. Even with all of that, he tried his best to be a good person.

I enjoyed watching the relationship between Evie and Gary grow and develop. The romance was a good part of the story, but not the main part of it by any means.

The author did a very good job keeping me guessing until almost the very end on who the bad guy was. I did figure it out before the reveal, but only just. I also enjoy the little history blurbs that the author includes at the end of the book.

This is one that will go on my keeper shelf and I highly recommend it to anyone.

Kept me guessing!
By , Submitted on 2019-07-12

I've really enjoyed every book I've read by A.L. Sowards. She is a very talented author and not only are her war-time novels entertaining, but readers get a good feel for what happened during those horrible times in history.

Sowards' latest novel, The Redgrave Murders, is a bit different from her other novels in that it takes place after the war is over. It was quite eye opening to read about the PTSD that some of the characters went through. It's more common now to hear about these issues, but it seems like it was pretty unusual to hear about it after WWI and WWII. I don't recall ever hearing my grandfathers talk about it.

In addition to PTSD, Sowards addressed interracial relationships and the prejudices in the late forties that people had against Native Americans. It was very interesting and heartbreaking to read about how Gary suffered as a child, as a POW, and as he tried to get a college education.

I really liked that I was kept guessing about the bad guy throughout the story. I thought Evie would have been more distressed by certain events than she was, but she plowed through and proved to be quite the detective.

I can see myself reading this again, and highly recommend it.

A great novel full of suspense with the right dash of romance!
By , Submitted on 2019-07-12

I've read many books by this author. Most of the other books were about characters in the middle of a war. The battle scenes were some of the best I'd ever read. I loved how this new book dealt with the after-effects of WWII.

The Redgrave Murders, of course, is full of suspense right from the start. This novel was one that I sat down to read and only put it down to eat. This is what I love about Summer reading. One of the most engaging aspects of this novel are the letters at the beginning of each chapter that main character Evie and her brother Clive wrote to each other during the war. It filled in important character development on Evie's part and also showed family dynamics that play out within the novel.

One of the main characters, Evie's boyfriend Gary Redhawk, was a minor character in a previous novel the author wrote. I remembered the scene from the other book that he described in this novel. Gary is a Seneca Native American. He was my favorite character in this book. I feel his character was written realistically showing the plight of Native Americans at this time in history. This novel also does a great job of showing how the horrors of war caused PTSD in so many of the returning soldiers. He and Evie are good together and the romance part is secondary to the murder mystery that keeps you as a reader on your toes. There are so many suspects that stand out as you read each chapter. I quite enjoyed figuring out who ultimately was the person behind all of the terrible crimes.

This book is not a fast-paced book but keeps you enthralled none the less. The Redgrave Murders was a winner for me.

There are a few scenes of violence with this being a murder mystery, a little kissing, and a lot of breathtaking action scenes. This book would be appropriate for older teens, and adults.

An emotional story full of suspense and romance.
By , Submitted on 2019-07-11

THE REDGRAVE MURDERS is one of those stories that keeps you on the edge of your seat. It's set in an historic small town, among prejudice and misunderstanding shortly after WWII, and focuses on an interracial couple and the danger that stalks them. The characters are complex, likable, with plenty of chemistry between them. Highly recommended to romantic suspense fans!

This story was emotional, suspenseful, and at the same time, very sweet. I'm assuming it was a difficult story to write, because it was a difficult story to read. I was so angry at how prejudiced some people could be and the terrible things Gary faced as a child as well as in this story. It just made me mad. The way things were handled was definitely not right, but he carried on. Then there was Evie, who had a much easier life, but found a connection with Gary and fell hard for him against criticism from her family and the community who looked down on interracial relationships. I loved their romance. It was real and sweet and messy. There were things the characters had to work out and their relationship was definitely tested.

As far as suspense goes, this story definitely was intense in parts and grew more so until the climatic ending. The villain was well done. I had an inkling of who it might be early on, but wasn't completely sure until the end. It's always a good thing when a story like this keeps you guessing. The story does get somewhat violent, but without be overly descriptive. I appreciated that the plot logically worked for me as well.

In the end, was it what I wished for? This author did a fabulous job in pulling me into this story. I did not want to put it down and, in fact, read it in one sitting. It was a great mix of heavy subject matter that made me think, a constant underlying feeling of danger, fabulous characters, and a sweet romance with plenty of sparks. I'm looking forward to more from this author!

Content: Some innuendo and violence.
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Covenant Communications, which did not require a positive review nor affect my review in any way.

A compelling tale of love and murder.
By , Submitted on 2019-07-10

A.L. Sowards knows how to write a suspense novel full of historical detail. In this one, Evie Hampton's life takes an awful turn when someone murders her father and frames her boyfriend for it. Her efforts to clear her boyfriend, Gary Redhawk, lead her in directions she could never have imagined. Unfortunately for her, the murderer doesn't seem to be finished and she's clearly his next target. I enjoyed reading this both for the mystery aspects, but also for the historical setting. In addition to the murders, her relationship with Gary is uncertain as he struggles with serious PTSD and trauma from his childhood. As a Seneca Indian, he was forced to attend an Indian Boarding School as a child, where abuse was rampant. But Evie loves him and wants to help, she just doesn't know how. So unlike many of Sowards previous books, this one doesn't take place in the middle of war, but it deals with the aftereffects of war and the emotional damage it causes. The inclusion of Gary's Indian school experiences adds additional historical context. Although reading about it and Gary's PTSD was difficult, it certainly made him an empathetic character. One of the things I especially enjoy about Sowards books is the depth of her characters. They feel like real people dealing with real problems in a flawed but determined way. A great book for readers who enjoy romantic suspense, but also those who enjoy a book with a solid historical setting.

By , Submitted on 2019-07-10

I was very excited to read this book, as I have enjoyed all the books I have read from this author. When I started reading, it felt like I was right there with the characters, like watching an old movie from the '40s. Right away the reader is caught up in a web of suspense and the author does an excellent job of setting up the story. I loved the way each chapter started, as we get to know Evie's brother through his letters to her during the war. Evie is a fantastic character. I also enjoyed the inclusion of the Native American culture with Gary's character. This is an excellent book full of twists and page-turning suspense.

Historical Mystery!
By , Submitted on 2019-07-10

I've been reading (and loving) books by A.L Sowards for a long time. She is one of my favorites because her books absolutely come to life in my hands. This book is a bit different than her previous books as it is a mystery instead of a historical fiction, but I'm so happy that it actually felt like a historical fiction because Sowards really knows how to build the time period she is writing about to feel so authentic and real. The beginning of each chapter also includes a snippet of letters that Evie and her brother exchange while he is serving in the military during WWII which accomplished the dual purpose of establishing a human connection between Evie and her brother and giving me another bit of history to lean into.

This story really brings to light all the social, economical, and political unrest occurring at the time. The effects of the war have brought about economical depression, low housing, and war veterans who are struggling to live and work because of the horrors they witnessed. As always there is discrimination which seems to be present no matter what time period historically is being represented.

Greg battles discrimination as well as PTSD (although it wasn't called that at the time) from a brutal childhood as well as his horrible experiences during the war. Greg is working so hard to overcome the stigmas and his past. His gentle, steady nature made him a hero in my eyes. Evie has dealt with much loss and tragedy herself. I could feel and I connected with her desire to be loved, valued and accepted. Greg and Evie together were fantastic lead characters.

While mystery isn't my very favorite go-to genre, I really did love this one. That's probably due to the author's ability to bring to life the time period. It was fantastic.

I love the cover of this book. It's a perfect representation of what is inside. Can I also just say that I love the details of this book too? Each chapter heading has a noose like the one on the cover and I loved how the theme carried throughout the whole book- cover to cover.

Content: violence (mostly referred to and not described in much detail), kissing, mention of sexual and physical abuse, death

- I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

By , Submitted on 2019-07-09

Oh my goodness. This book is worthy of Agatha Christie! I couldn't figure out who commit murders until it told me. I loved this book!

Loved it!
By , Submitted on 2019-07-09

This book is SO INTRIGUING! Multiple story lines intertwine with each other to bring a rich reading experience. You will read about cut brake lines, falling bookcases, letters from the front line of war, post traumatic stress disorder, and interracial relationships, just to name a few; all while trying to solve a murder mystery. SO. GOOD!

Loved this suspense novel!
By , Submitted on 2019-07-08

I LOVE a good suspense book! And this is a good one. It’s a bit different from the way A.L. Sowards usually writes, but that’s a good thing!

I loved Evie in this book. Evie is a young woman living in the time period just after World War II. She’s lost her mom and older brother before the story starts. She lives with her dad. And her boyfriend is Gary.

There is a lot of things with this time period that the author did a good job including in this novel. The way Gary would have been looked at because he was a Native American was one thing I noticed. It’s not right, but he would have been looked down on, and his and Evie’s relationship especially would have been taboo.

It’s no surprise that when bad things start happening, Gary is the first suspect. And there’s no other suspects that the police are willing to consider. While Gary’s in jail, Evie shows what she’s made of and works on the investigation all on her own. I love that she does this, and doesn’t get scared off, even when it would have been easy to.

This book kept me guessing from the beginning to the very end. I would have never guessed just who the bad guy was or why! It’s my favorite thing when that happens. If you’re a fan of good suspense books, make sure to pick this one up!

I was sent a copy of The Redgrave Murders as a gift from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Another Winner
By , Submitted on 2019-07-07

A.L. Sowards has done it again. She has written a book that I could not put down. I have read seven books written by her and all have been a 4 or 5-star rating. She really is that good.

This story was a different genre, but it was set in the same general time period as some of her books. Usually, she writes war stories, this time she wrote a suspense novel. She used one of the supporting characters in a previous book and it set after he has come home from WWII. He is dealing with PTSD and trying to figure out who is setting him up for murdering his girl-friends father, and then a couple of more people. For a small town that sees little crime, there are several murders. Gary's girlfriend is Evie. The story is mainly told from her perspective. She is in love with a Native American and it was interesting to see the twist in culture and prejudice it causes.

I loved learning some of Evie's family history from the letters from her brother who was killed during the war. A.L Sowards was able to use her historical fiction genius as she told about the war on the Pacific Ocean.

If you haven't read one of her books, YOU SHOULD! I will continue to be a fan and try to pick up a copy of everything she writes. This story does contain non-graphic violence.

Evie and Gary
By , Submitted on 2019-07-01

I really liked this one. Excellent writing, amazing characters, and the setting is very engaging, both the small town and the historical part.

The historical setting sets the mood for the mystery, what with the economic, social, and political climates of the time. This was very well done, as I truly had a sense that wouldn't feel the same with a contemporary setting.

When I started reading, the feeling I immediately had was one of the same kind of quality that old black & white mystery movies had. I'm thinking the early Perry Mason series, only in this case the lead character is a woman. There's a sense of quiet urgency in Evie and what happens around her, which only intensifies as the story goes on.

Gary is the antithesis of the Alpha male hero, and that only makes him more endearing. He's humble, hardworking, and kind, despite the problems he suffers from PTSD. I like how loyal to him Evie is. She's the one who doesn't give on him, even when evidence points to him.

As the plot evolves and reveals a villain who is truly dark, the pressure to solve the mystery and stop him before he commits more crimes kept me reading without stopping.

The Twists just keep coming!
By , Submitted on 2019-07-01

It kept me guessing. That for me is the most important thing in the mystery/suspense genre. I like to figure it out, but I don't want it to be too easy to figure out. This book was perfectly balanced. I was given an advanced copy of the ebook from the publisher and couldn't put it down. I thought I had it figured out a couple of times, there were enough red herrings to throw me off the real scent.

I really felt for the MC in this book as she tries to unravel what is going on around her and keep her loved ones and herself safe.

The author creates witty, smart characters. There was definite realism as the author tackled PTSD and the atmosphere following WWII.

A Must Read
By , Submitted on 2019-06-30

The Redgrave Murders by A. L. Sowards is a historical novel post WWII that has three different elements to the story. History, Murder Mystery, and my favorite…Romance. Though I love the other elements as well, but romance has a special place in my heart.

History…I’ve always been a lover of WWII history ever since I read Dean Hughes’ Children of the Promise series. So reading this book as helped me glean more about the war era, specifically post war and the PTSD veterans faced.

Murder Mystery…Who doesn’t like a good murder mystery? This book is full of mystery and speculation of who dunnit, which the author kept me rethinking of who the actual culprit was until the very end. I did not see that coming, though after reflecting back on the story I saw hints of it.

Romance…After reading this story, I wanted Gary Redhawk for myself. He’s protective, strong, and he has come a long way in overcoming his past that most women would run away from. But he also as a bit of a bad boy image as well that I think all women deep down enjoys a bit in a guy, but not too much. So in a way, Gary is the perfect guy…at least until I read a new book that makes me fall in love with another character.

Overall, this book was simply amazing and I highly recommend it to all history and mystery lovers. This is simply a must read. I had a hard time putting this book down to do basic adult stuff like, work, clean, and sleep. But when I did have a chance to spend time reading the book I got through it quickly thanks to short chapters.

If you enjoy an excellent blend of romance, action and mystery, be sure to checkout The Redgrave Murders
By , Submitted on 2019-06-18

The Redgrave Murders is listed as a romance and suspense story which peaked my interest. I read almost all historical fiction, but haven't read a lot from this time period.

Knowing the summary of the book, the first chapter did not immediately draw me in, but I became interested soon after. I am not used to stories being written in the first person, and I think it threw me off a little at first.

While the story is about the solving of murders, the characters all seem realistic and raw. My favorite character was Gary Redhawk.

Gary makes you immediately feel protective of him. Being in the Indian reform school, and then being a POW must have really been traumatic for him. Of course, this would not make him innocent of the issues that arise against him, but there is something that seems innocent and vulnerable about him from the very beginning. You slowly get to learn more about his history, and I felt even more of a connection to him.

Gary felt that he was broken after the war. He still had nightmares every night, and he worried about hurting others. My favorite scenes were when Evie was trying to break down Gary's walls and show him he could still be loved. Everyone is broken. We are just broken in different ways.

Since the book is written in first person, I felt that I didn't learn as much about Evie Hampton's past. The letters from her brother at the beginning of each chapter helped some.

Evie's father is a history professor, and I loved hearing about the decor of their house. My favorite was the suit of arms that they named. I would love to know what happened to it.

There are a lot of intense issues in this book. PTSD is a major theme. There is also a minor character who is a pedophile and continues to be non-repentant. The PTSD was especially interesting to me. During this time, many men returning from war were written off as having psychological issues if they displayed any symptoms at all. Yet there was no real help for them.

The main characters are in an interracial relationship which causes a lot of conflict with others. Gary has been through so much, and I loved the lighthearted comment he made after someone made a derogatory comment about him.

I liked the pace of the book. There were a lot of things happening, but it didn't feel rushed. I also liked that things didn't feel predictable. It felt like I was trying to solve the case right alongside Evie.

If you enjoy an excellent blend of romance, action and mystery, be sure to checkout The Redgrave Murders.

While I received a complimentary copy of this book, I was not required to write a positive review.

Fablous Characters and Suspense That Wll Keep You Guessing
By , Submitted on 2019-06-18

This is an awesome book. A historical suspense set in 1944 and 1948. An era when dating an Indian was frowned upon. Evie and Gary have trouble not only with small town folks but also with family who is not happy with their relationship. Then Gary is accused of murder and Evie begins her own investigation to prove his innocence. Told in the first person POV this will keep you guessing until the very end. If you are a fan of suspense and/or WWII history you will not want to miss this book. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley. This is my honest review.

Fantastic mystery with heart-tugging romance
By , Submitted on 2019-06-12

This murder-mystery-romance was super captivating. It takes place in post-WWII upper-state New York and has an intriguing premise. The characters are Evelyn Hampton and Gary Redhawk, a bi-racial couple (white girl, American Indian boy) in a time when that was not acceptable. Gary has an uphill battle to climb in society. Indians were looked down upon as lazy, no-good drunkards. But Evie sees Gary’s strengths--his love for her, his intellect, hard work, and his respect. He’s a war veteran and a POW who’s endured a lot and has many demons she knows nothing about..…until the mystery and horror unravels. Evelyn’s father is found murdered in his house. Doubt and circumstantial evidence stacks up against Gary. He’s thrown in jail, which freaks him out because he has PTSD and can’t stand to be behind bars and bullied by the biased police. Evelyn determines to prove his innocence, but as she works to establish his alibi, weird, scary things keep happening. It seems as if someone wants Evelyn dead. Or Gary. Or both. Why?

This book kept me guessing clear to the end. The mystery was fantastic. I loved it. Each side character introduced seemed like a reasonable suspect. As the plot thickened, I didn’t know who-dun-it! But the mystery wasn’t the only thing I loved. The characterization was phenomenal. The author delved deep into Evelyn’s and Gary’s lives to flesh them out into believable and heart-tugging characters that stuck in my heart long after the story ended. Gary’s Indian background was explored, and I loved the theme of how biased Americans were to Indians in the first half of the century. I learned a lot from the background history details. Gary’s demons and pain became mine; I agonized with him as he strove to rise above them. The prose was beautiful as well. So many powerful quotes and passages that I wanted to outline. I also loved the romance. It had great tension and heart-wrenching drama. I also loved how the story was organized. There are letters between Evelyn and her brother Clive from 5 years in the past at the beginning of each chapter. They tangle into the present day drama. There was nothing I disliked. Nothing! I highly recommend this superb book! One of the best who-dun-it mystery/romances I've ever read, filled with enriching little-known historical details, fantastic characters, powerful passages, heart-wrenching drama, and plot twists that kept me turning pages long into the night.